RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) Review

The RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) is the perfect size for road trips and car camping. When packed correctly, it keeps food and drinks cold for up to two days.

Our Verdict

7.7 /10
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  • Durable but lightweight materials, so a full cooler is easier to carry
  • Advertised 48-hour cooling window is accurate, especially when packed correctly
  • Sliding padding on crossbody straps makes it more comfortable to carry


  • The front pocket is so small that it’s hard to find a use for it
  • Indenting on the top can topple a drink in the right situation
  • No padding on the side or top straps

Technical Details

32 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 46/145 Airlines

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    3 lb (1.4 kg)

  • Dimensions

    13.5 in x 13.75 in x 9.5 in (34.3 x 34.9 x 24.1 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), Vinyl, Unbranded Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information


Buying Options

Amazon Logo

Full Review

The 20-can RTIC Soft Pack Cooler is made for rugged adventures, days on the water, and everything in between. We tested it in the most rugged conditions and on a vanilla road trip to see how it handles both situations so you can make an informed decision before purchasing. Let’s dive in!

The Rundown

The cooler is crafted from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), vinyl, and laminated materials. The seams are RF welded, which makes the cooler waterproof with some help from the zippers, which we’ll get into later on. The cooler is highly durable and won’t crack after a hard hit, which is the Achilles heel of some hard-sided coolers. Because it is soft-sided, it can take a lick and keep on ticking. Because of the materials’ durability, the cooler is much more structured than other soft-sided models on the market, making it easier to load things inside and giving the cooler a nicer look.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Car
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | We’re digging the colorway.

The RTIC (pronounced arctic) logo is visible on the front and top of the cooler. The former iteration is more visible, as it features a different color. Still, it blends in nicely. The top logo is indented, so it’s sleek and not very noticeable. That said, if you’re trying to set a drink on it, you might spill it if you put it right in the wrong place. It’s a tiny elevation change; however, sometimes, that’s all you need to inflict a party foul on yourself.

The zippers are unbranded but have held up incredibly well in our testing. The front pocket zipper has a PU coating, making it highly water-resistant but not waterproof. The main compartment’s zipper is completely watertight. When you close it, you must ensure that the zipper is backed completely into the garage; otherwise, it isn’t a complete seal. This will allow water to seep in if you put the cooler in the water and, in theory, will cause your drinks and food to warm faster. The zipper is challenging to open and close, but the T-shaped pull is helpful. Eventually, you’ll have to lubricate the zipper to ensure it works. After about a month of testing, we’ve had no issues.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Full
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | In the studio.

There are a couple of ways to carry this cooler. First, there are handles on either side. There’s no padding or aeration, but they’re handy for sliding it in and out of the car or truck bed. They fold flat, so they’re out of the way if space is an issue. Next, two handles come together at the top, like a tote bag. They secure with a hook-and-loop fastener, which adds padding for comfort. There’s no mesh for breathability; however, we’ve found it comfortable enough to carry over medium distances. Think a quarter-mile or less (that’s around .4 km).

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Handle
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | Using the main handles.

Last, the cooler has an included strap, which we like. It feels like the strap you’d get on a sling or crossbody bag, and we’re here for it. It attaches on either side with a swivel hook and has a padded section in the middle. This slides so you can ensure that the part of the strap hitting your shoulder is padded. We like that this is removable, as you don’t always want or need it for every trip. This is the comfiest way to carry it, but it may get in the way in the car if you’re using this for a road trip. If that’s the case, take it off and throw it in the trunk for safekeeping.

The front pocket is very small. Seriously, there’s very little depth here. You can fit a single phone or a few small items, like your keys or a small wallet. We appreciate the inclusion but wish there was just a smidge more space to work with.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Shoulder
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | Using the crossbody strap.

The main compartment is where the real party is. It isn’t a travel backpack or a daypack, so there’s no organization, but this is where all the goodies go. Beer, pop, water, sandwiches—it’ll all fit inside. It’s a 20-can cooler; however, you can mix and match if you don’t have that many cans to bring.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Can
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | We matched the colors on purpose!

There’s ample insulation on all four sides, ensuring your food and drinks stay cold all day. RTIC says this cooler can keep things cold for up to 48 hours, which holds up in our testing.

Our primary tester took this cooler camping in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. On that trip, they initially loaded it with four 12-quart mason jars filled with overnight oats and a large ziplock bag full of pre-peeled hard boiled chicken and duck eggs. After 30 hours of camping, waterfalling, and hiking, the overnight oats were still uneaten, but the cooler had been opened a couple of times for hard boiled eggs. Assuming the cooler needed new ice, they stopped to grab a bag. When they opened the cooler, they were surprised that much of the ice was still there—likely around 60-70%. Your mileage may vary, but we’ve been delighted with how this cooler has performed.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Empty
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | The main compartment.

The cooler floats, too, which is handy for water adventures. We wouldn’t let it float indefinitely, but it’s nice not to have to worry about it if the cooler swims in the water for a few seconds while crossing a river or when portaging with a canoe.


This cooler is a solid size for car camping and road trips. It’s roughly the size of a 30-rack of beer, which isn’t bad for a cooler that can handle 20 cans and will keep stuff cold for up to two days.

It measures 13.5 in x 13.75 in x 9.5 in (34.3 x 34.9 x 24.1 cm), which works well in a small trunk, but we prefer to keep it behind one of the seats in the car, as it’s more accessible and will likely stay colder on hot days with the AC on in the car. If you do leave the car, throw something over top of it, like a light blanket, to protect it from the sun. If you can, park your car in the shade to prevent the sun from turning the car into a sauna. Cracking your windows is helpful, too, especially if there’s a breeze.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Walking
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | The cooler is portable.

In addition to not weighing a ton, this cooler isn’t crazy heavy, either. Coming in at 3 pounds, or 1.4 kg, it is a solid compromise between a heavier plastic cooler and a floppy soft-sided one. You get most of the cold technology you’d expect from a hard-sided cooler without all the weight.

Overall, regarding size and weight, this cooler feels very comfortable in a standard-sized car, which is solid for road trips and car camping.

Quick Comparison

Though we don’t have a comparable cooler on hand at Pack Hacker HQ, we felt it was worth comparing the weight of this cooler to other popular models we’ve featured previously.

The YETI Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler is a similarly designed model; however, it’s 2.5 times the price of the RTIC Cooler, at least at the time of writing. It’ll fit 24 cans, which is slightly more than the RTIC, and is slightly lighter for the capacity, weighing three pounds (1.4 kg). They perform very similarly; however, the RTIC is a solid choice for the price.

YETI’s 15 Hard Cooler will hold 22 cans and is one of the best-selling hard-sided coolers we’ve seen. It’s still roughly double the price of the RTIC and weighs 9.6 pounds, or 4.35 kg, which is a huge difference. In our experience, the Roadie will keep ice for a similar amount of time as the RTIC Soft Pack, though some users have noted that the hard-sided cooler will do better in extreme heat.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can Pocket
RTIC Soft Pack Cooler (20 Can) | The front pocket.

Though it may not perform as well as some of the most expensive coolers on the market, the RTIC Soft Pack comes at a more budget-friendly price point and performs well enough to work for road trips and car campers. If you’re looking for something hard-sided, this isn’t the cooler for you. Still, it’s a worthy competitor for your next travel cooler!

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The exterior feels durable and appears to walk the walk when it comes to waterproofness
  • We’re curious how well the waterproof zipper holds up over time
  • No issues with any of the materials or hardware so far
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • No issues with the materials or hardware; the cooler is still in great shape
  • The interior is easy to clean without much effort
  • It holds up to the 48-hour ice claim from RTIC
By Eric Hergenreder
Created July 1, 2024 • Updated July 1, 2024
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