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Best Overall: TOURIT Insulated Cooler Backpack at Amazon
"Weighs just 1.1 pounds and can fit 28 cans."
Best for Durability: YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Cooler at Amazon
"Its waterproof DryHide Shell is mildew-, puncture-, and UV-resistant."
Best Soft-Sided: Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler at Amazon
"Keeps your goods frozen for at least 24 hours."
Best Value: OAGear Backpack Cooler at Amazon
"Load it up for a day at the beach or a tailgating session and all your goodies will stay cold."
Best for Hiking: TOURIT Laptop Cooler Backpack at Amazon
"Doubles as a backpacking bag, as well as an insulated cooler."
Best for Picnics: ONIVA Turismo Insulated Backpack at Amazon
"Has all the amenities you need for a perfect picnic."
Best Insulated: IceMule Pro Backpack Cooler Bag at Amazon
"Provides up to 24 hours of insulation to keep your food and drinks cold."
Best for Versatility: Igloo Marine Switch Backpack Cooler at Amazon
"Sport this pack as a backpack or as a tote."
Best Lightweight: Coleman Soft Backpack Cooler at Amazon
"At only 1.06 pounds, it's among the lightest backpack coolers in the market."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: TOURIT Insulated Cooler Backpack
For a lightweight yet roomy backpack cooler, opt for the TOURIT Insulated Cooler Backpack, which weighs just 1.1 pounds and can fit 28 cans. The leak- and water-resistant backpack has a large insulated main compartment (25 liters) and a smaller front zippered pocket for extra gear. On the outside of the pack are two mesh pockets and a front bungee for extra storage. The insulated compartment provides 16 hours of cold. Colors include black, blue, light gray, and red. The backpack is 18 x 13 x 7.5 inches.
Best for Durability: YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Cooler
A combination of design and tech features make the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Cooler one of the most durable options on the market. Its waterproof DryHide Shell is mildew-, puncture-, and UV-resistant, so you can rest assured knowing that the backpack cooler will survive any outdoor adventure. Adding to its sturdiness, the YETI BackFlip features a chest strap, waist belt, and HydroLok Zippers for leakproof and waterproof protection. The cooler’s tall and wide design also means you can easily store a day’s worth of items, or up to 25 pounds of ice. Better yet, the ergonomic shoulder straps make it a breeze to carry.
Best Soft-Sided: Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler
Even though this is a soft-sided cooler, it is made from extremely durable and strong materials, both inside and out. This Polar Bear Coolers soft cooler backpack uses a sturdy, UV-resistant nylon exterior and a double-coated nylon for the interior. The insulation is made from high-density open cell foam to keep your goods frozen for at least 24 hours. The square-shaped backpack has adjustable shoulder straps, as well as a grab handle on the top. There is also an exterior mesh pocket on the front of the cooler backpack to carry extra goodies, such as snacks and drinks.
Best Value: OAGear Backpack Cooler
The OAGear Backpack Cooler has enough space to hold 20 cans of soda, plus even more room for ice. Load it up for a day at the beach or a tailgating session before a game and all your goodies will stay cold. Along with the large insulated interior space, the pack has two outside mesh side pockets, one front zipper pocket, and a bungee on the front for extra storage. It also has adjustable padded backpack straps and a carry handle on top. The backpack cooler is 12.25 x 16.5 x 7.75 inches. Colors include gray, black, blue, and camouflage.
Best for Hiking: TOURIT Laptop Cooler Backpack
If you are going on a long day hike, consider the Laptop Cooler Backpack from TOURIT. This 25-liter dual pack doubles as a backpacking bag, as well as an insulated cooler. The leak-resistant insulated section sits at the bottom of the bag and can keep snacks and drinks cool (below 15 degrees Celsius) for up to 16 hours. On top of the cooler portion, you’ll find a storage compartment ideal for dry items, as well as a water-resistant 15-inch laptop compartment. On the exterior, there is also a small front zipper pocket and two side mesh pockets perfect for water bottles and umbrellas. The cooler backpack is made from leak-proof, tear-resistant material and has padded, adjustable shoulder straps as well as a mesh strap pocket large enough to accommodate an iPhone 8 Plus.
Best for Picnics: ONIVA Turismo Insulated Backpack
The ONIVA Turismo Insulated Backpack has all the amenities you need for a perfect picnic: one large rectangular insulated interior space, a smaller insulated top pocket, a removable insulated water bottle holder with straps, and a zippered front pocket with multiple storage spaces for tiny objects, such as utensils and cameras. There are also no-slip shoulder straps, plus a grab handle on the top of the bag. With a flap and zipper closure over the two main insulated compartments, it's sleek and streamlined. Colors include olive green, black, and brown. The backpack cooler is 19 x 5 inches.
Best Insulated: IceMule Pro Backpack Cooler Bag
With the 40-liter, XXL Pro Cooler from IceMule Coolers, you’ll get a durable, tough backpack cooler that is extremely easy to load up and carry for long periods of time. The wide-mouth, roll-top backpack provides up to 24 hours of insulation to keep your food and drinks cold. Both the inner and outer layers are heavy-duty, as are the reinforced adjustable backpack straps. The pack also includes a sternum strap for added support and a ventilated back to keep you cool, even on long haul day trips. Plus, to make the pack even easier to roll up once packed, there is an extra air valve to help remove extra air from the insulated portion.
Best for Versatility: Igloo Marine Switch Backpack Cooler
For carrying versatility, sport this Igloo pack as a backpack or as a tote. The insulated backpack features MaxCold cooling technology, two exterior side mesh pockets, a deep front exterior pocket, an integrated grab handle on the top, and adjustable padded straps. It can hold 32 cans in the main insulated storage space. The pack measures 17 x 12 x 10 inches.
Best Lightweight: Coleman Soft Backpack Cooler
Trusted outdoor brand Coleman delivers a backpack cooler that performs just as well as its other camping gear. At only 1.06 pounds, the 12.2 x 6.3 x 19.3-inch pack is among the lightest backpack coolers in the market. Still, it boasts a large front pocket and a front bungee cord for storage, and its main compartment is spacious enough to hold up to 28 cans. The inside is also insulated, keeping food and snacks cold at the beach or campgrounds, while heat-welded seams help prevent leaks. All this and the backpack cooler is travel-friendly, with its adjustable padded straps and extra padding in the back and waist.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 18 hours testing one of the most popular backpack coolers on the market. To get the most complete results, our testers loaded it up with their food and drinks of choice, left it in the hot sunlight for hours, and opened it back up to eat, drink, and assess its effectiveness. We asked our reviewers to consider this backpack cooler’s most important features — from its design to its performance — and we’ve outlined them here so that you too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Backpack Cooler
Extras The world of backpack coolers is a surprisingly sophisticated one — these days, there are plenty of advances in design and fabric technology that add to what seems like a fairly basic purchase. Look for the extras that are right for you, whether it’s multiple storage spaces for cutlery or anti-mildew fabric.
Value If you need this cooler for a single hunting trip each season, you can likely get away with a quality but cost-effective option. However, if you’re looking for a cooler you can take on those twice-monthly camping trips, you may want to splurge on one that’s especially comfortable, durable, and tailored to your needs.
Activity There are all-purpose coolers that definitely do the job, but you’ll also find ones built specifically for certain activities — like overnight hikes into the woods, picnics, and hunting. Think about how you’ll use this cooler and look for models that cater to your pursuits.
Test Results: Polar Bear Coolers Solar Bear Series Soft Cooler (Best Soft-Sided)
Difficult to clean
One of our reviewers, who took this cooler on a light hike to the beach, was immediately impressed with how effective it was at chilling her food and drinks over time. “I was at the beach for a full six hours with the cooler out in the sun the entire time,” she explained, “and all of my drinks were still very cold. My food was also colder than any other time I've gone to the beach with a different cooler bag.” Other highlights were this cooler’s comfortable straps and sturdy build. Unfortunately, though, our testers thought it was a little bulky overall and that its thick interior insulating material was difficult to clean.