There are so many options when it comes to soft coolers. I have tried a countless amount of them and below I will round up my personal favorite 5 coolers based on a host of important factors. Let me give you are brief understanding of the factors that I deemed to be important when choosing them so you have a better idea of the elements that these soft coolers excel in.
5 Important Features About Any Soft Cooler
Portability: Of course one of the most important elements of a soft cooler is its portability. Things that I always consider are the overall shape of the cooler. Coolers that are more narrow at the top are typically easier to carry by hand though this is not always the case. It also like to consider the handles that are available and is there any flexibility with them. Sometimes on some soft coolers you will have 2 options for handles, one to carry by hand or one to put on your shoulder. I also of course like to take note of how the handle is attached and the material that is used and if it can be used for an extended time comfortably.
Ice retention: With any cooler of course the main reason you are buying is for it to keep your stuff cool. So of course we must consider how well the cooler holds ice. This is a great way to know how well the cooler is insulated and helps keep your food and drinks cool as long as possible. Of course when considering ice retention, I always like to consider the price I am paying. As in my roundup I am trying to offer a big diversity in terms of coolers that are available at different prices but choosing the cooler that does the best job at retaining ice for that price point.
Durability and Materials: I always like to consider how the product is put together and what materials have been used. If the materials used are of more premium quality this is often in line with how the durability will fair in the long run. One of the most common things I like to look at is the zip for example and how well it is constructed. Often on some worse coolers the zip can be the weak link and this is often where the insulation is lost.
Value for Money/Price: As I have mentioned I have included products in different price ranges that I feel offer the best value for money at their price range. Of course if I compare a $100 cooler vs a $300 cooler the $300 cooler is going to be better the vast majority of the time but does it really offer better value? This is why I like to diversify the products in my this list as much as possible.
Warranty: Finally, it is worth mentioning if the cooler has a warranty. Of course it’s important that the cooler you do for has a warranty, of course the longer the warranty the better. Not only does this cover you for that set time but it also shows that the product is very reliable as the manufacturer is backing its reliability!
Best Soft Cooler: My Top 5
MIER 24-can Large Capacity Soft Cooler Tote Insulated Lunch Bag Green Stripe Outdoor Picnic Bag
This cooler bag is one the most affordable cooler bags that offers brilliant value for money. This is ideal for a day trip somewhere where to want to keep your things cool. This cooler bag is not massive and its definitely suited for a short time use. Also for ice retention this bag did a pretty solid job especially considering its price, you can get about 8 hours of ice retention which I can’t complain about for its very low price. This is the best option if you want something that’s affordable and you only need a short ice retention.
Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler – 24 Pack
This Polar Bear cooler is one of the best all-rounder’s when it comes to soft coolers. It offers a cooler that is made from premium materials for a great price. Everything about this cooler feels great and like it was built too last. Though I personally used the 24 pack variant this cooler comes in both 6 pack, 12 pack and a backpack variant. All which offer the same quality as the 24 can variant and offer you the flexibility to choose what one is best suited for you. In terms of ice retention this cooler can easily hold ice in very hot weather(100F) for 24 hours and I would assume it could hold it as long as 2 days depending on your climate. Its excellent for the price and is one of the best coolers for camping.
Yeti Hopper Cooler – 30 Quartz – Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
If you are looking for a soft sided cooler with the best build quality and materials along with one of the best coolers I have used at holding ice this is the perfect option for you.
This cooler holds ice like no other. It can hold ice for days on end. Actually in my experience you can get 3-4 days of ice retention and it doesn’t ever leak.
The materials on this cooler are 2nd to none, you will know when you have this cooler in hand that it is a top notch product just by the sheer feel and look of it.
I often say that when a manufacturer offers a long warranty it’s a great sign of a quality product this case is no different with this 3-year warranty that Yeti offers with this cooler.
This cooler also comes in 3 different size 20 quartz, 30 quartz and 40 quartz. I have used the 30 variant and it’s just brilliant, it lives up to its name even for its higher price. I can say it’s absolutely worth buying if you need a cooler that hold ice for a crazy amount of time and a product that is sure to last you many years to come. This is a great long term investment and one of the most premium coolers for sale right now!
AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation – 36 Can – Royal Blue
The value for money with this cooler is amazing. The ice retention on this cooler is crazy good for the price, in my experience it can hold ice easily for 36 hours even in hot temperatures 85F+. The insulation on this cooler is worth mentioning because of how great is it, no other coolers in this price range can match it. They could realistically charge double the usual price for it and I still would consider it fair, it’s really excellent value for money. If you are looking for a cooler that offers an affordable price and a very good ice retention, then this is the best soft sided cooler for you.
eBags Crew Cooler II
This cooler is ideal for someone who just has a few items that need to be cooler for a day, I like to describe the form factor of this bag like a big lunch box. If you are the type of person who will always be carrying the cooler with them to and from different places this cooler is a great option for you. It’s easy and comfortable to carry even for longer periods with its 2 included handles. If you are unsure if this is the right sized cooler for you I would say it’s ideal for a day trip for yourself and one other person, if you need room for more than 2 people you should try a cooler with more space available.
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