Last summer we reviewed Yeti vs. other vacuum tumblers and proved that when it comes to quality, it’s not always the brand that matters. Now we’re ready to put insulated cooler bags to the test. Can you actually get a cooler bag (with your company logo) that keeps stuff cold for 24 hours or longer? Better yet, can you get it for less than $100?
With big name brands like Yeti starting at $250 per bag, our clients need a more affordable solution. We chose four bags (under $100 each) and put them to test to find out what would give us the most bang for our buck.
A Note About our (un)Scientific Method:
Sure, there are labs that will test, certify and provide all sorts of documents and disclaimers, but we really just wanted to know: Can any of these coolers withstand the blistering heat of an Alabama summer?
To find out, I set up shop in my backyard, and placed a 10 pound bag of ice in each cooler bag. Then I left them there for two days, checking every 12 hours or so to see how things were progressing. The coolers got a mix of sun/shade, and the temperature ranged from 76 to 93 degrees over the course of the test. (The heat index rose to over 100 degrees during the day. In other words, it was REALLY hot outside.)
Now let’s take a look at the results.
- Capacity: 24 cans (also available in 48 can size)
- Price: Less than $50
- Minimum: 12 pieces
The Promise: We searched all over their website, but couldn’t find any overt claims about the length of time this cooler can hold ice.
The Verdict: Talk about under-promising and over-performing! Just like in our tumbler test, Starline emerged as a clear winner early on. After 24 hours, I was surprised to find that there was still half a bag of ice left inside. The last of the ice melted somewhere around the 45 hour mark.
What we love about it: It comes in a variety of sizes and colors (including camo!) and the insulated liner seems much thicker than the other bag. You can even bundle it with a set of three tumblers for a high-value gift set.
Something to think about: This bag is the only one that features a fabric exterior instead of a water-resistant one. The outside is made of a sturdy 600D fabric (similar to what you’d find in a nice piece of luggage.) However, since I used my personal sample for the test, I’m happy to report that after two years of heavy use, the exterior is still in great shape.
- Capacity: 30 cans
- Price: Less than $55
- Minimum: 12 pieces
The Promise: This cooler will hold ice for up to three days.
The Verdict: It didn’t make it three days. However, the marketing copy did say “up to” three days, and in extreme heat, it held ice for almost 48 hours. (The ice melted just a little faster than the Urban Peak one.) I think that in less sweltering temps, you’d get closer to that three day mark, so I still give it a two thumbs up.
What we love about it: The Arctic Zone cooler has a HUGE bottom gusset, so it’s much easier to pack stuff in than the other bags. (Of all the bags, this is probably my favorite for ease of use.) I also like the large area for your logo on the front and the easy-to-clean exterior.
Something to think about: I wish this had a longer, adjustable single strap in addition to the two regular shoulder straps.
- Capacity: 42 cans
- Price: $75 or less
- Minimum: 25 pieces
The Promise: Will keep ice for 36 hours with temperatures up to 90 degrees.
The Verdict: It delivered on its promise. This bag still had ice at 36 hours, and it didn’t melt completely until after the 40 hour mark.
What we love about it: It comes from Coleman, a retail brand that we know and trust to deliver great quality products. We also give it major style points for overall design. Bonus features include extra mesh and zippered pockets, a hard plastic bottom, and a velcro flap for easy access from the top. It also boasts a more traditional cooler shape if you need to pack bulky food containers.
Cons: It only comes in white with black trim, so if you’ve got to have your corporate colors, you’re going to be disappointed.
- Capacity: We couldn’t find anything to tell us how many cans it can hold, but it’s a big cooler bag!
- Price: $80 or less
- Minimum: 12 pieces
The Promise: Much like the Urban Peak bag, this one didn’t make any specific promises about how long it could hold ice.
The Verdict: The Skipper held ice really well for over 24 hours, and the ice melted just before the 36 hour mark. We’d definitely use it again for a day trip!
What we love about it: As far as style goes, this one looks the most like “that other brand,” and it’s made of 100% waterproof Tarpaulin fabric. It also folds flat for storage, and has a waterproof zippered compartment that would be great for stashing your cell phone and wallet while you’re at the pool or sitting by the beach.
Cons: Again, limited color selection. It only comes in grey and black.
Bottom Line: Yes, you can get a high performance insulated cooler bag with your logo for less than $100.
You could add your logo to any of the bags we tested and be confident that it will hold ice and keep your stuff cold for 24+ hours. Contact us to place your order today!