Last Updated: October 12, 2020

Best Soft Cooler (Keep Your Drinks Cold)

Everyone needs a cooler in their lives but carrying around a hardshell cooler isn’t so easy. They’re bulk, heavy, cumbersome pieces of kit, enter the soft-sided cooler. Soft sided coolers are easy to store, light to carry and versatile. They’re ideal for long hikes, picnics, sunsets, days out on the water; any outdoor occasion where a cool lunch and frosty beer come to mind. 


At A Glance: Our Top 3 Soft Coolers


There are tons of soft-sided coolers on the market today and buying the right one to suit your needs can be an arduous task, luckily you have stumbled across this review. Here we have taken some of the best soft sided coolers around, highlighted their key features and compared them against each other so that you can find the right one for you. 

Top Product Overview

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Tote, White
Best Budget Cooler
  • Great price
  • Well-made
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Coleman NFL Soft-Sided Insulated Cooler and Lunch Box Bag, 9-Can Capacity, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Good value
  • Light
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Pelican Elite Soft Cooler
  • Well made
  • Leakproof
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Coleman 30 Can Removable Liner Cooler - 3000002168
  • Leakproof
  • Great price
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eBags Crew Cooler II (Pitch Black)
  • Good price
  • Great size
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Coleman Soft Cooler Bag | 16 Can Cooler, Blue
  • Light
  • Portable
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AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Charcoal, 36-Can
Best Allrounder
  • Good insulation
  • Durable
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Mountainsmith The Sixer Soft Sided Coolers, Ice Grey
  • Bottle opener
  • Waterproof
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YETI Hopper Two 20, Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
Best Choice
  • Durable
  • Well-made
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Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Original Soft Cooler Black
  • Well made
  • Durable
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Best Soft Coolers


Best Budget Cooler

Arctic Zone Titan

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Tote, White

The Arctic Zone Titan soft-sided cooler is pretty awesome. To start off with it looks pretty sleek and together with that is a great size. It’ll hold quite a few drinks plus lunch for the whole gang.

It’s great at keeping your food and drinks cold thanks to its tripple-layer cold block base and its interior heat electing barrier. This cooler can keep ice for up to 3 days, awesome if you’re planning a long camping trip and it’ll also keep your drinks cold all night if you’re having a fun BBQ.

The lining is leakproof and comes with Microban that stops bacterial odors and stains forming. Not only does it keep the cooler smelling fresh, but the lining also ensures it’s easy to clean. Simply wipe and leave to dry.

The exterior comes with a handy pocket for a bottle opener, is durable, stain and water-resistant. It is made from Rhino-tech and is also abrasion and puncture-resistant. There isn’t much this cooler cant handle and to clean the outside you also just wipe.

The only drawback is that the zipper is a little fragile but as long as you don’t overfill it, it should last a long time. Overall, it’s pretty awesome and you can’t beat the quality for the price.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Well-made
  • Ice for 3 days
  • Water/stain resistant
  • Leakproof
  • Easy to clean
  • Nice size
  • Looks good
  • Great value

Cons

  • The zipper is a bit weak

Product Information

  • 16.75 x 7.75 x 13.25 inches
  • Triple-layer ColdBlock base
  • Ultra Safe leak-proof, easy clean lining
  • Water and stain-resistant exterior
  • Exterior pocket
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Coleman 9-can NFL Cooler

Coleman NFL Soft-Sided Insulated Cooler and Lunch Box Bag, 9-Can Capacity, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Coleman 9-can NFL Cooler is the ideal size for one person to carry around. If you’re busy working outdoors every day and need a lunch cooler, this will be perfect for you. It’ll fit your whole lunch while being light and on the weekends you can carry 9 beers to a tailgate or BBQ.

While being super light it is also pretty well insulated. The soft cooler uses Coleman’s patented 24-hr Cold Technology that is said to keep your drinks cold for up to 24 hours in 90-degree heat. So don’t worry if you leave your lunch in the car, it’ll still be cold when you get to it.

It comes with an antimicrobial liner that stops odors or any mold/fungus growing on it, plus it’s simple to clean, just wipe away.

The bag comes with and an external pocket for utensils or condiments and has a fully adjustable shoulder strap.

If you’re looking for an awesome lunch cooler with your NFL team logo, look no further.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Light
  • Cool for 24 hours
  • Perfect size for 1 person

Cons

  • Not so versatile

Product Information

  • 11 x 10 x 8 inches
  • External pocket
  • 24-hour cooling
  • Antimicrobial easy-clean lining
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Pelican Elite Soft Cooler

Pelican Elite Soft Cooler

Who knew Pelican made coolers? Well, you do now, and they’re almost as bombproof as their hardshell waterproof cases.

The Pelican Elite Soft Cooler comes in 3 sizes ranging from 12-48 can. They have used high-density closed-cell foam insulation in order to keep ice for days and guarantee to keep your drinks cold for 48 hours once they’re in. 

You only have to look at a picture of the soft cooler to see how durable it is. The zipper is 100% leakproof to keep all the cold water inside, there are buckles to close it with too, ensuring your drinks are going nowhere, and the outside is made from double-coated TPU fabric. 

There’s an integrated bottle opener, anti-slip base, it’s waterproof, leakproof, light, portable, FDA approved and comes with a 3-year warranty. It’s pretty much the perfect cooler for any adventure.

The only drawback is that it’s very expensive.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Leakproof
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • External pocket
  • Light

Cons

  • Expensive

Product Information

  • 13.5 x 7 x 12 inches (12 can)
  • FDA Approved
  • 3-year warranty
  • Leakproof
  • Waterproof
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Coleman 30

Coleman 30 Can Removable Liner Cooler - 3000002168

The Coleman 30 soft-sided cooler is awesome for family picnics or days out on the water. It has some extra storage options that other soft coolers don’t, making it ideal to stash all those snacks and nibbles you may want to take along.

There are 3 external pockets; one that zips up and the other two are mesh pockets on each side. Perfect for snacks and utensils. The lid also comes with a woven bungee chord for extra storage.

On the inside, there is a mesh pocket in the lid to keep things cool but dry and away from the ice/water. The main compartment is leakproof thanks to the welded seams and comes with a removable plastic liner.

The line is made from antimicrobial materials to resist mold/mildew/odors and thanks to it being removable is really easy to clean and dry. And it has a great shoulder strap.

The only negatives are that the zipper isn’t great and can fail after some use if you’re not careful with it. Be gentle and don’t overfill it. The pockets are also a little small but still great for utensils.

Overall a great picnic cooler at a great price.

Pros

  • Leakproof
  • Great price
  • Looks good
  • Easy to clean
  • Good storage options

Cons

  • The zipper is not the best
  • Pockets too small

Product Information

  • 13.75 x 13.75 x 4.75 (30 can)
  • Removable lining
  • Antimicrobial lining
  • Leakproof
  • External pockets
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eBags Crew Cooler II

eBags Crew Cooler II (Pitch Black)

The eBags Crew Cooler II was originally designed for pilots and flight attendants to carry their lunch and anything extra they might need for work on the plane.

The unique compartmental design of this very soft cooler allows you to keep some things cold and other things dry. The base compartment is a cooler with a removable lining while the top compartment is for dry storage.

It also comes with multiple mesh pockets, one on the inside and three outside. This means you can keep your picnic organized or simply store your lunch in the bottom cooler compartment and use all the other pockets for ‘normal every-day things’.

The cooler compartment has insulation on all 6 sides and the lining is welded, removable and replaceable. It’s made from PVC-free PEVA.

This is a great cooler for anyone who travels a lot a want’s one bag that does everything. The only drawbacks are that it is too soft and floppy which gives rise to splashes and leakage but you can easily avoid this by using iceblocks and not ice.

Overall an awesome lunch/travel cooler but not so great for storing drinks with ice.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Great size
  • Versatile
  • Lasts
  • Spacious

Cons

  • Too floppy
  • Low sides
  • Splash/leakage

Product Information

  • 8.5 x 15 x 10.5
  • 3 compartments
  • Removable lining
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Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler

Coleman Soft Cooler Bag | 16 Can Cooler, Blue

The Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler is pretty much exactly the same as the Coleman 30 just smaller and half the price. It’s an ideal size for a one-man lunch pack for the traveling worker.

It comes with multiple storage options including a bungee lid, dry storage pocket, side mesh, and front zippered pocket.

The main compartment has welded seams to ensure it’s leak proof and features an FDA approved hard-shell, antimicrobial removable lining. The hard-shell lining helps keep your food intact and is very easy to clean.

This is a durable comfortable soft cooler that’s ideal for daily lunch packs, two-person picnics, or if you just need a food and drinks cooler for tailgating, 16 cans should be adequate enough. The only drawback is that it’s a little small for big occasions for more than two people.

Pros

  • Light
  • Portable
  • Well made
  • Extra pockets
  • Good price
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Small

Product Information

  • 11.81 x 11.81 x 6.69 (16 can)
  • FDA removable lining
  • Antimicrobial lining
  • Leakproof
  • External pockets
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Best Allrounder

AO Coolers Original

AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Charcoal, 36-Can

The first thing that catches your eye about the AO Coolers Original is the canvas finish. It’s pleasing to the eye and you’ll look like you’re going on fact weekend away carrying this cooler, rather than a picnic or a day on the boat.

It consists of five different layers that all combine to give great insulation. AO guarantee that this cooler will hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree heat. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that’s more than adequate for the majority of cooling needs.

Not only do they keep your cold stuff cold but they’ll also keep warm stuff warm too. So if you’re taking a some hot food to your buddies this cooler has got your back.

The canvas exterior and the TUP lining, which is the same lining used in waterbeds, are both exceptionally durable. This cooler will manage bumps, scapes and attempted punctures like a boss.

Overall it’s an awesome soft cooler that has a solid price for its size and quality. The only drawback is that the straps/buckles can fail on rare occasions.

Pros

  • Good insulation
  • Durable
  • Looks good
  • Lots of size options
  • Leakproof
  • Keeps things warm or cold
  • Ok price

Cons

  • Straps/buckle can break

Product Information

  • 21 x 10 x 12 inches
  • 5 layer insulation
  • Leakproof
  • Exterior pocket
  • 24-hour ice guarantee
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The Sixer - Mountainsmith

Mountainsmith The Sixer Soft Sided Coolers, Ice Grey

If there was ever a soft cooler designed for one man and his beer, its this guy. The Sixer from Mountainsmith is made specifically for six-pack bottles or cans so you can go from the store to your favorite spot in one swoop with your favorite beer.

It comes with a PEVA waterproof seam-sealed lining that keeps the outside dry and your beers wet and cold. There isn’t anything fancy about the cooling, I mean 6 beers never last that long, so who needs ice for 24 hours in this situation. 

The bag is durable, it looks good, the zippers work nicely and there is even a bottle opener included. The only drawback is that the lining does wear away eventually.

Overall a great bag with an awesome price that is fit for purpose.

Pros

  • Bottle opener
  • Waterproof
  • Great price
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Inner lining wears

Product Information

  • 11.5 x 6 x 9
  • Waterproof seams
  • Leakproof
  • Bottle opener included
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Best Choice

YETI Hopper

YETI Hopper Two 20, Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue

If you’re in the outdoors business having to provide lunches and drinks alfresco on a daily basis, you can’t beat YETI Hopper as far as durability goes. And although they’re probably the most expensive out there, they look good and they’ll last longer than any other soft cooler.

Oh, and did I mention they’re probably one of the best at cooling too! They use a closed-cell rubber foam that gives far better cold-hold that most other soft-sided coolers. The inner-lining is FDA approved and antimicrobial, therefore resistant odors or any growth. It’s also super easy to clean, just wipe anything unwanted away.

The high-quality zipper is tough to break and is made for a similar design used in hazmat suits. This means pretty nothing is getting out once that zipper is zipped, making the bag 100% leakproof and keeping it even colder.

The outside is made is be super durable, waterproof and resistant to UV damage. Your YETI Hopper will survive in the wild and still look good doing it. There is even MOLLE webbing so you can attach any extra tools you might need.

Overall the Yeti Hopper is an amazing soft cooler but it’s only really worth the investment if you’re going to use it every day.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Well-made
  • Looks good
  • Excellent at cooling
  • 100% Leakproof
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No pocket

Product Information

  • 25 x 12 x 18 inches
  • Antimicrobial
  • FDA approved
  • Leakproof
  • Waterproof
  • UV resistant
  • Molle webbing
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Polar Bear Soft Cooler

Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Original Soft Cooler Black

This is an awesome soft cooler from Polar Bear at an incredible price. They have tried to make this soft cooler pretty much indestructible for under $100.

Let’s start by looking at the outside that’s made from rugged 1000D luggage grade Nylon that’s scratch-resistant, double hemmed and anchor stitched for extra durability. 

The lining is made from TPU double-coated nylon and is meant to be the most durable and longest-lasting lining ever used in a soft cooler. It also antimicrobial, leakproof and easy to clean.

Now to the insulation that keep’s ice frozen 24 hours or more in 100+ degree heat, that’s saying something. The 1″thick insulation foam used in this soft cooler is the best around and features the highest density. The chance of coolness escaping from this cooler is pretty minimal.

The zippers are anti-rust YKK zippers and the handy side pocket can be embroidered with any logo you choose. The only drawback is that the cooler can leak after a few years of use, but luckily it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Durable
  • Great insulation
  • Personalized option
  • Extra pocket

Cons

  • Leaks after a few years

Product Information

  • 18 x 10 x 12 inches
  • Personalized
  • FDA approved
  • Antimicrobial
  • YKK Zipper
  • Ltd Lifetime Warranty
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What To Look For In A Soft Cooler

Materials

How long your soft cooler lasts and how well it keeps things cold are dependent on what it is made of. The best materials include kavas, TPU, PVC varieties, and high-d nylons.

If you want your cooler to last and work well, make sure it’s made of these and check for any added coatings or treatments that might make it even better.

But, it’s not only about the materials, it’s also about how they are put together.

Construction

Most of the time, coolers are used to keep food and drinks cold. And drinks are heavy, that is why some people prefer a cooler backpack. If you have a 24 can cooler, the cooler will have to be pretty tough to hold the weight of 24 drinks plus ice and water.

Soft coolers, therefore, have to be very durable and well put together to manage to carry all that weight around all the time. Once you have found a cooler you like with the right material, be sure to check they have been put together using heat/laser welding, multi seam/boxed sticking and have reinforcements.

Cooling Properties

The first question here is, how cold do you need your cooler to be? If you’re going on a week-long camping trip, then you’ll want it to hold ice as long as possible. If you’re just using it for day trips or picnics in the park, you’ll only need ice for a day.

The insulation technologies vary from cooler to cooler along with the price. The longer things stay cold for the better the insulation, inner/outer materials, design, quality, the higher the price.

Buy a cooler that fits your cooling needs and above, don’t scrimp out as you’ll only be disappointed.

Size

Size as always is a personal choice. Are you using your cooler to keep the fish you catch on ice? Or simply have a picnic with some friends? The size should reflect the purpose.

There are a range of sizes in this review to suit anything from big family picnics, long camping trips, to a one-man lunch cooler. My advice is to always get one size up from what you think you need, just to be sure.

Straps, Zips, and Buckles

The whole idea around a soft-sided cooler is that it’s portable. This makes the straps, zips and buckles key. If any of these breaks, your cooler is pretty much going to be left at home and may as well be a hard shell.

Make sure all the straps, buckles and zips are of high quality, adjustable and comfortable so that you can enjoy taking your cooler on adventures.

Storage

A huge advantage to soft sided coolers is that they are easy to put away. In terms of storage, some can be folded away or squeeze into that last slot into the trunk of your car, unlike a hard cooler that always seems to take up the entire room it is in. If this is important for you, make sure to buy a cooler that is collapsable or when empty can be rolled up or folded.

Features

Some coolers come with some added features like dry storage areas, external pockets, and MOLLE webbing. These can be very useful to store any extras you may need on your day out. Not all coolers come with these extras so if that’s what makes the difference to you, make sure to look out for it.

Manufacturer

It’s always good to be loyal to an outdoor/cooler manufacturer that you know makes good quality products. This way you’ll avoid disappointment and get to enjoy using the cooler you choose for a long time.

Our Favorites

Here are our top choices from the review.

The best allrounder is the AO Coolers Original. This guy not only looks good but is built with durability in mind. It’ll go anywhere, stay cool and won’t break the bank either. 

AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Charcoal, 36-Can
1,662 Reviews
AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Charcoal, 36-Can
  • Soft-sided cooler with high-density insulation, a removable shoulder strap, and side pocket
  • Twice the insulation of other soft-sided coolers; guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree weather

The best on a budget is the Arctic Zone Titan. This is quite an amazing cooler for the price. It’s a great size, keeps things cold for a long time and pretty much does everything you expect of a cooler with a much higher price. 

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Tote, White
1,324 Reviews
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Tote, White
  • Deep Freeze high performance insulation with radiant heat barrier
  • Interior Therma-Flect radiant barrier that reflects heat rather than absorbing it

The best of the best is the YETI Hopper. YETI are the best cooler brand around and have been for a while now. The YETI Hopper is almost indestructible, it keeps things super cool and looks good while doing it. 

YETI Hopper Two 20, Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
443 Reviews
YETI Hopper Two 20, Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
  • The YETI Hopper Two 20 is our ice-for-days portable cooler and is tough as nails so it can be hauled anywhere you want to take it
  • The updated design of the Hopper Two means your contents go in (and out) more easily