You’re reading a Polar Bear coolers review. Is that because there’s some upcoming fun activity, and you need to bring the drinks, or is it for something mundane and practical?
When it comes to the practical, there’s no denying that having some extra coolers on hand is a good idea. Weather can cause havoc with power, and so can distracted drivers. Having some coolers on hand could save a refrigerator full of perishables when the lights go out.
But it’s much more fun thinking about getting some coolers to hold beverages and food for that upcoming camping or boating trip. But coolers for fun take more thought than coolers for practicality, so make sure you pick the right kind of cooler for those fun times.
And reading this Polar Bear coolers review is a good idea even if you’re only shoring up your emergency plans.
Soft-Sided Coolers, What to Look For
According to the physics brainiacs, for a cooler to do a good job, it’s not what keeps the cold in, it’s what keeps the heat out. And what determines that effectiveness is insulation, air, and ice.
Those same brainiacs say that just like darkness is the absence of light, cold is the absence of heat. And that we should think about this from a thermodynamics perspective. Sure.
The bottom line from the brainiacs is that hard-sided coolers are better at insulating than soft-sided. But when portability is a concern, and when isn’t it, the soft-sided cooler wins.
But the thermodynamic brainiacs have one last comment to make, don’t open the cooler any more than necessary. Duh.
While soft-sided coolers aren’t as insulating as the hard-sided, soft-sided coolers take advantage of new and improved synthetic materials that help keep the heat out.
So when shopping for the best soft-sided, easy to carry, and store cooler, look for one that most closely matches your activities and cooler needs.
If you’re a hiker, then a backpack style cooler is what you want. Whereas, an ergonomic shoulder strap might be best for a day at the beach. And when you’re out on the water, make sure your cooler floats.
Check for quality zippers and hardware, solid straps, durable fabrics, and food safe interiors. The shape of the cooler is also something to consider, make sure you can square the bottom for its most efficient use.
And storage can’t be overlooked when shopping for the best cooler. The soft-sided cooler racks up significant points when it comes to storing. If for no other reason than you can store a lot of soft-sided coolers in the same space of one hard-sided cooler. And you don’t need a physics degree to know that.
Who Is Polar Bear?
In 2001, Strud Nash, owner and CEO of Polar Bear coolers located in Georgia, introduced the original 24-hour chill cooler. Strud says that this cooler introduced American consumers to the performance soft cooler category.
And in the years since, Polar Bear has continued to expand and improve upon their coolers. They currently have a complete line of soft-sided coolers, including:
You can customize almost all of the Polar Bear coolers with corporate logos or monograms. And Polar Bear says their coolers make great gifts, especially groomsmen gifts.
And Polar Bear proudly continues to make all of their coolers at their Georgia location.
Polar Bear Original 24 Pack Cooler
Polar Bear’s Original 24 Pack Soft Cooler has a rugged 1000 Denier luggage grade nylon outer shell. Plus, all the seams are double hemmed and anchor stitched for extra durability.
The interior liner is FDA food-grade approved, anti-microbial, and TPU double-coated nylon. And the 1-inch thick, 10 gauge high-density foam insulation will hold ice for 24 hours in over 100-degree temperatures.
All hardware on this cooler is heavy-duty, including the side release buckles and tie-downs. And the D-ring tie-down attachment points can be used to secure the cooler to any vehicle.
Plus, the heavy-duty YKK #10 rust-proof zipper is part of their patent-pending zipper design that keeps the zipper from ripping out of the cooler.
The padded shoulder strap makes carrying a fully loaded (at approximately 30-pounds) cooler a breeze. And the bottom saddle gives excellent support and uniform sturdiness for packed coolers.
Plus, the zipper pocket area can be embroidered with your company logo or monogrammed for personalization. And for convenience, a metal bottle opener is attached to the zipper pull.
This cooler is available in 5 colors and measures 10 inches by 18 inches by 12 inches, and has a 24 12-ounce can capacity. Polar Bear backs this cooler with a limited lifetime warranty.
Our Polar Bear Coolers Review Process
Our Polar Bear coolers review is an independent analysis of this and three comparable coolers available to today’s consumer.
To narrow our choices of competitors in this Polar Bear coolers review, we researched and reviewed the most popular comparable sized coolers. Then we compared their features along with consumer reports and comments.
Our goal in this Polar Bear coolers review is to give you sufficient factual, unbiased information. With this, you can make a confident, informed, and easier decision when purchasing your next cooler.
Polar Bears Competitors
For this Polar Bear coolers review, we’ve picked the following three comparable coolers. And they’re not in any order of preference, quality, or price.
The first competitor in our Polar Bear coolers review is AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler. This soft-sided canvas cooler features a removable shoulder strap, clip-down ends, and a side pocket for dry items.
AO Coolers says this cooler has twice the insulation of other soft-sided coolers, and they back that statement up with a guarantee it will hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree weather.
The confidence in that guarantee is due to five layers of insulation with the inner insulation of 3/4-inch thick, high-density, closed-cell foam, and the high-quality TPU liner. And that washable TPU liner gives AO Coolers the confidence also to guarantee this cooler will never leak or sweat.
AO Coolers reminds you that this cooler can also keep your hot dishes hot, so pack your favorite hot casserole for that pot luck dinner in this cooler with confidence.
This cooler is lightweight, easy to carry, and measures 17 inches long by 10 inches wide by 12 inches high. It can hold 24 cans plus about 14 pounds of ice.
And AO Coolers offers a limited lifetime guarantee on the liner and top zipper.
Next on our Polar Bear coolers review is Arctic Zone’s Titan Deep Freeze 30 can, zipperless cooler. Their patented flip-open Zipperless lid allows for quick access to food and drinks. Plus, the front zippered pocket is insulated.
Arctic Zone says that ice will keep for up to three days when you fill the cooler with ice. And that their interior linings are FDA and CPSC compliant and free from BPA, PVC, lead, and phthalates.
Arctic Zone wraps the entire exterior of the cooler in a lightweight layer of heat reflective material that repels radiant waves. And the thick Coldblock base of this cooler keeps the three separate layers of insulation from compressing when the cooler is full.
The easy-to-clean Microban antimicrobial protected lining of this cooler will last its lifetime; it will not wash off or wipe away and makes it easier to clean.
This cooler measures 16.5 inches long by 11 inches deep by 12.75 inches tall and can hold 30 cans.
Arctic Zone backs this product with a 30-day, hassle-free return if not happy with your purchase, and a limited lifetime warranty on this cooler.
Our last competitor in this Polar Bear coolers review is ICEMULE Pro X-Large hands-free cooler. The backpack design of this cooler, along with the double padded and ventilated straps, comfortably straps on your back, leaving your hands and arms free.
The closure system on this cooler, designed without zippers and welded seams, means no leaky or broken zippers and easy access to load and unload contents.
ICEMULE says their exceptionally sturdy MuleSkinET exterior fabric combined with their tough interior layer of MuleSkinEV creates a rugged shell that gives superior ice retention. And their unique PolarLayer insulation foam will keep contents cold for over 24 hours.
Plus, ICEMULE coolers let you add air for extra insulation with their IM AirValve. And that same IM AirValve enables you to release air so you can roll up the cooler for compact storage when not in use.
The dimensions of this cooler are 14 inches long by 11 inches wide by 20 inches high with a capacity of 33 liters, that’s 24 cans plus ice. And ICEMULE backs this product with a 90-day warranty.
Pack It Up
We’ve given you a lot of cool (pun intended) information in this Polar Bear coolers review. And the coolers in this review were neither the least nor most expensive in the soft-sided cooler category. But all of the coolers mentioned in this review held their own when compared to the most expensive coolers.
What that means is spending more money doesn’t mean you’re getting a superior product. There’s a lot more to consider than the price tag.
Researching for this article, one of the stories that stood out was about Bullet, the Belgian Malinois (dog) who tried to rip apart the TPU lining that Polar Bear uses in their coolers. He was unsuccessful at tearing it and is now on duty with the Griffin, GA Special Task Force K9 unit.
Now, they didn’t elaborate on the connection between Bullet, the TPU lining, and the Griffin Special Task Force K9 unit. So you can draw whatever conclusion makes sense to you. I think, after everything I read, I’m going with the conclusion that Bullet showed plenty of tenacity and perseverance, but that TPU lining was just too tough.
But the good news for the consumer is that the lining in Polar Bear coolers is durable and can take a lot of wear and tear. While Bullet didn’t have a go at the competitor’s coolers, those coolers ranked high enough in many other reviews that they would be a superb choice as well.
Whatever your reason for purchasing a new cooler, a soft-sided cooler, especially the Polar Bear soft-sided cooler, is an exceptional choice.
Let us know in the comments below if this Polar Bear coolers review helped you pick the right cooler for your needs.
Featured Image Via Flickr
Jonathan O’Ryan is what you might call a seasonal digital nomad. When he is not thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or finetuning his custom UL camping gear in the middle of nowhere, he comfortably sits at his home desk – yes, he still has a physical address, we don’t know for how long though – sharing his insights on all things outdoors with Wilderness Today’s audience. We know life is an adventure, Jon, but we’d still like to have that urgent work email answered by noon.