Kysek Soft Cooler Review
Last Updated by Brandon F. on June 19, 2019
Kysek has established itself as being one of the top ice chest brands in the industry. However, there is much more to this company than simply their hard-sided coolers. In addition to this, they have an array of soft-sided coolers and cooler bags that are increasing in popularity. In this review, we will be focusing on the various Kysek Soft Coolers. We will discuss their individual features, ice life, pros/cons, and finally, give you our overall rating for each product.
But before we get into that, here are a few of our top choices for the best Kysek Soft Coolers.
- 1 Kysek Soft Cooler Review
- 1.1 Kysek Soft Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Kysek Soft Coolers Features
- 1.3 Kysek Soft Cooler Ice Life
- 1.4 Kysek Soft Cooler Aesthetics
- 1.5 Kysek Soft Cooler Price
- 1.6 Kysek Rover Softbag Review
- 1.7 Kysek Dry Bag Review
- 1.8 Kysek Trekker Backpack Review
Kysek Soft Cooler Lineup
Kysek’s soft cooler lineup primarily focuses on 3 different product lines: Kysek Dry Bags, Kysek Softbag Ice Chest (aka the Kysek Rover), and the Kysek Backpack Cooler (aka the Kysek Trekker).
The Rover and Trekker aren’t advertised as being in liters or quarts but instead, they are measured by how many 12oz cans they are designed to hold. The Rover Softbag can hold around 32 cans while the Trekker Backpack can hold around 24 cans.
These are good sizes for soft-sided products and should meet the demands of most people. We do like the nice variety of products sizes that are available in the dry bags (although they really aren’t designed to hold ice for very long periods of time).
The Trekker and Rover are optimized to have better ice performance and you will see why when we discuss the available features below.
Kysek Soft Coolers Features
The specific features you will find will depend on which model you go with. In fact, we encourage you to figure out what exactly you are wanting out of your soft-sided cooler beforehand. Do you want something to carry a large amount of food that doesn’t need to stay cold for very long? Are you after a bag that can keep your drinks chilled for several hours? Do you need a more robust cooler that can handle being dropped or scraped? Once you have these questions answered, you will be able to figure out what the best Kysek Soft Cooler is for you.
Kysek Dry Bag Features
The Kysek Dry Bag is primarily designed for keeping your items dry instead of cold. While it can be used as a temporary makeshift cooler, you will find that the lack of thick insulation will severely impact ice life.
Being a dry bag, it comes with many of the features you would hope to see. For carrying, you will find a detachable, padded shoulder strap in the larger models (40, 50, and 70L). In addition to this, all models will come with a comfort grip handle. We always appreciate coolers that come with multiple carrying methods as there will be times where it makes more sense to transport on your shoulder and other times when carrying with your hand is better.
You will also find multiple storage compartments. Obviously, there will be the largest compartment with zippered access at the top. But in addition to this, all sizes come with a side storage compartment that has its own zipper. This is great for stashing away items that you don’t want to mix in in the larger storage area (cell phone, credit card, keys, etc.)
And speaking of zippers, they are waterproof! This is in addition to the waterproof outer shell that all Kysek Dry Bags have. Because let’s face it: can you even call a bag that doesn’t use waterproof materials a dry bag? We didn’t think so!
Kysek Rover Softbag Features
You will see a lot of similarities between the Kysek Rover Softbag and other premium soft-sided coolers on the market offered by companies such as Yeti, RTIC, and Engel. The demand for these premium soft-sided coolers that can keep ice for long periods of time only seems to be growing and we love to see all of these companies coming out with their own twist on it.
The foundation for this Softbag lies in the InternaShield Interior that is wrapped in rawhide skin. This provides excellent protection from bumps and scrapes while also assisting in ice life thanks to the insulation offered up by the InternaShield. You don’t have to worry about accidentally poking a hole in this fabric when it brushes an abrasive surface.
On top of this Softbag, you will find what Kysek calls their “Top-Side Flex Rope”. This elastic rope is a great place to tie on various items such as keys, cameras, or anything that is on a string or bungee.
For additional places to hang items, the front of the cooler has NyWeb Straps. These are nylon straps that make great anchor points for any items that may not fit on the top.
And to access items that you have stored in the main compartment, you simply unzip the top zipper and pull up on the Kysek Flip Back Top. This design emulates a traditional hard-sided cooler’s lid and applies it to a soft-sided cooler. In other words, you can quickly and easily access all of your stored items.
Speaking of the zippers, they are also waterproof. This, along with the waterproof outer shell, means that you can expose the Kysek Rover to aquatic environments without the worry of damaging your items.
For carrying, you will actually find three different methods: a cushioned shoulder strap, extra cushioned side handles, and overhead carrying handles. This gives you plenty of options to be able to easily transport this product, no matter how full your hands happen to be.
Kysek Trekker Backpack Features
The Kysek Trekker Backpack is one of Kysek’s newer products. Its goal is to be a mobile, leak-proof solution to those who do physical outdoor activities where having a firm grasp of your cooler is important.
Similar to the dry bags, the Trekker comes with a waterproof zipper and a rawhide skin shell. This tough combination helps to make this backpack leak-proof as well as semi-waterproof.
The wide-mouth top means that you have easy access to all of your stored items. You don’t have to worry about fumbling around trying to find your desired item. With this product, the entry to your goods is huge, giving you ample room to access them.
For mobility, you will find adjustable cushioned shoulder straps that are actually quite comfy. This is important because, when full, this backpack can be a bit on the heavy side. Having capable shoulder straps will take a lot of the strain off of your shoulders and minimize the chance of it wearing into your skin.
For added ice performance, there will be a semi-thick layer of InternaShield insulation. This interior not only helps prolong ice life but also provides an added protective barrier against bumps and scrapes.
For additional storage, Kysek has become pretty creative. Obviously, you have a large top-access pocket. But in addition to this, you will find a front-access zippered pocket. This is a good spot to place items that you don’t want to throw in with your ice and beer (cell phone, wallet, etc.)
There are also some places that you can easily hang items from. You will find an adjustable front flex rope, in addition, to latch guard buckles on the sides. These mounting points can come in quite handy when hiking as they help to secure your items from accidentally dropping to the ground.
Kysek Soft Cooler Ice Life
Now that we have gone over some of the features, let’s discuss one of the more important metrics: ice life.
Kysek’s various soft coolers will have their own pros and cons. Some are better suited for longer ice retention while others aren’t really optimized for long ice life. Because of this, it is important that you first figure out what sort of ice life you need. If you only need a couple of hours of ice performance, then you will have plenty of options. However, if you are after a soft-sided cooler that can keep items cold for 2 days or more, you will have to be a bit pickier.
We did some of our own internal testing and research to get to the bottom of how these Kysek soft coolers perform. We filled them up around 1/3 of the way with ice, left them in the outdoor Texas heat, and occasionally opened them. This better emulates real-life use than simply filling them to the brim with ice, leaving them indoors, and never opening them.
The results we found were quite interesting:
It is no surprise that the Rover and Trekker had clear advantages over the Kysek dry bags in the ice retention departments. Both models come with thicker insulation and are better-suited for keeping ice. In fact, the Kysek dry bags really aren’t designed for ice retention. If you do decide to use them for that, we encourage you to use ice packs instead.
We saw slight improvements with ice retention as you sized up on the dry bags but even then the results were not significant. Simply put, if you care about keeping ice, stick with the Kysek Rover or the Kysek Trekker.
Kysek Soft Cooler Aesthetics
We really like the styling in all of the Kysek Soft Cooler products. They are modern and look pretty high-tech. Instead of going with solid colors, you will find combinations of gray, black, and white. The rawhide skin not only is durable but also looks quite tough. You will likely get some compliments when toting one of these around at the lake or beach.
However, our major complaint is in the lack of color choices. While we do like the color choice that is available, it is the only color option on all three models. In the future, we hope that Kysek expands to other color choices as well.
Another aspect that they could build upon is allowing for custom colors, decals, etc.
Kysek Soft Cooler Price
Price is always an important consideration. And seeing how Kysek is a premium cooler brand, the price can creep up quite high. As you saw in our Kysek hard-sided cooler review, this brand tends to fall towards the top of the price bracket.
True to form, you will find that these products are pretty expensive as well. Yes, they do perform quite well and are extremely tough, but you will pay a high asking price because of this.
Now that we have discussed the various Kysek soft coolers in detail, we can now rate them based off of our internal rating system. Check out our detailed reviews below and see how each product fared!
Kysek Rover Softbag Review
Pros: Acceptable insulation, All of the expected features, Super tough
Cons: Pricey, Very similar design and approach as Yeti/RTIC
Features: InternaShield insulation, Rawhide skin, NyWeb straps, Waterproof zipper, External storage compartment, Adjustable straps
The Kysek Rover Softbag comes in one size (capable of holding around 32 cans). The Kysek Rover Softbag may look eerily similar to the soft-sided coolers that Yeti and RTIC sell and sure enough you will see a lot of overlap in features, performance, and price. That being said, this approach is a proven formula and you do end up with a very tough competitor that is ready for anything that Mother Nature can throw at it.
Insulation Ability –
This product approaches soft-sided coolers in a way very similar to Yeti and RTIC and you will instantly notice some similar design approaches. Unlike Kysek’s Dry Bags, this is designed to not only be tough but also provide much longer ice life. This is accomplished thanks to the inclusion of an InternaShield insulated interior that, coupled with the tough rawhide skin outside and waterproof zipper, allow for ice life of up to 2 days in optimal conditions.
It is important to note that ice performance is really dependent on how much ice you decide to put in. If you sacrifice more storage space for more ice you will see noticeable improvements in how long it can perform. However, if you decide to go light on the ice so that you can store more items you will notice that the cooling ability drops down to more like a day to a day and a half.
Overall, we are pretty happy with these numbers. They will compete with nearly all of the soft-sided coolers on the market when it comes to ice life.
Mobility and Durability –
All of the typical features we like to see in a quality soft-sided cooler are here. As we mentioned above, the InternaShield interior and rawhide skin allows for a puncture-resistant outer shell. And the quality waterproof zippers make this a very water-friendly product. For storage, you will find NyWeb straps that allow for you to hang objects off of them. And there are more storage areas than just the main compartment: you will find a front storage pocket as well.
For mobility, there are actually three different carrying methods which we absolutely love. You can choose between an overhead handle, cushioned side handles, and a shoulder strap. This means you will have no problem carrying the Kysek Rover Softbag no matter what else happens to be on your person.
Visual Appeal –
These products look the part but are essentially identical to the Yeti and RTIC designs. It isn’t that we mind these designs but it would be nice to have something a bit different so as to stand out some. They come in a standard silver color with black accents and blue stitching. We do like the extra rugged feel that all of the bungee cords and attachment side straps give the products, though. But in the future, we hope that Kysek expands their color options to more than just one.
These soft-sided coolers are definitely not cheap. That being said, they are similarly priced to what you find with the Yeti soft-sided coolers that have very similar dimensions and performance attributes. You will also find that similar RTIC coolers are a bit cheaper as well.
Overall Rating –
The Kysek soft-sided lineup adds some additional competition and variety to the cut-throat soft-sided cooler market. They offer the features and performance we like to see given the high price tag and also a bit of extra mobility in their Trekker backpack that will surpass most soft-sided coolers due to the improved ergonomics. You can expect up to two days of ice life in optimal conditions and the comfort levels are more than adequate. Just keep in mind that these are premium products and do come with a premium price tag.
Kysek Dry Bag Review
Pros: Quality construction, Super resilient outside fabric, Attractive looks
Cons: Aren’t designed to store cold items, Expensive considering they aren’t really coolers, Not as many features
Features: Comfort-grip handles, Detachable shoulder strap, Front zipper, Reflective ID points
Kysek Drag Bags are a bit unique in that they answer the need for a water-resistant container but they sacrifice ice life in the name of mobility. There are plenty of the traditional accessories and features you like to see in soft-sided coolers but you won’t enjoy the relatively long ice life that we like to see. They are available in 3, 20, 40, 50, and 70-liter sizes and come in a single color choice. Most of the parts of either made of plastic or rubber.
Insulation Ability –
You may immediately notice the similarity between the Kysek dry bag and other premium soft-sided coolers such as those made by Yeti and RTIC in regards to size and shape. However, while they may look similar and have similar features they really aren’t intended to keep items cool for long periods of time. These are more designed to simply protect your belongings from the elements, particularly rain and snow. This is thanks to features such as the InternaShield interior which is surprisingly thick and insulated for being a soft-sided material.
In addition, the skin used is made of rawhide and is high-frequency welded to ensure a consistent and protected seal for all of the elements that you can throw at it. Kysek also uses thermo-welds in its construction which minimizes the amount of moisture that can find its way inside.
Ice life will vary some depending on size but don’t expect more than 8 or 9 hours of ice retention (even in the largest models). And if you do insist on using these for chilling items, we recommend going with ice packs instead of ice.
Mobility and Durability –
These units are quite mobile and pretty easy to carry, even when loaded up. You may be a bit tired after lugging one of the larger sizes that are full of contents but it is still easier than most hard-sided coolers. There are well-placed comfort-grip handles on the overhead should strap that makes it much easier to carry without straining. Another cool feature in the larger sizes is a detachable, padded shoulder strap. We really like using the shoulder strap while transporting this soft-sided cooler and then you can simply remove it when not in use. Other helpful convenience features include an easy access main compartment, a front zipper pocket, water-resistant zippers, and reflective points for easy identification.
Don’t let the soft-sided nature of these fool you. As mentioned above, they take advantage of a thick rawhide skin and are assembled thanks to high-frequency thermo-welds. While they won’t be as tough as a traditional hard plastic cooler they should be able to hold up to most things you can throw at it. We do feel there is a little bit of a step down in quality between these and the Yeti and RTIC soft-sided coolers and you won’t find as many features but they are still more than capable of most things other than storing cold items for long periods of time.
Visual Appeal –
We really like the styling of these. They come in white skin with black and blue accents and give off a very progressive and almost futuristic vibe. The shoulder straps and pockets are placed in areas that not only are functional but don’t make the products look cluttered or gimmicky. The one major issue we have is in the lack of color options since we understand that not everybody will want the white finish. We would like to see some more outdoor-inspired colors in the future. Also, the zippers don’t look as meaty as in some other soft-sided coolers but they should perform just fine so it is mostly an aesthetic thing.
These products are not cheap for the amount of storage size they have. There are many hard-sided coolers that are more affordable and can store more. However, they are of high quality and we can’t really see any shortcuts that were taken in production. Also, they are cheaper than the comparable Yeti soft-sided coolers and are about the same price range as RTICs. However, the important thing to note is that you are essentially paying for a weather-protectant bag rather than a typical soft-sided cooler. If you are interested in longer ice life from Kysek they do offer soft-sided coolers but they are also more expensive.
Overall Rating –
The Kysek Dry Bags are obviously targeted towards those after a premium soft-sided cooler but that is prioritizing water resistance over ice life. The design approach and many of the features are very similar outside of the inclusion of thick insulation. Overall, they do an acceptable job of giving us a high-quality product that can handle most challenges that Mother Nature can throw at it. All of the features we like are there but not much beyond that. From a price standpoint, these dry bags are comparable if not slightly below other brands but you need to remember that if you are after something that can keep your items cool for a day or two this isn’t the answer.
Kysek Trekker Backpack Review
Pros: Very mobile, Easy access to stored items, Comfortable to wear, Lots of storage
Cons: Ice life is lower than a traditional soft-sided cooler, pretty expensive
Features: Waterproof zipper and liner, Rawhide skin shell, Wide-mouth top, Adjustable cushioned shoulder straps, InternaShield insulation, Multiple pockets, Adjustable front flex rope, Latch guard buckles
They Kysek Trekker Backpack aims to be a mobile solution for those who are always on the go but need something that can keep their drinks cold for a few hours. It comes with plenty of storage area and is made of tough materials so you know it will last. In terms of capacity, it can hold around 24 cans which makes it great for a picnic, hike trip, or tailgate.
Insulation Ability –
You will find a somewhat thick layer of InternaShield insulation. This is essential for prolonging ice life. The quality zippers also form a decent seal which helps to retain ice life. That being said, you won’t find the level of ice retention that you are used to seeing on larger soft-sided cooler bags. That has to do with both the size and shape of the backpack. For the added benefit of mobility and easy access, you will pay for it some when it comes to ice.
Specifically, you can anticipate ice retention to fall somewhere between half a day up to nearly a full day. If you want things to go closer to a full day then be sure to load it up with extra ice or preferably ice packs. This isn’t terrible considering that this is a backpack.
Mobility and Durability –
The Kysek Trekker Backpack aims to be a convenient solution for any outdoorsman. And because of that, it needs to have all of the features that your typical outdoorsman would need. You will find that they definitely were on point in this regard.
Starting out, you will find that accessing your stored items are a breeze thanks to the wide-mouth top and the quality waterproof zippers. These zippers combine with the tough rawhide skin shell to make a water-resistant backpack that will thrive in wet environments.
For convenience, you will enjoy the adjustable cushioned shoulder straps for added comfort. And the front-access zipper and adjustable front flex rope really open up what you can do this with this product. The only thing we wish that Kysek would consider adding is perhaps a built-in bottle opener and perhaps compartmentalize the interior but these are minor complaints.
Visual Appeal –
Out of all of the Kysek soft-sided products, their backpack is probably the most Spartan in appearance. You won’t find the level of alternating colors and textures like you do on their other products. However, the exposed rawhide skin shell looks extremely tough and aggressive and it perfect for those that don’t want a lot of flash. Currently, there is also only one color choice. We hope that Kysek expands on this and gives us more color options in the future.
This is a pretty expensive backpack. For the asking price, you may be a bit underwhelmed by the ice performance when you compare it to other soft-sided coolers at this price point. But it is important to remember that that is a much more mobile backpack and comes with nice features and excellent build quality. This does help to explain the high asking price but it still may simply be too rich for some people.
Overall Rating –
They Kysek Trekker backpack is a quality addition to the reputable Kysek line. It brings to the table a unique approach that tries to combine the mobility and ease of use of a backpack with the ice retention of a more traditional soft-sided cooler pouch. The result is something that falls somewhere in the middle. The toughness aspect is certainly there and we appreciate the included features. But the cost is quite high and at this price level, you should be very picky. We recommend this product to those specifically looking for a cooler backpack. But for those who are open to any sort of soft-sided cooler and are concerned with maximum ice retention, there are better-performing products out there.