We Review The Best Soft Sided Coolers And Cooler Bags

Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler

If your trip outdoors is going to be measured in hours rather than days then there’s no need for a big, bulky, heavy duty hard cooler.

Choosing a good soft-sided cooler can be tricky though. Although soft sides don’t make for the best insulation, some coolers are better than others at keeping their contents cold.

Because they don’t always stay upright, soft coolers are more susceptible to spills and not always leak proof so ease of cleaning is also an important consideration.

Because of their soft sides it’s also important to choose a cooler that is made from tough material so that you don’t have to replace it after your first beach or camping trip.

If you’re looking for the best soft cooler that ticks these boxes then we suggest you get one of these from our list of soft cooler reviews.

Soft Sided Coolers Reviews

1. Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler

Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler

When it comes to rough and tough, than this Polar Bear cooler is near the front of the pack.

They’ve made the outer shell from Cordura nylon and high-density foam, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a soft cooler that is more durable.

All that lining doesn’t just mean that it’ll last a long time but it also makes for great insulation. This Polar Bear cooler will keep ice frozen and drinks cold the whole day. There’s no need to lug a heavy duty solid cooler around on your next day trip when you’ve got this option for the best soft sided cooler for the money.

2. ENGEL USA Cooler Bag Backpack

ENGEL USA Cooler Bag Backpack

If you’ve got the cash and you just have to have one of the best soft sided coolers on the market then this is the one you want.

Engel is famous for their high performance ice chests and now they’ve produced a soft-sided cooler with exceptional performance.

It holds 24 cans and its ice life is 3 days! We figure that means that you’ll run out of beverages before you run out of ice during your day trip.

The puncture resistant liner has anti-microbial protection and is removable which makes cleaning a breeze. The shoulder strap makes it really comfortable to carry even when fully loaded with food and drinks.

3. AO Coolers Soft Cooler

AO Coolers Soft Cooler

When it comes to extreme performance, than this soft cooler is about as good as it gets.

This AO cooler has an ice life of 24 hours in 120 degree heat! That’s better than a lot of hard coolers can manage.

The reason it works so well is because they didn’t hold back when adding insulation to the lining. Plus, it's comfortable to carry with it's shoulder strap and handles.

They’ve made the liner from the same tough material that waterbeds and above ground pools are made of so it’s not likely to tear any time soon. It retains its shape really well when in use and folds up easily when you want to store it.

4. eBags Crew Cooler II

eBags Crew Cooler II

While these coolers were initially targeted at airline crew and pilots (hence the name) they have quickly become a very popular choice for people looking for the best cooler bag for non-commercial use.

Because they were designed with long term, daily use and easy storage in mind these coolers are perfect for a road trip and are great beach coolers.

The insulated main compartment does a great job of keeping things cool while the top and front zipper pockets are a convenient place to stash items that don’t need to be cooled. If you somehow manage to puncture or cut the inner lining there’s no need to throw the cooler away because the lining is replaceable.

5. Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler With Hard Liner

Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler With Hard Liner

With it’s ability to hold 16 cans, this cooler is perfect for a trip to the beach or even for packing your lunch for work.

Although it has a soft outer shell, it has a hard PEVA liner inside that adds rigidity when you want it.

If you want to make the cooler more flexible to pack into a tight spot then the hard liner is easily removable. It’s really easy to clean and the flexible PEVA liner has antimicrobial properties that will resist mold, odor and mildew.

It does a pretty good job of keeping your beverages cool, although perhaps not as well as some of the more expensive coolers above. If you’re looking for a cheap soft sided cooler with great features then this is a good option.


If you’re trying to choose the best soft cooler then make sure you choose one that stacks up like ones included in the soft cooler reviews above. There’s nothing worse than a soft cooler bag that starts getting moldy and begins to smell, so make sure you choose one with antimicrobial properties and is easy to clean.

The cheaper coolers have thin linings that puncture easily so choose a cooler with a tough, or at least replaceable, lining. You don’t want to have to buy another cooler 3 months down the line because the zipper broke or the lining tore so rather spend a little more money to get the best cooler bag you can.

Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com

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