Although many of us have a 12V chest or upright fridge in our RVs, you really can’t go past an old-fashioned cooler for day trips to the beach or even just to get your shopping home without melting. But space is premium, right? And a cooler takes up a lot of room. This is where the new Bouncee collapsible cooler shines and we got our hands on one to test it out.
What’s the story
Bouncee say they are the first-ever lightweight, collapsible cooler made, designed and supported right here in Australia. They have a simple yet clever thermal divider system for creating different temperature zones, perfectly sized freezer bricks (no need for servo ice), and it packs down to half its size for storing.
The Bouncee collapsible cooler is the brainchild of Melbourne designers, who began their mission with a goal to curtail the excessive amount of single-use packaging used by the food and pharmaceutical industries to deliver perishables. One scorching day, when the mercury hit 35 degrees, they used one of their reusable containers as a makeshift cooler and it wasn’t long before they realised they were on to something.
My first impressions of unboxing the Bouncee collapsible cooler were of how strong and light the product it’s made from is. It looks and feels really nice too. Bouncee has completely eliminated the traditional plastic cooler outer shell and used expanded polypropylene (EPP). In case you’re wandering, this is nothing like styrofoam. Rigid PP is used for the critical hinged areas.
My Bouncee collapsible cooler came in a bundle with a divider and four freezer bricks and my first impressions of the freezer bricks were to notice the size. Now that’s a freezer brick!
What’s great about it
The ease with which it folds
You don’t actually need to read any instructions to fold it out to the full 43L size. Which is good because I’m allergic to instructions. As soon as you grab the two side pieces, they pull out, and it’s very easy to work it out from there. But in case you don’t believe me, it works like this:
The versatility of the divider and freezer bricks
There are these little grooves in various positions on the inside of the Bouncee collapsible cooler that the divider and freezer bricks slot neatly into. This allows you to use one side for chilling and the other for regular food or gear. Or maybe you just like to separate your drinks from your food. Use the whole space as a cooler or divide it into either half, a third or two-thirds.
The freezer bricks are the heaviest thing about it and they’re no heavier than normal freezer bricks of the same size. The Bouncee collapsible cooler weighs less than 2.4kg empty and has handles on the top and bottom to make carrying easy.
You can use it as a seat
Although I haven’t tried this yet, according to Bouncee, you can use the collapsible cooler as a seat.
What could be better
It didn’t fold down quite as flat as I thought it would. However, in it’s defence it actually folds down to half its size, so I think I was expecting a bit much. You would need thinner walls for it to fold down flatter but if that were the case, the collapsible cooler wouldn’t keep the cold in for as long.
Speaking of which, how long does it stay cool for?
It will keep your stuff cold all day but don’t expect it to last for days on end. It’s more suited for day trips to the beach or overnight getaways. Basically, Bouncee works better than an old-school cheapo hard cooler and the majority of soft coolers, but they don’t pretend to be a 5-day camping cooler either.
Who is it for?
The Bouncee collapsible cooler is surprisingly versatile and could be used by a number of different people in different situations. Use it for days at the beach and pack it away when you’re done, or keep in the back of the car for getting the shopping home. It’s also perfect for kid’s sports days, in the boat or when you’re 4WDing. I like the idea of using only part of it as a cooler for drink and the other section to store gear, meaning I only need to make one trip down to the beach.
Bouncee is designed for use with reusable ice bricks, so if you do use loose servo ice, you’ll need to throw it in a sealed bag to avoid leakage. You don’t have to buy the Bouncee ice bricks and can use your own or frozen water bottles. But the Bouncee ice bricks do, of course, fit the collapsible cooler very well with a groove system.
Where are they made?
The Bouncee collapsible cooler is proudly designed and made in Australia. The Bouncee ice brick accessories are currently produced internationally however, they are working on a solution to change that.
Where to get one and the pricing
The Bouncee collapsible cooler will set you back $109. We recommend getting the bundle with four freezer bricks and a wall divider. This will set you back $169.90.