Now, a wide variety of closure solutions continue to impress us with their ability to keep things chilled. Models with the now old-school approach of having a water/airproof zipper include the Engel, RTIC SoftPak, and Yeti Hopper Flip. The Yeti M30 has replaced its waterproof zipper with an equally effective magnetic seal, the IceMule Pro has a roll-top , and the OtterBox Trooper features a fully sealed, plastic flip-top lid. However, we can’t quite get the top rolled tight enough to be waterproof, though it only leaks little drips when completely inverted. When fully loaded with a whopping 39 cans, we wish we had a waist belt to take some of the weight off our shoulders. But for lighter loads, wearing the IceMule is like carrying a grade school backpack.
Color options are kept simple for this option, as the mix of brown and green allow you to blend in with the environment. Weight varies from 0.91 to 2.2 lbs., depending on which cooler bag you choose and how much you plan to take with you. Soft coolers also come in handy for sporting events, whether the user is a participant or a fan. In this case, Igloo’s Sportsman Waterproof Cooler Bag has the tough design and storage space needed to keep everything inside safe and cool. Do you have a vacation in the outdoors coming up and have plans for afternoons on the lake?
These insulate noticeably better than the normal igloo coolers. The big improvement is that it also comes installed in the lid, which can be a common area that is overlooked when putting insulation in a cooler. In larger sizes, the quick access hatch lid igloo soft cooler means that you can get in and get your items easily and without having to open the entire lid. We also like the Cooler Riser technology that elevates the body off of the warm ground. One of Igloo’s most popular lineups of coolers is their MaxCold Series.
It has soft, wide shoulder straps, a longer torso for more even weight distribution, and a flexible shape that accommodates whatever you’ve filled it with. The walls of the cooler can also be inflated or deflated with a simple valve, adding both insulation and comfort against your back. In the face of some innovative competition, for years now, the IceMule remains the most comfortable model we’ve tested for carrying moderate provisions on a multi-mile hike. Over the last 6 years, we’ve vetted, purchased, and tested over 30 soft coolers. Our most recent test compares 13 of the best models available today. Soft coolers offer portability and versatility that traditional hard coolers can’t.
Igloo also focuses on keeping nature lovers happy with options such as the Outdoorsman group. Some versions of this ice chest come in the form of soft lunch boxes for short journeys or use for kids, while Square and Hardtop Gripper cooler bags are better suited for heavier packing. Some soft coolers are superior at ice retention, which is generally reflected in the price tag but not always. Some pricier coolers offer adequate ice retention mixed with other qualities like durability and capacity. Hard coolers are more durable and stout and have a larger size range, given they can hold more weight without collapsing. If you’re going on a weeklong car camping trip with limited access to ice, it’s advantageous to have a hard cooler for fresh food.
So we used a different shoulder strap to carry the cooler on our 15-minute walk to our picnic spot. But even with a pad, the strap was not comfortable for the igloo trailmate weight-to-weight ratio of this tall cooler. So don’t plan on walking far with this softie or make sure your shoulders are covered for a little extra cushion.