Soft cooler recommendations?

I need to buy a soft cooler for a self supported adventure coming up at the end of the month.

So what are people’s experiences with soft coolers?

What do people like - any particular recommendations?

It has to fit in a kayak… $ is less of a concern than food poisoning.


My experience shows
that the soft coolers that I’ve had aren’t as efficient as hard sided ones. That said, I am now using a new NRS cooler that has a reflective inside that looks promising. In the past I have fashioned liners from foil bubble wrap type insulation and foil duct tape that increased the ice keeping capacity a great deal.

Makes soft coolers in several sizes. I have one I use for lunch at work, and a larger one I use for trips out/beer. They work very well, but likely wont keep ice frozen for days on end.

Wat ever it be, ah’ ain’t carryin’…
no dag-blamed 'yaker’s cooler!


would you do it for
a LARGE cup of freshly ground and brewed coffee brought to your tent at your earliest convenience?

Coffee, Nah! But maybe fer a Dr. Pepper


I’ve got a soft cooler that is 17+ years
I got it at Bristol Motor Speedway back in the early 90’s. I’ve replaced the zipper once, and the pull twice. It holds a 12 pack of bar bottles side by side, and plenty of ice, or more bottles and less ice. Nice carry handles with the velcro wrap, and beefy d-rings for a shoulder strap. There is one outside zip pocket roughly 6"x6" on one side. It traveled with me on the Nascar circuit for nearly 10 years, did 2 years of Truck Series travel, attended countless beach, boat, camping, and local excursions, and now is my go-to kayak cooler. Also doubles as a laptop case when dry or a pillow. The label is a little worn, but I can make out part of the model name: _ _ Mate Kool Tote

Not sure if they are still around, but here’s the company that made it.

Easy Seat, Inc. Kingsport, TN 37660


We’ve bought and tossed several other soft coolers during the time I’ve owned this one. It is without a doubt, the greatest soft cooler/tote ever made. Keeps beer cold all day, leave it overnight closed, come back the next morning for hair of the dog…and there’s still ice in it.

Have Used Many
Only soft cooler I’ve found that works for several days is Polar Bear cooler. Lots of insulation. Another nice bonus is it doesn’t sweat. Used it for long road trip and it kept the “Wimpy” motel/hotel ice whole for up to 2 days. It’s also stood up to every paddling trip for 2 years now. WW

too bad
website dead. because that was just the endorsement I was looking for

I’d already found them, book marked them and was pleased to discover they make a pink model.

Good to know they are as good as their hype would have you believe.

nrs cooler
I got a nrs cooler two years ago, looked sweet. However, worst cooler ever, doesn’t even hold ice for a day. Waste of money, it was kinda expensive too.

one to cross off
thanks, sorry it cost you $ tho

Two years ago
was OLD technology LOL

I Like the NRS Cooler…

– Last Updated: Mar-30-09 11:43 PM EST –

....for the tiedowns, etc, but I agree. It doesn't do a good job keeping things cold on multiple day trips. I've relegated my NRS to "Grocery" duty; I keep it in the truck to carry cold foods home from the grocery store. As I said, the Polar Bear goes on day trips and overnighters. WW

ok, FE…
I’ll have to get the next size up then - but I promise you a steady stream of Dr. Pepper as long as the dry ice holds out.

Now how do you feel about steak?

soft sided cooler…
I have an NRS soft sided cooler purchased about 2 years ago. It has not failed me yet. Use block ice if you can, always holds up longer, and keep it stowed under the deck of your kayak. Any cooler left out in the sun will not hold ice. The construction of the cooler is top draw, and they do sell replacement liners should you ever need one. Sorry other have had problems with their NRS coolers, but I disagree, it has served me well.


– Last Updated: Mar-31-09 12:49 PM EST –

hi ....i have a couple of softees i bought over the yrs . mostly the kind you find @ Wal-mart or the local drug store shelf, neither works well..I think the key to one working really well is a thick top/bottom to it ...most have adequate insulation thickness in the sides but skimp on the tops and bottoms, this is where you need it most. so my advice is buy one that is kinda " too big" with the idea of adding your own insulation to it, to supplement whats already there. good luck

Maybe there are better ones out there but I’d suggest the same thing,oversize then add some 1/2 ensolite foam.

Soft Cooler Source
You can go to the local Restaurant Suppy house to find a nice variety of sizes. Many are open to the public

soft cooler
I have to second the recommendation of wildernesswebb. Polarbear is the ONLY soft cooler worth owning. I have tried and thrown away many others that were nothing more than semi-insulated gym bags. The Polarbear is a substantial piece of equipment that works as advertised and lasts.