The Best Soft Coolers Suggested by Experts in 2022

Danielle Abbott
  Dec 2, 2022 9:43 AM

We have an excellent selection of the best soft coolers on the market! Our soft coolers are built to last and are highly insulated, keeping your food and drinks cold all day long. Choose from low cost budget coolers or high end luxury models.

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack, Coral

Overview

Soft coolers are more lightweight and portable than hard-sided coolers, which makes them a good choice for people who like to hike, camp, and go on picnics.

Soft coolers are also easier to fit in your car or store in your home. Finally, the best soft coolers are more affordable than hard-sided ones because they don't require any additional accessories like a cooler bag or ice packs.

YETI Hopper M30 2.0 Portable Soft Cooler with MagShield Access, Bimini Pink

Top Picks

Find the best soft cooler for you by looking through our selection of the top models listed below.

Reviews

1. Engel HD30

Product’s Highlights

In independent ice-retention testing, Engel soft-sided coolers have consistently performed well, keeping ice for an amazing three to five days. This is mostly due to their usage of welded seams rather than sewed ones. The newest HD30 model also has a valve that users can use to suction off surplus air, significantly enhancing its performance. This robust, long-lasting cooler, which comes in three appealing color combinations, is completed by a comfortable, adjustable shoulder strap, a bottle opener, and a water-resistant front pocket.

Pros

  • Air and water leaks are prevented by welded seams

  • The use of vacuum valve technology boosts efficiency

  • Front pocket with a water-resistant seal and integrated bottle opener

  • 48 cans of your chosen beverage are kept here (with ice)

Cons

  • Zipper needs to be lubricated

  • Engel ice packets are pricier

2. CamelBak ChillBak Pack 30

Product’s Highlights

Leave it to the creative CamelBak staff to enhance the soft cooler. With its one-handed rolltop, their new ChillBak not only has the ability to freeze, but it also incorporates their eponymous six-liter reservoir directly below the back pad. You may immediately discharge cool water—or, perhaps more satisfyingly, a celebratory sangria—right from the faucet by clicking the hose into place on the exterior. To carry your wallet, keys, and other minor necessities, add a stretchable side pocket. There you have it, our new go-to soft cooler for picnics, outdoor concerts, and hikes.

Pros

  • Holds 24 cans, 15 pounds of ice, and six gallons in its reservoir

  • Heavy weights are stabilized by the waist belt, padded back panel, and shoulder straps

  • Your necessities are kept in the stretchy side pocket

Cons

  • When fully loaded, fairly heavy

  • On the pricey side

3. ORCA Walker 20

Product’s Highlights

The Walker Tote is far more stylish than the tacky white Styrofoam cooler you could have picked up out of the blue when you were younger. This convenient bag is as practical as it is fashionable. It can contain up to 20 pounds of ice by itself or 18 cans of your preferred beverage with room to spare for ice. So it makes sense to choose it for day trips, park excursions, and outdoor summer performances. But don't be fooled by its delicate appearance; it's durable enough that you won't need to take special care of it.

Pros

  • Sufficient height to support full-sized wine bottles

  • Easy open/close magnetic handle with split design

  • Protective dry front pocket for valuables

Cons

  • Softer than other totes' shells

  • Less cans can be held than coolers with an equivalent total capacity

4. RovR KeepR

Product’s Highlights

For good reason, we frequently place a lot of emphasis on how long coolers can keep things cool—in addition to ice. However, there are occasions when you truly only need a bag to act as a more sophisticated picnic basket. The RovR KeepR is a sturdy yet flexible tote with detachable compartment dividers that is ideal for organizing snacks and beverages. Tall liquor bottles, little bottles, cans, cups, and mixers might be among them. But you want something cold, right? No issue. The vacuum-sealed, double-walled IceR bucket can store up to three pounds of ice and is designed to fit perfectly in the center.

Pros

  • The bucket in the middle is ideal for keeping soup warm or ice cold

  • Flexible but strong enough to stand alone

  • Moving partitions for storing food and beverages

  • Fits inside the TravelR soft cooler, an optional item

Cons

  • Heat- and weather-exposed contents

  • Not intended for lengthy travel

5. The IceMule Boss

Product’s Highlights

The IceMule Boss is the backpack of choice when your adventures call for a highly wearable waterproof cooler, whether you're fishing, boating, or hiking. With its dual-zone weight distribution mechanism, it more than makes up for what it lacks in natural lightness. With its adjustable chest strap and padded mesh shoulder and hip straps, it is possible to carry burdens that would be impossible without it. Additionally, we heartily advise the Pro model if you do not require the Boss's sizable, insulated front and side pockets to keep your gadgets and other valuables dry.

Pros

  • Even when completely filled, comfortable to wear

  • Contents are kept cool for days thanks to a roll top and welded seams

  • Insulated waterproof pockets and webbing are useful for carrying extra items

Cons

  • Pricey

  • Heavy

Read more:

The Best Soft Coolers

TOP Choice
1
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    9.6
  • Brand
    YETI
TOP Choice
2
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    9.4
  • Brand
    YETI
TOP Choice
3
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    9.4
  • Brand
    IceMule
4
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    9.2
  • Brand
    Arctic Zone
5
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    9.2
  • Brand
    Rockvale
6
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    9.0
  • Brand
    RTIC
7
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    9.0
  • Brand
    TuErcao
8
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    9.0
  • Brand
    CleverMade
9
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    9.0
  • Brand
    Hydro Flask
10
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    8.8
  • Brand
    Maelstrom
11
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    8.8
  • Brand
    Maelstrom
12
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    8.4
  • Brand
    Extremus

Last update on 2022-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

FAQs

1. What Maintains A Soft Cooler's Colder for a Longer Period of Time?

One of the major advantages of using a soft-sided cooler is that you might be able to store the entire unit in the refrigerator or freezer instead of packaging it. If not, you can still load it up with ice before pre-chilling the interior with ice, which is ultimately the purpose. As with all coolers, it also makes a significant difference to chill the contents before packing them within; this allows the ice to maintain rather than create chilly temperatures. It's also important to note that different manufacturers' recommended ice-to-goods ratios vary, but they typically fall between 2:1 and 1:1.

ICEMULE Classic Medium Collapsible Backpack Cooler – Hands Free, 100% Waterproof, 24+ Hours Cooling, Perfect Soft Sided Cooler for Hiking, Camping, Fishing & Picnics, 15 Liter, Fits 12 Cans + Ice, Blue

2. Can Dry Ice Be Put In A Soft Cooler?

No. In a soft cooler, never use dry ice. You'll still need to leave the cooler open enough to let out the ensuing sublimated gas, negating any potential benefits, even if it doesn't permanently harm the cooling chamber—and it very well may.

3. Which Ice Should I Use In A Soft-Sided Cooler?

As indicated above, block ice is a solid alternative for pre-chilling because it is strong and takes longer to melt than regular ice cubes, but it tends to take up a lot of room in your cooler. Therefore, you could be better off keeping with cubes, possibly in combination with an ice pack with a specified brand for your cooler. The main benefit of this hybrid technique, aside from being able to reuse ice packs, is that the ice pack(s) may really freeze below 32 degrees, effectively keeping your cubes intact for longer.

Final Thought

A hard cooler will always have a place in our equipment cabinet, but soft coolers have shown to be equally important. They are lighter, simpler for one person to pick up, and can be transported from the deck to the truck bed in a hurry.

The best soft coolers come in a wide variety of sizes and softness. In reality, several of these designs are incredibly robust, sturdy, and stackable. Others are completely flexible and collapsible, and we applaud this storage solution because it saves space.