I love soft-sided coolers — always preferred them to hard-sided coolers for their portability and flexibility. But after a long hike in the sun, every single soft-sided cooler I’ve owned was usually sweatier than I was. And I perspire. A lot.
It looks, however, like IceMule Coolers may have solved the problem. Using an elegant, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-solution, the folks over at IceMule built their cooler into a dry bag. Not only does it not sweat, but it has a typical dry bag enclosure that prevents my other pet peeve with soft-sided coolers: leaky zipper enclosures.
Dry bag enclosures are not as convenient as zippers, I acknowledge that. You have to seal, roll and buckle the top of the bag. But, I use dry bags for a number things; thus, I’m pretty used to working with them. And I prefer the less convenient closure to cold water leaking out and down my back and leg.
The last feature that I really admire about the IceMule is the sling-style strap that allows me to wear it — messenger style — across my back. The pile of soft-sided coolers taking up space in my basement all have straps designed to be worn over a single shoulder — you know the kind that slips off all the time, unless you’re holding it or leaning 45 degrees toward the opposite side — or a pair of handles that you carry in your hand. Neither of the other styles offers the relatively-easy hands-free maneuverability that the IceMule cooler affords.
Here in the Upper Midwest, we are still technically in late Spring, so I haven’t exposed my IceMule to any temperatures that are too extreme, but I’ve tried it in a few different situations. In addition to a day in the park with the kids, we’ve used it to tote drinks and snacks to my 13-year-old’s ball game and for an early season kayak paddle.
I also took it camping and hiking for a couple days. Although the ice eventually melted and had to be replaced, the IceMule cooler was clearly better insulated than my sleeping bag. It hasn’t leaked at all; and it exhibited only a small amount of condensation in temperatures nearing 80 deg.F.
At this point, my only complaint is that its capacity a little small. But that’s more a function of the model I chose — the mid sized cooler — than anything else. The IceMule comes in two larger sizes than the one I have, including one designed to be a fish cooler to keep your catch fresh.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an IceMule Cooler for free from IceMule as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.