Planning a short excursion but don't fancy the idea of limp lettuce, soggy sandwiches, and warm beer?
Then a good soft cooler is probably something you want to invest in. Hard sided ice chests are useful, but can be cumbersome and difficult to transport, especially if your destination has a long walk involved like an outing to the beach.
Some of the best soft sided coolers, like the Yeti shown in the right image, keep your perishables safe and cold, without adding the extra bulk.
There is a broad range of coolers available, from value buys to more luxury choices, and our top 5 soft cooler reviews are going to walk you through the best of the best.
So let's take a look in the detailed list below.
Soft Sided Coolers Review List
1. Yeti Field Hopper Cooler
Kicking off my list is the YETI Hopper Portable Cooler.
At a hefty price tag, this cooler is a high-end choice not suitable for the value shopper, but for those wanting the best, this is it.
Its great construction makes it a durable outdoor companion that will stand the test of time. The DryHide shell is puncture resistant and the straps are almost indestructible.
One issue with the YETI Hopper is access to the pack through the zipper opening. While the Hydrolok zippers, a design borrowed from Hazmat suits, are fantastic at preventing leaks, the placement is awkward.
If you can live with the sometimes difficult zipper opening, you won’t find a more durable high quality soft cooler than this one. We have found that ice stays cool and doesn’t melt for days on end.
It even has a cool bottle opener attached to it, perfect for your next camping trip.
Overall, the YETI Hopper is a flexible, well-made piece of gear making it the best soft ice chest on my list.
2. Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Soft Cooler
Want to explore your real wild side while still having the option of a cool beverage at the end of your trek?
If so, the Polar Bear 24 Pack Soft Cooler might be the choice for you. With its camouflaged aesthetic and sturdy build, this cooler has great ice-retention and durability.
At a price point considerably lower than the Yeti Hopper listed above, we think you will like this excellent mid-range offering from Polar Bear.
Something to be aware of is the capacity of the cooler. With ice inside you might struggle to fit in the advertised 24 pack load.
The tough nylon does make the Polar Bear a sound investment.
If you plan on frequent adventures and are a consumer looking for a good mid-level price, look no further than the Polar Bear 24 Pack.
3. RTIC 30 Soft Pack
Our favorite mid-range cooler on the list is the RTIC 30 Soft Pack.
Boasting ice retention of up to five days, a no-leak zipper, and a roomy inner, this is easily one of the best soft ice chests available online.
This cooler is a tank and well worth the higher price tag (still, much cheaper than the Yeti model).
Puncture resistant with a tough vinyl shell, the RTIC 30 Soft Pack is strong against even the smallest attacks, as it has an antimicrobial liner that prevents mildew.
Thankfully, it is UV and tear resistant as well.
The zipper can be a little tricky, but other charming design features such as the outer pocket for dry items, more than make up for it.
Yet another great soft cooler option, we think the everyday shopper will like this latest offering from RTIC.
4. IceMule Pro Coolers
At a slightly lower price, the IceMule Pro Cooler is another great mid-range choice.
In handy backpack form, it's also the most portable option on my list.
Why didn’t someone think of a cooler backpack before???
This is a great cooler for adventurers who want to stay light on their feet; a perfect fit for kayakers, concert-goers, and hikers.
You won't find a badly sewn stitch on this bag as they clearly focus on quality. The patented molded design makes this lower cost cooler surprisingly well insulated.
Durable and with 24 hours ice-retention, this is a fantastic offering for people who want to stay mobile and still have ice-cold food and drinks at the end of the day.
For those looking for a nice mobile, backpacking cooler, check out the IceMule Pro Cooler by clicking the button below.
5. AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler
The budget option on my list is the Canvas Soft Cooler by AO Coolers. With a removable shoulder strap, this is also a great portable option.
With the lowest price of the five listed, there is a slight compromise on materials and construction.
The AO Cooler might not be the most durable ice chest on my list, but it's great for shorter, less frequent outings such as parties or trips to the beach.
This canvas cooler has a roomy main section and a side pocket for dry items. It also has a leak proof liner, which for the price, easily places it as one of the best soft sided coolers around.
It’s no wonder the AO Coolers Canvas received our “Best Value” pick in 2017.
Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler
Before we conclude its worth having a quick look at the Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler.
Smaller than the other ice chests listed, this is a nifty little cooler that is great for half-day trips. It’s easy to clean, flexible and sports some nice side pockets for extra snacks.
At a very affordable price, this is a good starter cooler, or an extra pack for some snacks on route to your destination.
Check it out only if you are very limited on your budget and want to get the most affordable soft cooler on the market.
What’s The Best Soft Cooler Bag?
There are a lot of great products out there on the market but hopefully these soft cooler reviews have given you some pointers.
The abundance of choice works in your favor as you can select the best cooler for your type of trip.
High-end, thoughtfully designed, and well-constructed coolers like the YETI Hopper are going to set you back in the wallet, but will be durable and deliver on keeping your items cold for days.
Cheaper alternatives like the Polar Bear 24 pack have less ice-retention and may need to be replaced in time, but work perfectly if they are for lighter use and quick day trips.
Whichever soft ice chest you settle on, I'm sure a cool drink at the end of a long, hot day will be well worth the purchase.
Want to look beyond soft sided coolers? We put together a legit, full post with the absolute best coolers available here.