Soft-Sided Cooler Comparison

Keep your drinks cold with these soft-sided cooler bags.

Today’s soft-sided coolers are more than oversize lunchboxes. They have better insulation so contents stay cold longer, and they’re easy to carry with shoulder straps and padded handles. We picked three cooler bags in the 24-can size and took a closer look.

L.L.Bean Softpack Picnic

L.L.Bean Softpack Picnic
L.L.Bean Softpack PicnicL.L. Bean

L.L.Bean Softpack Picnic
The Chill: The zipper on the main lid has been redesigned on this new model to make it easier to open. The food-grade non-PVC liner is easy to clean and won't leak. The outside material is 600-denier polyester rip-stop fabric. It has a comfort grip handle and shoulder strap. Expandable pockets wrap around the sides and would be good for holding condiments, napkins and other items.

The Meltdown: The cooler's 20-quart capacity is the smallest of the trio featured here.

Price: $59.99; llbean.com

AO Coolers 24-Pack Canvas

AO Coolers 24-Pack Canvas
Buy It NowAO Coolers

AO Coolers 24-Pack Canvas
The Chill: At 17 by 10 by 12 inches, the 24-Pack Canvas Cooler is AO's most popular model. It can carry 24 cans plus 14 pounds of ice, and it's guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree temperatures. It has a leakproof liner and a side pocket for dry items. It can also be used to keep contents warm. A removable shoulder strap has clip-down ends.

The Meltdown: The shoulder-strap attachment points could be farther apart to better balance the load while carrying.

Price: $59.99

Igloo Marine Ultra 24 Can

Igloo Marine Ultra 24 Can
Buy It NowIgloo Marine

Igloo Marine Ultra 24 Can
The Chill: The Marine Ultra 24 Can has a 21.1-quart (20-liter) capacity and room for 24 cans. The outer material is anti-mildew and UV-protective, and the cooler is rated to maintain ice for up to two days. It has a zippered side pocket and a mesh expandable pocket on the outside to hold dry items, such as sunglasses or car keys. It also has an adjustable shoulder strap and a comfort wrap handle.

The Meltdown: The square shape uses more space in a locker than a compact size.

Price: $41.99