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Polar Bear Cooler Review: Hard 45


Article Categories: Gear
Article Tags: Camping Gear | Travel Gear

In this article, we are taking a deep dive into the Polar Bear 45 Hard Cooler. Our team loves taking trips where we end up car camping, maybe grabbing some airbnbs, and exploring the outdoors. We often have extended periods of time away from electricity, and need to keep food stored cold and safe, therefore coolers are hugely helpful for eating tastier and healthier food on these trips.

The Polar Bear Hard 45 is the best cooler we have used, and here’s why!


Where To Buy

On Polar Bear Site


Our Testing

If you could think of the best test for a cooler, it is probably leaving it in your car, on a really hot day, for the entire day, and then another day. Once you get back to your car, you open the door, and it seems hot enough to be melting the steering wheel. It’s these conditions that we have used our Polar Bear cooler in over a dozen times now. Some recent trips include running the R2R2R of the grand canyon, and completing the Emigration Ultimate Ridge Linkup.

The Grand Canyon trip had temperatures into the 90s, and we needed the cooler to keep our food cold for multiple days in the heat. All of this to say, we truly have put this cooler to the test, with some very impressive results.

Polar Bear Cooler Camping

Polar Bear Cooler Camping


About Polar Bear Coolers

To be honest, we don’t know a ton about the company, Polar Bear Coolers ourselves, what we do know, is that they have a line of products that suits just about every cooler need, and then even more. We also know that the founders do a whole lot of outdoor adventures, just like our team, and therefore, understand the features, needs, and issues that are needed for outdoor products.


Product Specifications & Features

Weight: 24.03 lbs

Dimensions: 26.4” x 16.1” x 16.3” (inner 20” x 11” x11”) This gives this cooler a capacity of over 54 12 ounce cans.

  • Double barrel rubber t-grip latches
  • Smooth opening triple hinge lid
  • 5-day Insulation Sensation
  • Rubber pads for ultimate skid-proof stability
  • 1.25” rubber gasket drain plug
  • Steel lock-down plates that double as bottle openers
  • High-performance airtight gasket

We thought it was worth noting when it comes to specifications that this sized cooler compared to other leading brands had just a tiny bit more interior space than others, meaning, you can fit just a little bit more ice, and food, than comparable coolers.


Warranty & Shipping

You can find information on the warranty and shipping here.


Our Review


Keeping Food Cool

5/5 Stars

If you need to keep your food cool for an entire weekend, in very hot weather, this cooler is going to work extremely well. For weekend trips, we simply have been dumping ice from our freezer into the cooler, which keeps well for the duration of a weekend. If longer time is needed, leveraging ice packs will extend your life to more like 5 days.

I have not come across a cooler that does better than this one, in fact, my friend’s comparable sized Yeti doesn’t seem to hold the temperature as well as this one.

Pro Tip: One of the best ways to maximize the use of your cooler space is to use water bottles to freeze, and place those frozen water bottles in your cooler. This will allow you to more efficiently use your space as you’ll have spare water that doubles as your ice.

Keeping a couple sandwiches cool with only a little bit of ice

Keeping a couple sandwiches cool with only a little bit of ice



5/5 Stars

Given this cooler is bear proof, i’d say it is pretty durable. The handles show no signs of wear, or like they will ever cause issues, same with the hinges. There pretty much is nothing that’s going to stop this cooler from working. We will note that the rubber enclosure system may have the potential to wear or tear based off of the design, but this is nearly the exact same system every other cooler uses, and people rarely report problems.

We’ve basically been tossing this cooler around outside, and using it as a bench with zero functional wear and tear.




Drain System

5/5 Stars

The train system is easy and works perfectly! So easy to drain the ice and water out after our trips.


Rack System

4/5 Stars

The rack system is awesome to use. The only downside of this entire cooler system is that sometimes the rack can fall into the cooler and doesn’t stay on the rack’s rails. This is a very minor issue, but worth noting.


Cutting Board System

5/5 Stars

This might be the best feature of the entire cooler system. It allows for easily using a cutting board, or storing as a spacer between two sections of the cooler. It is so useful when camping, and i’ll never think about buying a cooler again without this feature being built it.



4/5 Stars

Overall, this is not a cheap cooler. It is often more expensive than the leading cooler brands on the market. That being said, it has a few additional features, like the bear proof locking functionality, and an improved cutting board system. It also keeps the cool equivalent or better than the leading competition.

At this price point, you are getting the value, but we know ourselves how hard it can be to justify a purchase of this size for a cooler. That being said, if you are in the market for a top of the line cooler, and are considering Polar Bear vs the other top brands, we would recommend the Polar Bear due to the added features and similar price point.

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about