If you’re searching for a large soft sided cooler with that extra size and capacity to hold ALL your food and drinks for your next picnic, barbecue or outdoors adventure then there are a lot of different options on the market.
These soft coolers come in big sizes and are large enough to fit around 30+ cans of drinks plus ice. More than enough space for a weekend away or a family beach day.
These large soft sided coolers are still lightweight and portable and have multiple carry options, including carry handles, shoulders straps and some even featuring backpack straps.
Why Get a Large Soft Sided Cooler?
Before we go into the list of the best large soft sided cooler’s, let’s talk about why you would want a large soft sided cooler in the first place.
You could either get a smaller soft sided cooler which would be more portable and more light weight or you could get a similar size or even larger hard sided roto-molder cooler which can keep ice longer.
The benefits of a large soft sided cooler over a smaller one is the extra capacity. A small soft sided cooler just doesn’t have the capacity for multiple people. They are great for adventures by yourself or maybe small trips with a partner but if you’re looking to provide food and drinks for a family or a group of people then you’ll need a larger cooler. If you’re looking for a smaller and more portable soft sided cooler then click here to see my list of the best small soft sided cooler is on the market.
Lightweight and Portable Compared To Hard Sided Coolers
The benefits of a large soft cooler over a hard sided cooler is how much more light weight they are and how much more portable they are. I personally own a Yeti 45 hard sided cooler and that thing is extremely heavy, even my lighter Coleman extreme cooler is a bit clunky and hard to carry around.
Soft sided cooler is a much lighter and they are much easier to carry around. They come with carry handles, shoulder straps and in some cases they even have backpack straps making them super portable.
Still Good Ice Retention (2-3+ Days)
While the ice retention in a soft sided cooler is not as good as that in a hard sided cooler you can still get 2 to 3 days worth of ice retention which is more than enough for shorter trips.
The Downsides To Large Soft Coolers
There are a few downsides to large soft coolers when comparing them to small soft colours as well as similar sized hard side of coolers.
Heavy when full
Even though a large soft cooler maybe light weight when empty the ice, drinks and food that you put in the cooler are NOT lightweight. Once these coolers are full they become extremely heavy and hard to carry on your own. The shoulder strap will dig into you and carrying the long distances can be painful and you may need help from a friend.
Ice retention isn’t as good
When comparing them to Rotomould coolers of a similar size generally speaking, the ice retention isn’t quite as good. A hard sided coolers might keep ice for 5+ days while a similar size soft cooler might only keep ice 2-3 days.
Another downside of soft colours is that they aren’t quite as durable as hard sided coolers. Hard sided coolers like Yeti are built extremely tough and while the soft sided coolers mentioned in this list are extremely durable they won’t last you quite as long.
You know those times when you bring your cooler home from a camping trip or a fishing trip and you think to yourself I’ll just clean that tomorrow and then a week later you smell that foul stench coming from the cooler?
When this happens hard side of coolers are much easier to clean and dry out while soft sided cooler as can be more difficult because they have more creases and the insides are harder to dry out. Click here to learn how to properly clean a cooler.
The 12 Best Large Soft Sided Coolers
Below is my list of the 12 best large soft sided cooler is in order of preference. The number one cooler on the list is what I believe to be the best cooler of the bunch.
While all of these coolers are good quality the ones ranked near the top have the best performance, build quality and offer (in my humble opinion) the best value for money. Some of the coolers towards the bottom of the list are budget options that are much cheaper but performance and durability isn’t quite as good.
Ultimately you pick the cooler that best suits your needs and your budget.
1. BEST IN CLASS: Engel HD30
Without a doubt I have to rank the Engle HD30 as the best large soft sided cooler on the market today.
This cooler is by far the best at holding ice and it even outperforms hard sided coolers of a similar capacity. It’s actually unbelievable how long this cooler can hold ice for. Click here to see the list of the top soft sided coolers for ice retention (this cooler is #1) and how long the Engel HD30 can hold ice for.
The combination of thick 1.0 inches of insulation as well as Engel’s very own vacuum seal technology, allows this cooler to outperform any other soft sided cooler on the market. Click here to read my Engel HD30 vs Yeti Hopper M30 soft cooler comparison to see which cooler is better and why.
It is also one of the most durable coolers on the market. The exterior is made with an 840 denier nylon that is TPU laminated to make it puncture and tear resistant as well as completely waterproof. The seams RF welded together to make them extra strong as well as waterproof and the base is reinforced to handle the wear and tear that comes with being placed on the ground over and over.
The top zipper is rubberized and completely waterproof and leakproof so even if there’s cooler falls over no water is going to get out.
It comes with an external pocket, multiple carry handles and a comfortable shoulder strap for hands free carrying.
It’s approximately 30 Quart in capacity and can hold in excess of 30 cans plus ice. More than enough room for a road trip or family adventure away.
It is also about $100 cheaper when compared to premium brands link Yeti. So it offers top performance and great value for money.
Click the link below to see the latest price of the Engel HD30 at Amazon and grab one for yourself:
2. RUNNER UP: Yeti Hopper M30
Coming in a close second place is the new Yeti Hopper M30. This soft sided cooler features high-performance ice retention, one of the best build qualities of any cooler on this list as well as a wide open and easy close magnetic top.
It has 0.75 inches in the walls and base of the cooler, with insulation running all the way up to the top of the cooler. It can keep ice 20%+ longer than previous Yeti Hopper coolers and you can expect 3+ days of ice retention from this product.
This cooler is arguably made better than any other cooler on the market and it just feels premium. The materials used and the attention to detail of this product really makes it stand out as a high-quality cooler.
The exterior is made from heavy duty 840 denier nylon that is TPU laminated to make it puncture resistant as well as waterproof and the base is thick and reinforced so I can handle anything you throw at it.
The inner lining is FDA approved food grade material and the design and branding is on point.
The wide magnetic opening is a new feature from yeti and is much easier to open and close when compared to the waterproof zippers of the Engel or Pelican. The downside is that the lid doesn’t seem to want to stay open so loading your cooler and accessing the contents inside requires 2 hands.
The magnetic opening does seem to be more durable though and seems less likely to break than a zipper. It’s a bit of a trade off the get that extra durability.
This cooler is one of the most expensive colours on the market but it also comes from the biggest brand on the market and so you’re paying a premium for that. Yeti is now a lifestyle brand and while their products do cost extra compared to other brands they really do make amazing products that are built tough and will last you a lifetime.
To see the latest price as well as more customer reviews on the Yeti M30 click the links below:
3. Pelican SC48
Pelican soft sided cooler are made in the USA and are just as durable as Yeti coolers but sell for a little bit cheaper and have a few extra features. Click here to read my full Pelican vs Yeti soft sided cooler comparison.
These coolers have great ice retention of about 2 to 3 days and they also have incredible build quality. Pelican unknown for making really high-quality products and this reputation for quality has extended into their line of soft sided coolers.
These colours have the same durable and waterproof exterior as the Yeti and Engel coolers as well as a thick waterproof zipper and reinforced base.
The SC48 is large enough to hold 48 cans plus ice and it also has an external pocket as well as side carry handles for two hand carrying or carrying with a friend once the cooler is filled to capacity.
The tiedown points on this cooler also double as bottle opener is which is a really nice feature and the cooler comes with a detachable padded shoulder strap for hands-free carrying.
The rectangular shape of this cooler and its large size does make it a bit more awkward to carry then the tote bag shapes of the Yeti and Engle coolers, so in that way it’s not quite as practical.
However the shape of this cooler does mean that the lid can open wide which makes it really easy to load and really easy to access your food and drinks.
I rate Pelican coolers as one of the best coolers on the market in general and the SC48 is definitely up here as one of the best large soft sided coolers.
To see the latest price of the SC48 and save yourself some money compared to Yeti, click the link below to see it at Amazon:
4. VALUE FOR MONEY PICK – RTIC Soft Pack 40
The RTCI Soft Pack 40 Is definitely the best value for money large soft sided cooler on this list. It has many of the features of the Engle, Yeti and the Pelican but it sells for a small fraction of the price making it great for people on a budget.
Features a waterproof exterior, waterproof and leakproof zipper as well as thick installation. Surprisingly this cooler can actually hold ice longer than the Yeti and the Pelican coolers because they have thicker insulation in the walls and lid keeping more heat out. You can expect 3-4 days of ice retention from this cooler. Click here to read my full RTIC Soft Pack cooler review.
This cooler also features and external pocket, multiple carry handles and a detachable padded shoulder strap. The base of the cooler is reinforced for extra durability and there are tie down points on the cooler so you can strap it into place.
I guess what makes this cooler not quite as good as the cool as mentioned above is the durability. The exterior of the cooler is made from vinyl, which wall tough is not quite as tough as the nylon that the other coolers are made with. The waterproof zipper is also not quite as thick and durable as that on the Pelican or Engel.
But overall this is still a really well built cooler and if you treat it right it should last you years. If you’re looking for all the premium features in a cooler at a great price then this is the best colour for you.
I have found the different colors and patterns actually sell for significantly different prices so you can get a much cheaper cooler if you’re willing to go with the cheapest colour option available. To see the different prices for the RTIC Soft Pack 40 click the link below to see the coolers at Amazon.
5. Polar Bear Deluxe 48
The Polar bear deluxe coolers have some of the best ice retention of any colours on this list, being able to hold ice for 4+ days even when it’s hot. The only cooler that outperforms the Polar Bear is the Engle HD30 which took the number one spot on this list.
This cooler features a waterproof tarpaulin exterior as well as a rubberised YKK #10 zipper which is waterproof and leakproof. The zipper extends out over the sides of the cooler allowing the top of the cooler to open wide for easy loading and easy access.
The outside of the cooler has a mesh zipper pocket and it comes with two carry handles that can meet in the middle for single hand carrying as well as a removable shoulder strap.
This cooler is large enough to hold 48 cans plus some ice however, the rectangular size of this cooler does make it slightly awkward to carry using the shoulder strap. The other downside of this cooler is the fact that the base is not reinforced which means it can break more easily overtime. I’m also not a biggest fan of the design of these coolers with a large logo printed all over it, but that’s just my personal taste.
If you’re looking for one of the largest soft sided coolers possible then check out the Polar Bear Deluxe 48 as it’s one of the biggest coolers on this list and it sells for a good price.
To see the latest price of this cooler as well as other sizes and customer reviews click the links below:
6. BUDGET PICK – Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler
On the cheaper end of the spectrum is the Coleman 30-Can soft cooler which comes with a hard plastic inner liner making it leakproof when standing up.
The insulation in this cooler is much thinner than that in the cooler mentioned above and this means it doesn’t hold ice nearly as long. You can expect 3 to 6 hours of ice retention for this cooler may be up to 12 hours if you’re lucky or if the conditions are good, but not much longer than that.
Neither the exterior nor the zipper are waterproof and if this cooler falls on its side then water will come out of the zipper. It’s also not nearly as durable as the coolers mentioned above. When I received mine it already had some loose threads and I haven’t even started using it yet.
The benefits of this cooler and the reason that you would choose there is the price as well as the features. It’s an extremely cheap and affordable cooler and it comes with a large external pocket for keeping food and other items you wish to keep dry.
It’s one of the best cheap coolers on the market and sometimes it even goes on sale for less than $20. Click here to see the full list of the best cheap soft sided coolers under $50.
It has bungee cords on the lid for storing extra things and two mesh side pockets for more storage. The shoulder strap is adjustable but it is not removable and it’s a bit on the shorter side but other than that it works fine.
If you’re on a budget and just looking for a cooler for a short adventure or picnic or trip to the beach then this cooler does the job at a fraction of the cost of other coolers.
To see just how cheap the Coleman 30-Can Soft Sided Cooler is click the link below to see it at Amazon:
7. IceMule Pro XXL 40L
The IceMule Pro XXL Is a light weight and durable backpack cooler that is completely waterproof and can hold ice for about 1 to 1.5 days.
What makes this cooler unique is the roll down design of the top which is similar to that of a dry bag. Some people like this design while other people find it cumbersome to use.
This is one of the largest backpack coolers on the market and it’s also one of the most comfortable backpack coolers on the market. It features thick padded backpack straps as well as padding on the cooler itself to make it more comfortable to carry.
The exterior is made from a waterproof tarpaulin that is heavy duty and puncture resistant and it’s one of the more affordable high-quality backpack coolers. Ice retention is decent at 1 to 1.5 days but if you need to keep ice for multiple days at a time then this cooler isn’t for you.
For day trips or short hikes this is an excellent option. To see the latest price of this cooler click the link below:
8. Otterbox Trooper LT30
What a box trooper is another large backpack cooler that is heavily insulated and completely waterproof.
This backpack cooler can hold ice for around 2 to 3 days and sometimes even longer and uses a unique clamshell style opening. The top can be opened with just one hand and the design means that it opens wide giving you easy access into the cooler.
It has a durable and waterproof exterior and gives you the option of using padded backpack straps or a padded shoulder strap.
It features multiple external zipper pockets for storing dry items as well as mounts for clipping on accessories.
Otterbox I known for making a high-quality products and this backpack cooler is no exception to that. This is one of the best backpack coolers on the market and if you’re looking for a high-performance and long-lasting backpack cooler then I recommend checking this one out.
To see the latest price of the Otterbox LT30 Backpack cooler click the link below:
9. Tourit 30-Can
The Tourit 30-Can soft cooler is another waterproof soft sided cooler with thick insulation and a durable exterior.
It’s only really sold on Amazon and as mostly marketed as a cheaper alternative to the Yeti Hopper.
Ice retention on this cooler is good and it can hold ice for 3+ days and features a waterproof/leakproof zipper, external pocket and reinforced base.
It has side handles and a detachable shoulder strap.
It’s a good cooler but I think at the price range it is at there are other coolers on this list that are either more durable or that offer better value for money.
To see the latest price of this cooler and the customer reviews click the link below:
10. AO Coolers 48-Can
AO Coolers make durable nylon soft sided coolers that can keep ice for 24+ hours in 100 degree heat and can withstand whatever you throw at them.
The company has been making good soft sided coolers for 25+ years and they are still going strong. Read my full AO Cooler review.
Their 48-Can soft sided cooler features a waterproof inner liner and tough YKK #10 zipper (not waterproof) that is backed by a lifetime guarantee. They also offer a money back guarantee – if you don’t like the product you can send it back for a full refund.
This is one of the best soft coolers under $100 and if you’re looking for something that isn’t quite as expensive as some of the premium coolers, but that is better quality than the cheap coolers then this is a good happy-medium.
To see just how affordable this cooler is click the link below:
11. Titan Deep Freeze 48-Can
The Titan Deep Freeze is another practice budget cooler that is decent for the price point it is at. It’s one of the best soft coolers with a hard liner.
It features a hard inner liner and the lid stays in place with easy open velcro instead of a zipper like most of the coolers on this list.
It comes with external pockets, a detachable bottle opener as well as side handles and a padded shoulder strap.
Ice retention is around 6 hours with up to 12 hours ice retention being reported by some customers. This cooler is what you would expect from a budget soft sided cooler:
12. Ozark Trail 50-Can
The Ozark Trail 50-Can cooler has all the top-of-the-line features you would expect in a high-end cooler – but it sells for the same price as a budget/cheap cooler.
It has thick insulation and ice retention of about 1.5-2 days and it has a waterproof interior, exterior as well as a waterproof top zipper that when closed won’t let any water in or out.
The downside of this cooler is that the build quality is questionable. Many customers have reported the cooler to break quickly and easily with the zipper and inner liner seeming to be like regular points of failure. Read more in my Ozark Trail soft cooler review.
Some people get lucky and this cooler saves them money and lasts them ages while others have a broken cooler in weeks or months that is then useless to them.
If you’re not going to use to cooler a lot and are will to take the gamble then these coolers are insanely cheap for the features they offer.
BONUS – Coleman 42-Can Rolling Cooler
The common 42 can rolling cooler is one of the best soft sided cooler with wheels on the market.
What makes this cooler so you need to other colours on the list is the fact that you can pull it along behind you and you don’t have to carry it.
It comes with a hard inner liner like the Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler as well as external pockets and a bungee chord on the lid.
Ice retention isn’t great on this cooler, neither is durability but it’s a cheap soft sided cooler and it’s decent for the price