Coolers like the OtterBox Trooper 20 Cooler with a broad, flat surface that rests against you can help absorb that swing and bounce. With a unique spin, the cooler is compatible with a removable insert called the KeepR ($150), which organizes fare into different compartments like a golf bag. The dividers are secured via Velcro, so the compartments are adjustable. The center of the basket has a circular sleeve for the 3L Icer ($50), a double-wall vacuum-sealed ice holder with a 3.5-pound capacity. We could stuff lots of goods inside or squish the cooler down for storage.
The color and size options are also made clear so that you don’t end up getting a soft cooler bag that is either too big or too small for your needs. The price of a soft cooler is reflected by the size, durability, quality of materials, design features, and ice retention. The soft coolers in our guide range from the Mountainsmith Takeout, which can fit six cans, to the 38 L Snow Peak Soft Cooler. Most of our choice soft coolers are either larger (30 L to 38 L) for group multiday trips or more compact (12 L to 19 L). For this soft coolers guide, we examined the most popular, innovative, highly acclaimed, and bestselling products with diverse storage and carry capacities, ice retention ability, and across a price spectrum.
We’ve tested Polar Bear coolers for seven years now, buying them or receiving test units from Polar Bear. Recently, however, we’ve been let down by the lifespan of its soft coolers (though not this backpack in particular). But with care, you can extend the lifespan of any soft cooler—the number one rule seems to be not to leave it out in the sun. Reviews are available in case you need a second opinion and you’re new to the cooler world.
As soft-sided coolers have become increasingly popular, the market has become more and more innovative. At one time, the presence of an airtight zipper and waterproof exterior indicated solid insulation. Now, various 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 IceMule Pro has a (mostly sealed) roll-top (like a dry bag), and the OtterBox Trooper features a fully sealed, plastic flip-top lid.
Performance issues aside, this Coleman soft cooler is easy to store and easy to carry, and a fine soft cooler option for day trips or hikes. When compared to other soft coolers in our guide, a few design choices—like placement of the side handles under the hook point for the strap making it feel very cramped—knocked a few points off. Some insulated cooler bags are ideal for one-day excursions and short-term activities. Before making a purchase, make sure the cooler you choose will keep your food and beverages cold for as long as you need.
The RTIC 65 has rope handles with a plastic tube for gripping and two rubber latches for holding the lid closed, mimicking the design of most other, comparable coolers. 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 igloo soft cooler on which cooler bag you choose and how much you plan to take with you. Users have three color options for this ice bag, which include charcoal and acid green, black and blaze red, and black and agama teal. When it comes to carrying different loads of items for family parties or barbeques, Igloo MaxCold is a reliable options.
Stiffer soft coolers are not collapsible and take up the same amount of space regardless of whether they’re in use. We tested the extra-large 33-liter size and the 23-liter large size, which is probably plenty for most people’s day trips. While perhaps not its most exciting use, we also found the Icemule Pro a great addition to grocery trips to keep refrigerated and frozen items cold in my vehicle. With many exciting backpack coolers now on the scene, we retested this pack next to several new models, and the IceMule Pro handily holds its own among the backpack-style coolers. Though this cooler requires a bit of a learning curve, it proves itself incredibly easy to use and comfortable to carry. The large roll-top design allows easy access to its contents, so you won’t have to remove everything on top to reach that last cold soda at the bottom.
For retail purchases returned with a receipt, please return the unused and unopened item, with the
original sales receipt, for a full refund or exchange. All returns with a gift receipt will receive a store
credit for the amount of the item at the time of purchase. The handle and wheels on the Yeti Tundra Haul are the best we’ve come across. This cooler feels like you can roll it across anything without the handle straining or bending, or the wheels breaking.