Forget about the old type, heavyweight styrofoam dinosaur coolers; they are history. Campers use the best hammock coolers now. The new trend is soft-sided, highly portable backpack coolers with advanced insulation. It does not get any colder than this. They are compact, waterproof, and can keep your stuff cold for a few days, not just a few hours.
In comparison to hard coolers, soft-sided coolers are so much lighter. The main weight comes from the food you put inside. Designed similar as a backpack, you can just throw it on your shoulder and you are good to go. Perfect for camping, picnics, beach, and more. It is great to be able to have a cold soft drink after a long walk in the woods.
When shopping for hammock coolers, you need to determine how often you intend to use it and what you are planning to put inside. This will be your guide to decide on the size you need.
If you are going to use it for a few hours on a picnic or hammock resting, then small to medium size cooler bags will be enough for you. However, if you are planning to go car camping with many people, then you definitely need the biggest size.
What Is Better: An Open Or A Closed Cell Insulation?
Insulation is important to keep the cold temperature inside the cooler bags. You should pay attention to this feature when selecting yourself a quality hammock cooler. There are two different types of insulations used in most products:
- Closed-cell insulation contains more air bubbles which help to insulate better. These types are a bit more expensive since they provide a higher R-value per inch. On the contrary, they are heavy and if you think you already have enough load on your back when camping then check out the next type. Closed-cell insulation foam is also used widely in the construction industry.
- Open-cell insulation is lightweight, affordable, and inexpensive. Don’t get the idea that they are inefficient coolers compared to the closed-cell bags. It is true that the air bubbles are much lighter in this one, but the quality of keeping cold is more than enough for a cooler bag. Open-cell insulation bags are made from polyurethane foam.
How Big of A Cooler Do I Need For Camping?
A 15-liter cooler bag should be enough for 2-3 people but it all depends on how big your camping group is. Plus, the amount of time planned also has an effect on the size of the cooler. If it is just a weekend thing with no more than 4-5 people, then 15-20 liter should accommodate well.
Here are the top cooler bags that I like the most:
IceMule Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
This item is definitely one of the best cooler bags out there with many unique features. The waterproof capacity is so advanced that you can even swim with the bag. It does not have any zippers on it; so, no leaking there either. Keep everything super cold for 24 hours.
It is your mini personal fridge while camping; comes in three different sizes and six colors. You can pack 12 cans or 5 bottles of wine, and lots of ice in the medium size cooler bag.
It is made from extra sturdy fabric. The company calls it MULESKIN, and it is perfect for ice retention. The polar layer foam is responsible for keeping contents frosty for over 24 hours.
You can also add air for extra coldness which is another distinct feature. This is called IM AIRVALVE, and the extra layer of air increases the insulation. Release the air when you are done and roll the bag to fit wherever you like.
All IceMule products come with padded straps to provide extra comfort while you carry them.
- 14 x 11 x 3.8 inches
- In use dimensions: 16 x 10 inches
- Weighs 2 pounds
- Capacity: 15 L
- Various colors and sizes
- Super compact and portable
- It only keeps the ice for 24 hours.
Yeti Hopper Two Portable Cooler
Yeti is one of the most famous cooler bags in the market. It is chic, stylish, effective, and a bit overpriced. It is great if you can afford it; then you will certainly get a high-quality, high capacity cooler bag.
First of all, I have to mention that Yeti deserves all the attention it gets. This thing keeps everything cold for days. It is 100% leak-free and waterproof; made from a sturdy, high-density fabric.
The liner used is FDA approved and sourced from food-grade material. This is a closed-cell insulation bag that offers superior cold retention. You can attach additional stuff on the HitchPoint grid that is included in the cooler bag for your convenience.
Yeti will hold 24 cans of drinks and lots of ice which is good enough to start any party. It is portable and extra durable. The HydroLok zipper will keep the cold inside, and it is 100% leakproof. On the new version, the company moved the zipper opening to a lower level.
This enables you to get a wider opening which makes it easier to reach your stuff inside the bag. Plus, there are a lot of Yeti accessories you can get on the side to use along with your cool cooler bag!
- 25 x 12 x 18 inches
- Weighs 5.5 pounds
- Keeps your stuff extremely cold for days.
- The company has many accessories to use with Yeti bag, matching the color and style.
- Most complaints are about the zipper; that it does not last after a year.
Seehonor Insulated Cooler Backpack Leakproof Cooler Bag
If you are looking for a stylish, and practical cooler bag then this is the one for you. Seehonor insulated cooler bag is a convenient and lightweight solution to your hammock camping needs.
You can also use it as a backpack; it is highly versatile. The large capacity can take 24 to 30 regular cans or 4 wine bottles. Perfect for hiking, and road trips. It will retain cold or hot for hours.
The material used is heavy-duty nylon which is ripped and tear-resistant and very durable. The backside is made from breathable fabric. Straps are fully padded and adjustable for your comfort while carrying as a backpack.
It includes 2 side mesh pockets and 2 large front pockets with zippers. There is even an additional mesh pocket on the strap. Oh, and there is a beer opener on the other strap for your convenience.
- 17.7 x 7.9 x 13
- Weighs 1.74 pounds
- Capacity 30 L
- Horizontal leakproof zipper
- Breathable back side
- Super functional with all the side pockets.
- Insulated zipper pocket on the lid.
- It only keeps your stuff cold for hours not days.
IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
IceMule already makes great products with its regular cooler bags, but this one takes things even further with the pro features. It comes in three different sizes to better accommodate your camping and picnic needs. The XL size can take 24 cans and ice, and the XXL size can take 36 cans.
All IceMule products are made from special sturdy fabric that the company calls as MULESKIN, which is great on ice retention. Another unique feature is that you can add air for extra insulation. Just deflate when the bag is empty by using the air valve and roll it up.
IceMule products do not contain any zippers. Instead, you roll the top portion down and close with the help of a belt with a plastic hook. You don’t have to worry about the zippers getting broken in the middle, plus, it is so easy and quick to open and close the bag this way.
It includes straps, so it is highly portable. A perfect waterproof, collapsible, compact cooler bag that is great to use on hammock camping, hiking, beach fun, and more.
- 20 x 11 x 14 inches
- Weighs 3.5 pounds
- Capacity: 33 L / 24 cans + ice
- Hands free
- Zipper free
- The rolltop closure is not really waterproof but protects against splashes.
Tourit Soft Cooler Bag – Waterproof
Tourit is another well-known cooler bag company that has so many fans; including me. This smart bag can keep your stuff cold for up to 3 days. That’s why everyone calls their products as having ¨Advanced Cooling Performance¨.
The company achieved this high capacity of coldness in its bags by using a waterproof layer on the outside, high-density foam in the middle, and taking advantage of a leak-proof liner on the inside. Plus, the zipper that is used on the bag is a special airtight zipper to provide extra insulation.
The soft cooler is resistant to puncture, impact, and UV lights. It comes with a 3-year warranty against any product defects. No cancer-causing chemicals used in the production; BPA free. The liner is made from FDA approved material. It includes padded shoulder straps.
- 19.3 x 15.8 x 12.2 inches
- Weighs 4.7 pounds
- Capacity: 30 cans
- BPA free
- Keeps cold for up to 3 days
- You need to work out the zipper with some lubricant initially.
Coolers have technologically evolved in recent years. We no longer have to deal with the big boxes of styrofoam chillers, which require a friend’s help to carry, to the beach or camping.
New soft-sided cooler bags are super practical and compact. You can throw some ice and whatever drink or food you like, and keep them cold for more than 24 hours. Enjoying your favorite juice and some cold subs after a long hike is pure fun.
Get yourself the most compact, durable, and waterproof cooler bag according to your camping needs and have more fun in your hammock while watching the scenic outdoors.