Last Updated on December 17, 2020
Pelican is like the proverbial master of all trade, master of
Well, no it takes a twist here. The Pelican is perhaps the straw that broke this saying back.
Their top-quality production across different products rewrites what it means to have mastery of many trades. As a matter of fact, Pelican has delved into aerospace to show you how much weight these guys are pulling.
From the great paragraphs above, you’d expect the pelican soft cooler to be great, right? However, what if we told you that you are wrong, that not only are they great but the most durable soft sides on the market as well.
We’ve scoured the internet to find the entire pelican soft ice chests. More so, we’ve included all the features, and performance you should expect from these models.
This review is, in fact, the only guide you need to read to make an informed decision about the Pelican bag. (subtle brag).
Without further ado:
- 1 Pelican Soft Coolers – Comparison Table
- 2 Pelican Soft Coolers Vs. Yeti Hopper
Pelican Soft Coolers – Comparison Table
Pelican Elite Soft Coolers – Are the Features Elite?
Design & Construction
Pelican is quick to make a statement with their soft coolers. The exterior is made up of an 840D TPU – a fancy way of saying Thermoplastic Polyurethane.
What’s unique about the 840D TPU?
It’s a unique material that can be flexible, durable, and has a rubber-like feel that makes it smooth to touch. All these combine to create a user-friendly bag that will last years of use. Plus the exterior is strong enough to stand up to the hard knocks of everyday use.
The built maintains a unique box-like shape thanks to the TPU. Coated with a leather skin that rather makes it appear premium which it is but accentuates the cooler.
Compression-molded anti-slip base allows the cooler to sit upright without sliding off surfaces. Side handles on the side also makes loading and unloading the bag a breeze. You’ll enjoy the rubber grip handles and how comfortable they are in hands.
The cooler offers quick access to your drinks and food, thanks to the flip lid. Dual-lock buckle system serves as a latch to hold down the lid and ensure the content does not spill. Pelican boasts of a 100% leakproof zippers known as the TIZIP. The zippers are strong and durable; surely, even after many uses, they provide consistent operation.
Combining the Dual-lock buckle and TIZIP helps in extending the ice performance as it blocks out heat and locks in the cold. Many consumers have great things to say about the locking mechanism, which means Pelican’s brag carries much weight.
Integrating an accessory pocket, you’ll appreciate how attentive the company is to the tiniest details. It allows you to store your accessories separate from the content inside.
Molle webbing on the latches provides a hole where you can hang items like key-holder, bottle opener, and much more.
In terms of transport, it comes with an adjustable shoulder strap. However, it is not padded; therefore, you may find it hard to sling it to your shoulders for long periods.
Stainless steel tie downs mean you can tie down the cooler to your truck, SUV or boat and it won’t move an inch from where you kept it.
The interior of this cooler is built with some unique materials to ensure you get up to two days of ice from it.
First off, the interior incorporates a high density closed cell foam insulation that pretty much insulates the cooler from the heat trying to get inside and locks in all the cold. The interior liners are smooth, which makes it easy to clean off stains, odor, and mildew.
To be very honest, the interior can hold ice incredibly better than average coolers but compare them to hard coolers; they are no way close. However, if what you need is a portable bag that’s portable and enough to pack supplies for a day, then the elite soft cooler will suffice. The liner is densely made to hold liquid, so you are rest assured it is leak proof.
Performance (Insulation & Ice Retention)
Pelican coolers are usually referred to as ice clingers by the outdoor enthusiast. Especially the hard coolers, they have a rugged build, thick-walls, thanks to the Rotomolded construction, they are literally beastly looking coolers.
While the soft elite coolers do not have the same resemblance in looks, they sure have the ice retention part. However, do not expect weeks of ice because these are soft ice chest are not equipped with all the features to perform for long periods.
Nevertheless, the pelican soft coolers have are better than most soft bags you will find on the market. Thanks to the tough exterior, leakproof zippers that have a seal to maintain ice life. In addition to that, high-density closed-cell foam aids ice retention as well.
Some users have reported more than the two days of ice assured by Pelican. I guess the pelican way to over-deliver with their products and that was what made them the giant they are today.
The interior is FDA approved to come in contact with food. You can keep your meal with a calm mind knowing how safe the interior is.
The ice life gets better in the bigger models, just something to keep in mind if your priority is to pick the longest cold clinger.
Bottle Opener – The stainless steel bottle openers integrates to the latches and makes opening your bottles a breeze.
This is one nifty accessory that you will agree that it’s easy to forget when packing items for a trip. As trivial as they may appear, they are indispensable gears you need. Unless you want to use your teeth to open bottles and with it comes the risk of knocking your teeth out.
Tie Downs – The roads can get bumpy, and there’s the likelihood the cooler might tip-off. To ensure your cooler does not roll and mix up the items inside, the tie downs as the name implies can be used to anchor the cooler to a surface.
Zippers – The zippers as I’ve said earlier have a waterproof seal meaning it’s does not leak or let the exchange of air between the interior and outside environment. Coupled with the high-density insulation, Pelican has armed this cooler with the most sought out function of a cooler which is? You already know, to hold ice.
Dual-Lock Buckle System – This is just like a latch that holds secures the lid. In the event your zippers have a slit, the buckle system will keep the lid down preventing the items from spilling out.
Handles – it comes with two carry options. The shoulder strap and side handles:
The shoulder strap is adjustable and makes for easy transportation over long distances. However, since you are slinging the cooler to your shoulders, it might not be comfortable to carry when filled. Thus, the side handles will come in handy. Depending on the carry option you prefer, you’ll find both useful in the long run.
The coolers come in different sizes, and they are identical in terms of design. Considering that our needs of a cooler differ, there’s an ideal size for any event. Sizes range from small to large;
Pelican SC12 Soft Cooler
- PELICAN 12 CAN SOFT COOLER
- Interior (L x W x D) – 12.00 x 5.50 x 7.25 inches
- Exterior (L x W x D) – 14.00 x 7.50 x 12.00 inches
- Can Capacity – 12 cans
- Volume – 13 Quarts
- Weight – 3lbs
Pelican SC24 Soft Cooler
- Interior (L x W x D) – 15.00 x 8.00 x 8.75 inches
- Exterior (L x W x D) – 17.00 x 10.00 x 13.50 inches
- Can Capacity – 24 cans
- Volume – 25 Quarts
- Weight – 5lbs
Pelican SC48 Soft Cooler
- Pelican Elite 48 Can Soft Cooler - Black
- Interior Interior (L x W x D) – 18 x 11 x 11.25 inches
- Exterior (L x W x D) – 20.00 x 13.00 x 16 inches
- Can Capacity – 48 cans
- Volume – 50 Quarts
- Weight – 8lbs
As you can see, the SC12 is the most portable and carries up to 12 cans, which will be enough for a day trip. The SC24 has twice the capacity, and it is ideal for a two-day trip. If your demands are not too much, these can pack enough drinks for up to 3 people. The SC48 is the biggest size, and it packs twice as much as the SC24.
You can use this soft cooler on any expedition; it can even serve as a back-up for hard coolers.
One point worthy finding is the weight of these coolers. With regards to the capacity of hard coolers, these coolers barely weigh heavy. In fact, you can sling them just like your backpack cooler even with the contents inside. Also, the portable sizes mean the coolers don’t take up much space, and you can keep this in the back of your car, and it won’t get in the way.
Pelican Soft Coolers Vs. Yeti Hopper
Pelican and Yeti are like the Android and iOS comparison. It’s an unending one as you know and the debate is usually meant to glorify and shade the other. However, we all know that two legends can co-exist. In fact, these companies push each other to revolutionary developments that have made their coolers compared continuously.
The Pelican has limited capacities. Coming in at three sizes, there’s a need for the creation of more options for consumers to select from.
Limited sizes put the Pelican at a disadvantage as Yeti hopper has ample hopper sizes to cater to different needs. There’s no denying that the pelican sizes intersect different needs and can cover almost every need, but the Yeti has more attractive options.
Design & Color
Pelican soft coolers have pretty much the same design and a limited color outfit. Yeti utilizes different designs on their hopper line up and constantly redesigns them. It an exciting look and a refreshing feel.
The construction of the Pelican was well thought out – thanks to the double-coated 840D TPU fabric is sleek looking and tough. It also includes a stainless steel opener, seal proof zippers and an uncompromising lid that is durable.
Yeti hoppers have of a high-density fabric just like the Pelican. It is resistant to mildew, waterproof, puncture-resistant, and harmful UV rays. It has a coldcell insulation, and the hydro lock zippers are leakproof and waterproof.
Pelican has made it clear that their soft coolers can hold ice for two days. However, many customers have reported more than just three days. What this means is that Pelican does not make empty promises and exaggerate its product.
They have a bare minimum they believe their coolers should perform, and that is what they tell you. Pelican is the type that delivers on its promise without heaping unrealistic praise and expectations on products.
Yeti, on the other hand, have different hopper sizes and with it comes different ice times. Although the ice times slightly vary, you can get up to 3 days of ice or more from their coolers. You can check out a review we made comparing the hopper to the roadie here.
It’s quite obvious that the Yeti promise more ice life, yet many reviews have revealed almost similar ice performance between these two. However, the Yeti edges the Pelican because of its ample sizes and varied ice duration.
Pelican Elite Soft Coolers – Pros & Cons
- Made in America
- It comes with leakproof and waterproof zippers
- Sleek, flexible and robust exterior made of 840 double-coated TPU
- It comes with Tie down points and nifty bottle opener
- High-density closed-cell foam insulation extends ice performance
- Limited sizes and colors
Pelican Soft Cooler Cheaper Alternatives
There’s no denying that both the Pelican and Yeti hopper cost as much as some hard-sided coolers. This is a major downside and turnoff for many potential buyers.
The pelican elite cooler is excellent. While some may argue the worthiness of investing much in a soft cooler, it’s is better than most soft bags in many categories. If you have the money sure do not skimp your chances of buying a buy for life premium cooler you’ll enjoy for many seasons.
Budget buyers, we got you too. Many affordable options perform on the same level as these, and the pricing is relatively cheap. Here are few of the alternatives;
Tourit Soft Cooler
- ADVANCED COOLING PERFORMANCE: High quality insulation in 3 unique layers work together to keep your food and drinks cool up to 3 days. Outer layer has a water-proof surface which ensured no sweat, middle layer is high density foam and the interior is fully lined with leak-proof material
- 100% LEAKPROOF and IMPACT RESISTANT: TOURIT soft cooler features a waterproof and tough shell to resistant to punctures and UV rays. The Airtight Zipper with easy pull tab keeps the bag with cooler leak-proof.
- BPA FREE: The liner of soft-sided coolers made from BPA free material, superior quality, competitive price. Perfect companion gear for lunches, beach picnics, park, tail-gating, hiking, camping or backyard use
- 3 WAYS to CARRY: With a detachable shoulder strap with pad, top handles and 2 reinforced side grab-n-go handles, you can carry this soft cooler bag hands-free on the shoulder for light loads, or use the top/side handles for heavy carry
- PERFECT DIMENSIONS: Exterior size: 17 1/2" x 11 1/2" x 13 1/5" (L x W x H), Interior size: 15 2/5" x 9 1/3" x 9 9/10"(L x W x H), Empty weight: 1.90kg, can hold 30 cans plus ice, could perfectly be placed in the trunk of the car and the wide-mouth opening of the soft coolers insulated ensure easy access and visibility to your contents
The Tourit is our first affordable alternative to pelican soft coolers, and it’s for these reasons. First off, it comes with 3-layer insulation that prevents heat exchange, and you can get up to three days of cold drinks. Just like the Pelican, it is airtight, features waterproof zippers that do not leak. Interior liner is BPA free and approved by the FDA.
Transport is as easy as it gets, thanks to the three-way carry options, it offers an adjustable shoulder strap, top handles or side handles. Durability wise, this model is puncture-resistant; the zippers are robust and reflect harmful UV rays from the sun. In the event it has any manufacturing defects, the 3-year warranty will cover it.
Overall, this is a handsome and attractive option that’s not only affordable but qualitative to give out many years of use.
Keenstone Soft Cooler
- LARGE DEEP CAPACITY: Keenstone soft sided cooler bag can hold up to 6.7 gallons ( 25.4 liters ) by volume. You can take 32 cans of your favorite drinks plus ice（36 cans if no ice ). Deep size makes it convenient to pack wine. The overall out side dimensions are approximately L x W x H: 20.5 x 8.3 x 16.9 inch ( 52 x 21 x 43 cm ). The inside dimensions are approximately L x W x H: 18.5 x 5.9 x 14.2 inch ( 47 x 15 x 36 cm ), the net weight is approximately 3.8 Lb (1.7kg) when empty
- LONGER TIME INSULATED: 3 Layers Insulation - 840D TPU Shell - High density middle compartment - 420D TPU leak proof liner, together with airtight zipper to keep food cold for up to 48 hours ( Tested Under: drink to ice Ratio: 1:1, 77°F/25°C ), specific duration depends on ambient temperature, initial temperature of content and whether plus ice. Such materials determine its solid structure, waterproof, mildew-resisitance, scratch-resistance, aging resistance and easy cleaning
- LEAKPROOF SEAMS & ZIPPER: Adopts heat-welded seams technology to prevent leaks. Sealed with sturdy Airtight Zipper, perfectly holds 99.99% out air out, helps keep content's initial temperature. When the ice in bag melted, no need to worry about the water leaking out of the zipper. ATTENTION: To ensure its leak-proof and advanced cooling performance, the zipper may be a little tight when you use, please pull harder with the T zipper head along the direction of the chain
- BETTER CARRYING: Designed with padded handles and a detachable shoulder strap that offers 2 carrying styles. You can choose to carry by hand or with shoulder. Shoulder straps are adjustable for max comfort for you. The pad is is attached to one of the handles, you won't lose it easily. It has a front zippered pocket to hold your credit card or cellphone. Equipped with one bottle opener outside of the soft cooler, help you share cold beers with friends and family anywhere
- VERSATILE USE: This cooler bag can be packed with lunch and a few ice packs for camping, and it can be placed in the trunk of your car as well. It is perfect for your whole-family picnic or to load up full of snacks for youth sports training outdoors, beach, camping, cycling, hiking, tailgates, soccer game and etc. It can be used for food delivery services or keep drinks and foods cool for truck driver in hot summer. Perfect summer gift for men women
Keenstone is not a popular name, but their coolers is worth writing home about. Yes, it is a heavy-duty bag for the beach, picnic, tailgating and much more.
It comes with 3 layers of insulation. The inner layer is made up of a 420D TPU, the middle layer is a 28mm thick high-density foam, and the exterior layer is an 840D TPU that rivals the quality built of the Pelican.
It offers up to 3 days of ice as a result of the Airtight zipper, thorough sewing, and thickly layered wall. The cooler provides convenient transport options which costumers will love. Overall, Keenstone not a popular choice compared to the soft bags on our list, but the quality can be compared to that of any product listed here.
- High performance soft sided cooler (hold ice up to 4 days).
- Waterproof full length zipper for easy access and front accessory pocket.
- Patent pending vacuum valve technology - improves insulation performance
- Rugged TPU outer wall construction.
- Includes ergonomic shoulder strap, bottle opener and zipper lube.
Engel HD30 comes with a welded TPU wall build that for consistent, and durable operation. The zippers have a seal that prevents water spills while the largemouth makes it easy to access items. The patent-pending vacuum valve technology increases insulation. The company boasts of 3-4 days of ice. Many users have experienced 2 days with cold drinks.
A removable bottle opener hangs from the front exterior, and the dry pocket is ideal for storing accessories. For transport, it has a padded shoulder strap, side handles, and a tote carry handle, transporting is a breeze. External dimensions measure 20 x 16 x 10 inches; you can keep in the back of your car seat as it does not take much space. Overall, the Engel HD is a fantastic soft bag that is considerably cheaper than the Engel; you will in it find a great substitute.
Finally, Pelican soft coolers are premium by every definition. There’s no doubt about the coolers ability to last many years performing at an optimum level.
If you want to travel light, these soft bags are ideal options; however, they do not hold ice as much as their hard-sided counterparts. However, for convenience, portability, and mobility, the Pelican soft bags ideally suited for those functions.