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Digital Subscriptions > Tread > Tread Mar/Apr 2019 > STAY FROSTY


Soft-Sided Cooler Buyer’s Guide

Looking for a flexible solution to keep your beverages cold after a long day out on the trails, the soft-sided cooler may be the answer you’ve been searching for. Technology, innovation, and environmental conservation have made the disposable styrofoam cooler a thing of the past. Today’s soft-sided cooler rivals that of its hard case sibling when it comes to function and purpose.

Soft-sided coolers are the more versatile option due to their lightweight construction and portable design—many of which come with backpack straps, handles, or an over-the-shoulder strap for hands-free carry. Many offer a waterproof zipper or an entire waterproof design and can double as a dry pack. They are also a little cheaper than their rotomolded counterparts.

Although soft coolers may not typically hold as much or keep beverages and food cold for over a week, they do provide a very capable solution. The softer material of the coolers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, are more comfortable to carry and are easier to store away, as some even fold lat. A few of the brands, including Pelican, Yeti, and Hydrolask, even offer separate ice packs so you can keep items cold without the need to worry about melting ice and water.

Whether you’re hanging out by the campfire, on a short road trip, or relaxing at the beach, the soft cooler may become your go-to. We tested a few of the best soft-sided coolers on the market to showcase their portability, capacity, and overall style for you to take on your everyday adventures.


HIGHLIGHTS: The Corkcicle Ivanhoe Duffe features a Cordura black camo fabric and spacegrade insulation. A reinforced vegan leather base adds style and protection. Two leather carry handles and a removable, padded strap make it easy to carry. The liner is food safe. Two side pockets off er organization.

DIMENSIONS: 25 x 11.5 in.

VOLUME: unlisted

HOLDS: Up to 48 cans

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About Tread

Tread March/April 2019, Crossing the DARIEN GAP, Top 10 Experiences, Pick up BED-Gear, And More....