Ice Cold 72 Hour Challenge to Find the Best Cooler

Ice Cold 72 Hour Challenge to Find the Best Cooler

by Kurt Knutsson

With high performance coolers running upwards of $800, are they really worth it to keep your world ice cold?

Here’s the mission: Find the Best Cooler (that isn’t an electric cool box) that can keep it ice cold for days.

The Ice Cold Cooler Test Method

We filled each cooler 2/3 ice, 1/3 canned beverages and left them outside in the summer heat. Each cooler exposed to the same brutal direct sunlight and spent nights outside together over 72 hours.


The popular inexpensive Igloo MaxCold 50 Quart hard cooler that claims the “ultratherm insulation in body and lid holds ice up to 5 days.” After 2 days the ice was still keeping things cold but on day 3, ice is thinning and turning mostly to water. I don’t think we would see it ice cold for much longer than half of their claim. At $74.95 listed on the Igloo Coolers site and sometimes less on Amazon, you get what you pay for.

We stocked a Polar Bear Coolers Hard 45 $199.95 with same ice and drinks. The weight and quality of the hard Polar Bear Cooler is apparent and puts it in the rugged high performance cooler category. It not only will hold ice up to 5 days, I recently used another one of their hard coolers and after 8 days there was still ice inside! This is likely why Polar Bear Coolers are known as the ‘insulation sensation’.

These Polar Bear Coolers hard models come in 20 cans, 45 can and 70 can sizes but at the time of our test were sold out because the demand is through the roof for the value you get with the high-performance and quality build. You can backorder while locking in discounted price now. At 72 hours, Polar Bear Coolers Hard 45 is going to stand in the lead.


The newest category and now most popular for convenience are soft coolers with a top open-mouth design. They are easy to move around and the best ones we put to the test claim to hold ice for up to 72 hours.

The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler will set you back $249.99. The design and build quality are good. Capacity 4.2 gallons and 16 lbs of ice in a compact cube wide mouth design. I found the performance meets its claim with drinks still cold after 72 hours in hot summer outdoor heat, but the zipper system which comes with a lubricant stick is tough to open and close.


The Best Cooler pick is Polar Bear Coolers Topper 20

The all new Polar Bear Topper 20 is the most insulated soft cooler they have ever made. The design build and quality are superior. And the waterproof zipper keeps the cold in and hot out without leaking or sweating. Great for RV, boat, its easy to clean and does exactly what it says it will and more. I still use one of their first soft coolers from years ago and it looks as good as the first day I got it.

Polar Bear Coolers quality is outstanding and the value is better against any other high performance cooler in soft and hard categories. The all new Polar Bear Topper 20 soft cooler is an easy winner. It’s the cooler that will last the rest of your life and you can pass down to your grandkids!

For a limited time, Polar Bear Coolers is offering an exclusive discount that makes it a deal at $149.96 using discount code ‘FOX’. They offered the discount code ahead of the test before they knew they were announced as the winner.


Our thanks to our new friends at Flying Embers for dropping off cases of their amazing hard seltzers and award-winning hard kombucha. Each are brewed with botanicals and a fermentation process with no added sugar or carbs. Born from surviving the massive California fires that swept through Ojai Valley, Flying Embers is available online and at retailers throughout the world. They give a portion of their profits to First Responders.



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