America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated have been very good to us in past reviews – they love the T-Rex almost as much as we do.
Last month they reviewed Insulated Shopping Totes on their site with one of our most popular bags used in this review.
The review on the River bag was not a fair comparison. Even though all the bags were Insulated Shopping Totes – they did the same test with the same foods in each bag.
However the River Shopping Tote is at least TWICE as big as the other bags. So the food placed into these bags are not going to stay as cold as they would in a smaller bag. It didn’t really make a lot of sense so we have pasted the review below and then our comment’s underneath.
So this is the review from them for the River Bag –
The River by California Cooler Bags Insulated Shopping Tote Bag
Recommended with “Reservations”
“Unlike regular reusable shopping totes, insulated shopping totes are designed to keep refrigerated and frozen foods cold on the commute home from the supermarket. We were looking for a comfortable, easy-to-carry tote that could keep our groceries at a food-safe temperature for at least an hour. To evaluate comfort and design, we loaded each with an identical assortment of bulky, heavy, and fragile groceries (12 items total) and took each bag for a 10-minute walk.”
“Those moderately sized bags were also the most comfortable, as bigger totes allowed items to shift during transport and felt cumbersome to more petite testers. But only one of these models also boasted wide, comfortable shoulder straps that made carrying a heavy load easier and freed up our hands. ”
Gotta respond WITH reservations on this review –
This is an apples and oranges review. Should not really have even been considered with the rest of the bags.
Our bag is almost TWICE as big as the others including the “one that shall not be named” that was chosen as the “best”.
Yes, the River is best for bulk and/or frozen items but not for 12 items. I don’t know about you but I can quite honestly say that it’s rare that I go to the grocery store and purchase 12 items?!?! Who has time for that? It’s a full load every time I go – one that FILLS up the River bag.
They said that a “generous amount of groceries left significant empty space” – ok, if you are going to be shopping for ONE then chose one of the smaller bags. Why the BIGGEST one we have? Packed correctly we have managed to keep foods cold for many hours. As stated throughout our site – the less food/drinks in these bags, the more space in the bag, the less likely it will stay cold.
Also we do have the thickest foam of all the bags… because it’s the BIGGEST bag we have available.
They wrote: “That large tote with thick walls would need a cart’s worth of groceries to be effective.” – Um yeh.” Maybe we should put that in the description – oh wait!
So there you have it – we reviewed ATK’s review – with “reservations”…