This Soft Cooler is Also a Waterproof Backpack

We found the ultimate soft cooler for paddling trips—the Hydro Flask 22 L Insulated Soft Cooler Pack. With the mobility and toughness to withstand epic adventures, this backpack-cooler gives you a reliably chilled and leakproof experience, minus the bulk of a conventional cooler.

Hydro Flask reviewed by Mountain Life

A Soft Cooler for Hard Use

We demoed it on a canoe trip and another advantage is that after your ice melts—not for about 48 hours—the cooler still keeps food sealed away and protected from heat. And well into the trip when you’ve consumed all your cooler goods, it serves as a backpack. This is a key factor on a trip where the last thing you want to do is haul around an empty, useless cooler. And the Insulated Soft Cooler Pack can also double as a dry bag, since the nylon shell is waterproof, as is the YKK AQUASEAL zipper.

Hydro Flask reviewed by Mountain Life

article continues below

Passing the ‘Cheese Test’

On our trip we loaded up the Pack with cider, cheese, veggies and two pre-made frozen dinners for three. The cheese was still OK after three days and nights of mid-summer heat. So you could say that this cooler passed our ‘cheese test.’ And on the last day when most of the food was gone, it served as an all-purpose backpack.

The sternum strap adds another portage-ready feature. And the Pack even has tie-down points to you can lash it to a kayak or SUP deck. Talk about an expedition cooler.

Hydro Flask Mountain Life
Photo: Hydro Flask


-Smart Insulation keeps your contents cold for up to 48 hours.

-YKK’s Watertight AQUASEAL® zipper and welded seams ensure leakproof transport; no water in, and no water out.

-Durable 420D nylon shell is ultra-light and waterproof.

-Wide mouth hinged top makes for easy access and easy cleaning.

-Mesh back panel and padded shoulder straps for comfortable hands-free transport.

-Woven sternum strap and carry handles.

-Compression-molded base for unsupported self-standing.

-FDA food-grade, BPA-free liner: free from toxins, free from worry.

-Dry storage top pocket for added versatility.

-Side pocket keeps your small essentials at the ready.

-Stretch mesh pocket fits a Hydro Flask bottle.

-Two welded nylon tie-down points for added stability.

Trail Trials: Keeping Invasive Species out of the Backcountry