Anytime I’m in the car more than two hours — say, a trip to Vail from my Aspen-area home — I pack a soft-sided cooler. Always cost-conscious, I fill it with healthy snacks (cut-up fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, nuts) and drinks (ice water, juice packs and my crutch, Diet Coke), to avoid being forced to purchase pricey convenience-store items or take time to stop and find a grocery store while out and about. Of course, for multi-day road trips, a cooler is a necessity for saving money over the long haul. Having picnic ingredients, snacks and drinks help to prevent low-blood-sugar meltdowns, among kids and parents alike! My latest favorite soft-sided cooler that’s perfect for a day trip, multi-day vacation or outdoor picnic: the Mountainsmith Deluxe Cooler Cube.
At 15 x 15 x 7.5 inches, the Cooler Cube fits perfectly between the kids’ backseats in our Toyota minivan. This week it sat shotgun on my solo road trip to Southern Utah for a work conference; as I type this, my husband has it in the car driving 3.5 hours to Denver. This Mountainsmith product — a “cube” — is designed to fit in the larger, rugged tote that comes with a Modular Hauler System. While we haven’t used our Mountainsmith Deluxe Cooler Cube in this fashion yet, I appreciate that for long trips, where we are hauling a lot of gear, this combination of products can help us keep the back of our minivan totally organized.
The Deluxe Cooler Cube zips open fully at the top, for easy loading and access to food and snacks inside. I love the tote handles, with a Velcro-wrapped grip for comfortable carrying. The top flap has a zippered interior pocket for stashing folded paper towels or wipes, as well as side mesh pockets. A nice feature that is ideal for picnics is the drop-down beverage tray; I can definitely envision using this at an outdoor concert or event where I wouldn’t want my beer bottles or (plastic) wine glasses to tip over on my picnic blanket! The drop-down beverage tray zips up when not in use, and I’ve used it as a zippered pocket to hold energy bars and plastic cutlery, or other things that don’t need to stay cold.
A couple of other thoughtful additions: a small bottle opener attached to the top zipper and an open sleeve on the back of the cooler, perhaps to store a magazine or even a thin folded tablecloth for picnic-table use.
Mountainsmith makes a number of different travel and travel-storage products in addition to the Deluxe Cooler Cube and Modular Hauler Systems, such as backpacks, rollerboards, duffle bags (including one on wheels). Boot bags for ski or hiking boots, bike bags for cycling gear, as well as the K-9 Cube and Dog Packs for Fido are other clever offerings from Mountainsmith, also a makers of sleeping bags, tents and trekking poles.
As I mentioned, we now have a few different products from Mountainsmith, and I appreciate the rugged materials used in construction; my family tends to beat up our coolers and bags, on trips in the mountains and in the desert. I’m also pleased to support a Colorado-based company!
Mountainsmith provided me with the Deluxe Cooler Cube for purposes of review.