Rigid coolers offer great insulation but at the cost of being bulky. Soft side coolers offer greater versatility and easier storage, but they give up insulation value and durability. Additionally, many soft side coolers have a flimsy liner that all too often leaks.
If we could only have our cake and eat it too... Well now you can, so grab a fork!
The AOCooler is made from extremely thick vinyl ? the kind you would expect to see on a big top circus tent. Inside the cooler, the vinyl is just as heavy but more pliable. To carry the cooler a 2" nylon strapping is sewn into the sides. The strapping encircles the cooler so the full load is carried by the straps, and not the stitching. In addition to the carrying handles, a shoulder strap is provided. For a fully loaded cooler, though, we suggest using the carrying handles.
As for the zipper, we have no real way of gauging how heavy duty it is other than our own brutal testing and thrashing of the cooler when fully loaded. The zipper has not flinched.
Securing the cooler in the back of the Jeep couldn't get any easier. Four D rings are sewn into the carrying handle strapping to keep it in place. We have complete confidence in these D rings; as the cooler was strapped into the rear of a Jeep that performed a gymnastics back flip with a simultaneous 3/4 twist and nailed the landing. The Jeep didn't fair too well, but the loaded cooler held fast.
The insulation has been far better than expected for a soft side cooler. While we're sure the insulating material used is high quality, we also credit much of the insulation value to the fact this soft sided cooler will collapse around the contents forcing out the dead air that doesn't need to be cooled.
Of course with any cooler, (and we've all been guilty of this) there are times when we return home from a trip late at night, we?re tired, we don?t want to unpack, and the cooler doesn't get emptied as soon as it should. Let's be honest... Sometimes even for weeks. So of course we had to do this to the AOCooler. We left food particles, spilled drinks, and some unrecognizable things resulting in a toxic cesspool that truly warranted a haz-mat crew. Our reasoning? We wanted to know how difficult it would be to clean the vinyl liner and if that foul stench would continue to linger on. After a quick dumping of the toxic sludge, and suppressing the urge to puke, we spent about 5 minutes with dish soap and a sponge to completely remove any sign of the contents just emptied. End result? No staining, no smell, and most importantly no leakage through the liner.
NOTE: The liner can be turned inside out for easy and thorough cleaning.
And what about the limited lifetime warranty? The warranty covers the functional parts that matter to the cooler. If your liner ever leaks or the zipper ever separates, with a small fee of about $10.00 your cooler will be repaired or replaced (to the original owner).
To personalize your cooler, names and logos can be embroidered into the side panel for a fee. And since this cooler will be with you for a long time we would seriously consider it.
And now for some personal interjection. How can we not love this cooler? It's like the Swiss army knife of coolers. It goes anywhere, takes any abuse, keeps our drinks cold, and we love it!
AOCoolers offer outstanding insulation, versatility of storage, and a lifetime warranty to protect your investment - all in a soft side cooler!
We plan to continue to thrash this cooler until nothing is left. In the short six months that we have had the cooler, we are confident it's already been abused more than what most people will ever do to theirs over the course of its lifetime. That being said, and knowing the quality of this product, we will gladly purchase our second one if we manage to successfully destroy this one.
Stay tuned as we are not done "testing" this cooler. We still have plenty of crazy ideas in store.
Purchase / Vendor Info
509 N Smith Ave Unit 107
Corona, CA 92880