If you are looking for a cooler that can be used on trips to the beach or park, but can also be folded up to stow away in your car, then the collapsible Tahoe cooler from CleverMade is well worth a look.
More info: If you are looking for a lunch box cooler then check out our buying guide here.
There is no shortage of models and options available when it comes to collapsible cooler bags, ranging from store own brand models to the more well-known camping and outdoor gear manufacturers. What it really comes down to is the carrying capacity and extra useful features that each model offers.
CleverMade might not be as familiar a name in the cooler market as the likes of Yeti, Rtic and Orca, but they produce a range of clever homeware solution including folding bags and laundry baskets, plus a reasonable range of cooler bags.
The Tahoe 30 litre cooler bag is a popular model within the CleverMade lineup and retails around the $35 price point, which makes it good value for a 50 can capacity cooler. So how does this collapsible cooler bag compare?
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The exterior design of the CleverMade Tahoe is not particularly overwhelming and it doesn’t look too dissimilar to other, generic cooler bags. Certainly, the Arctic Zone Deep Freeze range of cooler bags look better but are slightly more expensive.
To stand out in this market, you have two do something different as a cooler manufacturer. For instance, Lifewit do with with their two comparament cooler bag and CleverMade’s unique feature on the Tahoe is its “snap hinge” wire frame construction. This is a smart feature as it provided the cooler bag with some rigidity when in use, and when your done, simply click the hidden hinges to allow you to fold up the bag.
The bag fold really flat and a strap on the bottom of the bag means that it can be folded away quite neatly. Great if you need to store at home or in the trunk of your car for those long distance grocery or farmers market trips. To ensure you don’t get any leaks from inside the cooler bag, the Tahoe features 3 layers of insulated liner material.
Capacity and dimensions
This is a large cooler bag with a 30 litre capacity, this equates to around 50 12oz cans and ice. This does mean that it can get quite heavy if you are tempted to overfill but it has more than enough space for a family or friends day trip. It’s more of a cooler bag that you would take in the car though rather than using on public transport.
CleverMade state that food and drinks will stay cold in this bag for up to 36 hours but plan on seeing ice start to melt after around 6 hours, which is typical for a soft-sided cooler.
Looking at external dimensions, the CleverMade Tahoe measures 18″ in length, and 12″ in both depth and height, which makes it easy to fit in most car trunks, even small hatchbacks.
The weight of the Tahoe is around 2 pounds when empty and this is more than a lot of other collapsible coolers, mainly due to the wire frame internal structure. To make carrying easier, the CleverMade Tahoe comes with duffle bag style top handles that can be velcro attached in place and two (slightly) padded side handles. None of these provides a great deal of padding but should be okay for short trips between your car and your picnic spot.
There is no carrying shoulder strap included, mainly due to the bag’s overall size as carrying on your shoulder would be difficult.
We like to see a lot of additional storage pockets and options when it comes to portable cooler bags as, after all, this makes trips outdoors much easier. This is where the Clevermade is let down somewhat.
There is a small pocket on the front of the cooler and is this is zipped, it’s handy for storing small items such as keys, wallets and phones. There is also a small mesh pocket on the back of the cooler for other picnic items. Certainly, the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze cooler has a lot more extra storage features.
A neat touch is the inclusion of a bottle opener built into the carrying handle, just in case you leave yours at home. The rubber feet also help lift the cooler bag off the ground slightly and the tough base ensures that it will not damage easily on rough surfaces.
The competition in this area of the cooler market is tough and manufacturers need to stand out. In our opinion, CleverMade has done this. The Tahoe is a large capacity cooler that has the unique collapsible hinge system. It is let down though on the extra storage front.
In summary, though, this is a good value cooler for taking to the beach but we think it serves better as a grocery cooler for the car trunk. Either way, it’s still definitely worth a look.
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