Collapsible Coolers – (Reviews of Folding Ice Chests 2018)

COLLAPSIBLE COOLER ReviewsCollapsible coolers are specially designed to take up a small amount of space when you store them. But that doesn’t mean they won’t provide ample room for your food and drinks when you want to use them. In fact, they come in different sizes, and some of them are just as large as normal soft-sided coolers, if not bigger. But does their ability to fold affect their ability to maintain a cool temperature?

Not at all.

These models use high-quality insulation layers that will maintain the cool temperature as long as there is enough ice present in the bag. Unlike other coolers, these models don’t rigid materials, but they’re just as effective.

The best collapsible coolers can be transported with ease, allowing you to pack them in a normal suitcase when you’re traveling. This means you’ll be able to take them everywhere with you when you want to enjoy fresh food and cold drinks.

Best Collapsible Cooler Reviews

  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • YETI Hopper TWO
  • Price : $$$$
  • Made : High-density fabric
  • Capacity: 20 cans
  • Dimensions : 12.5 x 24.5 x 16.5"
  • Weight : 5.8 pounds
  • 4.2 Customer Rating
  • Leopard Outdoor Collapsible Cooler Bag
  • Price : $
  • Made : Polyester / top and the bottom are molded
  • Capacity: 48 cans
  • Dimensions : 20.7 x 15.5 x 3.2"
  • Weight : 2.15 pounds
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • NorChill Marine Cooler Bag
  • Price : $$$
  • Made : PVC tarpaulin
  • Capacity: 24 or 48 Can
  • Dimensions : 13 x 25 x 19"
  • Weight : 3.30 LBS
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • MIER Collapsible Cooler Bag
  • Price : $
  • Made : Polyester fabric
  • Capacity: 30 Can
  • Dimensions : 12.6 x 8.3 x 13"
  • Weight : 1.17 pounds
  • 4.7 Customer Rating
  • Yodo Collapsible Cooler Bag
  • Price : $$
  • Made : Waterproof Polyester-canvas / PE Foam
  • Capacity: 68 Can
  • Dimensions : 15.9 x 11.4 x 10.2"
  • Weight : 1.77 pounds
  • 4.2 Customer Rating
  • CleverMade Collapsible Cooler
  • Price : $$
  • Made : Rip-stop fabric
  • Capacity: 50 Can
  • Dimensions : 18.2 x 12.2 x 2.2"
  • Weight : 1.9 pounds

1. YETI Hopper TWO

The YETI Hopper Two cooler bag is a public favorite, despite being the most expensive item on our list. You might be wondering why people still buy it if the cooler costs more than its competitors.

Well, one of the best things about this cooler bag is that it’s extremely durable. YETI is renowned for using top-quality components for their products, and the Hopper Two is no exception. The bag’s outer layer is made out of a high-density fabric that’s resistant to punctures and abrasion, and that’s also waterproof and resistant to bacterial or fungal growths. The middle layer is made out of closed-cell foam that insulates the bag’s main compartment. The inner layer is made out of an FDA-approved material. And probably as important as the foam and inner layer is the zipper. The zipper is similar to those used on hazmat suits and it creates an airtight closure.

We liked that this model comes with a comfortable shoulder strap. Thanks to the strap’s design and material, you won’t sweat when you carry the cooler bag because of the condensation.

As far as its capacity is concerned, this model can hold up to 20 cans of soda or beer along with the ice it needs to keep them cool for days on end. The cooler’s design will also make it easy to pack 20 oz water bottles and wine bottles.

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2. Leopard Outdoor Collapsible Cooler Bag

This cooler bag has an interesting design, and it can be very helpful for people who enjoy a picnic once in a while. The cooler bag has a maximum carry capacity of 48 cans, and it also comes with a zippered mesh pocket that allows you to store some things away from the ice or freeze packs in the main compartment.

A thing we really enjoyed about this model is that it’s well-made. The bag is constructed out of polyester, but the top and the bottom are molded out of EVA. The molded bottom will add to the bag’s sturdiness, while the molded top will allow you to place a lunch tray and some soft or beer cans in the cup supports while you’re enjoying a meal. The seams are heat welded, and the interior liner is FDA-approved and prevents leaks.

The cooler bag is easy to carry, and it comes with a padded shoulder strap that will distribute its weight across your shoulders and back instead of straining your arms. The side straps are also sturdy, and they will support the bag’s maximum weight without any complaints. However, you should note that the 48-can capacity is a large one, so the cooler can get heavy when you fill it.

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3. NorChill Marine Cooler Bag

The NorChill Marine cooler bag is a nice and compact model that can store a surprisingly large amount of cans, considering its design. This bag has a shell made out of a PVC tarpaulin which will protect it from tears and scratches. The shell is easy to clean. The bag also uses a heavy-duty zipper that will do a great job at securing the insulating compartment.

One of the advantages of using this model is that it comes with a high-quality patented liner. This liner is strong and resistant to punctures and abrasions, so you can rest assured the melted ice won’t make leak out of the insulation compartment. All the liner’s seams are welded using an electrostatic process, making it leak-proof.

The bag’s hands and shoulder straps come with cushions, so you will be able to carry it comfortably wherever you go.

We found that the 2-year warranty the cooler bag comes with is an advantage. If you somehow damage the bag within the warranty period, the manufacturer will repair or replace your item without any problems. This feature is not frequently offered by cooler bags manufacturers, so it’s definitely good to have it.

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4. MIER Collapsible Cooler Bag

Now we come to the cheapest collapsible cooler bag on our list. Even though this model costs only a fraction of the price of other models we reviewed, it’s still good enough to make our list.

The MIER cooler bag is made out of a polyester fabric that’s both anti-tearing and stain-resistant. Even if you somehow manage to stain the fabric, you can brush it away with ease, so the bag is low-maintenance. The bag’s interior lining is made out of high-quality PEVA, and it will maintain a cool temperature in the unit’s insulation compartment for a long period of time. Sure, this cooler will probably not maintain a cool temperature for as long as other models, but it will surely keep your drinks cold for half a day or more.

Besides the insulation compartment, the cooler bag comes with two front pockets for dry storage. While these pockets are not really spacious, they’re large enough to accommodate some utensils, small gadgets, and other items you would like to store when traveling with the bag.

This cooler bag has an interesting folding mechanism. Instead of collapsing on itself like most of the other products we included on our list, this model folds down its middle and you secure it using a strap that attaches on the bag with the help of Velcro straps. This is an easy and efficient way to collapse the bag, and it will significantly reduce its dimensions.

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5. Yodo Collapsible Cooler Bag

The Yodo cooler bag has a cute design that will appeal to most people who enjoy going for a picnic once in a while. This cooler bag resembles a classic picnic basket, and it even has the metal overhead handles used by the classic models.

Besides looking great, we found that this model is also well-made. The insulation compartment is roomy, and it uses three layers of insulation materials to keep the compartment at a cool temperature for a long period of time.

The cooler bag’s lining is leak-proof, and it will prevent the water resulted from the melted ice to leak to or stain the outside shell. The outermost interior lining is made out of a special kind of aluminum foil, so you can clean it with ease in a matter of moments.

And while this model looks like the perfect bag for a picnic, it can surely hold everything you would need for one. The insulation compartment is roomy, and you will be able to store a large amount of food and many drinks inside it. The bag’s maximum capacity is 68 cans, so you will probably rarely top it off. However, when you do fill it up, the cooler can get heavy and it can be uncomfortable to carry for long.

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6. CleverMade Collapsible Cooler

The CleverMade collapsible cooler bag is not the largest nor is it the smallest model on our list. In fact, this model is not special in any kind of way except one. It was created with a high attention to details.

This cooler bag has a maximum carry capacity of 50 cans, so it’s large enough to accommodate several meals and drinks along with the ice needed to cool them. The bag’s outer shell is made out of a rip-stop fabric that not only makes the bag durable but also makes it water-resistant.

And now, let’s take a look at how this manufacturer managed to capture our attention. The shoulder and side grips are made out of nylon, so you can carry the bag with ease. But that’s not unheard of. However, the small built-in aluminum bottle opener on the straps is. The bag also has a flop-free design, so you don’t have to worry about your drinks spilling inside it. The front dry storage pockets are secured with zippers, so you can use them to store valuables. And when it folds, the cooler bag measures only 3”, so you can store it easily.

These features might not seem as much, but having them is definitely a plus.

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Collapsible Cooler Bags

You might be wondering what makes the collapsible cooler bags special from the rest of the options currently available on the market. Well, the fact that they’re collapsible brings more to the table than you might think.

Advantages

  • Easy To Store – One of the most important features of the collapsible cooler bags is that they’re able to collapse, so they’re really easy to store. As rents get higher and storage spaces get smaller, being able to store a cooler bag in a fraction of the space other models such as metal coolers would take is an advantage.
  • Easy To Transport – And we’re not talking about how easy it is to carry them. If you’re looking for a cooler bag that’s easy to carry, you might be better off looking at backpack coolers or portable cooler bags. We’re talking about how easy it is to actually transport these units. You can simply fold them and put them in a suitcase or in the trunk of your car and take them out when you reach your destination. Thanks to their small and compact folded size, collapsible cooler bags are extremely easy to transport.
  • Versatile – Most collapsible cooler bags can double as normal bags, so you can use them when you’re shopping or when you’re packing for a trip. Not only will this improve the bags’ versatility, but it will also improve their functionality.
  • Efficient – Even though collapsible cooler bags are not as roomy as the rotomolded coolers or as efficient at keeping the ice from melting as the electric coolers, they can still get the job done. In fact, the YETI Hopper TWO can go head to head with a lot of different models and come on top when it comes to comparing their efficiency.
  • Diverse Designs – Collapsible cooler bags are probably the most diverse cooler bags currently available on the market. Some of them look like gym bags, some like large purses, and others look like classic picnic baskets and more. It’s easy to find a model or two you like and to compare them to see which one is the best suited for your needs.
  • Good For Frequent Use – Collapsible cooler bags have a low maintenance, so they’re really easy to clean and store. This makes the bags good for everyday use, and you can store your work lunches in them without any problems.

Disadvantages

  • Limited Cooling Period – Collapsible cooler bags don’t rely on a power source to maintain the insulation compartment at a cool temperature. In other words, these units will only maintain a cool temperature as long as there is enough ice or frozen freeze packs to do so.
  • Can Be Heavy – Some models like the Yodo Collapsible Cooler Bag have a large storage capacity. If you fill these models to their maximum limit, you might find it difficult to lift and carry them.
  • Weight Is Unevenly Distributed – Unlike backpack coolers that distribute their weight across both your shoulders, collapsible cooler bags come with shoulder and carry straps, so you either have to carry them over a single shoulder or carry them in your arms. This can be tiresome if you have to do it for a long period of time.

When Can A Collapsible Cooler Bag Be Useful?

BEST COLLAPSIBLE COOLER

  • Travel – Traveling is great because it can be very relaxing. But sometimes traveling can be inconvenient because it can be very expensive. If you want to save a good amount of money while traveling, you can take a cooler bag and load it with self-made food and drinks. Collapsible bags are especially useful when traveling because they don’t take up much space and you can pack them in your luggage with ease.
  • Food Delivery – Collapsible cooler bags can be very helpful for small business owners or for people who enjoy cooking for friends and family. Most of these units can be used with good results to transport cold or warm food from one place to another without too much trouble. Thanks to their good insulation, the bags will maintain the food’s temperature when you’re delivering it.
  • Sports – People who enjoy practicing sports, especially those who enjoy practicing outdoor sports such as kayaking, sailing, or paragliding rarely have the opportunity of practicing their favorite sports next to a foods and drinks vendor. This means they have to carry their own food and drinks. Using collapsible cooler bags for this purpose is helpful because it can offer you the possibility to always have fresh food and cold drinks close at hand so you can prevent food poisoning.
  • Picnics – Picnics are great stress relievers. The great thing about collapsible cooler bags is that they come in various forms and designs. This means some of them will surely be large enough to allow you to pack the perfect picnic. And as a plus, some models look like classic picnic baskets.
  • Fishing – Fishing is a healthy way to spend time in nature, and it can even be good for your health. And that feeling you get when you catch your own food is better than some people imagine. If you want to keep your fish fresh until you get home, you can use a collapsible cooler bag to store them. Cheap models like the MIER Collapsible Cooler Bag are perfect for this purpose. And the best thing is, they’re easy to clean so they won’t smell bad afterward.

BEST COLLAPSIBLE COOLER COMPARISON CHART

PRODUCTPRICEMADECAPACITYDIMENSIONSWEIGHT
YETI Hopper TWO
$$$$High-density fabric20 cans12.5 x 24.5 x 16.5"5.8 pounds
Leopard Outdoor Collapsible Cooler Bag
$Polyester / top and the bottom are molded48 cans20.7 x 15.5 x 3.2"2.15 pounds
NorChill Marine Cooler Bag
$$$PVC tarpaulin24 or 48 Can13 x 25 x 19"3.30 LBS
MIER Collapsible Cooler Bag
$Polyester fabric30 Can12.6 x 8.3 x 13"1.17 pounds
Yodo Collapsible Cooler Bag
$$Waterproof Polyester-canvas / PE Foam68 Can15.9 x 11.4 x 10.2"1.77 pounds
CleverMade Collapsible Cooler
$$Rip-stop fabric50 Can18.2 x 12.2 x 2.2"1.9 pounds

Wrap Up

As you could see, collapsible cooling bags can be helpful on many occasions. These bags provide an economical and user-friendly option for keeping your food fresh and your drinks cold, and they can be used on a regular basis with good results.

Finding the best collapsible cooler is just a matter of preference. You should factor in the model’s price, how you intend to use it, and for how long you plan on using it. The answers to these questions can guide you to finding a great cooler.