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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 for Hiking: Carhartt Cooler Backpack at Amazon
"This dual-compartment backpack holds 12 cans and has enough space to hold all of your essentials."
Best for Picnics: ONIVA Turismo Insulated Backpack at Walmart
"Has all the amenities you need for a perfect picnic."
Best for the Beach: Coleman 24-Can Soft Cooler Backpack at Walmart
"Has an integrated bottle opener so you'll never lose it or forget it at home."
Best Lightweight: Hydro Flask Soft Cooler Pack at hydroflask.com
"Weighing under 3 pounds, the 18.5 x 10.5 x 8-inch pack is extremely light for its capacity size."
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 Versatility: Igloo Marine Switch Backpack Cooler at Walmart
"Sport this pack as a backpack or as a tote."
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 for Hiking: Carhartt Cooler Backpack
If you're going on a day hike, consider the Cooler Backpack from Carhartt. This dual-compartment backpack holds 12 cans and has enough space to hold all of your essentials. It features an insulated base where you can carry an icepack to keep your food cold for up to 24 hours. On top of the cooler section, this bag has a main compartment to store all your non-perishables. On the exterior, there is a zippered front pocket and two mesh side pockets for a water bottle, bug spray, or umbrella. This cooler backpack is made from heavy-duty polyester that's water-resistant, so it's rugged enough for all your outdoor treks. It weighs 1.5 pounds and is available in brown or black.
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 for the Beach: Coleman 24-Can Soft Cooler Backpack
Coleman's Soft Cooler Backpack will make transporting your food to the beach worry-free. This backpack has a zippered wide-mouth top pocket that's easy to load and unload and includes zippered side pockets to store dry goods. It features premium insulation that can keep 24 cans cold for up to 34 hours. Both the inner and outer layers are heavy-duty, as are the reinforced adjustable backpack straps and padded top handles. The pack even has an integrated bottle opener, so you'll never lose it or forget it at home.
Best Lightweight: Hydro Flask Soft Cooler Pack
Hydro Flask delivers a backpack cooler that performs just as well as its other insulated beverage holders. Weighing under 3 pounds, the 18.5 x 10.5 x 8-inch pack is extremely light for its capacity size. It's made of durable 420D nylon and holds 15 liters or 24 cans. The inside is insulated, keeping food and snacks cold wherever you are, while the welded seams ensure liquids don't leak out while you're en route. It also has a pocket on top to store any dry goods or valuables. All this and the backpack cooler is travel-friendly, with its adjustable padded straps, mesh back panel, and carrying handles.
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 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.
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.