Before your next road trip or camping trip, you may need to think about whether your current cooler is up to par . Most people have a cooler that is hard, which can mean heavy or bulky, making its’ mobility limited. Perhaps a better option for you and your family would be to consider one of the best soft sided coolers available.
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Top Five Soft Sided Cooler Comparison Chart
Soft Sided Cooler Performance-Our Ice Challenge Test
In our Soft Sided Cooler Ice Challenge test we noticed outstanding results from the Polar Bear Coolers H20 Series. We tested three soft sided coolers (the most popular on this site) the AO Coolers Vinyl series, Polar Bear Backpack Cooler, and the Polar Bear H20 Series 48 Pack. Although all three coolers lasted three full days of moderate use (opening three times a day) the Polar Bear 48 Pack lasted nearly FIVE DAYS! This is almost as long as many of our hard sided roto molded coolers. We found this very impressive for a soft sided cooler. In terms of performance, these soft sided coolers are more than capable of maintaing ice for days and serve their purpose with ease. See the video comparison below:
Why Is A Soft Sided Cooler Best?
To understand this, you need to look at all aspects of a cooler. For instance, a foam cooler is a lightweight option and it will keep your drinks cold. However, with a foam cooler, if someone decides to sit down on it or you accidently drop it, you may end up with a huge mess and no cold place to put your drinks. Dropping it is a viable option because most foam coolers do not come with handles. A few may have grips, but even those are not guaranteed to last if you happen to put too much into it. Also these coolers are more prone to sun damage due to weaker exterior shell construction. Most people choose instead to go with a higher end roto molded cooler. They are durable, can double as a chair, have handles to help you carry them, and more. They are a great invention and due to the variety of sizes, you can put a ton of goodies into them. The downside is the simple fact that if you have a small, hard sided cooler, you are restricted by its size. If you have a large hard sided cooler, the weight can also be extreme before you ever put something in them. That weight is tripled if you have a large cooler and fill it with ice and drinks. However, if you do decide your needs are best satisfied by one these coolers, read our full reviews here. Your other option is to find the best soft sided cooler available. These coolers are lightweight, available in a variety of sizes, and most importantly, easy to transport. A lot of them have straps to allow you to carry it on your shoulder for comfort and they may also have a handle or wheels to make moving them even easier
Check Out Our Ice Mule Vs Polar Bear Here:
Reasons to Go Soft Sided
Soft coolers are best for many reasons. If you have a smaller cooler and want to add a few more drinks to the soft cooler, no problem. The lid and the sides will adjust. If you have a large soft sided cooler in the trunk of your family vehicle, soft sided coolers are less likely to sweat all over the carpet in your trunk. These coolers have the ability to resist odors where hard coolers tend to absorb them. They are easy to clean and resist mildew or mold as well. If they do get dirty, you can simply wash them out. No mess. Additionally, we have specially designed fish cooler bags to keep your catch cool and separate from your beverages and snacks. A lot of these coolers also have other compartments such as a mesh side pocket that you can put sunscreen or extra cups and snacks. They may also have small zippered pockets for you to keep your keys, cell phone, or other items that you do not want to have to hang on to, but do not want wet either. Another bonus to your soft sided cooler is their versatility. A lot of soft sided coolers work for keeping ice frozen for many hours regardless of the temperature outside. They can also work to keep warm foods or drinks warm for hours as well.
Will They Work for Beach Bumming?
These coolers are ideal for any situation. They are especially great on the beach. With a soft sided cooler bag that has extra compartments, you can carry a single cooler and have everything that you need. Your keys, the sunblock, bug spray, and all other items that are necessities can fit into this cooler. You will have no reason to ever carry 2-3 bags down onto the beach with you again. However, perhaps before you consider making the switch to a new soft sided cooler, you should have a look at what many consider to be the very best that you can have. These cooler reviews will also give you a great idea of the different soft sided coolers that are available. See?
Top Rated Soft Sided Coolers
With the hard liner in place, this cooler can easily hold 16 cans of soda or your other favorite beverage. This hard plastic liner resists odors due to the fact that it is antimicrobial. It will resist mold and mildew that can sometimes be a major problem in a cooler. It also has a double zipper on its lid, a zippered front pocket, mesh pockets on the side, and an adjustable shoulder strap that has a pad for further comfort no matter how much you are carrying. Check Coleman Pricing & Availability⇒
This soft cooler is 18 inches long and 10 inches wide. It is able to keep ice frozen for up to 24 hours if sitting in 100 degree temperatures. It is also able to be used as a warmer as it can keep things that are 200 degrees hot for hours. It is sweat proof and leak proof, built with only quality materials that are guaranteed to last. The outer shell of it is made with 1000 denier Cordura nylon and high density foam. When not in use, you simply fold it up and store it easily. You can also carry it with ease thanks to the adjustable shoulder straps and a convenient carry handle.
This cooler can hold up to 48 cans of soda or beer depending on the size that you choose to purchase. They have a removable shoulder strap as well as a carry handle for you to use. AO Coolers are able to keep ice frozen for up to 24 hours in 120 degree temperatures. This makes it ideal for most people regardless of whether they are on their boat, on the beach, hosting a party, or simply enjoying a picnic with their kids in the back yard. It has a side compartment for items that need to stay dry and features more insulation than most other soft sided coolers. It is also leak proof thanks to the liner inside of it. Check AO Coolers Pricing & Availability Here⇒
This is a very large, 42 can soft sided rolling cooler. The wheels make it easy to take it where you want to go with it, especially when combined with the extendable handle. It works the same way as roll-able luggage, backpacks or other coolers with wheels. It has a hard plastic, removable liner on the inside, zippered closures on the lid, a large front zippered pocket, side pockets that are mesh, and even a mesh pocket in the lid for snacks and other stuff that can get wet. If you need more storage area inside, no problem; the lid can be bungeed closed if needed. It also resists odors as well as mildew and mold.
This cooler works by hooking to a cigarette lighter plug in on your vehicle. This is also known as a 12 V Electric Cooler. It can cool things down an additional 30 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. It has an adjustable strap for your shoulder and zippered pockets for extra storage on the sides. This cooler is able to hold up to two 2 liter bottles of soda or twenty-four 12 ounce cans. When empty it only weighs four pounds, which makes it one of the lightest weight large soft coolers, even with the ability to cool itself.
Whereas most soft sided coolers are made of cloth, the NorChill is different. This cooler bag is designed to be tough enough to handle virtually anything you throw at it. It is made of durable tarpaulin. Tarpaulin also ensures that it is waterproof so you do not have to worry about it sweating. It is a cooler that will not heat up, even in extreme heat. Most importantly, it is a cooler you can trust not to damage your boat or kayak when you are on the water. Some of its other features include a YKK zipper, gator-skin liner, and leak-proof fusion-welded liner seams. It promises to hold ice for days, especially if you use the zero-degree freezer pack by NorChill with it. This cooler is easy to clean both inside and out. It is comfortable to carry thanks to the comfort cushion carry straps. One truly amazing feature of this cooler, is the fact it is backed by a two-year, no questions asked warranty. If it fails you at any point, simply give the word and it will be fixed with no cost to you. It measures in at 10 x 18 x 12 inches, which means it can hold up to 24 cans and weighs only 3.3 pounds. There are also various other sizes and styles, including a 48 can version of the BoatBag. It does not contain any toxins, so you can safely use it for food or drinks. The price also makes it a cooler worth considering because it is cheaper than many other high-end, soft-sided cooler brands.
The Engle USA is a soft bag cooler that is available in white, kryptek highlander camo and Realtree Xtra camouflage. Its exterior is puncture resistant and anti-microbial. It is filled with polyethylene foam and has a variety of pockets for you to store things in. This includes 2 interior slip pockets and six exterior storage areas. It has a full 23-quart capacity which can hold 24 cans. It measures in at 17.25 x 7.75 x 18.75 inches and weighs only 2.85 pounds. Overall, owners enjoy using it and have given it a 4.2-star rating. Because Engel has been such a top performer in every one of our cooler challenges, we have to give the nod to this cooler.
This cooler is available in a variety of sizes and as owner reviews show, most people agree that it is a great bag to owns. It is easy to clean and can hold ice for up to 2-days. This is ideal for weekend trips out. The Ultra Square is designed to handle the sometimes-harsh marine environment so you can feel confident that it will not corrode in the salt spray. It is stain and odor resistant.
Yeti is one of the most popular coolers that many people love owning, even if it does come at a price. It is one of the most expensive cooler brands, but more often than not, people feel it is worth it. This portable cooler is no different. It is 100% leak-proof and puncture-resistant. It is designed to keep cold in and heat out, while holding up to 20-pounds of ice or 18 cans. If you are not sure if it is worth owning, you can read our full review here to see if it is what you want, but keep in mind it does have a hydrolok zipper, coldcell insulation, and of course, looks great.
If you want a soft bag that can keep items cold for a long time, but prefer to not spend a full paycheck on it; the RTIC could be ideal for you. It is drastically different in price, but comparable in quality to the Yeti Hopper. This bag can keep ice for up to 5-days and holds 30 cans at a time along with ice. It does not leak nor sweat thanks to the 2” of foam that insulates it and the vinyl shell exterior. Exterior pockets keep dry items dry. It has an overall 4.3-star rating to show that it is comparable in quality according to most owners.
One thing people love about this soft Yeti cooler is the cubed shape. The shape makes it very unique among soft coolers because it is easy to haul around or store when not in use. It has a very large mouth opening to give you easy access to all the contents inside, while the dry hide shell is durable enough to handle anything your adventures throw at it. This personal sized cooler measures in at 14 x 11.5 x 14 inches and weighs 4 pounds. It is able to hold ice for about 3 days, even if the temperatures are extremely warm outside. Some owners say you can fill it with water, flip it, and water will not leak through the zipper. That is perhaps why it holds such a high rating.