Soft Cooler - what do you like? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-19-2017   #1
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 81
Soft Cooler - what do you like?

Wanna grab a cheap soft cooler with about a 24-36 can capacity for day trip paddle crew. Anyone have a great cooler that they didn't spend too much on that they recommend? I know... cooler talk.. this thread could last a year and make me so many enemies.

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Old 07-19-2017   #2
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Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 427
I've used a large NRS Durasoft cooler for years on my boat. It started leaking through the liner at one point and they sent me a new cooler to replace it. Insulation is so so, but the R value can be increased by placing additional layers of bubble film insulation between the liner and the outer layer, which helps quite a bit. The D rings on the bottom work great for strapping it down. They go on sale pretty frequently.

Just one option out of many, I'm sure. On multi-day trips we use it for that extra bag of ice and drinks that won't fit in the big coolers at the launch, then convert it into a "trunk" strapped on top of the big cooler to hold miscellaneous gear.
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Old 07-19-2017   #3
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2016
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 43
I bought a 16 dollar soft cooler at sportsmans warehouse. It has a little top flap for quick impairment and holds a thirty pack. Flipped the raft and didn't lose a single beer. Best 16 bucks I ever spent.
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Old 07-19-2017   #4
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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It's an Arctic zone. Keeps ice most of the day.
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Old 07-19-2017   #5
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Can't decide on my Rtic. For normal use it doesn't seem to hold ice as long as I would have expected. A day or so for soccer tournaments with the kids and whatnot. They are pretty well built but not as burly as Yeti.

But.... Did the Yampa a few weeks ago and tried something. Put it in the basement freezer for a couple weeks before and added a pitcher of water every day or two until it was just one block except enough for a row of cans on their side at the top, about 4 in my 20 size.

Everyday I would add a new row of cans and had cold drinks at the end of the six days plus a travel day. I think the ice was gone about day 5, I did not drain and the water was still plenty cold at the end. As there was more room we were adding more cans daily too. So I was pretty happy with that experiment. We did keep it under a wet beach towel like we do our main cooler . I'm sure the solid non store bought ice had a lot to do with it too.
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Old 07-19-2017   #6
Down in Brazil
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Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 33
I also like the NRS cooler. I have the older version and it held up well. As above really liked the attachment points to put in the raft. The older version also you could replace the inner liner if needed.

To lazy to look but they are not to expensive and u get a bit of quality also. They work great for a day.

Would also use them for a lunch cooler on overnight trips so wouldn't have to dig into the main cooler.

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Old 07-19-2017   #7
Omak, Washington
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 36
Okay I'll take the bait, take you in another direction, and into the "next-level" of gear fetishism re: soft-sided coolers.

I'd recommend you save your pennies and invest in a Yeti Hopper. It ain't cheap (by any measure) but I love mine (buy-once cry-once) and am not looking back.

It's kept ice cubes alive and beer cold several days into a multi-day trip without having to tap into the main boat cooler or pull from gnar river beer drag bags on the lower Salmon in August (100 plus erryday) last year and main Salmon in July (high 90s/low 100s) this year. Which is important when river water temps are in the low to mid-60s. Lukewarm river beers are only suitable when absolutely necessary.

The drysuit-style zipper is a real bonus. No spills, no fuss, no muss.

Sorry to be a shill. I like mine. You'll like yours too.
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Old 07-19-2017   #8
white salmon, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 60
Polar Bear-

I have had my Polar Bear for three years now. I've strapped it to rafts, trucks, atvs, checked it as a bag on flights, used it to keep my lunch from freezing on the mountain. It performs as promised, exceeds my expectations, and has held up great. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one or to recommend it to a friend.

Waterproof Soft Sided Coolers | Polar Bear Coolers
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Old 07-19-2017   #9
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2016
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 43
I guess "not a lot of money went out the window as soon as yeti came into the thread. Hell it's just a day trip your only gonna bring thirty beers or so. You could through ice in a dry bag and they'll stay cold all day.
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Old 07-20-2017   #10
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 238
I second the Polar Bear recommendation, I have taken mine down the Grand, Middle Fork, and Gates of Lodore and it has held up amazingly. It gets strapped the deck of my boat with no protection and it holds ice blocks for days.

I would also look at Rtic coolers, basically a Yeti knock of but just as good but I personally don't have any experience with them.

Can i also add that I am sick and tired of hearing about Yeti, they are over priced a total poor mans status symbol.
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