Coolers have become very popular due to their practical use of transporting your perishables. Whether you are going to the lake with your significant other, heading to a ball game, camping, or going fishing, it is important to take everything you want to make your time more enjoyable.
Depending on your opinion, the features and benefits of a soft cooler will always outweigh that of a hard cooler. You want to make sure you know the difference between a soft cooler and a hard cooler. Soft coolers are lighter than hard, plastic coolers because the outer layer is typically made of fabric/vinyl and weighs much less. Soft coolers also have a smaller capacity due to the lightweight.
Top 10 Best Soft Coolers
1. YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
As the name suggests, the Yeti Hopper is a great portable cooler that is loaded with multiple features to ensure your food and drinks will stay cool and in a great state. In addition, the Yeti Hopper is very versatile
in terms of the multiple sizes that are offered so that you always have a cooler size that is catered to your needs.
This soft cooler offers many show-stopping features, but perhaps one of the most beneficial features is the Dry hide Shell. This built-in feature was created with high-density fabric to ensure that potential damage from perforations, UV rays, and mildew is resisted. If you are a person who needs a highly regarded, trustworthy soft cooler, the Yeti Hopper is a great choice and will be there for you and all your adventurous endeavors.
- Cold Cell Insulation
- 100% leakproof Hydro Lok Zipper
- Dry Hide Shell
Sample Customer review…Love this product. We also have the larger zip back Yeti cooler and now that we have the portable size we already find ourselves grabbing this portable yeti cooler more than our bigger yeti cooler. Perfect for on-the-go trips. We have used it for times when we will be out of the house the entire day, small weekend getaways, and golfing! We’ve used it for golfing twice now and one time it fit in the back of the golf cart no problem, and another time it was about half an inch too big so we had to angle it into the caged storage area in our cart and it worked perfectly well!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
A titan among soft coolers, the Engel’s H-30 cooler tote bag has all the essentials to ensure frosty drinks on the hottest of days. The cooler is fortified by an 840D shell, sealed off by closed-cell foam insulation, and guarded by airtight zippers; nothing can penetrate the walls of this impressive model. Ice can be frozen for half a week. The cooler features many amazing amenities such as heavy-duty bottle-openers and comfortable carrying handles. It’s a great cooler for people on a budget and looking for absolute quality.
Sample customer review…Fantastic. Well built and thought out as far as handles, zipper, strap, and handy bottle opener. Took it on its first road trip two days after it got here. For the next three days, it spent most of its time in the car while traveling thru the middle of Texas in 95-102 degrees heat. The car was parked a lot of the time with the windows up so way hotter inside. Started the trip with nothing prechilled and only one bag of ice. Only added one bag after day two because we added more drinks that were not chilled. Got home and left in the car for one more day parked in a driveway in 87-degree heat and there was still ice when I opened it that night. So after 4 days of a hot car, it only took 2 – 10lb bags to keep all of our drinks and snacks very cold with us opening it many times to get stuff in and out. Plus once I emptied it I could flatten it to store in the hall closet. And……wait for it………CHEAPER THAN A YETIRead more review at Amazon.com.
3. Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
If you are looking for a top-notch cooler at a very affordable price, the Coleman 16 Can Cooler is the one for you. No matter if you are looking for a cooler to take to a sports game, a picnic, or the campground, the Coleman 16 Can Cooler will suit your every need. This soft cooler contains a hardliner, adjustable straps, comes in various sizes/colors, and many additional
storage pockets which make it a great choice.
On top of the affordable price and useful features, it is extremely practical. To go into further detail, this specific cooler is unbelievably flexible and has a soft liner that is made of FDA-approved material designed specifically for encountering food.
- Heat-welded seams
- Hold up to 16 cans
- Has a removable liner
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Multiple storage options
Sample customer review…This cooler is the perfect size to throw on a motorcycle without having to worry about taking several minutes and additional straps/cords to secure it to a rack. I purchased this cooler for short motorcycle trips, which for me means around 200-500 miles. The shoulder strap tightens more than enough to secure it to a luggage rack if you place it on the passenger seat. I put a few energy drinks, beef sticks, and bottles of water in this cooler with about 10 pounds of ice and it lasts all day at 90 degrees and near 100% humidity. If I include special high-end ice packs, I will have a good amount of solid ice remaining at the end of the day. I use the front pouch to secure anything that would normally go in my pockets if I don’t bring my tank bag, and it is very secure.Read more at reviews at Amazon.com.
4. RTIC Soft Pack, 20
Are you someone who likes to spend lots of time outside and needs a cooler that will cater to your needs? Well, you should look into the RTIC Soft Pack. This cooler has a large capacity, it is able to hold up to 20 cans while also allowing for 20 pounds of ice.
In addition to its large capacity, the RTIC Soft Cooler offers many other great features that will keep your food and beverages nice and fresh. These features include an anti-leak zipper, a heavy-duty vinyl shell for minimal to no sweat, and up to 2 inches of insulation that is also used in wet suits which allows ice to stay up to 5 days.
If the features aren’t great enough, you will notice that this product is made at its highest quality for the lowest price. In addition, RTIC has a promise to provide for its customers, so if you are unhappy with your purchase, just let one of the service reps know and they will make it right.
- Flip-top lid for easy access
- Lightweight and durable
- Contains laminated fabric and welded seams
- Has carry handles
Sample Customer Review…I use this cooler to hold my lunch while at work. I work outdoors and in a lot of different environments (Minnesota in the winter, Missouri in the summer, etc…) and needed a cooler that would stay cold sitting in my sun-soaked truck. I throw a couple of ice packs in the cooler each morning at 6 am and by noon, everything in the cooler is still at fridge temperatures. Very impressed.
The cooler holds up very well too. It’s been dropped into the mud, rocks, snow, just about everything mother nature has and it keeps ongoing. A quick wash with a paper towel and water and it looks brand new. I really don’t have to worry about it getting damaged, another big plus.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
5. Tourit Voyager
Tourist soft coolers are a great option if you are looking for a premium cooler but you aren’t interested in paying as much money as some of the other competitors such as Yeti. This cooler has better ice preservation than that of Yeti.
In addition, there are multiple attributes that this cooler offers that sets them over the top such as the leak-proof material, the dimensions are unisex, there is plenty of storage, and it can be carried like a backpack.
On top of the great features, this cooler also comes with a 3-year warranty which is great for people who tend to be a little more rugged on their adventures. Overall, this is a top of the line cooler for a great price.
▪ Leakproof zipper
▪ Waterproof exterior
▪ Reinforced base
▪ Built-in bottle opener
Sample customer review…I received the cooler and used it numerous times, each use of the cooler met my expectations with keeping my items cool for a long period of time. I live in southern Arizona and the temps have consistently been over the 100-degree mark, so the cooler has been put to fairly extreme tests with me. Half the price of the bigger brand coolers and I believe works just as well or better. Also, customer service for this company is very prompt about replying to concerns and very friendly when doing so.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
I will not hesitate to buy again…
6. Polar Bear Nylon Soft Cooler
The Polar Bear Nylon Soft Cooler has the great ability to be customized to your liking and specifications, which is unique for soft coolers. Although this is a great selling point, there is much more to the Polar Bear
Soft Cooler than just customization.
Both the interior and exterior of the cooler have been made with nylon which has allowed it to be very reliable in terms of longevity and resistance to scratches and lacerations. With this cooler being so durable, it makes it a great choice for people who spend long days in the outdoors and this cooler comes in various sizes with the ability to be worn as a backpack. This is a great cooler for basically every situation and it even has open-cell insulation which means it can fit just about anywhere and it won’t sweat or leak.
▪ Unbreakable zipper
▪ Insulation is open cell foam
▪ Double coated nylon material
Sample Customer Review…I. love. this. cooler. I never thought I would really “love” a cooler, but I do. I tell everyone they should get one. I take it with me all the time. First, it’s very lightweight. You can fit groceries or a couple of meals in here, with drinks, and it’s still about as light and easy to carry as a good reusable shopping bag. It doesn’t feel like lugging around a big cooler full of stuff. Second, the size is perfect. It fits great on the passenger’s side floor in the car, without squishing my passenger. It’s very slim, and still holds a lot (however, probably not more than enough for two people). I have so many dietary restrictions that getting food while out is difficult, so I take it with me most days. It’s very convenient and reliable. Also, if something spills in it, it is still very easy to just rinse out, despite the cloth exterior. Third, and most importantly, it works. I traveled with this, driving from Florida to Boston, and filled it full of food and drinks, with frozen water bottles to keep things cold. Without fail, I would arrive at the end of each day with the water bottles still completely frozen, and everything very, very cold. They even stayed solidly frozen well into the next day. I was amazed. I can’t imagine a better product is out there. I’m sure I’ll be getting them in a variety of sizes.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
7. Pelican Elite Soft-Sided Cooler
If you are looking for a heavy-duty cooler that can withstand just about anything, the Pelican Elite cooler is the way to go. This specific cooler is made with one of the toughest materials to withstand all your outdoor
activities, double-coated nylon. This material makes it one of the strongest soft-sided coolers out there.
Aside from the double-coated nylon, this cooler offers many other durable features. To go into further detail, there is closed cell foam insulation, thick carrying handles, and a buckle that is dual locked. This cooler ranges in the sizes of 12 to 48 cans and has additional pockets for extra storage.
▪ External pocket
▪ Closed-cell foam insulation
Sample customer review…Love this cooler so far! I spent months researching soft-side coolers and finally decided on this one. I returned 2 Rtic soft-side coolers because of very poor craftsmanship. I also tried out the Engel HD 30 which was a very nice cooler with amazing ice retention, but I wanted something a little more rugged built. I’m very happy with my decision to go with the Pelican. The cooler is well-built, right on par with the yeti hopper. I did a little homework and the zippers on the pelican and yeti are made by the same company. I did a side-by-side comparison between the pelican and yeti hopper and can tell you the craftsmanship is equal. I also tested ice retention between the two and both easily held ice over 3 days, but the yeti did have a slight edge though. Realistically in real-world use, I don’t need a soft-side cooler to hold ice any longer than that anyway. I can attest I’ve used the cooler for 12 hour days on the Florida beach in 90-100 degree weather with teenagers in and out of it constantly and the cooler held ice easily through the day. I topped the cooler off with a few cubes every morning and it kept everything ice cold for 4 days with no problem. I also got a lot of compliments on the cooler because of its almost tactical look in all matte black.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
8. AO Canvas Cooler
Possibly one of the most versatile options on the list, the AO Canvas cooler allows you to store both hot and cold food. This cooler comes in many different colors and styles so you can easily find one to your
liking. Depending on your activity for the day, you can choose from a 12 can cooler to a 48 can cooler.
The TPC fabric within this cooler is designed to be leakproof in the main compartment, while the exterior pocket can hold important items by keeping them dry due to the waterproof feature. Moreover, this cooler is
very lightweight and can keep your ice solid for up to 24 hours.
▪ Insulation is closed-cell foam
Sample customer review…I carry this 24-can cooler on the back of my motorcycle. I live in southern Arizona. This cooler easily keeps my beverages cold for days even on the back of the bike. Once, up in Colorado, we stopped at a store to buy adult beverages and some more ice on the way into our campground. By the time we got our tents set up and we pulled out the adult beverages, they had ice in them. I kid you not. This cooler rocks. This year I really don’t have the room for the 24-can cooler so I’m back checking to see if they have a smaller one. I will not hesitate to buy this cooler. We take it everywhere and don’t even touch our hard coolers anymore. They are not as good as this one. Buy it, you will love it.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
9. Otter Box Trooper
Looking for a cool that is great for all your outdoor activities and can withstand almost everything that mother nature throws at you. Well, look at the Otter Box Trooper. This soft cooler can be worn as a backpack and regarding its size, it would best to use this cooler for fishing trips, sporting events, a picnic in the park, and so on.
In addition, it seems like the features are endless. To name a few, the Otter Box Trooper contains a built-in bottle opener, two waterproof pockets with zippers on the front, and even a
distinctive mounting system to carry your small items.
▪ 30 can capacity
▪ Can be used as a backpack
Sample customer review…Seriously love this cooler. I did the full-on mega research for weeks before I made the purchase and I was so pleased with the 20qt that I also bought a 12qt Trooper. They work. They keep stuff cold and (massive plus here) you can actually open and close the lid with one hand. While driving. Yep, that’s the whole reason I had been using a cooler that is a tin piece of plastic wrapped in a nylon cover – didn’t keep stuff cold but warm beverages you can get to without embarrassing yourself with foul language is better than the zippers on some of those cooler forts. The genius is in the lid.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
10. Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler
Besides its visually appealing style and design, this soft cooler really gets the job done in terms of keeping things cold. The Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler contains watertight zippers and pathways that are thermal conductive built right into the padding. These features are made to keep your food and drink cold for two days by managing body to heat to stay clear of the cold zones. Lastly, there are a couple of extra exterior pockets for things like a water bottle, keys, wallet, etc.
▪ Upright appearance
▪ Stylish design
▪ Many pockets
Sample customer review…It’s not too big or too small! I travel from the mid-Atlantic to New York several times a year. On my trips I hit the beaches along the great lakes, then when I drive back to the mid-Atlantic, I bring back food I can only get in New York – like superior pizza dough! This cooler is perfect because it now serves two purposes, it keeps drinks for myself and my dogs cold all day on the beach, and I can fill it to the brim with goodies to stock my freezer back in Virginia. It also fits nicely in the back of my SUV. My hard-sided coolers were too big and a real pain to fit in the car amongst all the other gear. I also love that the backpack is easy to carry. I initially thought it might be a little heavy, but it’s surprisingly light and comfortable to wear when I walk down to the beachRead more reviews at Amazon.com.
Things To Consider While Shopping the Best Soft Coolers
If you already know what a soft cooler is, you are probably thinking they are pretty basic, but there are some things to consider before buying them. In this buying guide, we’re here to help break down all the things you need to know. To start off with the basics, you should consider:
Are you looking for a cooler with extra storage?
There are many benefits to having a soft cooler. In terms of size, a soft cooler is much easier to fit in smaller spaces, especially when it is empty as compared to a hard-plastic cooler. In addition, most soft coolers have extra pockets for storage for your phone, wallet, keys, etc.
How am I going to carry this?
For someone who doesn’t want to make additional trips, soft coolers have an awesome feature which is a shoulder strap. This allows people to be hands-free if they need to carry something else.
Does it need to be waterproof?
As crazy as it sounds, many coolers on the market are not waterproof. Although this is true since soft coolers are made of vinyl and fabric, almost all of them have 100% waterproof/leakproof capability which is
extremely important when deciding what kind of cooler you want.
How well does the insulation need to be?
People get coolers for one reason, to keep their food and beverages cold. Since soft coolers are made of a soft material, the insulation life will be lower. You should expect to get 2-3 days of ice/insulation at the most
so keep that in mind.
These were all the best soft coolers that are on the market today. As a recap, soft coolers are much easier to transport in terms of the ability to be compressed, they are much lighter and have various ways to carry, there are multiple storage compartments, and they keep your perishables fresh for just as long as hard coolers. Happy hunting!
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Are hard coolers better than soft coolers?
This will depend on what you’re using your cooler for. Hard coolers have a large capacity, are durable and are known to have better ice retention than soft coolers. Hard coolers are best used for long trips like camping or road trips. Soft coolers are lightweight and portable and are great for daily use. Soft coolers are best used for short fishing trips or places like the gym. Both coolers can store drinks but hard coolers can store drinks and food items for an extended period of time.
Which soft cooler keeps ice the longest?
Some recommended products are: The Engel HD30, The Yeti Hopper Coolers, and The Hommit Soft Coolers.