If you are looking for a super-sized cooler, then prices do start to get expensive and you could be looking at over $200 for the more premium offerings from brands such as Yeti.
However, if you’re not concerned with having the latest design cooler, then it is worth considering some older models from the leading cooler manufacturers. One such cooler is the Igloo Polar with its extra-large 120 quart capacity. Expect to pay around $100 for this model from stores such as Amazon.
These larger coolers are great if you are going on a camping or road trip over a few days. If you are heading to the beach for the day with friends and family then you’ll also have plenty of space for food and drinks.
So how does the Igloo Polar 120 quart cooler compare?
While it may not have the newest tech featured on some of Igloo’s latest cooler models, the Polar still features a thick insulated body and lid (although not at thick as the more expensive Yeti models). To be honest, nothing really stands out in the design stakes for this cooler (especially when compared against the rugged looks of Igloo’s BMX range) and it has a similar look to a big box store own branded model, especially in its plain white color.
When looking at ice retention figures, Igloo claims an impressive 5 days at 90oF which is up to the same standard as its latest cooler models and should be more than sufficient for that long camping or road trip.
The lid hinges on the Polar are not as robust as say on Igloo’s BMX range and look like they could bend if subject to any rough use as the lid is quite large. In typical use, you should have no concerns.
Capacity, dimensions and weight
At 120 quarts, this Igloo Polar model has a capacity that is equivalent to 188 12oz cans. This should be plenty of food and drink capacity for a multi-day trip.
In terms of external dimensions, the Polar 120 measures a whopping 38″ in length and approximately 17″ in both depth and height. Weight is 20lbs when unloaded but this is going to increase considerably when filled with ice.
At this size, you’re going to need a large car or truck to carry the Polar 120, certainly don’t expect to be able to carry it easily in a small hatchback trunk.
Portability is quite important when it comes to an extra-large cooler of this size. The handles on the Igloo Polar are of the swing-up design and are sensibly reinforced as the last thing you want is for them to break. The plastic handle grips are reasonably thick and should be comfortable enough when carrying this cooler over short distances.
If you are looking for a larger sized cooler that is more portable, then Igloo offers the Trailmate Marine (link) and Trailmate Journey 70 quart coolers (link) that feature large wheels and telescopic handles.
This is more of a no-nonsense extra-large capacity cooler so don’t expect too many features. The catches are dual snap plastic fittings rather than rubber T-catches as found on other models at this price point. They may not look as good but still do a decent job of holding the lid securely in place.
There is no fish ruler or lid padlock hole on this model but you do get four tie-down points to secure it in your truck bed or car trunk. As with the larger Igloo BMX models such as the BMX 72, the Polar features a threaded drain plug to enable you to fit a garden hose to the cooler for easier washouts between trips.
It can be easy to get carried away and pay a lot of money for an extra-large capacity cooler. However, if you are willing to forego the latest designs and some (maybe non-essential) features then there are bargains to be had.
The Igloo Polar 120 cooler certainly fits into this category and is well worth a look if you need the cooling capacity but don’t want to pay a high price.