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Welcome, cool readers, to our OtterBox Trooper cooler review. If you’ve been reading our articles for a while, then you might remember that we have covered products from OtterBox before.
Specifically, we covered the OtterBox Venture ice chests. In that review, we were very pleased with their performance, calling them one of the best coolers for ice retention.
In This Article
Now it’s time to cover their highly successful Trooper soft coolers.
We have always loved how unique OtterBox coolers were. They truly make an effort to stand out in an industry where everyone is fighting hard to be like everyone else (or perhaps we should say like YETI). The OtterBox Trooper soft coolers are no exception – they are different, they are unique.
Interestingly, the 3 different sizes offered by OtterBox are not all the same. There are distinctions between them that we are going to cover.
But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning and end at the end!
OtterBox Trooper Cooler Review
We are going to do a general Otterbox soft cooler review, talking about the features shared by all 3 sizes, and then look at the unique features of each size in turn.
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Design and Build
Something to note about the OtterBox Trooper coolers, in general, is that they are a combination of a soft cooler and a hard cooler. All three coolers are primarily made of high-quality nylon, but they all have hard liners, and the top of the cooler has a plastic lid mechanism and shell. These are to help the cooler maintain its shape so it can open easily.
You may or may not like this design. On the one hand, it makes accessing the stuff in the cooler easier, and it certainly does make the cooler look unique.
On the other hand, it makes the cooler a little less comfortable to carry around and also far less malleable than it would otherwise be.
Overall, the coolers have a very strong build quality. OtterBox has a strong reputation for making among the most durable and high-quality products in the market.
Fun Fact: this company actually started business by making phone cases. They had a lot of success in that field and then moved on to making dry boxes with the same level of attention to detail. We loved their Venture hard coolers and thought they were a good competitor to Yeti when it came to making high-quality products. We are just as impressed by their soft coolers.
The outside of the cooler is made of TPU laminated heavy-duty nylon, which helps with the waterproofing and also contributes to the overall strength of the exterior. It is not only waterproof but also puncture resistant.
The base of the cooler is even further reinforced, making it especially hardy and resistant to the wear and tear that comes from being placed on different kinds of terrain that you might be on.
All the OtterBox coolers also have an external pocket. These are large enough that you can fit in your phone and wallet, as well as some dry food items like nutrition bars and stuff like that.
The pockets are also built to be weather resistant, which means the contents will stay dry during light showers. Just don’t go throw the bag in a lake or something because the pockets certainly weren’t built to withstand that amount of water.
Another cool quality that all the soft coolers have is an easy to open lid. In fact, with the exception of the Trooper 30 cooler, which we will look at in its own section, they all have the same type of latch and all the coolers can be opened and closed with one hand.
This is different from other soft sided coolers, many of which rely on waterproof zippers for opening and closing the coolers.
Waterproof zippers are notoriously difficult to open, requiring plenty of force to operate. Other soft coolers have roll-down tops (e.g. Ice Mule), which, while requiring far less force than waterproof zippers, are a little cumbersome.
As far as features are concerned, we have some premium ones.
The inner lining is an FDA-approved food-grade lining, so you don’t have to worry about your food getting contaminated by any harmful chemicals.
Next are the tie-down points. These allow you to firmly strap down your soft cooler to your boat, car, or whatever other vehicles so that it doesn’t keep sliding over, particularly when you’re riding on rough terrain.
All the coolers also come with a cool mounting system that you can easily attach accessories to. With this mounting system, it’s pretty easy to add cup holders and even prepping boards.
Note, however, that these accessories are sold separately by OtterBox. The one accessory that comes free with every cooler is the carabiner bottle opener hanging from the side. You can leave it hanging as-is or tuck it into the front pocket of the soft cooler.
Another great feature then all of these coolers have is the detachable shoulder strap. You can use it for long distances for a more ergonomic carrying experience and hands-free carrying, or take it off for shorter distances, carrying the soft cooler using the carry handles.
That said, there are some interesting differences between the soft coolers in terms of the carry handles. The Trooper 12 cooler has a top handle, the Trooper 20 has 2 side handles, and the Trooper LT30 has a carry handle on the shoulder straps (but can be used as a backpack as well – we'll get to that a bit later)
The ice retention on all 3 coolers is excellent. The lid, walls, and base are all very thickly insulated, and the lid has an airtight seal, ensuring the cold stays in and the hot stays out.
All of this ensures that the coolers can retain ice for 2-3 days, and sometimes more, depending on the weather and whether the contents in the cooler were pre-chilled.
Otterbox advertises the cooler as a 3-day cooler, but we know that a) size of the cooler matters, so the largest one will keep ice a bit longer than the smallest one, and b) a cooler of this kind must be used properly to achieve 3+ days of ice retention.
So is the 3-day ice retention possible then? Well, it is, but under certain conditions. The contents of a cooler should be pre-chilled, the cooler itself too (no need to keep it on the fridge unless you can, though keeping it buried deep in a cold garage would be recommended).
You'd also likely have to limit opening the cooler as much as possible, keep it in a shade, use the right amount of ice (minimum 2:1 ice to content ratio) and ideally use a mix of cube ice and block ice. You get the idea.
To wrap up: if the maximum possible ice retention is what you're primarily looking for in a soft cooler, then Otterbox might indeed be one of the best ones out there, but you'd likely have to stick to our ice retention tips to get the max out of it.
All the OtterBox Trooper coolers are backed by a limited lifetime warranty, yet another testament to OtterBox’s commitment to producing high-quality products. Nice.
Otterbox Soft Coolers – The Full Line Up
OtterBox Trooper 12 Cooler
The Trooper 12 (12-qt) is the smallest cooler and comes in 4 color schemes: Hazy Harbor (Grey/Blue/Green), Alpine Ascent (Green/Grey/Orange), Shoreside (Blue), and Desert Oasis (Blue/Brown).
It is the simplest designed of the OtterBox soft coolers, with all of the general features mentioned in the review above. In fact, this is the base cooler for the review, the differences start to show in the other coolers.
OtterBox Trooper 20 Cooler
The Trooper 20 (20-qt) is the mid-sized cooler and comes in 5 color schemes: Hazy Harbor (Grey/Blue/Green), Alpine Ascent (Green/Grey/Orange), Forest Edge (Realtree Edge Camo/Orange), Shoreside (Blue), and Desert Oasis (Blue/Brown).
The lid on this cooler is a flip-open lid utilizing the same latching mechanism as the Trooper 12 and can be opened with one hand. You may have to push down on the lid when opening with one hand to exert some weight but believe me when I say it is much easier than engaging in a wrestling match with a waterproof zipper.
The lid is made of plastic with hinges and closes onto a hard plastic frame. A rubber gasket keeps the lid airtight when shut. It does, however, have a soft top. The lid is also leak-proof, ensuring that no water comes out, even when the ice inside has melted.
The exterior pocket on the OtterBox Trooper 20 is quite large, with dimensions of 7.5” x 7.5” x 1”. This should be enough to store your phone and wallet, as well as dry food items.
This cooler uses a 2” wide carrying strap that’s padded for maximum comfort. The attachment points on the cooler are pretty high, meaning the cooler won’t try to flip over when you’re carrying it by the strap.
There are also 2 side handles for strapless free carrying. Unfortunately, we felt they were a little too small for large hands. Apart from that, they are pretty tough and durable.
Here's the video overview of the Trooper 20:
OtterBox Trooper LT30 Cooler
Many of the features on the Trooper LT30 (30 quarts) cooler are similar to the ones on the smaller sized coolers (including available color schemes), so we will focus on the things that really make it unique.
The most unique feature on this cooler is its large clamshell-style opening. No other soft cooler on the market has this kind of opening.
The latch is pretty rigid and maintains a watertight seal when shut, withstanding even salty water and not showing a single sign of rust. Not only is it easier to handle than a zipper option, but it can also be operated with just one hand, making it highly convenient.
Another great thing about the LT30 is that you can carry it in a variety of ways. The straps can be adjusted such that you can carry it on your back, like a backpack. We were a little skeptical at first but changed our minds when we saw just how comfortable it is.
The straps are very well padded, making them rest easy on your shoulders. The design of the cooler is also such that it conforms well to the curvature of your spine, sitting comfortably on your back.
The same straps can, of course, also be used to carry the cooler around on your shoulder. And they also have little carry straps on top in case you want to carry the cooler with your hands, though this is not advisable when the cooler is full and heavy.
On the outside, you get a little more storage space than you get with the smaller sized Trooper coolers. There is a large zippered pocket for keeping in dry foods, while a smaller zippered pouch stands out for stuff like your wallet and phone. All of these pockets are water-resistant, so they should be able to handle even light showers.
The bottle opener on the LT30 is unlike the one on the Trooper 12. It is attached to one attached to an accessory point and is a little more heavy-duty than the one on the Trooper 12. Actually, the Trooper 20 has the exact same type of bottle opener.
On the other side is a dry bag clip so you can attach the OtterBox Drybox 3250 series to protect your stuff from the weather.
OtterBox Trooper LT 30 video overview:
OtterBox Trooper vs Yeti Hopper
Let's do a quick Otterbox Trooper vs YETI Hopper comparison here. The best comparison would be the Yeti Hopper Flip. In this case, the Flip 12 and 18 would be close counterparts to the Trooper 12 and 20, respectively. The Hopper M30 would be the main rival to Trooper LT30.
Something to note about these two soft coolers is that they are both of excellent quality. The designers behind both really put in the time to make a good product that stands out. That said, they are different.
The Trooper soft coolers certainly feel less ‘soft’ than the Yeti Hopper soft coolers. They feel more rugged overall and they have more plastic parts.
Another advantage to the Trooper soft coolers is that they have more features. They have accessory mounting points that allow you to deck out your cooler however you choose, which the Yeti does not.
While the Yeti does have accessories, many of them are sold by 3rd party vendors and feel almost like an afterthought. For the Trooper soft coolers, the accessories were considered and planned for in the design, and they can all be bought from OtterBox.
The larger Trooper, the LT30, stands out the most from not only Yeti but all other similar soft coolers on the market as well. It can even be used as a backpack – such combination of a backpack cooler and a bag isn’t something very common in the soft cooler world.
The ice retention between the two coolers is similar. Both of them can do between 2 and 3 days of ice retention on average, and the larger ones (LT30 for OtterBox and M30 for Yeti) can do more if pre-chilled and using quality ice packs. They both have thick closed-cell foam insulation, so this is a tie.
In terms of pricing, the OtterBox Trooper coolers are slightly cheaper than the Yeti Hopper coolers. They’re still more expensive than most other soft coolers on the market, however, so they’re definitely pricey.
OtterBox vs Yeti – Verdict
The OtterBox Trooper is of high quality and at par with Yeti when it comes to ice retention capabilities. They are also distinct products and come with more features and accessories than the Yeti Hopper.
The LT30, in particular, is more versatile than the M30, and we appreciate that. Unless you’re a big Yeti fan, we recommend the OtterBox Trooper.
Other Coolers Like OtterBox Trooper Worth Looking At
If you’re not convinced, we did a little bit of research to see what other options are worth considering.
Cordova Soft Traveler
Cordova is a brand we really value. Their soft coolers have similar designs to Yeti and RTIC. In fact, we dare say the design was heavily inspired by the Yeti Hopper Flip series.
The soft cooler has great build quality, including tie-down slots, shoulder straps, and comfortable carry handles. They also come at a great price and are currently on sale, so they’re even cheaper.
Engel HD Series – Best Soft Cooler for Keeping Ice
This is one of the best performing soft coolers on the market when it comes to ice retention.
They also come with lots of features, including a bottle opener and a vacuum valve to improve ice retention. We actually wrote an in-depth review of this cooler here.
RTIC SoftPak Series
This cooler offers some great value for money. It is currently the best alternative to the Yeti Hopper as it is very similar but much cheaper.
Some key features include ergonomic shoulder straps and carry handles, as well as a roomy zippered front pocket.
Where to buy the OtterBox Trooper
We recommend buying OtterBox Trooper from the OtterBox store at OtterBox.com. There you are most likely to get the most up-to-date pricing, new colors, sizes, and models, and announcements.
You can also consider buying on Amazon, which has plenty of user reviews and benefits that come with having an Amazon Prime membership.
OtterBox Trooper Cooler Review – Bottom Line and Rating
And with that, we come to the end of our OtterBox Trooper cooler review. As you can see, these are some pretty cool soft coolers with a ton of features.
We think we may have found the next big thing in the world of soft coolers and can’t wait to see what OtterBox comes up with next.
Until next time, stay cool!
— bestcooler.reviews team
OtterBox Trooper Cooler Rating and Review
- Ice Retention
Otterbox Trooper Coolers, while expensive, are perhaps the most feature-packed soft coolers on the market these days. Neatly combining the best features of hard and soft-sided coolers, not only they're super-high quality (as you'd expect from Otterbox) but they are also amongst the best performing coolers in their category, with excellent ice retention capabilities.
User Review( vote)
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