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From rafting, to hunting, to overland exploring... read about how adventure seekers are using Canyon Coolers.

Five reasons to choose a Soft Cooler for your next outdoor adventure.

Hard coolers are great. We love them. They butter our bread.

But they're not for everyone. And they're not for every adventure. Especially when that adventure is a family picnic, weekend visit to the ball field, or an easy overnight camping trip.

This is where a soft cooler excels.

These portable cooler bags continue to grow in popularity for good reasons. In this post, we'll explore those reasons and why soft coolers are must-have gear for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors. From their unmatched portability to excellent insulation, you'll discover why a soft cooler, like the Nomad or Coulee could be the best gear investment you make this year.

1. Unmatched Portability

The biggest advantage of a soft cooler is its portability. Unlike traditional hard coolers that can be bulky and heavy, soft coolers are designed to be lightweight and easy to carry. This makes them perfect for day trips, pool parties, or even grocery runs. You can do what you need to do without swollen biceps like you've been doing sets of curls.

Soft coolers often come with adjustable straps and handles, making them easy to sling over your shoulder or carry by hand. Simply walk with one through a crowded beach, park, or a long trail to a secret water hole without breaking a sweat. That's the convenience a soft cooler gives you.

Some soft coolers are even collapsible. When not in use, you can fold and store it in a small space. Hard coolers, on the other hand need a significant storage area. This makes soft coolers a good choice for those with limited storage options or small vehicles.

2. Insulation for the long haul

The primary function of any cooler is to keep its contents cold,. Soft coolers perform surprisingly well in this area. Modern soft coolers use advanced insulation that can keep your food and drinks cold for an extended period.

Canyon's Coulee, a lightweight backpack cooler, can easily keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours. While the larger Nomad series soft coolers will extend that to 48 to 72 hours depending on the environment and use. This ensures you're drinks stay cold for the long road home.

We use high-quality foam insulation and airtight zippers that contribute to their impressive cooling capabilities. Some soft coolers come with pockets to place ice packs that enhance cooling ability. This is a game-changer for those who need to keep provisions fresh during extended outdoor activities.

Additionally, we build our soft coolers with a sonically-welded food safe liner to prevent leaking or sweating. This ensures that your car seats, picnic blankets, and other belongings remain dry.

3. Prices that won't break the bank

While the largest and best hard coolers, like our Navigator 150, can be quite expensive, soft coolers don't require the same heavy equipment or molds to manufacture, use fewer raw materials, and are lighter and smaller to ship. This translates into cost savings without sacrificing the ability to keep drinks cold.

(We suggest you apply the savings to going on a few extra adventures.)

4. Easy to Clean and Keep Clean

When it comes to food storage, chemical composition and cleanliness are critical. Soft coolers are easy to clean thanks to wipeable and sometimes removable liners. The liners in our soft cooler series, while not removable, are food-safe. This keeps the liner from spiking your drinks with any unwanted chemicals.

Spills and messes, like an unnoticed open ketchup bottle bouncing around your soft cooler, happen. But a soft cooler's open top means you can quickly clean the cooler before the red ketchup turns blue and fuzzy. This ensures safe cooling for your food and drinks on the next adventure.

Some soft coolers, ours included, feature antimicrobial linings that resist mold and mildew, adding an extra layer of protection. This is important for frequent users who don't want added flavors and odors.

The exterior, although less important, is equally easy to clean. Most soft coolers are made from stain and UV resistant resistant fabrics that can be wiped down or hosed off after a day on the trail. Because the last thing you want to do after a day in the sun is a hard chore cleaning up.

5. Versatile for any adventure

Soft cooler bags are versatile. They're not just for picnics or days on the beach; these portable coolers are suitable for a variety of adventures.

From camping and fishing trips to tailgating parties and road trips—a soft cooler meets your cooling needs. Their compact size and lightweight nature make them ideal for activities like hiking, kayaking, or stand up paddle boarding where space and weight are concerns.

For families, soft coolers are the perfect solution for keeping snacks and drinks cool during soccer games, park visits, or long car rides to visit relatives where a similarly sized hard cooler would not work.

Real-Life Testimonials and User Experiences

Don't just take our word for it—listen to what our customers say about their Nomad soft coolers. These are adventure enthusiasts who swear by the convenience and efficiency of these cooler bags.

"Nomad 20 cooler is great, keeps stuff cold a long time. It's perfect for canoeing and since it's soft sided it also fits as a airplane carry on with a little squishing. Only complaint is accessing the stuff inside isn't the easiest. Undoing the side buckles certainly helps but still a bit troublesome to get into."

- Gavin McGee

"Compact enough to fit on the deck of the can-am X3 but big enough for drinks, sandwiches and snacks. Great for all day use, after a full day ride the next day still had ice. Love it!"

Bob Sinclair

"Perfect size for the front of the van on long road trips, keeps drinks cold for 3+ days without adding ice. I have two big, energetic dogs and it seems to put up with their abuse and is easier to store than a hard sided cooler."

Jacob Hutchinson


A Comparison with Traditional Hard Coolers

While hard coolers excel in durability and extended cooling times, they often fall short where soft coolers shine. For instance, hard coolers can be cumbersome and difficult to move, especially when navigating rough terrain or crowded areas.

For a full comparison between soft coolers and hard coolers, along with help deciding which option is best for you, we created quick guide in this post.

Tips for Choosing the Right Soft Cooler

Ready to invest in a soft cooler? Here's what to consider when determining which is the best soft cooler for your next adventure:

  1. Consider Size and Capacity: Think about how much space you need. Are you packing for a family picnic or a solo hike? Choose a soft cooler that suits your typical adventure. We have soft coolers that range from 12-30 quarts.
  2. Check the Insulation Quality: Look for soft coolers with high-density foam insulation and waterproof zippers to ensure maximum cooling efficiency and leak protection.
  3. Evaluate Durability: Opt for soft coolers made from robust materials like high-denier nylon or polyester. Reinforced stitching and heavy-duty zippers are also indicators of durability. All of Canyon's soft coolers are protected for 66 weeks by our legendary 💩 happens warranty.
  4. Look for Additional Features: Some soft coolers come with extra pockets, bottle openers, or shoulder straps for added convenience. Consider what features will be most useful for how you will use it.
  5. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Before making a purchase, read user reviews to get an idea of the performance and reliability of different soft coolers.

By keeping these tips in mind, you'll be able to choose a soft cooler that suits your adventure needs.

Trying to decide between Canyon's soft coolers (we have a few to choose from)? We assembled this comparison between the Coulee and Nomads to help you decide which is best for you.

Looking for a reason the top 5 reasons to buy a Canyon soft cooler? Well, we've got you covered with this post.


Soft coolers, backpack coolers, or cooler bags offer a blend of portability, convenience, and performance that makes them essential gear for outdoor enthusiasts, family adventurers, and soccer moms alike. Their excellent insulation, reasonable durability, and easy maintenance make them well suited for a variety activities where cold food and drinks are a must. All at a fraction of the cost of traditional ice chests.

Whether you're next adventure is a weekend camping trip, a day at the beach, or a family picnic, a soft cooler like the Nomads and Coulee will keep your food and drinks cold without weighing you down.

Explore our range of high-quality soft coolers today and keep the good stuff cold!

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