7 Best Soft Coolers For Camping And Outdoors

Rilor Staff
Update: August 16, 2021
Table of Contents

It's soft, packable, and portable, but more importantly, it keeps your drinks cold! I'll cover the best soft coolers in this article to find out which one can keep your camping food fresh and delectable!

The importance of coolers in camping can't be overstated.  Imagine your whole camping trip was the best you ever had, and it ended with a soggy steak sandwich. Yeah, that would make me mad too. To avoid this occurrence, soft coolers are essential for keeping food fresh during the entire process of packing to unpacking campgrounds.

Here's a list of soft coolers to help with choosing the right soft cooler for your camping needs.

7 Best Soft Coolers

 Capacity Ice Retention
YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler 7.9 litersUp to 3 days
REI Co-op Cool Haul 12 Soft Cooler 14 litersUp to 3 days
IceMule Classic Cooler 15 litersUp to 1 day
RovR Products KeepR + IceR Combo Insulated Tote 10 litersUp to 1 day
YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Cooler 23.8 litersUp to 3 days
CleverMade Tahoe Collapsible Cooler Bag 30 litersUp to 8 hours
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler 45.3 daysUp to 2 days

1. YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler


The soft-sided Yeti Hopper Flip 8 is desired by many campers. It features a waterproof and highly rugged DryHide that can withstand the elements. It resists abrasion and punctures, too. Moreover, the cooler is sturdy enough to block off harmful UV rays. With its patented ColdCell rubber insulation, it can keep ice for extended periods. Technically, this unit excels in ice retention, so you can always rely on it on any of your outdoor trips. 

The Hopper Flip 8 has a shoulder strap, as well as a top handle that allows you to carry it on your back or by hand. The dry-bag style closure is secure and doesn't leak. The soft-sided cooler is designed to be flexible, so it can conform to uneven surfaces in your car or boat. It won't slide around as rigid coolers do. It has a wide opening that has the HydroLok zipper to keep things seamless and leakproof. Of course, it allows easy access to your goods, too!


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 7.8 liters
  • Materials - EVA / ColdCell rubber insulation / thermoplastic urethane
  • Weight - 2.8 pounds
  • Dimensions - 11.5 inches x 10.5 inches x 8 inches

2. REI Co-op Cool Haul 12 Soft Cooler


The REI Co-op has a lot of soft-sided coolers to offer, and the Cool Haul 12 is among those exceptional options you can pick. It's large enough to handle up to 8 pounds of ice and 12 cans of beer and soft drink inside. Meanwhile, it has a retention rating of up to 65 hours or almost three days, allowing it to become your perfect partner for multi-day camping trips. 

Its inner box has fully seamless insulation for guaranteed leak-proof quality. This insulating material is also removable so that you can wash it easily. Meanwhile, its outer case is constructed from durable ripstop nylon. Interestingly, you can remove its liner and make the outer case as a tote! Carrying this cooler has never been easy, thanks to the presence of side handles, top handle, and shoulder strap. Its daisy-chain webbing can provide you multiple attachment points for your accessories and essentials. 


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 14 liters
  • Materials - Polyester / ripstop nylon
  • Weight - 3 pounds
  • Dimensions - 14 inches x 11 inches x 11 inches

3. IceMule Classic Cooler


When it comes to portability and convenience, I am pretty sure that the IceMule Classic Cooler can give you all that. This unit features a backpack-style construction, enabling you to carry it as comfortably as possible. It's an ideal choice if you intend to have an overnight trip with yourself or with your partner; after all, it has ice retention of up to 24 hours and can hold up to 12 cans of beverages. 

Both its external shell and inner layer are tough. They are noticeably thicker than other sided-coolers. Furthermore, this cooler offers a waterproof construction, thanks to its welded seams. Keep in mind that this cooler doesn't have any zippers. Its access point is a TriFold DriTop opening, ensuring that the ice remains intact while keeping the air out. 


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 15 liters
  • Materials - Nylon / vinyl
  • Weight - 2 pounds
  • Dimensions - 16 inches x 10 inches x 10 inches

4. RovR Products KeepR + IceR Combo Insulated Tote


For those campers who are looking for something unique and out of the ordinary, this insulated soft-sided tote from RovR Products will certainly appeal to you. The RovR Products KeepR flaunts a pail-like architecture; it is highly durable, as compared to standard soft-sided coolers, and features a number of movable inserts. You can adjust the positioning of these inserts so that you can organize your food and ingredients properly. 

It is safe to say that this unit is quite similar to a picnic basket. But certainly, it goes beyond that. It also serves as a portable bar and mobile cocktail caddy. Technically, the IceR should be placed within the KeepR to extend its ice-retention capability. The KeepR can hold up to four spirit bottles, three standard bottles, utensils, condiments, and other camping ingredients. Meanwhile, IceR can hold up to 3 pounds of ice on its double-wall, stainless steel body. 


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 10 liters
  • Materials - Closed-cell foam / TPU polyurethane / plastic / stainless steel
  • Weight - 5 pounds
  • Dimensions - 12 inches x 11 x 11 inches

5. YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Cooler


The YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Cooler offers an ergonomic mechanism that lets you carry it as a backpack. It makes hauling your ingredients and food as conveniently as possible, regardless of the distance. The padded straps prevent your shoulders from aching throughout the journey. It also has a detachable hip belt and chest strap, but I suggest that you keep these on the cooler for added security and stability. The cooler has a tall and wide construction, enabling it to gain a capacity of almost 24 liters. This cooler can hold up to 20 cans of beverages, including the ice. 

Of course, you can guarantee that its insulation is never shabby. The Coldwell rubber foam insulation has been integrated into its interior to keep ice for as long as possible. Specifically, the BackFlip has ice retention of up to three days, which is downright impressive already. On the outside, the DryHide shell protects your precious commodities from UV rays, punctures, and damages caused by mildew. 


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 23.8 liters
  • Materials - Foam insulation / double-sided TPU urethane
  • Weight - 5 pounds
  • Dimensions - 19 inches x 14 inches x 10 inches

6. CleverMade Tahoe Collapsible Cooler Bag


The CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag is an impressive option for those who are searching for a large-capacity cooler. This one boasts a burly 8-gallon capacity, enabling it to hold up to 50 cans of your favorite beverage. Using it while camping with your family and friends will certainly be delightful. But just because it is big, doesn't it is flimsy. In fact, it has a steel wire frame on its top and a solid base to ensure that it can have an outdoor-ready construction. 

Moreover, it comes with the patented SnapHinges on its sides to optimize its structural rigidity every time you open it. If you are not using the cooler, you simply push the hinges inside so that it will fold flatly. Interestingly, this cooler has three insulation layers; it also has a sonically-welded PEVA for a seamless and leakproof performance. 


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 3O liters
  • Materials - Polyester
  • Weight - 2.1 pounds
  • Dimensions - 18.25 inches x 12.25 inches x 12 inches 

7. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler


One of the most innovative soft coolers you can get today is the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze. This particular model imitates the performance of a hard-sided cooler. It features exceptional insulation due to the presence of radiant heat barriers that deflect heat. Its front compartment is also insulated to provide more storage space for your food and beverages. 

Specifically, this unit has the proprietary ColdBlock base, which features three thick SuperFoam layers. They work by preventing the conductive heat in the ground from entering the interior of the cooler. This cooler also has the leak-proof Ultra Safe lining with Microban. They protect the interior from bacterial odor and potential food spoilages. Meanwhile, the exterior is embedded with Rhino-Tech water and stain treatment. It makes the exterior shell resistant to abrasion, punctures, and scratches. With its detachable, all-terrain cart, you will be able to transport it conveniently, even if it is packed with 100 pounds of your favorite food and consumables.


  • Type - Soft-sided
  • Capacity - 45.3 liters
  • Materials - Nylon / SuperFoam
  • Weight - 6.77 pounds
  • Dimensions - 14.75 inches x 15.5 inches x 19 inches

Hard-Sided Vs. Soft-Sided Coolers

You can't go wrong with either soft or hard coolers if you're heading out for a day on the beach or a long trip with your friends. Even though soft-sided coolers cost less, they aren't as sturdy and durable as hard-sided soft coolers. And soft-sided coolers are susceptible to damages from dents or abrasions on a soft plastic.

Fortunately, some of the soft-sided coolers, such as those that I've featured here, have been crafted to exhibit impressive levels of durability and damage resistance. If you're heading out on a short trip and soft-sided coolers are more convenient to carry, soft coolers are a good choice. 

If you plan to go camping for days at a time, hard-sided coolers are preferred for their sturdiness. They can also keep soft drinks cold longer than soft coolers.

How To Choose The Best Soft Coolers

Even if soft-sided soft coolers are less expensive, you may still need to inspect their qualities and features. In this way, you wouldn't end up buying a bad unit. When choosing a soft cooler, take into account the following considerations:

  • Durability - If you plan to camp, soft coolers need to be durable. Look for soft coolers made of thick and firm materials.  You need the soft cooler to be durable enough to hold your soft drinks and other contents in place for days. Soft coolers made of strong materials will be able to handle moving around.
  • Ice retention - Soft coolers need to be able to hold ice for one to four days, depending on how often you plan to refresh the ice supply. If you only intend to make an overnight trip, then coolers with 24-hour ice retention should be enough. But for extended activities, you might want to get a unit that has more insulating capabilities.
  • Easy to Carry - Look for soft coolers with sturdy handles and wheels. You also want a soft cooler that's easy to clean by just hosing it down with water. An internal liner made of plastic or nylon may be easier to clean, but some soft coolers require you to scrub hard-to-reach crevices.
  • Size - Durable soft coolers are sometimes bulky and heavy. Choose soft coolers with a size that will meet your storage and transport needs while still being compact and easy to carry.

Additional Tips In Buying A Soft Cooler

A soft cooler's durability, insulation, and size can all affect how well it performs on the trail or in your car. Before you invest loads of money in soft-sided coolers for transporting food to outdoor festivals or camping trips, make sure that it is the right choice for your lifestyle and needs.

If soft coolers don't survive your intended use, hard coolers may be a better investment. Hard coolers cost more than soft coolers but are sturdier and take longer to break down over time. Though they're heavier to carry, they're also more durable and can withstand long hours in the sun and rain.

You also want soft coolers with high insulation that won't let soft drinks go flat or warm up inside the soft cooler too quickly. A soft cooler's size should be compact enough to fit in your car but large enough to hold plenty of food and drinks you'll need.

You may want soft coolers with handy features that make your soft cooler easy to carry and clean. For example, a soft cooler with insulated pockets can keep food separate from snacks or drinks that need to be chilled for a while.

In Summary

The best soft coolers are simple, inexpensive, and compact. They can serve well on short camping and backpacking trips. They are also an ideal option if you intended to go on your own. Of course, before buying this particular amenity, always think about the soft cooler's intended use and how sturdy it needs to be.

That's it for now. If you have other inquiries, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

Other readings you may enjoy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram