Hands-on Gear Review

AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler Review

Price:  $70 List | $69.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to use, good price, packs well.
Cons:  Doesn't hold ice for very long, leaks from the zipper slightly.
Bottom line:  This option is easy to use and cheap, but it doesn't keep ice as well as other models.
Editors' Rating:   
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Style:  Shoulder Bag
Capacity:  24 cans
Exterior Fabric:  Heavy Canvas
Manufacturer:   AO Coolers

Our Verdict

Much like the Polar Bear 24 Pack Soft Cooler, the AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler uses the familiar shoulder bag construction style with a top zipper opening. It has a similar feel and is about the same size as the Polar Bear model. However, you run into a significant difference when it come to performance. The AO falls short in keeping things cold for longer periods of time, and testers discovered a slight tendency to leak from the zipper if inverted or on its side. The shoulder straps and handles feel solid and performed well, but it just didn't seem to have the same oomph as its competitors when lined up head-to-head.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Andrew Schurr

Last Updated:
Wednesday
March 23, 2016

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The AO Coolers 24 Pack is a moderately priced all-around performing soft cooler. It is more at home carting beers to a picnic or a ball game than heading out on an adventure. It served testers as a good companion on short road trips and as a beverage caddie but fell short when compared to other offerings. For its size and shape, similar to the Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler, this is another you get what you pay for situation.

Performance Comparison


The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler next to others for the ice retention test.
The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler next to others for the ice retention test.

Insulation Value


When tested head-to-head, the AO 24 Pack held ice for about 24 hours in warm conditions. It beat out the Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler but wasn't a match for the Yeti Hopper Two 30, Ice Mule Pro, or the Polar Bear Coolers 24 pack Soft Cooler. Compared to the only other cooler tested that is a similar size and style, the Polar Bear, The AO didn't hold up. The Polar Bear retained nine ounces of ice after 72 hours while the AO was down to only four ounces by 48 hours.

Ease of Use


The AO 24 Pack is easy to use. The wide mouth zipper and external front pocket are very self explanatory. Handles and a shoulder strap make carrying it short distances, from the car to the beach, or out to the bleachers at the city softball league game relatively easy. While it is not nearly as easy to carry as the backpack style Ice Mule Pro, it matched all the others in this category with its shoulder strap and carry handles, and was slightly easier to fill than the Yeti Hopper Two due to the pliable material used in construction. The external pocket didn't prove to be of much use as it is tight fitting and small, but you could keep small things in there, like a bottle opener or silverware. That said, when the cooler was packed full and tight the pocket was basically un-useable. The top zipper proved to be the weak link in the chain. It is easy to use, provided a large opening and worked well, and it was durable enough. But when full of water and melty ice and inverted or on its side it seemed prone to small leaks, especially at the terminal end when closed.

The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler. When not folded and clipped down it has the familiar shoulder bag triangular shape with the top zipper.
The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler. When not folded and clipped down it has the familiar shoulder bag triangular shape with the top zipper.

Durability


On the durability front, testers were not overly impressed. For everyday use the AO 24 Pack held up just fine, but get a little rough with it and it started to fail a little. The plastic clips used for the shoulder straps were easy to break; testers broke one within the first few hours of use and had to improvise. Also, the exterior canvas felt a little fragile, showing some wear from just everyday common usage.

The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Soft Cooler with the corners secured down.
The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Soft Cooler with the corners secured down.

Portability


The AO matched all others with exception of the Ice Mule Pro when it came to portability. It was easy to carry short distances and packed away easily when empty. The shoulder strap was a little less comfortable with only an un-padded rubber piece, and as mentioned above, failed when it came to durability, but ultimately when used as intended (short distance carries from car to destination) it was a solid OK.

Value


At around $70, if you are looking for a simple utilitarian soft cooler option the AO 24 pack fits the bill without breaking the bank. While not as solid and significantly less insulating than the similar Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Soft Cooler, at $10 less expensive it is a solid buy for the average consumer. If you are looking for something more rugged or with more usability, testers recommend the Polar Bear or the Ice Mule Pro. At $10 more with added insulation and a slightly more rugged build the Polar Bear 24 Pack fits the bill at only a slightly higher cost.

AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler.
AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler.

Conclusion


If you aren't looking for anything special and want to save a few bucks, the AO 24 Pack Canvas cooler is a good option. It performs well for what it is built to do and is easy to use. Just don't expect anything special. As mentioned with the AO 24 Pack, what you see is what you get and you get what you pay for. Other options in this category such as the Polar Bear 24 Pack and the Ice Mule Pro offer you a more usable and higher quality product for only a marginally higher cost.

Other Versions


AO Coolers 24 Pack Deluxe Canvas Cooler
AO Coolers offers a deluxe version of the 24 Pack Canvas Cooler that has two large external pockets. For an additional $10 the added storage would be a great addition.
Andrew Schurr

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Most recent review: March 23, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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