AIRE’s new 36 Quart Soft Cooler for rafts and inflatable kayaks replaces the more bulky model they discontinued in 2014. This one has a very tight zipper with a flap behind it to prevent air passage, and urethane lined space-blanket bubble insulation. The urethane inner shell is the same material used for the AIRE raft tube bladders. There are two small double-D-ring patches per side and a single D-patch on each end, along with the shoulder strap and dual carry handles, so there are a ton of tie down points to secure it into your boat.
AIRE gives the weight of the Soft Cooler bag at 2 pounds, but it is actually about 3-1/4. It measures 19 inches long, 12.5 wide, and 8.5 inches tall – though you can stuff it a bit higher than that. There are mesh storage areas on the top and one end, and the other end has a removable cup holder.
The insulation is not as thick as the older more bulky cooler AIRE used to make. If you are out for a long day and want to keep your food and drinks colder, there is an inexpensive way to make this new one more thermally efficient. Just pick up a big box store ½” thick foam sleeping pad or extra-thick yoga mat. Cut out a piece 18 by 36 inches, and form a cylinder shape with it that fits snug into the interior of the cooler. You can also cut out some 8 X 12 inch ovals for the two ends if you wish. This foam reduces the internal volume a bit, but can almost triple the cold time and allows you to use it on an overnighter if you wish.
These will fit into the back of any inflatable kayak, and could hold lunch and drinks for a number of people. A very nice new item from AIRE. Please note that there are three little factory holes about 1/8 inch in diameter in the bottom side of the gray shell. These are to prevent excess condensation between the outer shell and insulation – they are not boo-boos from the manufacturer.