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Red Cooler on beach

Review: Red Original Watertight Cool Bag

A versatile, robust and fully waterproof cool bag with excellent insulation

Paddle your picnic to a secret cove, enjoy ice-cold beer in the middle of your favourite lake or fuel up for a weekend on the waters. Wherever your water-based adventures take you, your menu doesn’t need to be limited to freeze-dried camping food and lukewarm drinks. With fully waterproof zips, external storage pockets, board or boat attachment points, and excellent insulation, the Red Watertight Cool Bag will change the way you plan your paddling adventures. Plus, its portable, durable and lightweight design make it a top choice for camping, BBQs and park picnics, too.

Red Original Watertight Cool Bag: The stats

Capacity:30 litres (54 cans)
Waterproof:Yes! With sealed zips
Dimensions:56 x 30 x 37cm / 22 x 12 x 14.5”

Features of the Red Watertight Cool Bag

Watertight zips

Cooler zipThe main compartment is opened and sealed with an YKK Aquaseal Zip. Every zip is individually tested to ensure that it is totally waterproof. The zips are so good that they won’t corrode or fail. Might be why Red Original claim them to be the best zips in the world?!

Outer fabric

Cooler fabricThe cool bag is designed for use on outdoor adventures, and specifically for use in salty and wet conditions. This means durability is an essential feature. The outer shell is constructed of premium high density waterproof fabric to ensure it stands up to the demands of life on the water. And the reinforced base helps it deal with life on land.

Insulation

Cool bag near riverThe cool bag has Thermal-Lock insulation to thank for its effectiveness at keeping its contents properly hot or cold for longer than you might think. It is a closed cell non-absorbent insulation that is covered with a tough layer of TPU. (The whole bag is PVC-free). The underside of the lid is also insulated as above.

Shoulder strap and handles

Cooler handlesThere are three ways to carry the cool bag: two carry straps that can be attached to each other and are reinforced, an adjustable shoulder strap that has a reinforced section and is attached to the cool bag by connecting it to the side D-rings, and two carry handles on the sides of the bag. These are best for lifting short distances.

Pockets and loops

Cooler pocketOn each side of the cool bag is an expandable exterior pocket. These are ideal for storing picnic essentials or chucking in your sun cream etc. The wave webbing daisy chain is a really excellent addition that immediately expands the storage capacity of the bag and prevents awkward shaped items from floating away.

Attachment system

Cooler Tension systemFor boating and paddleboarding, the Luggage Tensioning System is invaluable. Each side of the bag has an extendable bungee cord with carabiner-style clips on each end. These enable you to secure the cool bag directly to the deck of your board or the floor of your canoe without fear of the bag moving around, falling off, or floating away should an unthinkable capsize occur! I’ve yet to test whether the bag floats or not. But so long as it’s secured properly I’d like to think I won’t ever need to know how well it floats!


Red Original Watertight Cool Bag review

With the ever-increasing popularity of stand up paddleboarding comes extended floating adventures and the ability to get to secluded places for private picnics and waterside dining. Which is why Red Original really are onto a winner with this boat/SUP-specific watertight cool bag.

I’ve yet to take it out on a SUP, however, its attachment systems prove highly useful when canoeing. And, together with the fully waterproof fabric and zips, the bag functions in much the same way as when used on a SUP.

Yes, it’s totally waterproof and it’s also made of incredibly tough fabric that is so far dealing very well with being chucked around the car, boat, campsite and beach.

More about the functionality…

Open cool bag

Insulation

Firstly, let’s talk about its efficiency as a cool bag. There’s no use having a ton of jazzy features if it doesn’t keep its contents cold (or hot!). The more ice you put in any cool bag or box, the longer it will stay frozen for. On a recent weekend trip I filled the bag half full with ice and then rest of the space was used for food, beer and wine. After 8 hours around 1/4 of the ice had melted. At 20 hours around 1/2 had melted and at 30 hours there was about a 1/4 of ice and 3/4 of water in the bag. I’ve also used it with no ice but instead placed 2 frozen plastic ice block thingys in the bag. These kept the whole contents (mostly food this time) cool for over 50 hours. That’s a long weekend away. Impressive! Don’t expect your beers to be ice cold when used in this way, though. Cool at best. But the temperature was low enough to prevent diary etc from spoiling during that time.

Cooler in kayak by water

Useability

The zipper is mega robust which makes it a little clunky to open. This is obviously a huge plus in the watertight stakes. And actually, because it takes a little work to open, I find myself opening it less — great for prolonging the coolness inside. You just have to take everything you need out at once.

It turns out that having external pockets on a cool bag is a huge plus. They can fit small plates or a chopping board, cutlery, a bottle opener, and any small items of food you don’t mind getting wet, like a packet of seasoning or nuts etc. Plus, the daisy chain webbing allows you to clip extra stuff onto the bag. This means that if you’re a careful packer, everything you need for a beachside BBQ, picnic or weekend away stays with the cooling food.

Alternatively, Red Original have created a Dry Pouch that is also fully waterproof and can be strapped onto one of the side handles.

Post-use, the internal fabric of the cool bag is really easy to clean and so far hasn’t taken on the usual stink that old-school coolers do.

Woman carrying cooler and boat

Portability

Aside from backpack straps, Red Original have included a load of carrying options, all of which are equally as useful as each other, depending on the scenario. The shoulder strap is best for carrying any distance: the car to the beach etc. It is comfortable on the shoulder, plus the side of the cool bag itself is soft enough on your thigh for it not to rub or bash you as you walk. The side handles make moving the cool bag around really easy: lifting it in and out of the boat, the car or the tent. Or if it’s just out of reach from where you’re sitting you can just drag it over to you without even putting your beer down! The carry handles have proved least useful so far as they are a little on the long side for me and they bash me in the ankles. But great for sharing the load with another carrier. On my own, I usually opt for shoulder carrying.

Cooler next to tent

What I love the most about the Red Cool Bag

I love how versatile this cool bag is. This is mostly down to the durability and waterproof design that makes it totally ideal for water-based or rainy adventures as well as everyday escapades to the beach, park or campground. You don’t have to be precious about it in any way. The external features also add to its versatility a great deal. Fill the pockets with picnic extras and utensils or store your paddling essentials. Either way, there are extra storage options that really make the bag stand out.

What I don’t love so much about the Red Cool Bag

The zips take a little work to open and close which makes me open it as little as possible — not so great if you’re in a rush. As mentioned, this isn’t a bad thing from an insulation point of view. I also find the carry straps a little on the long side to use comfortably on my own. And when they’re not in use they kind of just get in the way a little bit.


Verdict

If your leisure time revolves around being on or near the water then you need the Red Original Watertight Cool Bag in your life. It provides excellent insulation keeping its contents cool for over 50 hours and icey for up to 24 hours. Plus it is lightweight and highly portable for a cooler of this size, with extra features that will open up a whole new way to adventure on your paddleboard or boat. The attachment system is an unnecessary feature for land-based adventurers making the high price-tag a potential turn off. However, if a high quality waterproof and durable cool bag is what you’re after then the extra spend will be well worth it, regardless of how you end up using it.

Find the latest price at:
Red Watertight Cool Bag

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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