I had the pleasure of reviewing the new Pelican Soft Cooler this past summer.
The 24-can model is the middle one of three new coolers,which includes 12- and 48-can versions.
Retail on the 24-can cooler is $279.99. The cooler series is covered by a limited 3-year warranty.
Pelican’s manifesto is all about protection, and that philosophy is built into the company’s soft coolers as well. Protecting the items from getting warm is just what these coolers do. I proved this with several tests I did.
The first test was on a 90-plus-degree day in the sun — with one bag of gas-station ice and some water. Despite opening the cooler a lot, I got nearly a full day out of it and the water was still cold.
The second test was the leak-proof and floating tests. With ice melted, I carried the cooler upside down and no leaks from the zipper were seen. In fact, people were impressed when they noticed I had it upside down.
The third and final test was two bags of gas-station ice on top of the six warm water bottles zipped up and stored in a garage. Temps were in the mid 80’s and the humidity was high.
I had a small piece of ice left after 62 hours and when I dumped it 74 hours. later the water was still chilled. This great ice retention is due to the little over 1 inch of high density closed-cell foam and EVA to insulate both the walls and lids of the cooler. The wide-mouth zippers are designed with a waterproof seal to keep the ice inside the cooler and assist in keeping the contents cold as well. Note that with each soft cooler a tube of lubricant comes with it to lubricate and help keep the zippers functioning properly.
The thermoplastic polyurethane coating (called TPU) is puncture-proof, very durable and waterproof, and keeps the exterior in great shape while getting kicked around outside on rugged terrain or other mishaps. The top has molded-in cup holders which do a great job holding your drink while you have fun. The press-and-pull buckle system for securing your cooler and lid also has stainless steel tie-downs with integrated bottle openers.
The decent-sized pocket on the backside is great for keys or a wallet, but I struggled a bit to get the wallet in. However, I think after some use this would loosen up a bit and allow putting a wallet-sized item in without difficulty. The lashing on both sides is also helpful.
Overall, the Pelican soft cooler is awesome. You can always argue over price, but given prices of competing brands, this cooler is in the ballpark and performs like a champ when it comes to ice retention and keeping your items protected and cold.