"World's most portable cooler" is a go-anywhere puffy for your 15-pack
The newly redesigned Monti cooler series uses the same extremely light, collapsible design as the puffy down and synthetic jackets that have been insulating adventurers for decades, only sewn into bag form and sized to keep 15 to 24 cans cold for up to 30 hours. It's the perfect way to ensure the beers (or preferred beverages of choice) you're hiking, pedaling or paddling into the backcountry are crisp and cold upon arrival.
It's not necessarily that hard to stuff a couple beers into a backpack during a hike or bike ride – we've even stuffed a can into a compact runner's hydration vest once or twice – but what is difficult is keeping that beer cold until you're ready to drink it, especially for long trips through the summer heat.
While technically "soft," soft-sided coolers tend to rely on fairly thick, rigid material that doesn't fit in or conform to a backpack. They are best used as standalone backpacks, shoulder bags or carry sacks, not packed into other backpacks or gear bags. Things like small cooler packs, tubes or slings might work for a beer or two, but they're limited in capacity and can still be large and cumbersome to carry along with a backpack and other gear.
After looking around the market at all those options, and ultimately drinking one too many warm beers straight out of his pack while working as a fishing guide in Wyoming, Sam McChesney decided to put together something better – a more packable cooler that would work naturally with existing backpacks and bags. He worked through 10 prototypes over several years and finally had a design that worked for his needs, and those of other backcountry guides and adventurers.
Instead of the thick, padded plastic and rubber materials of other soft coolers, McChesney chose an insulating solution that's long been protecting bodies against frigid polar and Himalayan temperatures, designing the cooler just like a baffled puffy jacket. Instead of down, which notoriously loses insulating value when wet, he opted for a hydrophobic synthetic insulation that works better with melting ice and variable weather. Instead of keeping body warmth in and cold out, this puffy keeps cold in and warmth out.
A primary advantage of using an insulated puffy design is that the Monti cooler is both highly collapsible and readily adaptable. Put the contents in and you can roll, scrunch and squeeze the rest of it into whatever space you have left in your pack – quite unlike firmer soft-sided coolers. When not in use, each cooler packs down to a fraction of its full size inside an integrated stuff sack, small enough to fit into a backpack pocket, tote bag or tackle box.
Monti originally called it a hike-in fly fishing cooler based on its inspiration but has seemed to drop that branding to appeal to a wider variety of backcountry enthusiasts, travelers and everyday cooler users, almost all of whom could benefit from more portable cold beverages. The smallest of the two available cooler sizes, the 11-oz (312-g) Mayfly 14L can hold up to 15 cans or three wine bottles (not including ice). The larger Shasta 23L holds an entire case of beer (24 cans) or five wine bottles. Each bag comes with a detachable carry strap.
Monti's original design used diamond quilting, but the newer v2 versions it showcased at this month's Outdoor Adventure Expo in Utah features horizontal baffles. The company says the new model also has thicker insulation and a thicker liner for 100% leakproof performance. The Mayfly retails for US$119 and the Shasta for $144. Both are said to keep beverages chilled for up to 30 hours, though that will certainly vary based on outside temperature, amount of ice used and other factors.
Source: Monti Coolers