The Best Soft Cooler Options for Camping Reviewed

Picking the best soft cooler may seem a simple task, but the wrong choice can land you in hot water. No matter how long you're going to be camping, chances are you'll have something you want to keep cold.

Coolers for camping can fit anything from extra water to a full set of burgers and hot dogs. When you're camping, the best soft cooler can make all the difference between a delicious meal on the campfire and a trek back to civilization.

THE BEST SOFT COOLERS FOR CAMPING OR HIKING

WHY USE A SOFT COOLER WHEN YOU'RE CAMPING?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SOFT AND HARD COOLER?

HOW DO YOU PICK THE BEST SOFT COOLER?

HOW WE NARROWED DOWN THE BEST SOFT COOLER

We used two main sources to help us trim down our picks for the best soft cooler. One was professional feedback, and the other was customer reviews.

Experts have a few big advantages over customers. For one, they have the resources to test many of the best soft coolers at the same time. While everyday campers may not have the money to buy and try multiple coolers, professional websites such as Popular Mechanics do.

Sites like these can test multiple coolers against each other at a time, and they can test them against a rubric. This is particularly helpful to you because you have an empirical way to measure the quality of each cooler.

On the other hand, there are customer reviews. Customers don't necessarily have the time or money to test a dozen coolers against each other. But what they do have is a massive numbers advantage over professional reviews. Where an expert article offers the views of no more than a few testers, customers can give dozens, hundreds, or even thousands.

Because users can give such a large consensus, we've put their opinion over professionals. Every choice for the best soft cooler has a rating of 4.0 stars or higher out of 5 on Amazon.

OUR TOP PICKS FOR SOFT-SIDED COOLERS

We've listed our top picks for the best soft cooler here. You can find them in alphabetical order.

AO COOLERS TRAVELER SOFT COOLER WITH HIGH-DENSITY INSULATION

AO Coolers Traveler Original Soft Cooler with High-Density...
  • Soft-sided cooler with...
  • Guaranteed to hold ice for 24...
  • Perfect for boating, fishing,...
  • Features two extended side...
  • Twice the insulation of other...

The Traveler Soft Cooler from AO Coolers uses a messenger bag shoulder strap as well as a pair of handles on top. It is lined with high-density polyurethane foam that will keep ice cold for 24 hours. It works in temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll never have to worry about warm food or drinks.

Another useful feature of this cooler is the polyethylene film that lines the inside of the bag. This prevents moisture retention and keeps the bag from sweating. That way, no unwanted moisture will gather on you or your other gear.

On Amazon, the AO Coolers Traveler Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation earned 4.4 stars out of 5 from 190 customers.

ARCTIC ZONE TITAN DEEP FREEZE ZIPPERLESS HARDBODY COOLER

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless Cooler, Blue
  • Deep Freeze high performance...
  • Patented, "flip open"...
  • Ultra Safe leak proof lining...
  • Rhino-Tech water and stain...
  • Adjustable Backsaver shoulder...

The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler has a range of sizes. With 16, 30, and 48-can sizes, you can store food and drinks for anything from a day trip to a long weekend at the campsite.

The "Zipperless" in this cooler's name refers to the flip-open, Velcro-closed lid. It stays closed when you need it to, and still keeps everything cold inside. Ice stays cold in this cooler for two to three days. Plus, with a hard shell and interior shelf, everything stays protected and separate inside.

More than 1,600 Amazon customers rated this cooler 4.2 stars out of 5. It also earned the Amazon's Choice Award.

BISON 24-CAN SOFTPAK COOLER BAG

BISON COOLERS 24 Can Insulated Ice Chest Bag for Beer, Soda,...
  • PREMIUM COOLING: Keeps ice...
  • HEAVY DUTY DURABILITY:...
  • 30 DAY TRIAL & 2-YEAR...
  • THE PERFECT SIZE: Holds 24...
  • MADE IN THE USA: We take pride...

The 24-Can Softpak Cooler Bag from Bison Coolers is sturdy, protecting cans and keeping ice cold for 24 hours in 120-degree heat. Its rugged vinyl exterior can withstand almost 400 pounds of tearing pressure. It will take a lot to tear this one open!

You'll be able to pack a lot with you using this bag. It has a 24-can capacity, as the name suggests. But you can also pack 10 pounds of ice, so anything you stuff inside will stay extra cold. It also has nearly an inch of insulation between your drinks and the elements.

On Amazon, the Bison 24-Can Softpak Cooler Bag earned 4.4 stars out of 5. You can also find it on the Bison Coolers website.

CLEVERMADE TAHOE COOLER

CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag with Shoulder Strap:...
  • Portable small pop up cooler...
  • Padded adjustable shoulder...
  • Leak-proof insulation liner...
  • The perfect gift for that hard...
  • When closed, the leak proof...

This versatile soft-sided cooler from CleverMade may be able to carry 30 cans when full, but don't let that turn you off if the size is an issue. When it's empty, this bag collapses down to be less than 3 inches thick. You can keep it anywhere until the need arises.

You can carry the CleverMade Tahoe Cooler as a messenger bag or by its handles. Iced beverages inside will stay cold for up to 24 hours, and you can open bottles with the included bottle opener. This cooler also comes in a 50-can capacity variant.

CleverMade's Tahoe Cooler earned 4.3 stars out of 5 from over 200 Amazon customers. You can also purchase this cooler at the CleverMade website.

COLEMAN 16-CAN COOLER

Coleman Soft Cooler Bag | 16 Can Cooler, Blue
  • INSULATION: Main compartment...
  • CAPACITY: Holds up to 16 cans
  • REMOVABLE LINER: Treated with...
  • CUSTOMIZED FIT: Shoulder...
  • STORAGE OPTIONS: Front...

This soft-sided cooler from camping cornerstone Coleman has the versatility to fit any scenario. Its interior hard shell is removable, so you can use either ice or ice packs to keep drinks cold.

Since you may get the soft lining wet, Coleman has added an antimicrobial treatment. This prevents mold, mildew, and odors from collecting in the soft fabric. While you should use the hard liner with ice, the soft liner is heat-sealed to prevent any leaks.

On Amazon, the Coleman 16-Can Cooler earned 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 1,800 customer reviews. You can also find this cooler on the Coleman website.

COLEMAN 24-HOUR 30-CAN COOLER

Coleman Removable Liner Cooler
  • Holds 30 cans, Dimensions :...
  • Removable hard plastic liner...
  • Use ice or ice substitutes to...
  • Adjustable shoulder strap for...
  • Front zippered pocket and...

Coleman's 24-Hour 30-Can Cooler gives you affordability and reliability with plenty of space for your refreshments. With this cooler, you don't have to worry about your wallet or your water.

This cooler lacks a hard inner liner but includes one with antimicrobial properties. Since you don't want to keep letting heat in, a top hatch gives you easy access while the zipper keeps everything sealed shut.

More than 1,100 customers on Amazon rated this cooler 4.3 stars out of 5. You can also find it on the Coleman website.

ICEMULE PRO

IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag - Hands-Free,...
  • THE WORLD’S COLDEST...
  • KEEP YOUR HANDS HANDY – the...
  • A SUPER SPACE-SAVER – forget...
  • WATERPROOF AND FAST, EASY...
  • ICEMULE CLASSIC PRO, LARGE,...

The ICEMULE Pro is unique for being the only backpack cooler that we recommend here. This hands-free design frees you up for more strenuous activity, such as rock scrambling.

The ICEMULE Pro is a cylinder-shaped, roll-top backpack. This may not seem as secure as some of the other coolers here. But, it can keep 18 or more cans cold for 24 hours.

On Amazon, this cooler earned 4.3 stars out of 5 from 200 customers. You can buy it and its larger variants from the ICEMULE website.

POLAR BEAR COOLERS 24-PACK NYLON SOFT COOLER

Polar Bear Coolers - Nylon Line - Quality Like No Other from...
  • INSULATION - Keep ice 24 hours...
  • INTERIOR LINER -...
  • OUTER SHELL - Rugged 1000D...
  • ZIPPER - Super Heavy-Duty YKK...
  • SIDE ZIPPER POCKET - This side...

The Polar Bear Coolers 24-Pack Nylon Soft Cooler is a true soft cooler. It has no hard inner shell, although it doesn't suffer for that. This soft nylon cooler is both versatile and durable.

This leakproof cooler has zippers and buckles that it advertises as unbreakable. It has an FDA-approved nylon shell with microbial treatment, so your food will stay fresh. Plus, it can keep 24 cans and 10 pounds of ice-cold for 24 hours.

More than 1,300 Amazon customers rated this cooler at 4.3 stars out of 5. You can also buy it at the Polar Bear Coolers website.

YETI HOPPER TWO 20 PORTABLE COOLER

YETI Hopper Two 20, Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
  • The YETI Hopper Two 20 is our...
  • The updated design of the...
  • A tapered body makes extended...
  • Features a waterproof DryHide...
  • HydroLok Zipper (a design...

YETI has built a reputation for making the most rugged coolers on the market. But that reputation doesn't come with a low price tag.

The exterior of the Hopper TWO 20 Portable Cooler is resistant to puncture, mildew, and UV rays. It won't only protect your drinks; it'll look good for years. Plus, this cooler can keep your ice and drinks cold for days on end.

More than 400 customers rated this cooler 4.3 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

THE BEST SOFT COOLER FOR ANY CAMPING OCCASION

cooling champagne

Image by: Pixabay

This may seem like a lot of effort for something you may as well pick up at the supermarket. But make no mistake, the best soft cooler can make or break your camping or hiking trip. Choosing a poorly made one can end up in warm drinks and spoiled food.

Fortunately, there are plenty of soft coolers that fit into any budget. Coleman makes affordable and reliable soft coolers. You don't have to go all out for a YETI, but you can if you want to!

What are your favorite things to pack in your cooler while you camp? Let us know in the comments!

The Out sider

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