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eBags Crew Cooler II Review

Great for an everyday lunch bag, but not designed for more rugged use and abuse.
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Price:  $55 List | $54.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Multiple pockets, removable/replaceable liner
Cons:  Not as insulative or durable as other models
Manufacturer:   eBags
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  May 26, 2017
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43
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Insulation Value - 30% 3
  • Ease of Use - 25% 6
  • Portability - 25% 5
  • Durability - 20% 3

Our Verdict

While not a standout in any specific category, the combination of reasonable insulation, decent portability, and several organizing compartments makes the eBags Crew Cooler II a pretty good choice for an everyday lunchbox. If you're looking for something relatively inexpensive that can keep a bunch of beverages cold we would recommend the Homitt 30 Can, or, if you need to carry them a long way, the IceMule Pro. However, if you're looking for a simple lunch companion, the eBags Crew Cooler II has you covered.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $54.99 at Amazon$199.99 at Amazon$239.99 at Amazon
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$99.95 at Amazon$110 List
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Pros Multiple pockets, removable/replaceable linerVery durable construction, excellent insulation, useful handles and features, comfortable shoulder strapExtremely durable, easy to use, great insulationDurable design, comfortable to carry when full, good capacity, relatively inexpensiveLid opens fully for easy access, very stable, excellent insulation, comparatively very low cost
Cons Not as insulative or durable as other modelsZippered exterior pocket not waterproof, very largeVery expensive, awkward to carry when full for longer distancesLearning curve for best use, not 100% leakproof, no extra pocketsBoxy construction is less comfortable to carry, zipper is very hard to pull
Bottom Line Great for an everyday lunch bag, but not designed for more rugged use and abuse.If you’re looking for the best soft cooler on the market today, look no further than this outstanding model from Engel.If you're ready to step up your cooler game and you're willing to shell out the money required, this is a good choice.A very different design than most, but by far our favorite to carry over long distances.If you’re on the prowl for a cooler that will keep your drinks cold for days and not clean out your bank account, you’ve found a winner!
Rating Categories eBags Crew Cooler II Engel HD30 YETI Hopper Two 30 IceMule Pro Homitt 30 Can
Insulation Value (30%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Portability (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
Durability (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs eBags Crew Cooler II Engel HD30 YETI Hopper Two 30 IceMule Pro Homitt 30 Can
Style Lunch-box Shoulder Bag Shoulder Bag Backpack Shoulder Bag
Capacity 10 cans 48 cans 24 cans 24 cans 40 cans
Measured Weight (lbs) 2 lbs 5.9 lbs 5.3 lbs 3 lbs 4 lbs
Exterior Fabric 840D Twisted Poly Abrasion-resistant fabric YETI "DRYHIDE" heavy duty rubber Mule SkinET 1000D ripstop tarpaulin/vinyl/nylon 840D TPU
Handle/Strap Design Carry strap and shoulder strap Carry handles and shoulder strap Carry strap and shoulder strap Ventilated backpack strap Carry strap and shoulder strap
Backpack Carry? No No No Yes No
Other Pockets? Yes, small exterior Yes, 1 larger exterior zippered (meant to be waterproof but isn't) No No; exterior shock cord panel Yes, 2 small exterior; one mesh, one waterproof zip
Removable Liner? Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

As the eBags Crew Cooler II is designed more for an everyday lunch scenario than long-term insulation performance, it suffered a bit in our overall scoring. In the sections below, we review how the Crew performed in each of the tests that make up our overall scores.

Performance Comparison



Insulation Value


The Crew Cooler is one of the poorer performers in our insulation test. It had only five ounces of its original seven-pound bag of ice left after 48 hours. The only model that fared worse was the much cheaper Coleman 16-Can. However, we don't see this as too big of a knock against the Crew Cooler. It is meant to be a lunch bag and not a long-term beverage cooler. Unless you plan to leave your lunch bag in direct sunlight all day, it has plenty of insulation to keep your sandwich and bag of carrots cool from morning until lunch hour.

Ease of Use


Though it earned a respectable mid-range score in our ease of use testing, the Crew II finds itself at the bottom of the pack for ease of use amongst all the coolers we tested. This fact is almost solely because of the Crew's liner. Most of the other coolers we tested are meant to be loaded up with ice and cans, so their liners are designed to be waterproof. This aspect also makes them mostly impervious to stains and easy to clean. The Crew's liner is a bit more porous and more susceptible to stains getting into its fibers. eBags countered this problem by making the liner removable, and thus easy to scrub clean, but it is the only liner in our testing lineup likely to need this treatment. However, if you tend to keep your lunch neat, this won't be a problem.

Apart from the liner, the Crewfunctions perfectly as a lunch bag. It has plenty of separate compartments for utensils and food items that don't need to be cold. The handle is comfortable to carry, and it even has a strap for balancing the cooler on top of wheeled luggage if you want to carry your cooler on to your next flight.

The Crew Cooler has plenty of pockets for various utensils and non-chilled snacks.
The Crew Cooler has plenty of pockets for various utensils and non-chilled snacks.

Portability


Here again, the Crew is an average scorer, though you'll have no trouble toting it from the car to the workplace. However, its shoulder strap lacks any padding, so carrying it for long periods can be a bit uncomfortable if it is fully loaded, but you probably won't be carrying your lunch box long distances on a normal day.

Durability


The Crew is one of the lowest scoring models in our durability testing. Generally, it's well built; we didn't find any manufacturing flaws and found few online user reviews that complained of durability issues. It is plenty tough enough for its intended use of carrying lunch to and from the office. However, it just can't match the durability of the other models we tested, most of which are for more rough-and-tumble use in the great outdoors.

The Crew Cooler's handle and should strap make for easy transport to the office or beach but aren't ideal for extended distances.
The Crew Cooler's handle and should strap make for easy transport to the office or beach but aren't ideal for extended distances.

Best Applications


The Crew II makes a pretty nice little lunch box for a reasonable price. It has all the organizational powers to keep your lunch tidy on the way to work and is nice and easy to use. It might not be the best choice if you're leaving said lunch in a hot truck all morning, but if it's sitting under your desk in a cubicle, we think you'll be pleased with this relatively inexpensive little cooler from eBags.

Value


At a list price of about $40, the Crew II is a bit pricey for a lunch bag, but thoughtful design touches and their added convenience make this a good value if you're packing a lunch to the office every day.

Conclusion


The eBags Crew Cooler II can't match most of the other coolers we tested regarding insulation performance and ruggedness, but it shines in its niche as an everyday lunch bag.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata