Whether it’s for a few hours to keep an office or school lunch cool or for a picnic, day trip or even a few days camping, there’s nothing like storing food and drinks in a good soft cooler bag to keep it all cold and fresh.
Why use a soft cooler bag? These work just as well as coolers made from solid materials but have the advantage of being more lightweight and portable, plus they fold away nicely when not in use. Soft cooler bags are specially insulated to not only keep food cold, but some are also constructed to keep ice frozen for up to three days, making them ideal for a long road trip or camping.
Soft cooler bags come in a variety of sizes and colors with different features like extra storage pockets, padded shoulder straps, roomy interiors and waterproof material to meet a variety of occasions and situations.
We feature five soft coolers you can purchase online. Read on to find one that meets your needs.
Top Pick Best Large Capacity: VAKKER 36 Can Insulated Cooler Bag
For anyone who loves to camp or go on extended road trips, it’s always a trick to keep food and drinks fresh and cold for a long time. Having everything in one place instead of scattered in a number of insulated containers and bags can also be challenging if there is a lot of food and beverages. That’s why for situations such as these, we recommend this awesome insulated soft cooler bag from Vakker that has a large capacity and can keep ice frozen for up to three days.
Just how large is this cooler? It can fit 36 drink cans with five pounds of ice, or 1.84 gallons by volume. This rugged soft cooler bag measures 20 inches long x 16 inches wide x 10 inches high and features closed-cell foam insulation on all sides. This provides exceptional cold retention that will keep ice frozen for up to three days.
The double-stitched handles hold in place for the heaviest loads and the wide mouth opening allows you to easily fill the inside without stretching the material or forcing anything in to fit. The material is 100 percent leak proof and waterproof, and even the zippers are waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about spilling liquids in your car, RV, or campsite. Tough and durable, the RF welded construction outer shell provides superior resistance to mildew, UV rays, punctures, cuts and abrasions.
Finally, the adjustable ergonomic backpack straps make this large capacity soft cooler bag easy to carry. Whether you are fishing, camping, boating or traveling across the country, this soft cooler with go the distance, and more.
- Large capacity carries up to 32 cans and five pounds of ice
- Closed-cell foam insulation on all sides provides exceptional cold retention
- Leak proof and water proof
- Double-stitched handles
- Adjustable ergonomic backpack straps
- May be too large for some needs
- More expensive than other models
Top Pick Best Overall: Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
There are many outings that are fun – picnics, baseball games, tailgate parties, a day on the boat. All of these activities involve lots of food and beverages. But it can all quickly turn from happy to sad if the refreshments and snacks don’t stay cold and fresh. Packing it all into a good medium-sized soft-sided cooler is one of the best way to avoid ruining a good time.
To keep whatever you prepare to eat for your next outing nice and cold, we recommend this mid-sized soft cooler bag from Coleman that has a capacity to hold 16 drink cans. The insulated main compartment keeps food and liquids cold, and the heat-welded seams prevent leaks.
Other features of this soft cooler include a front-zippered pocket for plenty of extra storage space, side mesh pockets, a mesh pocket on the lid and bungees on the lid for stowing more things. An adjustable shoulder strap and large side handles make the cooler comfortable and easy to carry when it’s full.
The bag is soft on the outside and has a hard FDA-approved-for-food-contact plastic liner on the inside to protect food from being crushed. The removable liner has been treated with anti-microbials to resist odor, mold and fungus, and can be removed for easy cleaning.
- Heat-welded seams prevent leaks
- Many outer mesh pockets for storage of dry goods
- Adjustable shoulder straps and side handles
- Removable inside plastic liner
- Fits 16 cans tightly so only thin or small ice packs will fit
Top Pick Best Versatile: RTIC Insulated Soft Cooler Bag
If you’re looking for a lightweight and portable multipurpose soft cooler designed to keep ice cold for days, then this RTIC model may be what you need. This soft cooler bag features a 100 percent leak proof zipper and a wide flip mouth so it’s easy to fill and easy to see everything inside at a glance.
Up to two inches of premium closed-cell foam is used to insulate this cooler so you can keep up to 20 drink cans and ice cold. Constructed with a heavy-duty nylon waterproof shell, this bag does not sweat and is puncture and tear resistant. Plus, the interior has an anti-microbial liner that resists mold.
This is the perfect mid-sized soft cooler to take on a fishing or camping trip. The comfortable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry, or you can hold it by the two top handles that fit together with a Velcro closure for more stability.
- Stay-dry 100 percent waterproof material
- Heavy duty nylon shell
- Anti-microbial liner resists mold
- Lightweight and durable with tough, laminated fabric and welded seams
- Wide, flip-top easy access lid
- Single zipper closure can become difficult to open
Top Pick Best Cooler Backpack: TOURIT Cooler Backpack
Sometimes you need to be out for the whole day. Maybe it’s to study in the library for a few hours or perhaps you’ve planned a hike in the hills alone or with friends. That’s when you’ll need a backpack that is also a cooler bag, insulated so you can bring and keep whatever food and drinks you’ll need for the day cold and fresh.
We recommend this lightweight but sturdy insulated cooler backpack that is perfect for a day at the beach, hiking or spending all day in the library. Made from leak resistant, durable fabric, the high density insulation and lead proof liner on the inside work together to make sure your food is kept below 15 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 hours when using ice packs.
For ultimate comfort and portability, this backpack is equipped with padded shoulder straps and special ventilated material on the back so your clothes don’t become uncomfortably wet from condensation. While the cooler backpack is lightweight and compact, it doesn’t skimp on space: The main storage compartment is roomy and ideal to pack up to 30 drink cans or lots of food and snacks. With two side mesh pockets and two large front zipper pockets to keep utensils and other items, you’ll have enough room for everything you need. And there’s more: the lid also has a zippered pocket, plus a mesh pocket on the strap is a perfect fit for a cell phone, and for added convenience, the strap has a beer bottle opener.
- Lightweight soft cooler backpack
- Leak resistant
- Interior large enough to hold 30 drink cans
- Many outside pockets to hold napkins, plates and other accessories
- Mesh pocket on shoulder strap to hold cell phone
- Bottle opener on strap
- Regular ice packs put directly into the cooler may affect the waterproof material inside
Top Pick Best Portable: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 60 Can Rolling Cooler with AT Cart
Many soft cooler bags offer up a lot of space to store food, drinks and icepacks. They have waterproof, insulated interiors and other features like padded shoulder straps and handles that can accommodate many situations. And while all that is great, it is not very helpful for anyone who is not able to carry the cooler bag once it’s full. If you are looking for a sturdy, well-constructed soft cooler bag that comes with a cart equipped with all-terrain wheels, then you may want to consider this Titan from Arctic Zone.
This rolling soft cooler bag is large enough to fit 60 cans and will keep ice frozen for up to three days. Equipped with high performance SuperFoam insulation with a radiant heat barrier and a triple layer ColdBlock base that work together to create superior cooling, this bag does not disappoint.
The cooler’s exterior is made of tough, water and stain-resistant Rhino-Tech and also includes an expandable, insulated front compartment for extra storage. The detachable all-terrain cart features an expandable, extra wide base, all terrain wheels, a retractable, telescopic hook ‘n’ go handle and can hold up to 100 pounds. And if you want to use the cooler without the cart, it’s not a problem. Adjustable shoulder straps center the load weight to make it the bag easier to carry.
Other features include a leak proof lining with Microban to protect against bacterial odors and stains and the bag’s exterior is water, stain, abrasion and puncture-resistant and will not crack over time. And when you’re done, both the cooler and cart collapse for easy storage.
With this convenient cooler bag and cart combo, you can take everything you need to wherever you want to go and not have to worry it will be too heavy to carry.
- Easy access lid
- Deep freeze performance insulation
- Therma-Flect radiant barrier interior
- Ultra safe leak proof, easy clean lining
- Insulated front pocket
- Carry handles
- Adjustable backsaver shoulder strap with anti-slip shoulder pad
- Comes with a collapsible cart
- Zipper is not leak proof
- More expensive than other models
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a soft cooler so you will choose one that best suits your needs:
Capacity: Soft coolers come in a range of sizes, which is great since you can choose a size that suits your specific needs. There’s really no use purchasing something too large as food and beverages stay cold longer when they are packed closely together rather than loosely in a large area. And if the bag is too small, you’ll have to squeeze everything in and risk tearing the bag – or leaving things out.
Functionality: The main feature of a soft cooler is to keep your food and beverages cold. That may seem obvious, but not all cooler bags are created equal. Look for one that has top-quality insulation so you won’t be disappointed by icepacks going soft too soon and food not staying cold.
Choose a soft cooler that has strong handles and a padded shoulder strap. The bag must be comfortable to carry, especially if you have to walk any distance. Some large ones that are very heavy when full are equipped with a convenient cart for more portability. Consider a soft cooler backpack if you’re going on a day trip or a hike, since a backpack distributes the weight more evenly, making it easier to carry for long walks.
Another feature that will affect the functionality of a soft cooler is the ruggedness of the exterior material; it should be water proof and resistant to tears. A good soft cooler also has an interior that is waterproof and leak proof, with sturdy zippers that are easy to open and close.
Look for a model that has extra interior pockets. This gives added storage and also keeps wet and dry items separate. A large flip top opening is a good choice since it makes filling the cooler easier.