AO Coolers Soft Cooler

Last updated date: June 4, 2020

DWYM Score
8.8

AO Coolers Soft Cooler

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We looked at the top Small Soft-Sided Coolers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Small Soft-Sided Cooler you should buy.

Overall Take

The durable canvas exterior of the AO Coolers Soft Cooler makes it last well in the throes of camping or whatever outdoor activities you find yourself using it in. The shoulder strap helps to comfortably carry the load and there is a neat design feature that helps keep ice colder for longer. During our testing, we liked that we could buckle the sides down to make it more compact. In our analysis of 198 expert reviews, the AO Coolers AO Coolers Soft Cooler placed 9th when we looked at the top 14 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 29, 2020:
Checkout The Best Small Soft-Sided Cooler for a detailed review of all the top small soft-sided coolers.

Expert Summarized Score
7.0
13 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
989 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The cooler is made from a durable soft canvas material that stands up to all the travels.
- Travel Gear Zone
Roomy and easy to close and clean.
- BestReviews
There are many different color options to choose from, which is nice. The external netting is also a nice touch.
- The Cooler Zone
AO Coolers have a removable shoulder strap as well as a carry handle.
- Coolers On Sale
AO Canvas coolers are highly versatile and that makes them highly practical in multiple situations, including anglers, hunters, campers and overall outdoors lovers who require only 24 hours of ice retention.
- Coolers World
This cooler is double insulated and won’t leak, so you can load it up with as much ice as you want. It can keep the inside cool for up to 24 hours, even when outside temperatures exceed 100 degrees.
- Fishing Picks
The Canvas cooler uses an expansive mouth configuration to make it simple to put beverages or nourishment clinched without having a craving for attempting to get jawbreakers out of a glass jolt. The best zips, folds, and after that clasps to ensure that, despite the fact that it has a major mouth, it can close it solidly.
- Best-Cooler
They’re are highly flexible. You can store them under a boat seat, under a car seat, or even on the back of a motorcycle. This cooler is great for picnic trips and short weekend excursions.
- Soft Sided Cooler Man
The Canvas cooler uses a large mouth design to make it easy to put drinks or food in the bag without feeling like trying to get jawbreakers out of a glass jar. The top zips, folds, and then clips to make sure that, even though it has a big mouth, it can shut it firmly.
- Best Cooler
The interior is built with leak-proof liners, while the exterior utilizes tough fabric to resist scratches and tears.
- Coolers Junkie
This cooler is tailored from a heavy-duty canvas that is rugged and durable. It can resist most physical damages.
- Kayak NV
This cooler is designed to never sweat or leak. The TPU liner is made from the same materials used in making waterbeds, so it is guaranteed to resist tears, abrasions and more.
- Live Once Live Wild
It has twice the insulation you’ll find in other lunch bags. With five layers of insulation, it’s safe to say that this is one of the best stylish lunch bags for work. Soft insulation on the inside and a leak-proof lining are ideal for keeping whatever you stored in the same state(in terms of wetness and distortion).
- Back Packs Rock
What experts didn't like
A few users feel the shape is awkward. Occasional reports of quality issues with zipper and lining.
- BestReviews
Fabric is prone to tearing.
- The Cooler Zone
Opening is not square, which can be a problem for some users
- Fishing Picks
Some people also stated that the fabric was prone to tearing.
- Soft Sided Cooler Man
Does not have enough insulation.
- Kayak NV
A little pricey.
- Back Packs Rock

From The Manufacturer

AO Coolers are the ultimate soft-sided coolers. AO Coolers are guaranteed to never leak or sweat because of the high-quality TPU liner. The inner insulation is 3/4" thick, high-density, closed cell foam. This combination creates a cooler that will hold ice for 24 hours in 120° heat. Plus the soft exterior won't scratch your gel coat or tear up any upholstery. The popular AO Canvas Cooler is the perfect companion for a day on the boat, hunting and fishing trips, your favorite sports event, a picnic, or just bringing a dish to a potluck. The amazing AO Canvas Cooler keeps things warm as well as cold. Features twice the insulation of other soft-sided coolers, removable shoulder strap, clip-down ends, a side pocket for dry items, and a leak-proof liner. Meets airplane carry-on requirements. 24-Pack Canvas Cooler • 17"L x 10"W x 12"H • Capacity: 24 cans plus about 14 pounds of ice

Overall Product Rankings

Coleman Removable Liner 16-Can Soft Cooler
1. Coleman Removable Liner 16-Can Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 11
CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
2. CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 38
AO Coolers High-Density Insulation Original Soft Cooler
4. AO Coolers High-Density Insulation Original Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 14
LUNCIA Waterproof Insulated Soft Cooler
5. LUNCIA Waterproof Insulated Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 4
YETI Portable Cooler
6. YETI Portable Cooler
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 9
Coleman Soft Cooler, 30 can
7. Coleman Soft Cooler, 30 can
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 16
Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
8. Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 18
AO Coolers Soft Cooler
9. AO Coolers Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 13
Lifewit Large Lunch Bag Soft Cooler
10. Lifewit Large Lunch Bag Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 4
MIER Large Soft Cooler
11. MIER Large Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 8
Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
12. Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 32
Thermos Under Armour 24-Can Soft Cooler
13. Thermos Under Armour 24-Can Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 2
MIER 24-Can Soft Cooler
14. MIER 24-Can Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Small Soft-Sided Coolers

Soft coolers need to keep cold things cold, they need to be easy to use and durable as well. Some small soft coolers might be able to collapse for storage or traveling and it always helps if they have an aesthetically pleasing design since you might have one sitting next to you as you peer out over some otherwise beautiful views. Soft coolers offer plenty of advantages over hard coolers and if you’re in the market for a cooler to hold your cold drinks and food while you’re on the go, a soft cooler might be exactly what you’re looking for.

A soft cooler is usually made from a durable fabric material with flexible insulation on all the sides that give the entire cooler enough flexibility to fit into weird shapes that aren’t exactly square. This flexibility allows them to be packed in with other gear more easily than similarly-sized hard coolers. This construction style means there are seams at the edges though and those seams can be prone to leaking if the cooler isn’t designed to account for that. A cooler that is soft and still leak-proof needs to have some kind of inner lining that is waterproof. An added benefit of having a liner that’s removable is the ability to take it out and thoroughly wash it after you inevitably spill something inside of it.

Soft coolers range in size quite drastically and they are often categorized by how many standard 12-oz cans they can hold. A small soft cooler can sometimes hold 6 or 9 cans and will have an incorporated handle to grab with one hand while walking out the door. These smaller coolers are great for times when you might want a few drinks while you’re out doing something like bird-watching or sitting on the beach, or they can be used as insulated lunch boxes for the frugal and health-minded meal-prepper.

While the internal liner on soft coolers will keep the ice from soaking into the fabric of the cooler, we might sometimes find ourselves in a situation where the outside of the cooler is getting wet the outer material is absorbing all that unwanted water. If you see yourself using this soft cooler while you’re fishing or kayaking, or even if you know you’ll have it out in the rain or snow every once in a while, you might want to look into waterproof coolers. These waterproof coolers will be coated in some kind of vinyl material that is entirely waterproof and the hardware and zipper will be waterproof as well.

A shoulder strap is one accessory that can be a game-changer if you’re concerned with the weight of a completely full cooler. Once you add ice and fill the cooler with drinks or food, it can become pretty heavy. A padded shoulder strap distributes that weight in a place that allows you to carry it more comfortably and it also frees up your hand so you can have more dexterity while carrying the cooler. A common size for a soft cooler is one that can hold a case of 24 cans, so having the added shoulder strap means that this cooler won’t be such a burden when you are carrying it from your car to your campsite.

A soft cooler has a lot of useful functions on its own merit, but sometimes a cooler can be the only thing you take with you when you go somewhere like the beach. To add more utility to the outside of their soft coolers, some companies add bungee straps to the outside so you can conveniently stuff a wind-breaker or a towel in to take with you to your destination. Some designs even have exterior zippered pockets that you can toss your keys or wallet into and know that they will stay securely in place. These small coolers are a great carry-all for those who think they want that benefit, so it’s good to keep in mind when you’re searching for one.

The last major spec to look for in a soft cooler is how much insulation it offers. A thinner cooler will be a little bit easier to break down for flat storage, but it might only keep your ice solid for half a day or so. Generally, the thicker the insulation on a soft cooler is, the longer it will keep your cold items cold. If you are using one for an activity that lasts for just a portion of one day, you can get away with the thinner coolers on the market. If you’re hoping to go camping for the weekend and want to keep your food and drinks cold for a couple of days, you will really want to lean towards finding a thicker cooler that is rated for keeping things cold that long. These thicker coolers are a bit bulkier than the thinner soft coolers, but they still pack into your trunk with a lot more flexibility than a hard cooler while often keeping ice for just as long.

DWYM Fun Fact

On a hot summer day, the temperature in the direct sunlight can feel like it’s hotter than the temperature in a shaded area. The fact is that the temperature is the same in both places, but the fact that it feels hotter in the direct sunlight is due to a phenomenon called solar radiation. The direct sunlight heats your clothes and skin which makes you feel hotter. The solar radiation heats your cooler as well, if it’s in direct sunlight, effectively increasing the temperature of the outer material of the cooler which will then try to work its way into the cold contents inside.

The Small Soft-Sided Cooler Buying Guide

  • Keep your cooler out of direct sunlight if at all possible. This not only helps the contents of the cooler stay colder for a longer time, but it also helps the fabric or material on the outside of the cooler retain its original color and strength since direct sunlight will slowly erode the finish over time.
  • Put your cans in the cooler before your ice. Heat rises, so placing warm beverages on the bottom of the cooler with ice on top of them is the most efficient way to chill the drinks