Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Canada

Cabelas Polar Cap 100qt Cooler

Cabelas 100qt

The majority of the time I spent hunting is in archery season, meaning daytime highs can hit the mid to high 20’s (Celsius, for those south of the border); therefore, it is very important that I have a dependable way to cool meat. My long-term goal is to build a walk-in cooler. But without the space currently, running portable coolers is the only option.

In previous years we have just used a standard Coleman Xtreme cooler and a Igloo Marine 120qt. The Coleman is only a 70qt cooler and does not hold ice for longer than a day or two. Meaning a trip into town to buy ice after the kill was usually always necessary. The Igloo cooler is larger at 120qt, but due to the large volume it loses ice faster than the Coleman (which clearly isn’t ideal). When you factor in that store bought ice is around $3.50/bag and each cooler needs at least 3-4 bags of ice, an animal down leads to around $30 in ice (yikes). Last season, we needed the coolers for 4 deer and determined that an ice cost of around $120 per season was too high. So naturally, we started thinking about alternatives.

Another factor that pushed us to look into alternatives was an experience we had last season when my brother, J, got a nice big bodied deer at last light. At the time, it was getting to 28oC during the day and was still 20oC when the deer expired. We had to move quickly to quarter the deer and get the meat back to our camp. Once there, our plan was to run to town and grab ice.

Before we had left for hunting, we had locked our trucks using OnStar and left our keys inside (yes, poor decision). Connectivity failed us and we weren’t able to unlock the vehicles, leading to us slightly panicking about the meat. We hung the quarters in a tree and hoped the breeze would be enough. Thankfully this time, we got lucky and a tow service got to us within the hour. It would have been agonizing to lose that meat.

Our primary goal with hunting is to harvest our own meat. Anything we can do to take better care of that meat in the field is of huge importance as it translates into the overall quality and taste of the meat.

These days, researching coolers can be pretty overwhelming and can lead to some sticker shock. Obviously, there’s a lot of hype with the YETI style coolers, with many different brands offering similar styles. For us, the cost of a YETI in the 100+qt options put them out of reach. Spending almost $900 on one cooler did not excite us. ORCA, Grizzly Coolers, and Pelican versions are not easily found in Canada and due to the size, have very expensive shipping options. Cabelas has their 100qt Polar Cap cooler retailing for $579. So after doing some research and knowing Cabelas return policy, we picked up a 100qt Cabelas Cooler.

I took the new cooler on a 10-day road trip this summer, with the temperature being 38oC when we left. It remained above 25oC for the duration of the trip. The cooler stayed in the back of my truck underneath a black BakFlip Tonneau cover and we used it to store our food (and beer) and were in and out of it multiple times a day. I used two 4 litre jugs of water and froze them, along with two small re-useable ice packs. The ice made it 5 days before I had to pull and refreeze and then it held again until we arrived home! I was super impressed.

Moving to this years archery season. I brought my Cabelas cooler with a 10L ice block, and two 4L blocks to camp. My brother, J, brought the Igloo Marine with the same amount of ice. We left the two coolers in the back of our trucks (same tonneau covers) and did a comparison after 2 days.

Igloo Marine 120qt
Cabelas 100qt

It was shocking.

Igloo Cooler Ice Check

The ice in the Igloo Marine melted, while the  Cabelas cooler still had 90% of its ice. We resorted to leaving the reusable containers for the Igloo Marine in the trailer freezer. While we were able to leave the ice in the Cableas cooler. This would make a big difference if we did not have access to a freezer to keep the ice!

Cableas Cooler Ice Check

On night 5, I took an archery Whitetail buck and as the outside temperatures were around 6oC. We hung the quarters in a tree for 2 hours before placing them in the Cabelas cooler overnight.

With a Mule Deer tag in my pocket I stayed and hunted the next morning before driving back into the city. I started butchering around 2pm and left the quarters in the cooler until I had finished the previous one. I opted to leave the two front quarters until the next day, so they spent another night in the cooler.

Ice check the prior to doing the last quarter!

After I was all done with the butchering, I checked on the ice. It was still at almost 50%. So after 7 nights (40 hours with meat in it) it had retained half of my ice! That is incredible and in my opinion, well worth $579.

J has now purchased his own Cabelas cooler to finish off the season. In conclusion, we both highly recommend this cooler. It was shocking how much better it performed.

We will continue to test it and will update with durability once we beat it up over a year or two! Stay tuned!


You may also like...

Verified by MonsterInsights