Soft coolers are becoming increasingly popular these days as adventurers look for ways to take coolers, and all the benefits they provide, along on more types outdoor excursions in increasingly remote locations.
I recently had the opportunity to test one of these coolers during an overnight adventure on the banks of the Chattooga River. Here are 5 takeaways from a day in the woods with the new-to-market Quest Soft Cooler from Canyon Coolers.1. Durability
These types of coolers are expected to hold up to the riggers of the elements. I supplied the riggers and the mountains, woods, and waters of Upstate South Carolina supplied the elements. All the while, the Canyon Quest met and exceeded my expectations. Constructed form raft-grade tarpaulin inside and out, the sample sustained a few falls on the slippery trail that led the river and emerged unscathed from an intentional 12 ft. drop off of a boulder located in the vicinity of the pictured Long Creek Falls. Most importantly, the beer inside remained intact and unharmed.
One of the first things I look for in a soft cooler is comfort. How does it ride during a steep three mile hike to your favorite swimming hole? In the case of the Canyon Quest, like a cadillac. The built-in chest and waist straps offer optimum stability while the adequate back padding keeps your back comfortable and chafe free even during extended hikes in the back county.
The cooler itself is relatively light, coming in at what I would estimate as just under two pounds. This is increasingly important on a trip like mine which required several miles of hiking on steep, slippery terrain. Beer and ice are heavy enough without the added weight of a bulky insulator.
This thing was designed with raft guides in mind and is consequently tasked with holding ice for days and even weeks on end. Sadly, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to tote this baby along on a three to four day canoe-camping trip, but I did keep it out in the field for more than 24-hours. During said trip I noted that the ice, while partially melted, did remain intact and, most importantly, the beverages remained ice cold and the food fresh.
The quest comes in two, sizes the 22 L and the 32 L. I opted to test the smaller model, known as the Canyon Quest Trek 22. It proved perfect for my needs with plenty of room for a six pack and a few snacks.