The California Cooler Bags T-Rex Large Collapsible Rolling Cooler is a big winner in one professional comparison review that tests its ability to keep food and drinks cold for long periods. This soft-sided cooler is deemed easy to organize, and it's easy to store because it collapses. On the downside, we could only find this soft cooler available at one online store -- and even there, it was out of stock.
With a 70-can capacity, the T-Rex bested other coolers at chilling room-temperature soda (rather than just keeping already-cold soda cool) in the one test we found. This zippered cooler has a narrower opening than a hard-sided cooler like the Coleman 50-quart Wheeled Ultimate Xtreme Cooler (*Est. $80), so it might be a better choice for storing soda or beer than for organizing lots of hard-to-see bags and food containers.
We found only one review of this cooler -- at Cook's Illustrated magazine -- but it's well-done and thoughtful, full of useful comparisons and notes on ease of use, ability to keep items cold and the cooler's features.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Reviewers at Cook's Illustrated put five coolers -- ranging from high-tech models to a $4 styrofoam job -- to the test by loading each with 45-degree F sodas and ice. After placing the coolers in a 95-degree F room, soda temperatures are taken every hour. Testers also check for amenities such as cup holders, telescoping handles, and ease of hauling and carrying.
Review: Coolers, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, July 1, 2011