Whether you are out on a road trip, camping trip, or doing other outdoor activities, it’s important you bring foods and drinks that last the whole event. There are many ways you can carry food and drink with you like a simple plastic bag, handbag, backpack, etc. However, the best way to carry all the foods and drinks will be soft coolers.
There are different kinds of coolers available in the market, like camping coolers, personal coolers, backpack coolers, soft coolers, etc. Many people prefer big coolers over small coolers. But not every outdoor activity requires a big cooler and large cooler lack portability. You might need a soft cooler that is not too hefty for your lunches or taking to sporting events.
Soft coolers have developed a lot over the years, and with all the latest technologies, high-quality materials, and compact design, they now have the ice retention capabilities of the large heavy-duty coolers. There are plenty of soft coolers available in the market to choose from. You may find it very over whelming to choose a soft cooler from different brands, features, sizes, etc.
Therefore, check out the 8 best soft coolers of 2019 below and keep scrolling down for reviews and tips on how to choose the appropriate soft cooler for you.
Top 8 Soft Coolers (Best Picks)
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8 Best Soft Coolers of 2021
- AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler
- CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
- Homitt Soft Cooler 30 Can Soft Pack Cooler
- WildHorn Tortuga Beach Bag Cooler
- IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
- Polar Bear Coolers – Nylon Line
- Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
- TOURIT 30 Cans Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler
My Top Picks of the Best Soft Coolers of 2021
1. AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler
If you love fishing, boating, hiking, hunting, then this soft cooler will be a great addition to your outdoor gears. This AO soft cooler allows you to bring all your drinks and foods without carrying the weighty traditional cooler along. Moreover, this cooler has the most user rating for the soft cooler category in Amazon.
This cooler has 3/4 inch thick closed foam cell insulation that guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in more than 100-degree weather. Apart from this, AO soft cooler has five separate layers:
- Layer 1: polyester and a vinyl coating
- Layer 2: lightweight plastic film
- Layer 3: high-density foam
- Layer 4: spun sheeting
- Layer 5: heavyweight liner
AO soft cooler has a removable shoulder strap, side pocket, and it is lightweight compared to other soft coolers available in the market. The cooler is made of durable canvas material, so you don’t have to worry about any leaks. This soft cooler is available in four different sizes; 12-can, 24-can, 36-can, and 48-can. So you can easily pick a size that suits your needs.
- Sweat-resistant canvas material
- Waterproof, leak-proof
- 5 layers of insulation
- Strap can break
2. CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
The CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag is a very stylish, space-saving soft cooler for moderate outdoor activities. The bag is made of plastics and polymers, which make the cooler extremely durable and water resistance. The interior of this soft cooler has a leak-proof design. This cooler has duffle bag handles, and side grip makes the bag more portable.
This soft cooler is popular for its storage capacity. It can hold up to 50 cans of foods or drinks (ice excluded). It can carry up to 50 pounds of weight. This collapsible soft cooler has a front zipper pocket, and the flop-free design prevents all the spills. The cooler comes with a bottle opener. So you don’t have to carry a bottle opener anymore.
This is a collapsible cooler bag. So when it is not in use, you can fold it to less than three inches, which makes this soft cooler great for storing. It has ice retention of 36 hours, making it a perfect day cooler. There are a zipper front pocket and a back pocket available in this cooler. You can keep your keys, wallet, and other valuables in the front pocket while using the back pocket for additional storage.
- Made with polyester fabric
- Convenient, integrated bottle opener
- Can carry up to 50 pounds
- Leak-proof & durable
- Sides collapse without cause
- Leaks can still occur
3. Homitt Soft Cooler 30 Can Soft Pack Cooler
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Homitt is very renowned for its soft coolers, and they have three different sizes cooler available in the market. The 30-can soft cooler has closed-cell insulation with three layers to ensure great ice retention time. The outside of this cooler is leak-proof and it has thin insulation in the inside. Between the two layers, this cooler has thick closed foam cell insulation to keep the foods and drinks cold for a longer period of time.
The Homitt Soft Cooler 30 Can Soft Pack Cooler has an airtight zipper and water-resistant seal, makes the cooler waterproof. Moreover, this cooler is made of nylon treated with an anti-microbial liner, which will resist mold and mildew. Homitt soft cooler is very portable. It has a detachable shoulder strap and two side handle straps so you can carry this cooler in different ways.
To give you some additional storage space, this cooler has a small zippered pocket on the front of the cooler and a small mesh pocket on the back of the cooler. The most amazing feature of this cooler is it can hold the ice for up to five days at a temperature of around 72 degrees. So if you are looking for a soft cooler with better ice retention, then this is the ideal soft cooler for you.
- Three layers of closed-cell insulation
- Waterproof Zipper
- Padded Shoulder Strap
- 5 days of ice retention
- Needs block ice to work best
- Hand washing required
4. WildHorn Tortuga Beach Bag Cooler
If you are looking for a soft cooler for the beach, festival, picnic, and BBQ parties then the WildHorn Tortuga Beach Bag Cooler is the best available in the market. The cooler is very easy to use, portable, durable, lightweight, and multi-purpose, makes it ideal for your adventures by having everything you need in one bag. It has a large storage capacity and can keep your foods and drinks cool for one afternoon.
This soft cooler has a two in one stylish design. It has a zippered 28.6L insulated cooler attached to an oversized tote bag. The cooler is located on the side instead of underneath, which allows the user better access. The WildHorn soft cooler has 10 mm foam insulation to keep your foods and drinks cool for at least 18 hours. Moreover, it has welded liners to prevent leaking.
The WildHorn Tortuga Beach Bag Cooler can carry 10 lbs. of ice and can hold up to 24 cans of food or drinks. Moreover, this soft cooler has a large drawstring storage space, and it can hold your towels, snorkel masks, and other bigger beach day accessories. So you don’t have to bring two separate bags for your vacations. It also has a quick access mesh pocket where you can store your sunscreen, sunglasses, and other travel items.
- 10 mm foam insulation & tote bag combination
- Drawstring storage space
- Durable and leak-proof
- Mesh pockets
- Lack portability
- Not suitable for all outdoor activities
5. IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
If you are looking for something big, then the IceMule Pro backpack cooler is an excellent choice with exceptional durability. It has a high built quality that keeps everything cold for a longer period of time. It has three sizes available in the market from large to massive. This soft cooler has the combination of a backpack cooler and the performance of a heard cooler.
The IceMule Pro backpack soft cooler has a treated MuleSkinTe exterior with welded seams and nylon webbing. It has a roll down and clips system instead of zippers. This is a classic and proven watertight method. Moreover, this soft cooler has five features to ensure the best insulation:
- Trifold DriTop System
- Muleskinner tough inner and outer layers
- PolarLayer insulation
- IM AirValve
- ComfortCarryIMPT System with reinforced back-straps
Many people may find the shape of the cooler as an issue. This cooler has a rounded shape that is a little more difficult to carry as it presses into the back. Though the straps of this cooler are broad with padding, so the portability may not be a major concern for this backpack cooler. So if you are looking for a versatile soft cooler, this is the ideal one!
- Huge capacity
- Great Durability
- Simple design
- Not comfortable carrying experience
6.Polar Bear Coolers – Nylon Line
Polar Bear may not be a popular brand like some of the cooler brands out there, but they do have some of the best soft coolers available in the market. You can easily trust this brand to keep your drinks cold and food fresh while you are out camping. This soft cooler has some amazing features that ensure its endurance.
This soft cooler has an excellent build quality. It has luggage grade TPE nylon exterior, Cordura strapping that ensures rock-solid durability. It has a huge #10 weatherized and rustproof zipper. It is one of the strongest zippers you may find in a soft cooler. This soft cooler can keep your foods and drinks cool for 24 hours in 100+ temperatures.
For isolation, Polar Bear cooler uses 1″ thick 10 gauges high-density foam and a food-grade anti-microbial liner. This liner ensures the safety of your foods from any contamination. With the available size, this soft cooler is not a family pack. However, you can easily store a dozen cans and foods in this cooler, which makes it perfect for a picnic for a family of four members.
- Excellent built quality
- Great ice capacity
- Less storage capacity
7. Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
This is another great cooler from Coleman. It is a very simple but effective soft cooler. The main compartment of this cooler has a lining, which is guarded by antimicrobial products. It made the cooler mold and odors resist. The liner can be removed, so you can easily clean the cooler. This cooler is leak resistance thanks to the heat-welded layers. The cooler is also waterproof.
The Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner comes with extra pockets. It has a zippered front pocket, mesh pockets on either side, and a bungee cord on the lid. You can use the pocket to store extra snacks or other small gears. It has adjustable shoulder straps so that a person can carry this cooler on his shoulder comfortably.
The storage capacity is less compared to other coolers, which inhibits its ability to carry things. Moreover, the linings become thin in less than a few months. So there are questions about its durability. However, if you are looking for a soft cooler that can keep the food and drinks cold for 16-18 hours, then this cooler is the best in the market. With this price range, it’s a bargain.
- Mold resistant lining
- Heat-welded seams
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Lining can wear out quickly
- Small size
8. TOURIT 30 Cans Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler
If you are looking for a lightweight, soft cooler, then the TOURIT 30 Cans Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler will be the right choice for you. But for a lightweight cooler, its storage capacity is amazing. The capacity of this cooler is 28 litter, and it can hold up to 30 cans. It has high-quality insulation material, and the leak-proof liner makes sure the drinks remain cold for a longer period of time.
One of the main features of this soft cooler is the zipper and the easy pull-tab, which keeps the water and air out. The cooler comes with lubricant in case the zipper becomes tight. The outer side of the cooler has waterproof shell, which makes it resistant to impacts. TOURIT 30 cans soft cooler has 3 layers of insulations:
- Waterproof outer layer
- High-density foam middle layer
- Leak-proof interior layer
For soft coolers portability is important. You should pick a soft cooler that you can carry in different ways. TOURIT has a detachable shoulder strap, and two reinforced side handles; give you the luxury to carry the cooler in 3 different ways. Though there is some complaint about the ice retention time of this cooler, this soft cooler is far too promising to overlook.
- 3 layers of BPA-Free and FDA insulation
- Leak-proof & waterproof
- Impact Resistant & durable
- Excellent build quality
- Zipper can come undone
- Less ice retention time
How to Choose the Best Soft Cooler?
All the soft coolers on our list are worth the value, but you have to remember that there are considerable variations among coolers, and they work differently in different circumstances. So if you are not sure about what feature you should consider before buying a soft cooler, then read this part of the article carefully. We have discussed all the important features that you have to consider before buying the best soft cooler.
It’s very important your cooler is waterproof because carrying a wet cooler is not a pleasant thing. A cooler is meant to be used for ice, so whether you want or not, there will be water to deal with. So when you are shopping for a cooler, make sure the cooler will not leak water from anywhere.
The materials of the cooler should be chosen according to your own preferences. You can either buy a hard-shelled cooler or a soft one. Usually, a hard-shelled cooler is durable compared to the soft cooler, but they are less portable. Soft cooler, on the other hand, makes a better alternative to carrying around with a shoulder strap. So make a choice according to your needs and desires.
No matter what, make sure you always spend money on a durable product, even for a soft cooler. Some of the soft coolers are more durable than others depending on the material. For a soft cooler, you should consider the durability according to your uses. If you are planning to use your cooler while kayaking, fishing, or hunting, then you should buy a cooler that will last longer.
But, if you need a cooler to carry your lunch; or to use it for some random outdoor activities, then you can consider the durability over other features. Depending on how often you will use the cooler and where you will carry the foods, ensure you choose a soft cooler that will fulfill all your needs and going to last for a longer period of time.
Size and Capacity
Size does matter for coolers. Soft coolers are available in various sizes and capacities. There are some tinier but good for carrying your lunch, while others are big and can carry more items. Make sure you pick a cooler depending on how much food and beverage you need to store. If you need a small amount of food to carry, then buy a smaller size cooler. Contrariwise, buy a large size soft cooler if you require more storage space.
Small coolers with some extra storage space like pockets are much convenient than coolers without pockets. Pockets help you keep all your things organized. For instance, if you buy a soft cooler with one storing area, then you have to stash smaller items with the larger ones. So there will be a chance you may end up crushing the smaller items. This is why you should pick a soft cooler with extra pockets.
For soft coolers, insulation is very important. Good insulation keeps all your foods and drinks fresh and cold. The better the insulation of the soft cooler, the longer it will keep the foods inside cold and preserved. Moreover, good insulation means better ice retention time.
A soft cooler is available in two types of insulation: closed-cell and open-cell. Open-cell insulation is consisting of plastic foam. This type of insulation is lightweight and less effective. Closed-cell insulation, on the other hand, is heavier and has better-organized air bubbles. Though closed-cell soft cooler will cost more, their performance is far better than the open-cell soft cooler.
FAQs about Soft Coolers
What’s the difference between hard and soft coolers?
A soft cooler is like normal sling bags or backpacks, and they are much lighter than hard coolers. Usually, soft coolers are made of fabric or vinyl, where hard coolers are made of rotomolded plastic. The soft cooler has less storage capacity compared to a hard cooler.
How can I make my soft cooler last longer?
There are many ways you can increase the lifespan of your soft cooler. Always clean your cooler after using it. Make sure the soft cooler is not overload with stuff and stop carrying your soft cooler on one shoulder.
Are hard or soft coolers better?
The answer to the question depends on your requirements. Hard cooler usual has large storage and more ice retention than soft cooler. A hard cooler is also expensive compared to soft coolers. If you require more storage capacity and better cooling time, then you should buy a hard cooler. But if you require portability over storage then you can pick a soft cooler.
Can soft coolers last long-term outdoor activities?
Soft coolers are designed for outdoor activities that last for a day or two though they are made of high-quality materials but don’t expect them to perform well on trips that last several days outside.
Soft coolers are versatile; you can use them in multiple circumstances. Moreover, they are smaller in size, and you can carry them almost anywhere you want. A soft cooler is perfect for outdoor activities like picnic, camping, day trips, etc. So if you are in need of a soft cooler, then you can buy one from the above-mentioned models. The soft coolers that we have talked about in this post are some of the best available in the market. Just make sure you consider all your requirements and circumstance so that you end up buying the best soft cooler for the money.
Last update on 2021-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API