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Cooler Bags vs Hard Coolers: Which Keeps Food and Drinks Cold Longer

soft coolersSource: gearjunkie.com

In terms of keeping your drinks and food refreshingly cold on the go, two popular options stand out: cooler bags and hard coolers. While both serve the purpose of maintaining low temperatures, they differ in design, portability, and insulation capabilities.

As such, we’ll dive into the chilly world of cooler bags and hard coolers, exploring their features, benefits, and drawbacks. So, whether planning a beach picnic, a camping trip, or a day at the park, join us as we compare these chilling champions and help you choose the chilliest companion for your next adventure.

Cooler Bags

A soft cooler is an insulated bag intended to transport food and beverages. It’s also sometimes referred to as a soft-sided cooler, as it’s made from flexible materials. It is the ideal tiny cooler since soft cool bags often have a smaller volume than hard-shelled coolers – anything from 11 to 28 litres.

snow peak soft cooler
Source: stuartslondon.com

Insulated cooler bags are ideal for active persons who need cold food and beverages on the go. They work best for transporting cold items in warm weather because they provide less insulation, such as bringing beer to a party or food on a trip.

The three layers that make up a cooler bag are usually an outside layer (which serves as the framework), an insulator (often some sort of foam), and an inner layer, which shields the contents from the insulator. Manufacturers frequently use vinyl and plastic to create the inner layer. Soft cooler bag models often have shoulder straps, although they also come as a duffel bag. Most include zippers that provide access to the interior without fully opening the bag.

Our Choice

For more than 70 years, Australians have turned to Esky when they want to spend time outdoors with their loved ones. Esky has been keeping drinks cold and lunches fresh for generations of Aussies thanks to its proven performance and reliable quality.

Esky coolers began as modest sheet metal boxes with cork insulation in a Sydney sheet metal workshop and have since developed into the svelte, high-performance variants we see today. Esky, a genuine Australian classic, continues to offer outdoor lovers high-quality goods that make it possible for friends and families to take advantage of the great outdoors. Here are two models of their cool packs.

ESKY™ Travellers Large Pack

The Travellers Large Pack is a versatile and resilient Esky cool bag to cover all your bases. All the parts of this pack employ high-quality, durable materials. The carry case, the wine chillers and the stubby holders have excellent, lightweight neoprene insulation to keep drinks chilled or at room temperature. You have the most versatility for all social, sporting, and recreational activities. Some features include neoprene insulation, water resistance and an adjustable shoulder strap.

esky cool bag
Source: techniice.com

ESKY™ Beach and Pool Bag

The ideal cooler bag for the perfect beach and pool lifestyle in Australia! A sturdy mesh panel keeps the insulated food and drink compartment of the Esky cool bag separate from the carry area, which also contains two pockets for towels and other goods. Water-resistant lining, numerous pockets and shoulder strap adjustment are handy additional features.

Hard Coolers

Frequently used to keep food and drinks fresh for a long time, hard coolers, such as ice boxes, ice chests, or eskies, are made of a hard plastic exterior, an insulated interior, and an accessible lid. Hard ice coolers can keep your goods chilled for several days. You likely won’t need as much ice if you use hard coolers for brief excursions.

The lids of this cooler model have latches or screws; these keep warm air out and cold air in. Some hard coolers will have drain holes, which make melted ice simple to remove without toppling the cooler.

Small (14 litres or less) to large (70 litres or more) are the sizes available for hard coolers. While more oversized hard coolers can hold enough food and drinks for a family, smaller hard coolers are ideal for packing drinks and snacks for a single traveller.

Our Choice

Techni Ice is an Australian company that produces some of the best reusable refrigerant solutions. We take pleasure in offering the highest quality designs that are reasonably priced and distinctively Australian. Their industry honours, which come from years of producing the most excellent ice retention solutions, reflect the quality and client satisfaction they work so hard to deliver.

Techni Ice Signature Hardcore Premium Ice Box 55L with Wheels

This hard cooler is a game-changer for outdoor enthusiasts seeking superior cooling performance and convenience. With its 55-litre capacity, this icebox provides ample space to store your food and beverages during extended adventures.

techni ice signature ice box with wheels
Source: techniice.com

What sets this icebox apart is its exceptional insulation, which ensures that your items stay chilled for an extended period. The robust construction, combined with airtight seals, helps to maintain a consistent temperature even in harsh conditions. Whether camping, fishing, or tailgating, you can rely on the Techni Ice Signature Hardcore Premium Ice Box to keep your perishables fresh and your drinks ice cold.

Wheels add a significant advantage, allowing for easy transportation across various terrains. You can effortlessly navigate through sandy beaches or rugged pathways without carrying the ice box on your shoulders.

The Final Verdict

As you’ve noticed by now, both options have strengths and weaknesses. Cooler bags excel in portability, versatility, and ease of storage. They’re lightweight and flexible – you can conveniently carry them over the shoulder or as a backpack. Ideal for short outings or picnics, cooler bags offer decent insulation and come in various sizes and designs to suit different needs.

On the other hand, hard coolers shine when it comes to long-lasting cooling performance and durability. Built with robust materials and superior insulation, hard coolers are designed to keep contents chilled for extended periods, making them perfect for camping trips, beach days, or outdoor parties. They offer larger storage capacities, rugged construction, and enhanced protection against impact and rough handling.

The choice between cooler bags and hard coolers ultimately depends on your requirements and usage scenarios. If you prioritise mobility, convenience, and the ability to pack light, a cooler bag is your go-to option. However, if you prioritise maximum cooling performance, durability, and the need to store larger quantities of perishables, a hard cooler is the way to go.

Ultimately, it’s worth considering owning both types of coolers, as they complement each other in different situations. A cooler bag suits quick outings and everyday use, while a hard cooler becomes indispensable for longer adventures and situations where optimal insulation is crucial.

So, whether you’re seeking the grab-and-go convenience of a cooler bag or the rugged cooling power of a hard cooler, choosing the right one depends on your unique needs and preferences. Select the cooler that aligns best with your lifestyle and embark on your next chilling adventure with confidence.

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.