The Mountainsmith Cooloir 12 soft-sided cooler is aptly named for its ability to hold 12 cans of liquid (aka. 12 liters) with ice and a little room left over for odds and ends. The Cooloir claims to keep drinks cold for up to 72 hours and so we are putting this soft-sided cooler to the test. The real secret sauce here is the closed-cell EVA foam insulation, which makes the difference over the coolers of years and decades past. This new closed-cell EVA foam really delivers the insulation needed to maintain temperature beyond 24 hours, and that’s the real key here. Then wrapping that cooling “box” or insulation in a durable soft-sided material delivers the durability. MSRP for the Cooloir 12 is $120.

Soft Sided Coolers

Soft-sided coolers have really exploded onto the scene. In the past, these coolers offered little in the way of insulation, so performance was a let  down. Think back to the old Coleman and Igloo soft-sided coolers you or your parents had and you’ll know what I mean. Today’s soft-sided coolers are vastly different with the far more effective closed-cell EVA foam wrapped in a durable shell, these coolers are effective and make for a far lighter alternative to the hard-sided coolers. And they are often a lot less expensive, and take up less space in a boat, in the field, or as a secondary cooler for camping. These things combined explains their sudden popularity.

Key Features of the Cooloir 12

  • Heavy duty 3/4” closed-cell EVA foam insulation to provide the insulation needed to keep things cold
  • A fully removable interior cooler box
  • A beefy set of handles and a shoulder strap
  • A seam-sealed 400d Nylon TPU/PU Coated Exterior for durability
  • A 200d Nylon TPU/PU Coated Liner for durability, and easy cleaning
  • MSRP = $120

Dimensions of the Cooloir 12

  • Measures 14″ x 11.5″ x 8.5″ (H x L X D)
  • Holds 12 Liters (730 cu. in.) and up to 30 pounds
  • Weighs 2 lbs 8 oz

Cooloir Review and Field Test

For this product review we put the Cooloir 12 to the test in the rugged and often balmy Central Oregon area. We took it camping, fishing, stand up paddling, to outdoor  concerts, and anywhere else our adventures led us. We used this bag on hot summer days in the high desert when temperatures reached 94F at the peak of the day and cooled to 55F overnight. In these temps we came to expect things to be kept cool in this bag for about 60 hours. That’s less than was claimed yet far better than other coolers we’ve used, and frankly better than we anticipated with these high daytime temperatures. In fall and spring months, 72 hours was achieved. What surprised us was how practical this bag was to take almost anywhere – it’s sized for easy carrying, the shoulder strap works well, and it stowed easily. It was easily cleaned inside and out by separating the inner insulation box from the outer, and rinsing or scrubbing. 12L coolers are not big, they are pretty small and with ice there’s not much more room than a 12 pack would fill but for our needs we found it to be an item we used a lot especially in small boats, SUPs, canoes, strapped to kayaks, it could even be strapped to the back of our ATVs and motorcycles (that’s not something we’d normally do but the exterior material was heavy duty enough to stand up to it). From that perspective it’s not going to replace anybody’s big 50L cooler anytime soon, but that’s not a reasonable expectation. After months of use and one trip bouncing around the back of my pickup, it remains in good condition – the exterior material is fully in tact, the straps are like new, and no pesky wear or tears to the inside material.

Field Test Highlights

We’ve used it regularly over the past 6 months and here’s what we’ve learned:

Maintaining Temperature: 60 hours on hot summer days, 72 hours in cooler months

Durability: The 400d nylon exterior and TPU/PU coating is no joke, it’s thick and resistant to abuse making it very durable

Ease of Use: It’s small but easy to carry, and super convenient

Value: At right around half the price of comparable models from yeti and Pelican, the Mountainsmith Cooloir 12 soft-sided cooler is a good value where these others are not


Cooloir 12 vs. the Competition

The competition in the soft-sided category is heating up, pun intended. Given the practicality of this size cooler, and the ease with which a soft-sided cooler can be carried, it’s no surprise. Every major brand has a soft-sided option, some better than others. Here are some of the noteworthy alternatives:

Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Cooler Bag

12-can/12L capacity, closed-cell EVA insulation, padded shoulder strap
MSRP $250

more info


Pelican SC12 12-Can Soft Cooler

12-can/12L capacity, closed-cell EVA insulation, 840D nylon exterior, non-removable interior, lifetime warranty
MSRP $230

more info