The Outdoor Recreation Company of America or ORCA for short is one of the highly praised brands of this industry given their dedication and passion for what they do.
ORCA makes different products and gear but they’re mostly known for their hard coolers that represent a real competition to Yeti which a lot of people would agree to it being on top of the coolers rankings. However, ORCA didn’t slack behind in the last few years and it actually produced some really great coolers including soft ones which we’ll see on this ORCA Backpack Cooler review.
Thus, and since you’re here, it’s clear that you’re looking for a backpack cooler and we hope that we’ll help you find what you’re looking for.
Available Sizes & Dimensions
ORCA has a variety of hard coolers to offer but with the soft ones we only got two sizes. ORCA’s backpack cooler is quite a sight when you first look at and these are the two available sizes:
ORCA Podster Realtree
|Dimensions||Length 18", Width 11", Height 18"||Length 15”, Width 9”, Height 15”|
|Capacity||• 7.13 gallons|
• 28.5 quarts
|• 3.5 gallons
• 14.25 quarts
|Ice & Cans||15 lbs of ice with 24-12oz cans||7.5 lbs of ice with 12- 12oz cans|
|Dry Weight||6.6lbs (3 kg)||3.6 lbs (1.6kgs)|
|Max Load||59.5lbs (27 kg)||28.5 lbs (12.9 kgs)|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
ORCA Podster Review
This soft backpack cooler comes in 2 colors; fuchsia/gray and coral/gray. It can handle 7.5 lbs of ice with 12- 12oz cans which we can translate into 28.5 lbs (12.9 Kg) for a maximum load capacity.
The Podster is 15” in length, 9” in width and 15” in height making it quite the personal cooler that you can easily handle and transport.
ORCA Pod Review
Now this is the bigger brother here, it’s comes in one color only; realtree, and it can handle up to 59.5lbs (27 kg) which almost double the load capacity of its previous sibling.
The Pod measures a solid 18″ in length, 11″ in width and it’s 18” in height. It weighs 6.6lbs (3 kg) dry and empty which is obviously heavier than the Podster (3.6 lbs (1.6kgs).
Design & Build Quality
First things first; the ORCA backpack cooler could be one of the most rugged soft coolers you might ever lay eyes on. It’s just what it is; holding one of these two coolers in your hands will make you think that a soft cooler is that soft after all.
ORCA used a double-layer of SPEC-OPS 840 Denier material to build the exterior of their backpack coolers; it’s a rough and durable material known for being water and leak proof, rigid and stiff which will prevent any damage in case of heavy impact.
Now listen to this, ORCA used Ultrasonic RF Welding which is the same technique used to build white-water products such as rafts, kayaks and canoes. This is a whole higher level of durability, all to prove that ORCA soft coolers are here to stay and conquer the outdoors under any wild circumstances.
Not only that; this interior of both the Pod and Podster Backpack cooler is made of SPEC-OPS 210 Denier and double TPU material which us FDA food grade (approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration), BPA free and anti-microbial. This way, your goods are not only cool and protected but are also neatly stored to be safely consumed any time you wish.
Ice Retention & Insulation Ability
It’s only what it is when you hear that a soft cooler’s ice retention ability is not expected to last for over 3 days; you shouldn’t feel disappointed if a soft cooler of yours can only deliver a 3 days performance. However, if a soft cooler can do better than that then know that you got yourself something exceptional.
Thus, ORCA tried to create the exception presenting these soft backpack coolers that are given 28mm of tough META- POLYMER closed cell foam to make one of the best insulations ever introduced to this industry.
To make everything feel even better, these coolers are featured with “EVA reinforcement in the lid, base and back, which provides additional insulation, structure and protection.”
Now what goes hand in hand with the insulation techniques is the zipper; this one here is a German TIZIP Master Seal and it’s water proof so that nothing goes bad when it starts to rain or when you decide to take a dip.
Testing the Pod and Podster Backpack coolers, we’re glad to announce that they were able to hit the 4 day with ice still inside though mostly melted. That being said; ORCA should be really proud of what they made.
We honestly don’t have plenty to talk about in this section because ORCA did a great job keeping these backpack coolers simple and minimum. Both the ORCA Pod and Podster are featured with:
- Well padded shoulder straps and a cross-chest adjustable T-strap; these are meant to make carrying and transporting the loaded cooler an easy comfortable task.
- There is the Molle webbing which is all the grids you can see on the cooler to allow you to attach and secure all the different items that’d be needed while in the outdoors.
- The previously mentioned zipper which allows super easy access to the coolers content because it opens completely wide fast and easy.
- As you’ll also find 2 carry handles on the sides in case you didn’t have to carry the cooler on your back.
If anything at all; we’d say that an additional dry pocket would’ve been a nice add since there are some stuff that you can’t put inside the cooler. However, we shouldn’t let that distract us from a cooler’s real purpose.
Who is it for?
Well, this shouldn’t be a hard question. I mean; what’s the point of a backpack cooler besides having your hands free to do some hiking?
The ORCA backpack coolers are great for anyone who enjoys walking through the woods, short trips and picnics and also camping if necessary.
The fact that their sizes are so easy to handle, anyone can have an ORCA backpack cooler on his/her back to start on any kind of journey or trip.
Getting here; you should know that nothing can stop you from getting the cooler you really want as long as it’ll serve its pure and ultimate purpose.
Orca Podster Backpack Vs. Yeti Hopper BackFlip
Let’s talk colors. The Hopper Backflip is, at least in my opinion, way sharper thanks to the classic and neutral colors chosen for it; charcoal and gray/tahoe blue. ORCA on the other hand went with some bold and warm colors for the Pod and Podster and that may have taken away some of its sharpness.
Not only, the material used on Yeti’s soft cooler’s exterior looks and feels super rugged but when you look at the ORCA Backpacks, you’ll find it to be softer and smoother.
In terms of pricing, both brands are considered to be pricey, however; Yeti remains a little more expensive than ORCA.
As for the rest of both coolers’ aspects; we can say that both the Hopper and Pod/Podster are featured with the same things that include the webbing and straps.
Other than that, both brands proved to have great ice retention ability which a lot of users agreed that it’s the best in the market.
Compare To: YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
- The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
- Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is certified Bear-Resistant
Orca Backpack Cooler – Bottom Line
Yeti coolers have always been considered statement pieces; in other words, the name sells faster than you could imagine.
Nevertheless, Yeti owns the coolers industry for their amazingly durable and efficient products.
The same thing goes for ORCA; it’s one of Yeti’s greatest rivals and it’s absolutely up to the competition as the both make premium quality coolers.