Soft sided coolers

Does anyone know of any brand of soft cooler that keeps things cold significantly longer than the standard ones from REI, NRS, or Walmart?


not a better cooler but. . .
I don’t know of better coolers but I find if I line the cooler with a sturdy garbage bag before adding drinks and ice and roll the top of the bag down tightly the ice seems to last longer and I don’t get as much leaking from the cooler.

Thanks for the idea
I have some trash compactor bags that should work really good for that. I thought most of the coolers that were not real cheapo’s would probably be about the same. But it never hurts to ask the experts if there is something better out there.


Polar Bear Cooler
Tried many and bought one of these last winter. I wish I had bought one sooner. Very thick insulation when compared to the others. I use the little gel-pack ice in them and they will keep things cold for 3 days. ANOTHER nice thing about them is THEY DON’T LEAK THROUGH when you use regular ice. Set it down on carpet with ice and leave any other cooler for a day or two and the cooler will have a wet spot; but not this one. I’m going to buy a 48 pack next. If you look just behind the seat, my green Polar bear is strapped to the thwart. Here’s the link to their website. WW

I made a liner
for my soft side coolers with foil backed bubble wrap type insulation and foil backed duct tape. It reduces the capacity a little but extends the ice keeping by a lot.

We can get 3-4 days…
of cold out of our thin foam insulated soft side cooler. I am starting to see more of the thicker foam soft sides on the shelves (Target stores). I just had the idea to put an insulated, zippered, cold food shopping bag (Walmart) inside the softy. Will put it to the test in a couple weeks when we go on a week long canoe/camp trip. Another thing I did was to cut a piece of foam out of a sleeping pad that goes on top of the food. As the food supply goes down, so does the top foam. Makes for a smaller space to keep cold.


Need more info on experience
I too have been looking to buy a better cooler but I find many of the data out there too sbjective or lacking critical data. For example, if someone says they keep ice for 4 days is that in Minnesota during the fall or in Alabama during July? To those of us in the hotter climates the cooler is one of the best reasons to paddle instead of backpack. Does anyone know of a source that tests coolers to report the results?

The Yeti coolers look like one of the few that meets all my requirements of excellent insulation, a locking lid, great tie down points that don’t prvent you from opening the cooler without untieing it, and dimesions that are low and wide (not tall). The only problem is the price does nto match with my cheapness!

Me too
The secret is closed cell foam. But I want small coolers that will fit in a Valley oval hatch. Most lunchbox sized coolers are designed for a few hours. I am almost tempted to make my own. I wonder if Aquaseal works on foam? What I have done is freeze the contents, insert into cooler with frozen water bottles. Then put that cooler inside another one just a bit larger. I have still had ice in the bottles 3-4 days later. Good enough for cheese, eggs, butter and a few other perishables about the 4th or 5th day.


I think Horizons Ltd. makes the best coolers any where. they are soft sided but they keep ice longer than any hard sided cooler iv’e ever seen AND they come with a great guarantee “Horizons’ coolers have a five-year limited warranty on the

exterior, and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s

defects on the interior liner!”

i don’t know anything about the company but i have seen them at a bunch of boat shows. I own almost every size they have.

Doubledipper, it works
Aquaseal works very well on minicell and so does spray contact glue.

I have made a couple of cooler out of closed cell foam but covered them in fabric with zippers and the lot to make them fit perfectly in my VCP hatches.

If you want to go simple, just cut the foam, glue the bits to shape holding them in place temporarily with hot melt glue. The ticker the wall the better the cooling.