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If you want to carry a cooler with you but also want to keep your hands free, you need to have the best backpack cooler. Backpack coolers, like soft coolers, are a convenient type of cooler for everything from hiking to simply using as a lunch backpack in your day-to-day life. If this sounds like something for you, check out our backpack cooler reviews and ratings below.
In This Article
The backpack cooler market has greatly expanded over the years, so there are many excellent options to choose from. This can be a daunting task unless you know what you’re looking for in a backpack cooler. Luckily, I have done the work for you. Keep reading for more information on the top five best backpack coolers currently available.
The Igloo Switch Marine Cooler Backpack is the best backpack cooler because it has a lot of storage space and is durable enough to take on camping trips, backpacking excursions, and more.
The Igloo Switch Marine Cooler Backpack is no exception and is one of the best backpack cooler options on the market. Designed for high organization and rugged use, the pack features a large main compartment, a front zippered pocket, and side sleeves. Cutlery, sandwiches, drinks, ice, and snacks can all be separate inside the insulated compartment.
Externally, the 600-denier polyester material features a TPE coating that can withstand salt, sun, and whatever else you throw at it. The best feature of this sack is the straps collapse into the back zippered pocket so you can carry it like a standard cooler.
- A huge amount of storage space
- Highly durable fabric
- Straps fold into the back zippered compartment
- Difficult to drain water
The Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack is the best backpack cooler because it has ergonomic shoulder straps for comfort and HydroLok zippers to prevent leaks.
By combining technology features with overall efficient design, the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack is one of the best cooler backpack options available for consumer purchase. The DryHide Shell material is durable, waterproof, and puncture-, mildew-, and UV-resistant to ensure your cooler will survive outdoors.
With a waist belt and chest strap, the Yeti Hopper provides the ultimate level of sturdiness and comfort. The HydroLok Zippers were added to protect your food and beverages from water and stop leaking from inside the bag. The backpack features a tall and wide design to store an entire day’s worth of items and the ergonomic shoulder straps make the unit simple to carry.
- DryHide Shell protects against water, mildew, punctures, and UV rays
- Chest straps and waist belts deliver the ultimate level of sturdiness
- HydroLok Zippers are leakproof and waterproof.
- No extra storage
- The zipper can be difficult to pull
The Kaggru Insulated Backpack Cooler is the best backpack cooler because it’s an affordable option that uses premium insulation to keep your drinks colder for longer.
As one of the most affordable options in the market, while still providing a quality product, the Kaggru Insulated Backpack Cooler provides several features that will improve your outdoor experience. First, the premium insulation on the body can keep your food and drinks cool, even when in the hot sun for a long period.
Second, the interior was designed to be spacious to hold plenty of food and beverages for a long camping trip or an afternoon picnic. Third, the pack can hold all types of other non-food and beverage-related gear to use even when you don’t need the cooler functionality.
- Uses premium insulation for extended cold periods
- Spacious but lightweight and compact
- Extremely inexpensive compared to similar models
- Some units have been known to leak
The Tourit Leak Proof Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack is the best backpack cooler because it’s large enough to hold up to 28 pop cans and can keep them cold for up to 16 hours.
From a weight perspective, the Tourit Leak Proof Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack is the best cooler backpack on the market. Weighing only 1.1 pounds, you can fit 28 cans into the 25-liter insulated area. The sack is also water- and leak-resistant to ensure none of your food or water leaks out on you.
The front of the ice cooler backpack has a small zippered pocket to hold extra gear. The outside of the pack features a front bungee and two mesh pockets for additional storage. This unit is available in red, blue, light gray, and black. Internally, the insulated section delivers 16 continuous hours of cold which is ideal for a one-day hiking trip.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Multiple color options
- Large internal storage area
- Must use ice packs instead of ice
The Seehonor Insulated Cooler Backpack is the best backpack cooler because its leak-proof design and 30 pound carrying capacity lets you safely and securely transport all necessities.
Featuring a minimalist design, the Seehonor Insulated Cooler Backpack is one of the best backpack cooler models available because it is leak-proof, even when your ice melts, and has plenty of storage. Boasting two front zipper pockets, one lid zipper pocket, two side bottle holders, and a mesh phone pocket, the Seehonor Cooler Backpack gives you room to store all your gear.
Constructed from heavy-duty nylon that is tear-, rip-, and scratch-resistant, the Seehonor Cooler Backpack delivers the ultimate durability. The back pads are constructed from breathable mesh, to help keep your back cool while you’re wearing it. This backpack is the perfect option for any occasion from a simple picnic to a long hiking trip.
- Leak-proof for when your ice melts
- Breathable mesh back pads
- 30L large capacity to transport all necessities
- Ice will often melt within a day
Features to Consider for the Best Backpack Cooler
These sorts of backpack cooler reviews can help you get a better idea of the different products on the market, but when searching for the best backpack cooler, you need to think about the features it offers. The five most important aspects of a backpack cooler include:
While multiple all-purpose backpack coolers do the job, you will also come across models that were designed for specific activities like picnics, overnight wilderness hikes, and hunting. Before deciding on which model is best for your needs, determine how you plan to use this cooler and look for models that fulfill that need.
Believe it or not, the backpack cooler industry is rather sophisticated. With continued advancements in fabric technology and design, a basic purchase can become more detailed, depending on your needs. Look for extras that fit your requirements, whether it is anti-mildew fabric, water- and leak-proof design or additional storage spaces, there is a model right for everyone.
The entire point of a backpack cooler is to make it easier to transport food and beverages without having to physically carry them. For long hiking trips, this can be a major nuisance that can slow down the trip. Therefore, it is important to consider the portability of the backpack cooler before purchase. You also may not want a cooler that is already heavy while it’s empty because it will become incredibly difficult to carry when filled.
Beyond portability, backpack coolers will be easy-to-use and work well for your plans. Some zippers boast incredible performance but require zipper lubricant to function properly, which does not come with the pack. Some non-zippered options close vial clips or roll-tops, which can improve usability. Being able to access and secure your cooler is a high priority so selecting an option that you won’t regret is critical.
If carrying more than food and beverages is important, you will need extra pockets. Some ice cooler backpacks feature helpful pockets to carry extras while others have no pocket at all. Regardless of the number of pockets, all packs must be able to last through all your adventures. Some coolers can withstand years of abuse while others may not survive long but are more affordable.
The way you plan to use this cooler and how often it will go on a journey with you will determine which model is the best backpack cooler for you. If you are planning to use this cooler for a hunting trip once per year, you can get away with a more cost-effective, lower-quality option. On the other hand, if you need a cooler to bring on camping trips twice per month, you should consider splurging on a more expensive option that is durable, comfortable, and has all the bells and whistles you need.
Benefits of Using Backpack Coolers
As you are now aware, back pack coolers are available in a variety of shapes, designs, materials, and features. While each model differs, there are several excellent benefits to using backpack coolers in general including:
Easy to Carry
The primary goal of the best cooler backpack is the ability to transport food and beverages from one point to another without spoiling or becoming warm. Since the backpack straps to your shoulders and have a comfortable backing, they are much easier to carry than a traditional camping cooler or a similar large cooler.
Isolate the Ice
The heavily-padded walls create fantastic isolation of ice to hold in the cold resulting in longer storage time of spoil-prone foods. The best cooler backpacks were created with a secondary inner layer separated from the outside material via insulating foam. This allows for cold storage and blocks any internal leakage.
Large Storage Capacity
Back pack coolers have a large storage capacity to hold ice, beverages, and food. The largest bags can even hold up to as much as 40 liters of volume, which is tremendous. This is excellent for those who hike, camp, and travel the most or for those traveling with a large group of people.
In addition to being a cooler, backpack coolers can also be used to carry a variety of gear due to their large storage capacity. The most interesting use that I have come across is using the backpack cooler as a sitting place while resting. The hard walls and padded back and sides create an excellent sitting place after a long hike through the woods.
Ease of Cleaning
The final important feature to consider when purchasing an ice cooler backpack is how easy it is to clean. If a can of pop explodes in the cooler and gets everything sticky, you don’t want to have to spend hours cleaning it out. When I look for coolers, I like to try to find the ones that say they are made from a material that can be easily wiped clean or have a removable inner liner that can be taken out for cleaning. Cleaning your cooler shouldn’t be a big job, and you can help yourself out a lot by looking for a cooler that will help you out when cleaning time comes.
Precautions of Using Backpack Coolers
While backpack coolers are extremely safe like with any product there are some precautions you must be aware of before purchase. First, regardless of how in-shape you are, how lightweight the backpack feels when loaded, and how comfortable and ergonomic the design is, do not overexert yourself by walking longer than is comfortable. Any item placed on your back for a lengthy period can cause back issues. Therefore, when you start to feel like you need someone else to carry the pack, ask them to carry it. Second, do not overload the backpack with excessively heavy items, for this exact reason.
Third, while some of the best cooler backpacks can keep food safe for hours or even days, don’t leave it directly in the sun. Also, don’t push your luck and test the length of time it can thwart spoilage then eat the food. Always follow the USDA’s instructions for food safety so you do not become sick in the middle of the wilderness. Finally, make sure to bring the backpack cooler that is appropriate for the number of people in your group. Do not bring a tiny pack for 20 people and expect there to be enough food and beverages for everyone.
It’s also important to remember that even the best backpack cooler isn’t as sturdy as a normal wheeled cooler, so you will need to handle it a bit more gently. Furthermore, back pack coolers are not bear-proof. If you know you’re going to be camping in an area with bears, you will want to bring a bear-proof cooler instead.
In my opinion, the best backpack cooler on the market is the Igloo Switch Marine Backpack Cooler. This is because it has more storage space than anything else, is constructed from such durable material that you can throw anything at it, and the innovative but simple disappearance of straps into a zippered compartment. No other backpack coolers offer all the bells and whistles provided by the Igloo Switch Marine model.
Therefore, if you are looking for the best backpack cooler with all the bells and whistles that will stand up to the test of time, look no further than the Igloo Switch Marine. I hope these backpack cooler reviews have helped you find a new cooler for all your hiking and picnicking needs!