If you're like most people, when you think of a cooler, the first thing that comes to mind is a big, bulky, hard-sided container made from plastic or metal. While those types of coolers definitely have their place, they're not always the best option for every occasion. In fact, for some activities – like hiking or fishing – a soft cooler can be a much better choice.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the best soft coolers on the market, to help you find the perfect one for your next outdoor adventure.
What is Soft Cooler?
A soft cooler is, simply put, a cooler that's not made from hard plastic or metal. Instead, it's usually constructed from some type of fabric – like polyester – and lined with an insulating material. This makes them much lighter in weight than their hard-sided counterparts and often more comfortable to carry.
Benefits of Using Soft Coolers
For one thing, soft coolers are typically much more portable than their hard-sided counterparts. They also tend to be easier to store, since they can be folded up and packed away when not in use. And unlike metal or plastic coolers, which can get very heavy when filled with food and drinks, soft coolers are generally quite lightweight.
Another advantage of soft coolers is that they tend to be more affordable than their hard-sided counterparts. This makes a soft-sided cooler a great option for budget-minded shoppers who don't want to sacrifice quality or performance.
4 Best Soft Coolers
We've combed through dozens of soft coolers to find the best of the best. Here are our top picks for the best soft coolers on the market:
1. RTIC Soft Cooler 30 Can
This versatile cooler can keep your food and drinks cool for up to 24 hours, making it perfect for long days at the beach or picnicking in the park. Plus, it's a floating cooler, so you can take it with you wherever you go – pool, lake, sea, you name it! Made from durable nylon, it's lightweight and easy to carry, yet tough enough to handle any terrain.
This cooler is made with two inches of closed-cell foam, which keeps food and drinks cold for hours on end. The leak-proof zipper of this RTIC soft pack cooler prevents spills and leaks, and the soft sides of their soft-sided coolers make it easy to carry.
- Lightweight and durable
- Keeps food and drinks cold for up to 24 hours
- A leak-proof zipper prevents spills and leaks
- Soft sides make it easy to carry
- A floating cooler is perfect for the pool, lake, or sea
- Hard to open for some users
2. Creative Green Life Jumbo Insulated Cooler Bag
This large cooler bag can hold up to 30 cans of soda or beer, or it can be filled with cold groceries or ice frozen food. The thick thermal foam insulation will keep your drinks ice-cold for hours, and it will keep hot food hot until you're ready to eat.
The webbing belt handles make it easy to carry the cooler bag horizontally, so you don't have to worry about spills. And if a spill does occur, the inside liner is easy to wipe clean.
It's made using heavy-duty polyester fabric and comes with enhanced webbing belt handles, The leak-resistant liner has heat-welded seams to guard against messy spills. The bag is also machine washable, making it easy to clean.
- Holds up to 30 cans
- Thick thermal foam insulation keeps food and drinks cold or hot
- Webbing belt handles make it easy to carry
- The leak-resistant liner has heat-welded seams
- Machine washable for easy cleaning
- Coolness may escape through the zipper
3. Lifewit Large Cooler Bag
This bag can hold up to 27 cans of your favorite beverages, plus ice retention. The exterior of the bag is constructed from durable oxford cloth, and the lower section features hot pressing technology for a seamless connection between the lining and the exterior. Additionally, the bag is lined with 600D oxford cloth and EPE foam to keep items cold for longer periods of time.
The bag is equipped with multiple pockets, including a wide top pocket, two side pockets, and two front pockets. This allows you to store different items in the bag, making it ideal for personal use or as a duffel bag.
The cooler bag also features a padded handle and a removable shoulder strap that offers three carrying styles. You can choose to carry the bag by hand or with a shoulder strap, or you can also put the bag in your suitcase for travel.
- The exterior is constructed from durable oxford cloth
- Lined with 600D oxford cloth and EPE foam for insulation
- Multiple pockets for storage
- Padded handle and detachable shoulder strap for carrying comfort
- Elastic doesn’t last
4. TOURIT Cooler Backpack
The backpack is made of high-density foam and a leak-proof liner, so it's durable and lightweight. The large capacity cooler can hold up to 30 cans, making it great for picnics, camping, fishing, and more. Moreover, the insulation material and leak-proof liner work together to keep food hot or cold for up to 16 hours.
It features multiple pockets and compartments to store all your food and drinks, as well as utensils and other items. The main compartment is spacious and insulated to keep your food and drinks cool, while the front pockets are perfect for holding snacks, lunch, or even your phone and keys. The backpack cooler also has a mesh pocket on the side for additional storage, plus a built-in beer bottle opener so you can enjoy a cold one on the go.
- Made of high-density foam and a leak-proof liner
- Can hold up to 30 cans
- Keeps food hot or cold for up to 16 hours
- Multiple pockets and compartments for storage
- Built-in beer opener
- Great for price
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Soft Cooler
We've gone over some of the best soft coolers on the market, but how do you know which one is right for you? Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision.
The first thing to consider is how much capacity you need. Do you want a small cooler that can hold 6 cans, or do you need a large one that can hold 30? If you're planning on using the cooler for long days out or for multiple people, you'll want to choose a larger option.
Next, you'll want to think about insulation. This is especially important if you're planning on keeping hot food hot or cold drinks cold. Some coolers have better insulation than others, so be sure to choose one that will meet your needs.
Another important factor to consider is durability. You'll want to choose a cooler that is made from high-quality materials and that features reinforced stitching. This rei co-op will ensure that your cooler lasts for years to come.
Some coolers come with features like multiple pockets and a built-in beer opener. These are great if you want a model that is easy to use and that has everything you need in one place.
Now that you know what to look for, it's time to choose the best soft-sided cooler for your next outdoor adventure.
5. Cooling Duration
It is important to consider how long you need your cooler to stay cold. If you are going on a short hike, you may not need one that will keep things cold for 16 hours. However, if you are going camping or fishing, you will want a model with good insulation, so your food and drinks stay cold all day long.
Another thing to consider is portability. If you are looking for a cooler that you can take on long hikes or backpacking trips, you will want one that is lightweight and easy to carry. Some coolers come with shoulder straps or handles for easy transport.
Of course, you'll also want to think about price when choosing the best soft cooler. There is a wide range of options available, so be sure to choose the budget soft cooler one that fits your range.
Some people prefer a neutral color like black or grey, while others prefer something more fun and vibrant. No matter what your preference, you'll be able to find a cool cooler that meets your needs.
There are two main styles of soft coolers: backpack and tote. Backpack coolers are great if you want to be able hands-free, while totes are more convenient for shorter trips.
Soft coolers are typically made from one of two materials: canvas or nylon. Canvas is more durable and breathable, while nylon is lighter and easier to clean.
Now that you know what to look for, it's time to choose the best soft cooler for your next outdoor adventure. Consider the factors above to find the perfect model for you.
Do Soft Coolers Leak?
Hard coolers are great for keeping things cold for extended periods of time, but they can be bulky and difficult to transport. Soft coolers, on the other hand, are much more portable and often come with features like built-in ice packs and insulation. But one common concern about soft coolers is whether or not they leak. Here's the thing: all coolers, whether they're hard or soft, can leak if they're not properly sealed. That said, soft coolers tend to be made with thicker, more durable materials that are less likely to leak.
Is a soft cooler better than a hard cooler?
There are pros and cons to both choices, so it really depends on your specific needs. Let's take a closer look at each option so you can decide which one is right for you. Hard coolers are great if you need to keep your food and drinks ice cold for an extended period of time. They're also ideal for transporting large quantities of food and beverages since they tend to have more space than soft coolers. However, hard coolers can be heavy and cumbersome to carry, and they're not always the most stylish option.
Soft coolers, on the other hand, are much lighter and easier to transport. They're also usually more affordable than hard coolers. But keep in mind that soft coolers don't usually offer the same level of insulation, so your food and drinks may not stay as cold for as long.
How long do soft coolers stay cold?
It depends on a few factors, such as the type of insulation and the size of the cooler. For example, a small soft cooler with thin walls may only keep things cold for a few hours, while a larger one with thicker walls can keep things cold for up to 24 hours. Additionally, it's important to consider how often the cooler will be opened. Every time the lid is opened, some of the cold air escapes, making it harder for the cooler to maintain a low temperature. Luckily, there are now most soft coolers on the market that are designed to maximize cooling efficiency.
What is the best soft cooler for camping?
When choosing a soft cooler for camping, it's important to consider how long you'll be gone and what you'll need to bring. If you're only going for a day or two, you might not need a large cooler. However, if you're planning a longer trip, you'll want one that's big enough to hold all of your food and drinks. Additionally, it's important to choose a cooler with good insulation so your items stay cold throughout the trip.
No matter what your needs are, there is a soft cooler out there that's perfect for you. Be sure to consider things like size, insulation, and durability when making your choice. And don't forget to check for leaks before packing your cooler full of food and drinks. With a little bit of research, you'll be sure to find the best soft cooler for your next outdoor adventure.
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