When going on beach or park trips, it’s important to keep your food and drinks well-stored and cooled.
However, getting a large ice chest is usually just extra clutter for your home or car.
Luckily, someone’s already thought about this and come up with collapsible cooler bags that can do the job. You can take your things around without taking up too much space.
This article will help you find the best collapsible cooler bag for your outdoor adventures.
5 Best Collapsible Coolers
You can’t just settle for any ice pack to keep your refreshments fresh and ready for consumption when you’re out and about.
However, looking for the best one can be overwhelming.
I’ve made a comprehensive list to help you find the best collapsible ice chest for your upcoming adventures.
1) CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag – Best Overall
- Dimensions: 18.25 L x 12.25 W x 11.5 H inches
- Material: Polyester
- Available Colors: Heather charcoal/black, Heather olive/navy, Light grey/denim
- Maximum Volume: 8 Gallons or 55 lbs
- Special Traits: Integrated bottle opener
I find this collapsible cooler to be the best on this list, from its construction to its functionality.
It’s easy to carry around, especially as a beach tote bag, thanks to its side handles and padded top handle.
It also has a zippered pouch in front, which is easy to open for smaller items and valuables.
The lid comes with their patented SnapHinge technology, allowing you to open and close the cooler effortlessly.
It will even stay open without any contents, so you can have it sitting and prepared to provide you with snacks.
It can store ice and other refreshments for a day, making them perfect for vacations and days out with your family and friends.
This cooler also comes in a few variations, my favorite being light grey and denim.
- Easy to clean
- Shorter insulation duration
- No shoulder straps
2) Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze – Best Value
- Dimensions: 14.75 L x 15.5 W x 19 H inches
- Material: Nylon
- Available Colors: Moss, blue lagoon, citrus, pine, process blue
- Maximum Volume: 23.6 gallons or 100 lbs
- Special Traits: Rolling cooler
If you’re looking for the perfect collapsible cooler to keep your drinks cold for parties, this is the one for you. Its size holds up to 58 12-oz cans, making it the biggest capacity on this list.
It comes with a fully-padded sling that lets you bring it comfortably. It also has 2 can or cup holders on the lid for easy access to your drinks.
In terms of performance, this cooler usually holds ice for up to 6 hours.
It has a radiant heat barrier and a triple-layer ColdBlock base to do this. However, the manufacturer claims it can hold for up to 3 days.
This cooler includes a terrain cart with a hook-n-go handle which you can attach to the cooler bag. Wheel your heavy cooler bag through any flat surface with ease, especially given its size.
However, its cart isn’t all-terrain, making it difficult to use on the sand. If you plan to go to the beach, ditch the cart and bring the bag.
- Many additional features
- Affordable for large size
- Additional rolling wheel and mesh bag
- Not spillproof
3) iKnoe Large Cooler Bag – Best Budget Pick
- Dimensions: 11.4 L x 6.7 W x 11.8 H inches
- Material: Oxford
- Available Colors: Black, blue, grey, camo, galaxy, flower, pink, yellow, stripes
- Maximum Volume: 5.39 gallons or 45 lbs
- Special Traits: Thermal insulated, lightweight, leak-resistant
Despite its decent size, this collapsible cooler is one of the most affordable in the market. It can hold up to 24 cans or three packed meals with ease.
It has a zipper pocket and 2 side mesh pockets outside the bag.
When you open it, you will see an inner mesh inside its lid. These provide extra storage for utensils and smaller foods.
It’s portable and lightweight, making it easier for anyone to bring around. It also comes with a detachable shoulder strap so you can carry it easier.
It has a PEVA soft liner that protects your cooler bag from liquid penetration. Not only does it make the cooler collapsible, but it also keeps the contents from getting contaminated.
It comes in many variations. Their black and grey versions even come in two different designs each. You can choose which one would best fit your aesthetic without sacrificing its features.
It’s also multifunctional, performing more than just a cooler bag. You can also use it as a lunch bag, picnic bag, and many more. It’s designed for daily use.
- Most affordable
- Simple to clean
- Large capacity
- Not leakproof
4) Picnic at Ascot Semi-Rigid Collapsible Leakproof Cooler
- Dimensions: 18 L x 8.5 W x 10 H inches
- Material: Polyester
- Available Colors: Black
- Maximum Volume: 6 gallons or 50 lbs
- Special Traits: Foam insulation, leakproof
Picnic at Ascot is a reputable brand when it comes to insulation and storage materials, such as this cooler bag.
It’s big enough for large gatherings but small enough to fit the overhead compartment of an aircraft. This cooler was made for travel.
It’s made with Polycanvas, making it durable for heavy weights. It also has a steel rim, and side supports sewn in for extra protection for the contents of your cooler.
It’s marketed to store ice for up to 18 hours. However, some have even stored ice using this cooler for up to 24!
You can even use this when you’re out for groceries or visiting the local Sunday markets, giving them plenty of uses.
Easily zip it open when you need it and fold it up when it’s time to store it.
- Shorter insulation period
5) RTIC Soft Cooler 20 Can
- Dimensions: 12 L x 8 W x 12 H inches
- Material: Nylon
- Available Colors: Black, blue/grey, camo, cardinal, citrus, coral, seafoam green, sky blue, slate blue, tan
- Maximum Volume: 2 gallons or 16.68 lbs
- Special Traits: Lightweight, floating cooler
This RTIC cooler is also perfect for everyday use.
It has a more luxurious quality, made from a heavy-duty nylon shell and 2-inch closed-cell foam insulation, protecting the contents of your cooler.
It also performs well, maintaining the contents’ temperature for longer hours. It can usually hold ice for up to a whole day, making them the best for
It also has a strong zipper, making it resistant to leaks and amazing at insulating its contents.
While this cooler has room for 20 cans, it also comes in other sizes. Choose from a cooler that holds 12, 30, and 40 cans, depending on what you need.
- Lower capacity
- Only sold online
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Collapsible Cooler
Collapsible coolers can come in different shapes and sizes. However, there are specific features to look into when you’re looking for a reliable collapsible cooler bag, especially in comparison to a traditional hard sided cooler brand.
Here are the factors I considered while I was choosing mine.
1: Storage Space
Unlike a large ice chest, this type of cooler is usually designed to hold a limited amount of items because of its smaller size.
Finding the right cooler that will hold all the ice and cans you need during your activities can be a struggle.
You’ll need to check how many cans or gallons it holds or if it can hold a couple of containers for meals, a bunch of fruits, and snacks.
Some may have additional pockets inside or outside, like an ordinary bag. It lets the cooler store small things for easy access.
It would be best if you were comfortable carrying its weight afterward.
2: Portability and Design
These coolers are usually lightweight for shorter trips or everyday use.
See if you can carry the cooler as a backpack. It’s also important to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulders to lessen back pains while carrying your bag.
Sometimes, it can also come with shoulder straps, making it easier for you to carry like a messenger bag.
The different alternatives to carrying it are built into the design. Choose one that will be most convenient and comfortable for you to use.
This type of cooler isn’t made from hard plastic. However, this type is usually made with softer plastics and water-resistant fabrics.
These prevent them from cracking or breaking if they fall.
Make sure that the quality of the materials is heavy-duty. They should be ready to perform well outdoors, especially with their function.
Some may have an additional liner which adds an extra layer of support for your cooler. It also keeps the items inside from transferring their odor to the cooler.
Extra layers can also help with the performance of your cooler. Without the proper ones, ice and precipitation from your cold drinks may leak out of the bag.
It’s also important to see how your cooler will open and close. Check for the fasteners, like zippers and velcro. These fasteners should be securely installed onto the bag and easy to open.
Since the bag is not as rigid as an ice chest from hard plastic, it should also have the ability to fold without trouble. The cooler should perform this task seamlessly as well.
4: Insulation Quality
This kind of cooler was also designed for daily use. Unlike other ice boxes, they’re not made to hold insulation for long periods.
However, its lining and construction should be able to retain temperatures for a while. It also improves how it contains liquid and precipitation from the cooler’s contents.
Most of them would also make use of zippers. While it may be more difficult to unzip a cooler bag compared to a box, it does well with containing temperatures.
It would help if you looked into how much time the cooler can keep your refreshments insulated. Sometimes, this would have to go beyond looking into the product specs.
Reviews, such as this article, help us learn more about the cooler’s performance in people’s daily lives.
A soft cooler bag is usually a budget-friendly and accessible option compared to a bigger cooler. It makes this cooler a great choice for people commonly outdoors.
However, you can easily enjoy more features, such as added storage and accessories for your cooler, especially when you go for a more expensive cooler.
Some may also come with an attachable cart, or you can wheel them around, making them easier to bring when you have heavy things.
However, these are luxuries that can affect the price.
Anyone can have the means to afford this kind of cooler. Simply weed through the factors that can affect its price.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have thought more about the features of the different available coolers while looking for your ideal collapsible cooler bag.
I’ve gathered the commonly asked questions to help you with your research.
Are All Soft Coolers Collapsible?
All of them can collapse. It’s one of the known benefits of soft coolers.
They can be easily folded or rolled up, so they would take up less space when you need to store them.
How Long Will a Soft-Sided Cooler Stay Cool?
Soft-sided coolers are theoretically able to insulate for 12 to 18 hours. However, as someone who has used some of these products, they might hold for a shorter amount of time.
Its retention would depend on the construction and materials used for the cooler’s insulation properties.
Plenty would claim to hold ice for up to 3 days. However, based on the usual reviews, these claims may be a marketing strategy or tested in contained environments.
Recap of Top Picks
While many commendable collapsible coolers are on the market, a few caught my attention.
Here’s a recap of my top picks so you’ll know which collapsible cooler bag can be your next travel buddy.
Best Budget Pick – iKnoe Large Cooler Bag
I recommend this if you’re looking for a small, light, and compact cooler for your everyday use.
Its performance and the quality of its features are amazing, especially for how affordable it is.
Whether you’re taking snacks and beverages to your workplace or bringing meals on your trip to the beach, this cooler will be reliable for all those activities.
Best Value – Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze
Special gatherings and events won’t be the same without cool refreshments. This large cooler bag is reliable for its capacity and features.
Keep your ice and refreshments at their desired temperature for hours without worry. Wheel it around with its cart from your car to wherever you’re gathering.
Its performance is worth the money, especially if you need room for a lot of items for your food and drink storage on the road.
Best Overall – CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
When it comes to the best cooler, this one has to be the winner of the bunch.
Its features and quality are able to surpass most high-end ones without having to break the bank. It has additional features, like an integrated bottle opener, that makes it convenient.
If you’re looking for the best cooler for your next beach trip, this might be the one for you!
There are many options when it comes to finding a great cooler.
A collapsible one is great for small gatherings that take only a few hours, like picnics or a short road trip.