Best Soft Coolers of 2024: Expert Recommendations & Reviews

best soft coolers

Are you tired of reaching into your cooler after a long, hot hike only to find your ice has turned into a sad puddle and your sandwiches are soggy? Say goodbye to those disappointing picnic moments. Welcome to our ultimate guide to the best soft coolers in 2024!

Sure, you might think a cooler is just a cooler, but oh, how wrong you’d be! As it turns out, not all coolers are created equal. Some are able to keep your food and drinks icy cold for hours, even days, while others… well, let’s just say they’re more lukewarm than cool.

We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and compiled a list of the top 15 soft coolers that will keep your food and drinks cold, your sandwiches dry, and your ice cream from turning into soup. Whether you’re planning a beach day, a fishing trip, or simply need to keep your lunch cool on the job site, there’s a cooler here for you.

And the best part? These coolers are soft, lightweight, and easy to carry. No more lugging around a cumbersome hard-shell cooler that feels like it weighs as much as a small car. So, let’s dive into the icy depths of the best soft coolers in 2024.

What Are the Best Soft Coolers?

When you’re on the hunt for a soft cooler, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to consider the cooler’s insulation capabilities. After all, the main job of a cooler is to keep things, well, cool. You’ll also want to think about the cooler’s capacity. Are you packing for a solo trip or a family outing?

Let’s be honest, buying a soft cooler is like trying to navigate a labyrinth of insulated bags. It’s a world filled with technical jargon – closed-cell foam, antimicrobial liners, 1000D nylon – it can make your head spin! But fear not, dear reader, we’re here to guide you through this chilly maze.

Choosing the right cooler is important. It can mean the difference between enjoying a crisp, cold beverage on a hot day or sipping on something that’s tepid at best. And let’s not forget the food! Your cooler needs to keep your food fresh and safe to eat. Now, isn’t that worth a little research and thought? Of course, it is! So, let’s get cracking and find the best soft cooler for your needs.

1. YETI Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler

The YETI Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler is the epitome of durability and functionality wrapped up in a compact package. Known for its top-notch quality and superior performance, YETI once again doesn’t disappoint with this model. This soft cooler is designed with adventure in mind, whether that be a day at the beach, an intense hiking trip, or a tailgate party.

The Hopper Flip 12 is compact yet surprisingly spacious, able to accommodate up to 12 cans plus ice. What sets this soft cooler apart is its Hydrolock zipper that ensures 100% leakproof protection, which means no more soggy sandwiches or water-logged snacks. The closed-cell foam, known as Coldcell insulation, offers superior cold retention that keeps your beverages chilled for hours.


  • Capacity: 12 cans
  • Empty Weight: 8.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.5″ x 10″ x 12.5″
  • Insulation: Coldcell Insulation (closed-cell foam)
  • Exterior: Durable waterproof material
  • Carrying: Padded shoulder strap
– Highly durable
– Superior insulation
– Comfortable to carry
–  Expensive, can be heavy when full

2. RTIC Soft Pack 20

The RTIC Soft Pack 20 is a lightweight and compact soft cooler that doesn’t skimp on performance. RTIC is known for creating high-quality coolers that are as functional as they are affordable. This soft cooler is perfect for those who need a reliable cooler without breaking the bank.

The Soft Pack 20 boasts a 20-can capacity and weighs only 5lbs when empty, making it easy to transport. The cooler features 1″ of insulation that provides excellent cold retention for days. It’s also designed with a waterproof and puncture-resistant shell, ensuring durability and longevity. The antimicrobial liner is a bonus, preventing odors and keeping your cooler fresh and clean.


  • Capacity: 20 cans
  • Empty Weight: 5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 14″ x 9″ x 15″
  • Insulation: 1″ of insulation
  • Exterior: Waterproof and puncture-resistant shell
  • Carrying: Shoulder strap
– Affordable
– Lightweight
– Compact
– Not as durable as some competitors

3. Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Soft Cooler

The Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Soft Cooler is a spacious and durable soft cooler designed for those who need a bit more space. This cooler is perfect for family outings, picnics, or any event where you need to carry a good amount of food and beverages.

The Nylon Soft Cooler has a 24-can capacity and weighs a reasonable 6lbs when empty. It’s built with high-density open cell foam insulation that ensures your drinks stay cold during your outdoor adventure. The 1000D nylon outer shell is water, stain, and tear-resistant, making it a tough competitor in the world of soft coolers.


  • Capacity: 24 cans
  • Empty Weight: 6 lbs
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 12″ x 12″
  • Insulation: High-density open cell foam insulation
  • Exterior: 1000D nylon outer shell
  • Carrying: 2 padded shoulder straps
– Spacious
– Comfortable to carry
– Durable
– Can be difficult to clean
– Not fully leakproof

4. AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler

The AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler is a stylish and compact cooler perfect for those who want to keep their drinks cold without sacrificing style. This cooler is great for beach trips, picnics, or a day out on the boat.

The Canvas Soft Cooler has a 24-can capacity and weighs a mere 5.5lbs when empty. Despite its stylish exterior, this cooler doesn’t compromise on functionality. The 3/4″ closed-cell foam insulation does a good job of keeping the contents cold, while the heavy-duty canvas exterior with a water-resistant coating ensures durability.


  • Capacity: 24 cans
  • Empty Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 18.5″ x 12.5″ x 12″
  • Insulation: 3/4″ closed-cell foam insulation
  • Exterior: Heavy-duty canvas with water-resistant coating
  • Carrying: Padded shoulder strap and grab handles
– Stylish
– Compact
– Affordable
– Not fully leakproof or puncture-resistant
– Insulation not as thick as some competitors.

5. Engel HD30 Waterproof Soft-Sided Cooler Bag

The Engel HD30 Waterproof Soft-Sided Cooler Bag is a game-changer in the world of soft coolers. Recognized for its superior ice retention, this cooler is designed to keep your drinks cold for days, not just hours.

The Engel HD30 offers a generous 32-can capacity and weighs in at 5.9 lbs when empty. It features a unique vacuum seal technology that provides an airtight seal, locking in the cold and extending ice retention. Built with a rugged TPU film exterior and a reinforced base, this cooler is as durable as it is efficient.


  • Capacity: 32 cans
  • Empty Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • Dimensions: 20″ x 10″ x 16″
  • Insulation: High-quality foam insulation
  • Exterior: Rugged TPU film and reinforced base
  • Carrying: Shoulder strap and carry handles
– Superior ice retention
– Durable construction
– Spacious
– Expensive
– Zipper can be tough to open/close

6. Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack

The Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack is a stylish and convenient cooler that you can carry on your back. This cooler is perfect for those who love to go on hikes or any adventure where you need your hands free.

The Unbound Soft Cooler Pack can hold up to 22 cans and weighs only 3 lbs when empty, making it one of the lightest coolers on our list. It features Hydro Flask’s TempShield insulation that can keep your food and drinks cold for up to 48 hours. The exterior is waterproof and durable, and the backpack design makes it highly portable.


  • Capacity: 22 cans
  • Empty Weight: 3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 13″ x 8″
  • Insulation: TempShield insulation
  • Exterior: Durable and waterproof fabric
  • Carrying: Backpack straps
– Lightweight
– Highly portable
– Excellent insulation
– Expensive
– May be too small for large groups

7. Coleman Soft Cooler Bag

The Coleman Soft Cooler Bag is a budget-friendly and practical option for those who need a reliable cooler without spending a fortune. Coleman is a well-known brand in the outdoor gear market, and this cooler lives up to their reputation for quality and affordability.

The Soft Cooler Bag offers a 30-can capacity and weighs 3 lbs when empty. It features a removable hard plastic liner for packing flexibility, and the Antimicrobial properties are built into the lining to resist odor, mold, and mildew. The shoulder straps are adjustable, making it easy to carry.


  • Capacity: 30 cans
  • Empty Weight: 3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 11″ x 11″
  • Insulation: Foam insulation
  • Exterior: Soft PEVA liner
  • Carrying: Adjustable shoulder straps
– Affordable
– Flexible packing
– Lightweight
– Insulation is not as good as more expensive models

8. Carhartt 2-in-1 Insulated Cooler Backpack

The Carhartt 2-in-1 Insulated Cooler Backpack is a versatile cooler that doubles as a backpack, making it perfect for those who are always on the go. This cooler is great for hiking, camping, or any adventure where you need to bring along food and drinks.

This 2-in-1 cooler has a 12-can capacity in the insulated bottom compartment, and the top compartment can store all your essential gear. It weighs only 1.5 lbs when empty, making it the lightest cooler on our list. The material is heavy-duty polyester, ensuring durability.


  • Capacity: 12 cans
  • Empty Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 17.75″ x 8″
  • Insulation: Insulated bottom compartment
  • Exterior: Heavy-duty polyester
  • Carrying: Backpack straps
– Lightweight
– Versatile
– Durable
– Smaller capacity
– Not fully leakproof

9. IceMule Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag

The IceMule Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag stands out with its unique design and superior portability. This cooler is designed to be carried on your back, making it perfect for hikes, beach trips, and more.

The IceMule Classic can hold up to 12 cans and weighs only 1.6 lbs when empty. It features PolarLayer Insulation that can keep ice intact for up to 24 hours. It is also 100% waterproof and even floats, making it a great option for boating or kayaking trips.


  • Capacity: 12 cans
  • Empty Weight: 1.6 lbs
  • Dimensions: 16″ x 10″ x 10″
  • Insulation: PolarLayer Insulation
  • Exterior: Tough Muleskin Exterior
  • Carrying: Backpack straps
– Highly portable
– Excellent insulation
– Waterproof
– Smaller capacity
– No extra storage compartments

10. TOURIT Soft Cooler

The TOURIT Soft Cooler is a versatile and durable cooler that offers excellent performance at an affordable price. This cooler is perfect for a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, and beach trips.

The TOURIT Cooler can hold up to 30 cans and weighs 4.4 lbs when empty. It features high-density insulation material and leak-proof liner, ensuring your drinks stay cold and your cooler stays dry. It also has a large front zippered pocket for additional storage.


  • Capacity: 30 cans
  • Empty Weight: 4.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 17″ x 10″ x 13″
  • Insulation: High-density insulation
  • Exterior: Water-resistant fabric
  • Carrying: Shoulder straps and side handles
– Affordable
– Excellent insulation
– Large capacity
–  Zipper can be difficult to use
– Exterior is not puncture-resistant

Soft Coolers Buying Advice

Our Take on Soft Coolers: Utility and Best Uses

Soft coolers have emerged as a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to their versatility and practicality. Designed for various outdoor activities, they are a staple for camping holidays, hiking adventures, beach trips, picnics, and fishing expeditions.

The key advantage of soft coolers is their lightweight and portable nature. Unlike their hard-sided counterparts, they are easy to carry, even when full. This makes them perfect for day trips or short-term outdoor activities where you want to minimize the weight of your gear but still want to bring along your favorite snacks and drinks.

Another standout feature of soft coolers is the multiple compartments they often come with. These compartments allow for better organization of food and drinks, making it easier for you to find what you’re looking for without rummaging through the cooler. This is a handy feature, especially when you’re on a family trip and need to cater to different tastes.

Moreover, soft coolers are not just about keeping drinks cold. They are equally efficient at keeping food hot. This dual functionality makes them an ideal choice for trips where you want to enjoy both hot meals and cold beverages.

But it’s not just the practicality that makes soft coolers a favorite. Their soft-sided design also means they can be squeezed into tight spaces — a feature hard-sided coolers lack. So whether you’re packing for a solo trip or a family outing, a soft cooler offers the convenience and flexibility you need.

In short, when it comes to outdoor activities, soft coolers are a fantastic alternative to hard-sided coolers. They are light, easy to carry, offer great storage options, and can keep your food and drinks hot or cold — truly an outdoor enthusiast’s best friend!

Choosing the Right Size: Understanding Soft Cooler Capacities

One of the most important aspects to consider when diving into the diverse world of soft coolers is the size, or rather, the capacity. The capacity of a soft cooler is typically measured in terms of the number of cans it can hold, along with the amount of ice needed to keep them chilled. This is a crucial factor, as your choice should align with the intended usage and the number of people you plan to serve.

Starting with the smallest size, you’ll find lunchbox-sized coolers. These compact coolers are perfect for personal use. Whether you’re going on a solo hiking trail or just need to keep your lunch cool at work, these small coolers do the job efficiently. Lightweight and easy to carry, they can typically hold up to 6 cans – enough to keep you refreshed throughout the day.

Next up are the medium-sized coolers. With a capacity to hold anywhere from 12 to 16 cans, these coolers are ideal for small group outings. Planning a picnic with a few friends? Or perhaps a small family beach day? These coolers offer the perfect balance between capacity and portability.

For larger gatherings or extended trips, large soft coolers are the way to go. These can hold up to 24 cans, making them ideal for family outings or parties. They offer ample space to store a variety of beverages and food items, ensuring everyone’s tastes are catered for.

But the size of the cooler isn’t just about the number of cans it can hold. It’s also about how much ice it can accommodate. After all, what’s the point of a cooler if it can’t keep your drinks cold? This is why it’s important to consider the ice-to-can ratio. As a rule of thumb, the ideal ratio is about 2:1. That means for every two cans, you’ll need space for one can’s worth of ice.

In the end, it all boils down to your individual needs and circumstances. Are you going solo or with a group? Is it a short trip or an extended outing? Is variety in food and drinks important? Answering these questions will help you make the right choice when it comes to the size of your soft cooler. So, go ahead and choose wisely, for the right soft cooler can be the difference between a good outdoor experience and a great one!

Unpacking Ice Retention and Cooling Capabilities: Nailing the Chill Factor in Soft Coolers

Once you’ve figured out the size and capacity of your soft cooler, the next vital aspect is ice retention. Why, you ask? Well, the primary purpose of a soft cooler is to keep your beverages and food items cool and fresh. Simply put, the longer your cooler can retain ice, the longer it can maintain that refreshingly cool temperature we all crave during our outdoor adventures.

High-quality soft coolers, designed with superior insulation materials, can retain ice for several days on end. Yes, you read that right—days! Imagine heading out for a weekend camping trip and not having to worry about your drinks turning warm or your food spoiling. That’s the magic of excellent ice retention, and it’s a feature that sets top-tier soft coolers apart from the rest.

But let’s delve a little deeper into how you can enhance the cooling capabilities of your soft cooler. This is where the type of ice used comes into play. You can go for ice packs, blocks, or crushed ice. While ice packs are convenient and reusable, they might not provide as much coverage as crushed ice. On the other hand, crushed ice melts faster. Ice blocks, being larger and denser, melt slower but might not fit well in all coolers. So, it’s a bit of a balancing act based on your specific needs.

Lastly, remember, a cooler’s ice retention ability isn’t solely dependent on the cooler itself. External factors come into play as well. For instance:

  • External temperature: The hotter it is outside, the quicker your ice will melt. So, if you’re out in the blazing sun, your cooler will have to work overtime.
  • Frequency of opening the cooler: Every time you open your cooler, you let in warm air, which accelerates ice melt. So, try to limit the number of times you reach for that cold one.
  • Type of ice used: As mentioned earlier, crushed ice might cover more surface area but melts faster, while ice blocks last longer.

Understanding these factors and how they impact your soft cooler’s cooling capabilities will help you make an informed choice. After all, nobody wants a lukewarm drink when they’re expecting an ice-cold one, right? So, let’s keep it cool, folks!

The Winning Edge of Soft Coolers: Lightweight and Portability

When it comes to outdoor adventures, every ounce counts. After all, who wants to lug around a heavy cooler when traversing rocky terrains or climbing steep hills? This is where soft coolers truly shine. Their lightweight design and portability make them the preferred choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Soft coolers, even the larger ones, are designed to be easily carried over long distances. They are significantly lighter than their hard-sided counterparts, making them perfect for those long hikes or camping trips. But, that’s not all. Many soft coolers come with adjustable shoulder straps or even backpack straps for convenient carrying. So, whether you’re hiking, cycling, or simply enjoying a picnic in your local park, you can comfortably carry your cooler without feeling weighed down.

Another key advantage of soft coolers is their compactness. Unlike hard coolers, which take up the same amount of space whether they’re full or empty, soft coolers can be easily compressed and stored away when not in use. This not only saves a lot of storage space but also makes them ideal for those impromptu outings where space is at a premium.

Let’s summarize:

  1. Lightweight: Soft coolers are considerably lighter than hard-sided coolers, making them easier to carry during outdoor adventures.
  2. Adjustable straps: Many soft coolers feature adjustable shoulder or backpack straps for comfortable and convenient carrying.
  3. Space-saving: When not in use, soft coolers can be compressed and stored away, saving valuable storage space.

Thus, the next time you’re searching for ‘soft coolers buying advice’, remember to consider the weight and portability of the cooler. A cooler that’s easy to carry and doesn’t take up much space could be just the right fit for your outdoor needs. It’s not just about keeping your drinks cold, but also about enhancing your overall outdoor experience.

Construction and Durability: The Backbone of Soft Coolers

When it comes to soft coolers, their construction and durability are the real deal-breakers. A well-constructed cooler is not just about aesthetics; it is about performancelongevity, and reliability.

The best soft coolers are crafted from high-quality materials like ripstop fabric. This fabric, often used in hot air balloons and parachutes, is highly resistant to tearing and ripping, making it ideal for outdoor conditions. It’s not just the fabric that matters, but also the lining inside the cooler. A waterproof lining ensures that your cooler remains leak-proof, protecting your food and drinks while also making it easier for you to clean up after use.

Now, let’s talk about insulation— the key to keeping your beverages cold and your food fresh. High-density insulation, typically foam, is a common feature in top-notch soft coolers. This type of insulation works by reducing the amount of heat that enters the cooler, thus maintaining the internal temperature for longer periods.

While the materials used in the construction of the cooler are important, the design matters too. The best soft coolers are designed to withstand rough handling and harsh outdoor conditions. Some even come with a hard liner for added structure and protection, ensuring that your cooler stands up to all your wild adventures.

But that’s not all. The seams and zippers of the cooler play an equally important role in its durability. Seams should be well-stitched and sealed to prevent leaks, while zippers need to be sturdy enough to withstand frequent use. Before making that purchase, check for these features to ensure you’re investing in a cooler that’s built to last.

To recap:

  • High-quality materials: Look for ripstop fabric and waterproof lining for durability and performance.
  • High-density insulation: Essential for maintaining the internal temperature of the cooler.
  • Design: The best soft coolers are designed to withstand rough handling and outdoor conditions. Some even come with a hard liner for added structure and protection.
  • Seams and Zippers: Ensure they are well-constructed for long-lasting use.

Remember, good construction and durability can make all the difference when it comes to soft coolers. So, the next time you’re seeking ‘soft coolers buying advice’, pay close attention to these factors. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about investing in a product that’s built to serve you reliably through all your outdoor pursuits.

Waterproof Soft Coolers: The Lifeline for Outdoor Adventures

When it comes to outdoor adventures, there’s nothing quite as disappointing as opening your cooler to find your food soggy and your drinks watered down. That’s where waterproof soft coolers come into play, acting as your lifeline in the great outdoors. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the significance of having a waterproof soft cooler.

A waterproof soft cooler not only ensures that the contents stay dry, but it also plays a vital role in maintaining the temperature inside the cooler. With a waterproof or water-resistant exterior, these coolers can withstand rain or accidental spills, keeping your food and beverages protected.

But the waterproofing doesn’t stop at the exterior. The best soft coolers come with a leak-proof lining to prevent water ingress or egress. This means no matter how much ice you put in, or how many times it gets tipped over, the water stays in the cooler and off your car seats or picnic blankets.

One of the often-overlooked benefits of waterproof coolers is their ease of cleaning. Since water and other liquids can’t penetrate the material, all it takes is a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to clean the cooler. This is particularly handy after a day of outdoor fun when the last thing you want is a lengthy cleanup process.

In summary:

  • Waterproof Exterior: Protects your food and drinks from rain or accidental spills.
  • Leak-Proof Lining: Prevents water from getting in or out, keeping your belongings dry.
  • Ease of Cleaning: A waterproof cooler can be cleaned quickly and easily, saving you time and effort.

Remember, outdoor adventures should be about fun and relaxation, not about worrying if your food and drinks are staying dry and fresh. A waterproof soft cooler provides that peace of mind, making it a critical piece of equipment in your outdoor arsenal. When seeking soft coolers buying advice, always consider the waterproofing aspect—it could make all the difference to your outdoor experience.

Price: Budget vs. Premium Soft Coolers: The Trade-off

When it comes buying a soft cooler, can often be the deciding factor. However it’s crucial to understand that the price of a soft cooler isn’t purely about the cost—it’s about the value that it offers. Let’s take look at what you can expect different price points and how to make the right choice based on your needs and budget.

Soft coolers come in a wide range of prices, from affordable budget options to high-end premium ones. But what exactly drives this price difference? Simply put, it boils down to four key factors—size, materials used, brand, and additional features.

  • Size: The larger the cooler, the higher the price. Larger coolers require more materials and are often designed to withstand more wear and tear, which can add to the cost.
  • Materials Used: High-quality materials are more expensive but offer better insulation and durability. For example, a soft cooler made from high-density fabric with a leak-proof lining will typically cost more than one made from standard polyester.
  • Brand: Brand reputation can play a significant role in the price. Renowned brands often charge a premium for their products due to their proven track record of quality and reliability.
  • Additional Features: Features like extra pockets, bottle openers, or built-in cup holders can add convenience but also increase the price.

Now, you might wonder, are premium soft coolers worth the extra cost? Well, the answer lies in what you value most. Higher-priced coolers often offer better ice retention, thanks to their superior insulation. They are typically more durable too, capable of withstanding harsh outdoor conditions, and come with additional features that enhance usability and convenience.

However, if you’re an occasional outdoor enthusiast or on a tight budget, a lower-priced cooler might serve your needs just fine. Just remember, while a cheaper cooler might save you money upfront, a premium cooler could offer better value in the long run by lasting longer and performing better.

In essence, when seeking soft coolers buying advice, it’s important to strike a balance between cost and value. With the right information and careful consideration, you can find a soft cooler that suits your needs and budget perfectly.

Unlocking the Mystery of Soft Cooler Opening Styles and Closure Systems

So, you’ve assessed your needs, determined your budget and now it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty details of soft coolers. One of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of a soft cooler is its opening style and closure system. The design of a cooler’s opening and closure can have an enormous impact on its functionality, affecting everything from ice retention ability to ease of access to your chilled goods.

Let’s explore the different types of opening styles found in soft coolers:

  1. Zippered Tops: A common and simple design, zippered tops provide a secure seal to keep the cold air in and the warm air out. But the ease of access can sometimes be compromised, especially when you’re trying to locate a specific item at the bottom of the cooler.
  2. Flip Tops: These are essentially soft coolers with a lid that flips open. This design offers easy access to your food and drinks, making it a hit amongst outdoor enthusiasts. However, they might not hold ice as long as their zippered counterparts.
  3. Roll-Top Closures: Inspired by the design of dry bags used in watersports, roll-top closures offer an excellent seal and easy access. You simply roll the top a few times and then clip it shut. This design can also allow the cooler to be more flexible in terms of storage capacity.

Now, let’s discuss how some soft coolers come equipped with additional pockets or compartments, each with separate closures for better organization. These compartments can be a game-changer when it comes to storing items that you don’t want to get wet or chilled, like utensils, napkins or personal items. They can be zippered, Velcro, or even magnetic closures, each offering a different level of security and accessibility.

When you’re seeking soft coolers buying advice, don’t overlook the importance of the cooler’s opening style and closure system. This seemingly small detail can make a big difference in your overall outdoor experience, affecting how well your cooler performs and how easy it is to use. After all, the best soft cooler is not only about keeping your food and drinks cold but also about convenience and ease of use.

The Essential Role of Carrying Straps and Handles in Soft Coolers

Picture this: You’re packed and ready for your outdoor adventure, your soft cooler brimming with refreshing drinks and tasty snacks. Now imagine trying to carry that cooler across a sandy beach, up a hiking trail, or through a crowded park without proper handles or straps. Suddenly, your fun day outdoors seems a bit less enjoyable, right?

Carrying straps and handles might not be the first feature you think of when considering soft coolers buying advice, but their importance cannot be overstated. These features contribute significantly to the cooler’s portability, a factor that goes hand-in-hand with the very essence of outdoor activities.

Most soft coolers come equipped with one of three types of carrying mechanisms:

  1. Shoulder Straps: These allow you to sling the cooler over your shoulder for easy carrying. This is particularly handy when you need to keep your hands free for other things, like holding your child’s hand or carrying other gear.
  2. Side Handles: These are typically found on larger soft coolers. The handles can either be on the sides or top of the cooler. Either way, they provide a sturdy grip for carrying the cooler short distances.
  3. Backpack Straps: Some soft coolers come with backpack-style straps, turning your cooler into a backpack. This is ideal for longer distances or difficult terrain, as it evenly distributes the weight across your back.

Remember, the carrying mechanism should not only be sturdy enough to hold the weight of a fully-loaded cooler but also comfortable to hold or carry. Look for padded straps or handles, ergonomic designs, and adjustable features.

As you can see, carrying straps and handles play a crucial role in the portability and convenience of a soft cooler. So, while you may be focused on insulation performance or size when seeking soft coolers buying advice, don’t forget to consider how you’ll be transporting your cooler. Because at the end of the day, the best soft cooler is the one that makes your outdoor adventures as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible!

The Rise of Backpack Coolers: The Perfect Blend of Convenience and Function

Outdoor enthusiasts, this one is for you. Ever found yourself torn between packing a backpack and a cooler for your outdoor adventures? Enter the rising star of the soft cooler world, the backpack cooler. This ingenious innovation is swiftly climbing the popularity charts, and for good reason.

Backpack coolers, as the name suggests, combine the convenience of a backpack with the functionality of a cooler. They are designed to be carried on your back, freeing up your hands for those steep hikes, challenging bike trails, or setting up the perfect camping spot. With a backpack cooler, you can easily transport your food and beverages without compromising on your mobility or comfort.

Why are backpack coolers gaining popularity? Well, here are a few reasons:

  • Versatility: Backpack coolers are not limited to one type of activity. Whether you’re hiking, biking, camping, or just spending a day at the beach, a backpack cooler is your reliable companion.
  • Hands-free Convenience: The backpack design allows you to carry your cooler without occupying your hands. This is particularly beneficial for activities that require equipment or for those who enjoy the freedom of movement.
  • Comfort: Most backpack coolers come with padded, adjustable straps, making them comfortable to carry even when fully packed.
  • Efficient Use of Space: Unlike traditional coolers, backpack coolers have multiple compartments and pockets. You can segregate your items, making them easier to find when needed.

As you can see, backpack coolers are more than just a trend. They offer a practical solution to a common problem faced by outdoor enthusiasts. So, the next time you’re looking for soft coolers buying advice, consider the convenience, functionality, and versatility of a backpack cooler. After all, who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?

Comparison of Products

ProductCapacityEmpty WeightInsulationPrice
Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Soft Cooler24 cans6 lbsHigh-density open cell foam$100
AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler24 cans5.5 lbs3/4″ closed-cell foam$90
Engel HD30 Waterproof Soft-Sided Cooler Bag32 cans5.9 lbsHigh-quality foam$199.99
Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack22 cans3 lbsTempShield insulation$274.95
Coleman Soft Cooler Bag30 cans3 lbsFoam insulation$20.81
Carhartt 2-in-1 Insulated Cooler Backpack12 cans1.5 lbsInsulated bottom compartment$99.99
IceMule Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag12 cans1.6 lbsPolarLayer Insulation$69.99
TOURIT Soft Cooler30 cans4.4 lbsHigh-density insulation$139.99


Well, there you have it – the ultimate guide to the best soft coolers in 2024! Whether you’re a beach bum, a hardcore hiker, or a picnic enthusiast, there’s a cooler here for you. We’ve covered a variety of options, from the budget-friendly Coleman Soft Cooler Bag to the high-end Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack.

Remember, a good soft cooler isn’t just about keeping your food and drinks cold – it’s about making your outdoor adventures more enjoyable. Whether it’s a perfectly chilled drink at the end of a long hike or a fresh and tasty sandwich during a day out fishing, a reliable cooler can make all the difference.

So, why should you listen to us? Well, we’ve put in the research, sifted through the jargon, and presented you with clear, concise information to make your decision easier. We understand the importance of quality when it comes to outdoor gear, and we want you to get the best bang for your buck.

So go ahead, pick the cooler that suits your needs and budget, and get ready for a cooler outdoor experience (pun totally intended!). Happy adventuring!

Now that you’re armed with all this cooler knowledge, it’s time to go forth and conquer the great outdoors. After all, adventure waits for no one – especially not for someone still trying to decide on a cooler. So pick your cooler and let the adventures begin. Let’s make 2024 a year of epic outdoor memories!

Deeba Fatima – Content
Matt Kratos – Testing and Fact Checking

Deeba & Matt

About the Authors

Intrepid content creators and relentless hiking enthusiasts. With a passion for travel and adventure, Matt & Deeba are never one to shy away from a daring challenge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *