Bellroy Cooler Caddy Review

The Bellroy Cooler Caddy is quite effective at keeping beverages cool while also being easy to pack, thanks to its soft structure.

Our Verdict

7.4 /10
Good info

Form

80/100

Design

70/100

Value

70/100
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Pros

  • G-hook releases handle to secure it to fixtures or other bags
  • Fabric insulation effectively keeps heat out
  • Easy to stow away when through

Cons

  • Leftover water can seep out of the zipper
  • Doesn’t fit many 12-ounce bottles despite inclusion of bottle cap opener
  • Curved ends of zipper track make zipping a bit tricky
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Technical Details

99 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 143/145 Airlines

  • Capacity

    6l

  • Weight (lb)

    0.44 lb (0.2 kg)

  • Dimensions

    8.66 in x 14.2 in x 5.91 in (22 x 36.1 x 15 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Synthetic Thermal Insulation, YKK Zippers, Recycled Polyester

  • Manufacturing Country

    Philippines

  • Warranty Information

    Bellroy 3 Year Warranty

Buying Options

Brand
Price
Deal
Bellroy Logo
$59.00 
Moosejaw Logo
$59.00 
Amazon Logo
$59.00 

Full Review

A mini fridge in your hotel room is sometimes taken for granted. Whether you think of it cynically as a purely income-generating technique by hotels or a well-intentioned amenity, we’ll leave it up to you. But what do you do when you reach your hotel room, there’s no fridge, and you’ve brought your own soon-to-spoil food? It’s a tough question we’ve had to ask ourselves on a trip, but fortunately, we had the Bellroy Cooler Caddy.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Handle
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | Is there going to be a Coolest Caddy?

Make no mistake, the Cooler Caddy isn’t magic. In fact, apart from the material science of insulating fabrics, the design is quite simple. It’s a single-compartment thermally-insulated pouch with a quick-release top handle. It’s compatible with other Bellroy bags, including the Venture Backpack 22L where it fits like a glove in the main compartment. There is a catch, though, so let’s take a look at the finer details.

External Components

We’ll start with the fabric. Our sample’s colorway is quite eye-catching. Bellroy calls it Arcade Gray, and we’re not quite digging its checkered pattern aesthetically. It feels out of place among Bellroy’s usual lineup of solid and subdued colorway options, though maybe that’s why they’re introducing it. The exact material hasn’t been added to Bellroy’s published roster of materials, but adding the Cooler Caddy to your cart reveals it’s Dura Lite Ripstop—confirming our (and probably your) suspicion about the pattern.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Brand Studio
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | There are other colorways if you’re not vibing with Arcade Gray.

Ripstop fabric is typically found in gear that places a lot of emphasis on packability and/or lightness. Indeed, the Cooler Caddy lacks a lot of structure and feels very soft. In turn, that makes it very easy to pack since the thickest part of the fabric is along the grid that acts as reinforcement. Any rips in the fabric are, ideally, stopped by that grid reinforcement, thus preventing it from deteriorating.

If you’re still not convinced by Arcade Gray (and we understand), other colorways are available at the time of writing. There’s Charcoal, True Blue, and Copper—all leather-free, including Arcade Gray. In case you’re wondering, we’ve no reason to believe that these colorways are any less packable than Arcade Gray, though we’ll have to evaluate them separately to be sure.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Info
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | The liner is sealed at the seams to make it waterproof.

Arguably more important to the Cooler Caddy’s functionality is the underlying Thinsulate™ material by 3M™. We’ll talk about its effectiveness in the last section of this review, though 3M™’s omnipresence in everything from adhesives to tools should give you an idea of its reputation. In case you’re wondering, according to Bellroy’s figures, Thinsulate is made from 83% recycled materials (we’re going by their numbers since Bellroy makes the actual end product).

The Cooler Caddy’s lone water-resistant zipper comes courtesy of YKK, another reputable brand Bellroy typically uses for its products. There’s not much to gripe about the zipper itself, though the track is a different story. Notice how the ends curve upwards? That makes it tricky to fully close or open the zipper, requiring you to maneuver around the overarching handle to pull up, not just across the pouch. On that note, let’s talk about the handle.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Buckle
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | The bottle cap opener is a handy inclusion.

The handle goes edge to edge on top of the Cooler Caddy. Each end connects to a part of the fabric extending upwards from the body to form wingtips or horns. This doesn’t directly affect the handle’s functionality, though it provides a wider opening to the main compartment. Let’s focus on the handle, though.

One end has an aluminum G-hook that allows you to open the handle and secure it to a fixture. Maybe you want to hang it off a nearby park bench or tree branch; the sky’s the limit on how to best utilize this feature. That said, Bellroy’s example uses this feature to hang the Cooler Caddy on a backpack’s shoulder strap, essentially letting it hang low externally beside you. If we’re being honest, the setup looks clunky and half-hearted. In practice, though, it’s not too bad as it stays out of the way and eliminates any risk of leftover water spilling inside your backpack.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy With Backpack
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | External mounting made possible by the G-hook.

Lastly, the G-hook also has a built-in bottle cap opener, an undoubtedly handy tool for any picnic since you never know who’s bringing bottled beverages that need opening. However, we can’t help but feel it’s out of place for the Cooler Caddy. Given its shape and relatively small 6-liter capacity, it really can’t fit more than two or three 12-ounce beer bottles, for example. It’s really shaped more for canned beverages. To be fair, bottles can come in different shapes and sizes, so your mileage may still vary; everyone has their own needs.

Packability

Note that Bellroy explicitly states that, although the lining is waterproof, liquids can still leak through the zipper if it’s inverted. With that in mind, how does it fit in a daypack? As expected, it fits very snuggly in the Venture Backpack 22L, a close relative of the Cooler Caddy in Bellroy’s lineup. Then again, a six-liter pouch isn’t exactly the most difficult piece of gear to stuff inside a bag. There are also no proprietary magnets or hooks to worry about if you plan to put this in a bag from a different brand.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy In Bag Close
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | Fits like a glove.

Its relatively thin and unstructured materials make it very easy to squeeze into spaces. The most limiting factor here is whatever food or beverage you have inside. You wouldn’t want to squeeze too hard and spill your spaghetti or tomato juice, would you? As a consequence of its soft structure, the Cooler Caddy is also fairly easy to pack down once you’re through with it. If you fold it flat and roll it up, it slots easily into a liner or a spare bottle pocket.

Inside The Cooler

As mentioned earlier, the Cooler Caddy only has one compartment. There are no external slip pockets for bottle caps or straws if you’re looking for one. Simply unzip the main compartment zipper, and you’re greeted by the one and only space every drink and food you’ll be packing has to share—the ones you want to keep cool, that is. At this point, you can unhook the handle to keep it out of the way, but since the extended zipper track opens very widely, accessibility is never really an issue.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Zipper
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | The ends of the zipper track curve upwards.

Inside, there’s still no organization. There are no dividers or pockets to speak of, which is a more barebones approach compared to Able Carry’s Able Cooler, for example. That had adjustable dividers, whereas the Cooler Caddy lets you stack food and beverages without aid or obstruction. All in all, we can pack six cans of soda in two rows of three, leaving a substantial amount of room for ice or ice packs. TSA only allows ice or ice packs that are completely frozen at the time of screening, so definitely plan ahead if you’re taking this on a flight.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Cans
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | Six cans fit with room to spare for the ice you’ll want to put in.

Turning the Cooler Caddy inside out reveals more of the seam-sealed waterproof lining. Does it work? Absolutely, as we’ve found out when we left plain hotel ice in the Cooler Caddy during a trip. The ice eventually melted, but the water remained pooled inside—mostly. Water can still seep out from the zipper, and if you invert the Cooler Caddy intentionally, you can see it drip rather heavily (though they do warn you of this on their website). It’s the main reason we feel more comfortable hanging the Cooler Caddy externally since you never know when your bag may flip when flying. Alternatively, you can use ice packs to avoid the mess, but that would require re-freezing.

Bellroy Cooler Caddy Dripping Water 1-1
Bellroy Cooler Caddy | Water can still seep out through the zipper even when it’s closed.

What about its thermal insulation’s effectiveness? During our trip, we cycled through the handful of hotel ice we put inside once every eight hours, and that was enough to keep three to six cans, or a container of food, chilled.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Dig the G Hook handle – it looks nice and functional
  • Inside seems like it will hold melted ice cool – time will tell
  • Like the idea of placing this inside of a bag versus having a separate lunchbox, though the carry handle is a nice touch
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • This is better to use with ice packs than ice as water can easily seep through the zipper—though the material itself is quite water resistant
  • It was nice to pack away inside of a bag to keep lunch for a day at the park nice and cool!
  • Very low profile when not in use, so it’s very packable
  • Bottle opener on the hook works well
mm
By Tom Wahlin
Created September 18, 2023 • Updated September 18, 2023
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