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Hard vs Soft-side Coolers: Which One is Best for You

Summer is here, and we’re looking forward to enjoying a cool beverage at the beach, at our backyard summer party or when camping in the mountains. If you’re looking for a portable cooler, you must consider a few things to choose the right one. One major one is picking the correct cooler body for your needs – whether a hard-pack or a soft-side one will work better for you.

But maybe the most essential thing is choosing a brand that won’t disappoint you regarding quality and features. And that’s why you should go for Techni Ice, the best Australian brand for portable coolers.

Why Choose Techni Ice?


While Techni Ice specialises in ice boxes, vehicle fridges, and other cooling and refrigeration items, the brand also has a fantastic selection of high-quality camping swags. Their cooler products, such as the well-known Techni Ice line, are known for having the best ice retention. So, whether you want an ice chest cooler or an ice box cooler that exceeds the competition, you’ve come to the perfect place.

Since 1984, Techni Ice has been 100% Australian-owned and operated. They’re based in Frankston, Victoria, and have international operations in Miami, Florida, USA. The brand was also selected to offer products for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 and Beijing in 2008.

Hard-side vs Soft-side Coolers

Of all the decisions in the world that you would assume would be simple, deciding which cooler to buy should be a piece of cake. Well, it’s not that simple, and if you’ve ever looked for a cooler, you’ll know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Grabbing the first cooler that fits in your trunk and driving away can sound appealing (or adding it to your cart if you prefer online shopping), but you may be dooming your camping trip before it even begins.

Techniice offers numerous cooling portable solutions. You can find a correctly tailored ice box or bag based on the size, style, and optimal use of each sort of cooler. One significant consideration is the hard or soft sides. While the decision may appear minor and insignificant, it’s one of the most critical variables that can distinguish your cooler selections.

Here’s everything you need to know about the distinctions between hard-sided and soft-sided coolers.

Hard-Sided Coolers for Durability

Hard-sided coolers have solid, non-bending sides made of inflexible, often plastic, meant to endure the outdoors. So, hard-sided coolers are just what they sound like, but there are some crucial aspects to consider, especially the material of the hard-sided cooler.

Techniice uses a technology known as roto-moulding to manufacture their coolers. Rotomoulding is a highly technical procedure that produces hollow items. Water sports enthusiasts may have kayaks or canoes constructed by rotomolding; cyclists may have helmets made by rotomolding.

Their hard-sided coolers, such as the Techniice Classic Hybrid Ice Box 25L, are significantly more durable than other plastics on the market due to the roto-moulding process, offering additional insulation for an ultra-well-sealed and chilled cooler.

Soft-sided Coolers for Easy Portability

Soft-sided coolers, like the 13L Techni Ice High-Performance Cooler Bag, are exactly what they sound like coolers with soft, malleable, flexible sides.

The best soft-sided coolers employ a sturdy, puncture-resistant nylon material that is comfortable but tough enough to withstand everyday wear and tear. Techniice soft-sided coolers then use a closed-cell insulation material to keep temperatures low and your drinks and ice frozen.

Have you ever raised a glass of what you thought was ice-cold water only to find it was lukewarm? If you were disappointed, you were not alone; a 1997 study found that cooled (or heated) drinks reduced the uncomfortable sensation of thirst faster than lukewarm water. Keeping your water cool is essential for a trip of any length.

What Is the Difference Between Hard Pack and Soft Pack Coolers?


Let’s dive into the core differences between hard and soft-sided coolers. We’ll explore their distinct strengths and weaknesses, shedding light on how each can elevate your experience.


One of the most striking differences between hard and soft-sided coolers is their size. The hard-sided variants often boast substantial storage capacities, with our largest model offering a whopping 50 quarts of space. These robust coolers are engineered with a blend of polymers to ensure durability and ample room for your needs.

In contrast, soft-sided coolers typically come in smaller sizes. Their walls, which are less dense and sturdy, impose limitations on their volume, usually topping out around 20 quarts. Yet, their compactness serves a purpose; these smaller, more flexible coolers are perfect for short outings, prioritising convenience and efficient packing.


That’s where soft-sided coolers take the lead. Their lightweight nature makes them incredibly portable. These compact coolers, easily carried on hikes, to the gym, to the office, or strapped along for a bike ride, offer unmatched mobility. Conversely, the bulk and weight of hard-sided coolers often necessitate vehicle transport.

Soft-sided coolers capitalise on this advantage. For instance, many backpack options come equipped with padded shoulder straps, enhancing their suitability for adventurous journeys.


The thickness of hard-sided cooler walls and lids bestows them with superior insulation compared to their soft-sided counterparts. While soft-sided coolers provide several hours of insulation, a quality hard-sided cooler can preserve ice for days. The increased insulation surrounding items translates to better preservation, with models capable of maintaining ice for up to ten days.


Soft-sided coolers can survive wear and tear. However, the resilience of our rotomoulded hard-sided coolers remains unparalleled. Some hard-sided coolers are even bear-resistant, which is crucial not just for our well-being but also for wildlife resource preservation.

Both hard and soft-sided coolers exhibit impressive durability. Yet, hard-sided coolers outshine others in handling rigorous tasks for extended camping trips, large gatherings, and demanding outdoor activities.

The Final Verdict

Soft-sided coolers are perfect for day trips, tailgates, brief events spanning a few hours, or single-day outings. Their versatility extends to gym sessions, office routines, school, hiking, biking, fishing trips, and various on-the-go adventures.

On the flip side, hard-sided coolers shine in larger gatherings. Whether catering for kids’ sports teams, enduring long camping escapades, or facilitating family reunions, their extended cooling capacity and durability make them the go-to choice for prolonged use spanning hours or days.


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