October 1, 2022


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The Greatest Backpack Coolers of 2022

Whether or not you’re automotive tenting, biking to a close-by park, fishing, mountain climbing, or whitewater rafting, we’ve narrowed down the very best backpack coolers for out of doors adventures.

Backpack coolers hold getting cooler. A swell of manufacturers is growing these super-transportable, insulated packs with high-end development, model, and a variety of distinct options.

For those who’ve by no means thought-about one, carrying a backpack cooler is a handy selection for hands-free, single-person transport of tasty refreshments. That would imply tailgating after a run membership meet-up, heading to a neighborhood softball recreation along with your leashed canine, or using a cruiser to a park BBQ. They’re useful when you’ve gotten your arms full with kiddos or different gear and might help commuters by bike, bus, or prepare swoop their groceries for the week.

Some backpack coolers are additionally nice for day hikes and picnics at faraway alpine lakes. Others may be strapped right down to a motorbike, SUP, or raft for multiday and whitewater adventures.

With stunning complexity, backpack coolers supply a variety of capability, ice retention, and particular traits to assist make your out of doors expertise extra comfy and higher fueled.

For extra details about backpack coolers and the way we examined them, take a look at our purchaser’s information and FAQ on the finish of this text. In search of a fast overview of every mannequin’s value and options? Take a look at our helpful comparability chart. In any other case, scroll by means of to see all of our really useful buys or leap to the class you’re on the lookout for:

The Greatest Backpack Coolers of 2022

Greatest Total Backpack Cooler: Icemule Boss

Profitable our ice retention take a look at, the Icemule Boss ($350) additionally stands out as one of many largest pack coolers however distributes weight effectively. The pack has comfy double-padded mesh shoulder straps and hip pads plus an adjustable hip belt and sternum strap. The pack has a burlier construct for rugged adventures: It could actually deal with being strapped right down to a whitewater raft or canoe.

After we loaded the pack with a 10-pound bag of ice for testing on a half-day hike in Colorado, it was simple to overlook the pack was on in any respect, so it’s additionally an awesome selection for hikers that need to cowl far. And this design supplied a bit higher airflow than others.

This design’s exterior MuleSkin 1,000-denier cloth withstands tough circumstances. The shoulder straps are on the broader facet however not as motion-limiting because the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler straps.

That stated, the straps are much less ergonomic than the REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler. We additionally have fun the three spacious exterior pockets with waterproof zippers — we simply want they had been smoother to open and shut.

Because of the polar layer XT insulation, 133 hours handed earlier than this cooler’s ice fully melted throughout our take a look at, taking first place throughout all of the cooler packs. To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 24 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 17″ x 11″ x 24″
  • Capability: 30 L
  • Weight: 3,402 g (7.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~5.5 days
  • Profitable cooler backpack for ice retention
  • Three waterproof, insulated exterior cargo pockets
  • Nice weight distribution
  • Safe roll-top design retains water out and in
  • It floats!
  • The tall, slender cooler column makes nutriments tougher to entry
  • Waterproof zippers on pockets are onerous to open and shut
  • Pricier

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Runner-Up: OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler

OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler

At first, we thought the highest latch of the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler ($300) was an annoyance. As soon as we realized the system, this cooler rose to the highest, particularly as a result of the premium insulation saved our ice frozen the longest. This workhorse pack has one of many broadest openings, which is tremendous handy for grabbing provisions.

We loved this cooler pack for park barbecues, highway journeys, selecting up farm items, and hikes round Southwest Colorado. One among our favourite options was the water resistant entrance pocket that matches a cellphone, pockets, and keys. There’s one other super-wide pocket, although it’s skinny. The heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant base helps the cooler keep upright.

The agency again panel felt nice for shorter hikes. However we’d wish to see the model soften the pack’s bottommost edge, which is inflexible in opposition to the sacroiliac joints — we bruised after bolting from a mountain lion sighting on the path.

Additionally, the 2-inch-wide shoulder straps push into our shoulders, limiting vary of movement. This pack may not be the best choice if that you must attain down for a canine or toddler.

Greater than 5 days handed earlier than this cooler’s ice fully melted throughout our take a look at, an especially shut second place behind the Icemule Boss. To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 50 12-ounce cans.

Editor’s be aware: The Trooper LT 30 is out of inventory proper now, so we’ve added hyperlinks to the smaller OtterBox Trooper 20 as a substitute.

  • Measurement: 17″ x 11″ x 21″
  • Capability: 64 L
  • Weight: 3,039 g (6.7 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~5+ days
  • Reigns in ice retention
  • Two exterior pockets
  • Leakproof latch
  • Burly seize deal with
  • Robust, TPU-reinforced nylon exterior
  • Restricted vary of arm movement when tightened down
  • Dearer selection
  • Again panel isn’t very breathable

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Greatest Price range Backpack Cooler: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler

arctic zone titan deep freeze rolltop backpack cooler

At solely $35, the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler is a superb financial selection that’s surprisingly comfy to put on and easy to make use of. We pulled this pack on for Colorado day hikes, and it did an awesome job at maintaining our items chilled. Plus, the ten kilos of ice we trekked with didn’t really feel noticeably heavy.

Principally, we loved mountain climbing with this tidy pack. The straps and mesh again panel are padded, comfy, malleable, and sweat-absorbing. It isn’t as stiff as different packs right here, which works in case you’re carrying much less weight. And we appreciated the 2 giant and small exterior entrance pockets.

The insulation, built-in inside warmth barrier, and thick base helped the ice survive for 70 hours, in line with our take a look at. That’s truthful ice retention in our e book. For an thought of the scale, this pack might match 20 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 20″ x 8.5″ x 23″
  • Capability: 64 L (with prime unrolled)
  • Weight: 680 g (1.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~3 days
  • Light-weight
  • Rolltop design retains water out and in
  • Low value
  • Collapsible and straightforward to retailer
  • Spacious entrance pocket that’s simple to entry
  • Ice melts a bit quicker than claimed
  • The outside can expertise drippy condensation
  • Not essentially the most inflexible selection

Verify Worth at Arctic Zone

Most Stash Pockets: Igloo Pursuit Backpack

Igloo Pursuit Backpack

We took the sturdy Igloo Pursuit Backpack ($140) fly fishing on Colorado’s East River below the blazing solar. If that you must stash miscellaneous objects apart from perishables, this pack has an oasis of pockets for you. The choices embrace two tall mesh water bottle holders and a big insulated entrance pocket (for an iPad or pill) with a facet zipper entry.

There’s additionally an inside pocket contained in the lid with a zipper closure and a spacious zippered pocket contained in the lid to arrange utensils or different objects. Lastly, the outside zippered pocket on prime of the lid is one other great place for stashing objects.

The pack match two boxed lunches in Tupperware, beer cans, and glowing water plus room to spare. We had been comfy whereas transporting the pack, which has ample cushion and breathable mesh alongside the again panel and shoulder straps. We additionally appreciated the comfortable, buttery really feel of the inside liner.

This cooler is ready to maintain ice for 64 hours, based mostly on our take a look at. Nope, the highest zipper isn’t waterproof. To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 24 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 12.6″ x 7.5″ x 18.9″
  • Capability: 29 L
  • Weight: 907 g (2 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~2.5 days
See also  The Greatest Coolers of 2022
  • Loaded with pockets
  • Clear aesthetic
  • Tender exterior materials
  • Doesn’t retain ice tremendous effectively in direct daylight
  • Chest strap isn’t essentially the most appropriate for larger chests or busts
  • Complexity of the pockets confused a few of our testers

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Most Dry Cargo House: Carhartt Cooler Backpack

carhartt cooler backpack

If that you must primarily carry attire or gear plus a little bit of cooler area, take a look at the two-in-one Carhartt Cooler Backpack ($90). We used this easy day pack on a two-person day hike in Crested Butte, Colorado, bringing alongside a load of seltzer water and Crimson Bull.

The shoulder straps aren’t tremendous sturdy, however for toting a average load for a number of hours, the pack gives truthful help. The 1,200-denier heavy-duty polyester materials is hard and handled with a DWR coating to guard in opposition to a drizzle. A stout deal with on the prime of the bag is comfy to seize.

We like which you could set up your stuff in a number of spots. Contained in the dry compartment, there are two mesh pockets with elastic closures. There’s additionally a big exterior entrance pocket with a zipper closure, which has two inside mesh pockets.

In accordance with our take a look at, this cooler is ready to retain ice for almost 25 hours. To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match one dozen 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 12.5″ x 8″ x 17.8″
  • Capability: 29 L (complete backpack)
  • Weight: 680 g (1.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~25 hours
  • Web pocket inside cooler compartment retains ice pack out of the way in which
  • Very light-weight
  • Majority of area is for attire and different dry gear
  • Ice simply drips by means of the zipper of cooler compartment — use ice packs
  • Facet mesh water bottle pockets are fairly shallow
  • Two tiny entrance pockets are too small and lack zipper for safety

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Greatest Adaptable Backpack-to-Cooler Pack: REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler

REI Co-op Cool Trail Pack Cooler

The distinctive REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler ($100) is an adaptable backpack cooler with a detachable cooler insert, so you possibly can drop the liner for a conventional day pack. Basically, you’re getting two pack types in a single piece of substances for less than 100 bucks, which is an effective deal in case you’re not on the lookout for a specialised merchandise.

We most appreciated the padded again panel and padded, contoured hip belt, which elevated the load off our again. After loading the pack with canned drinks for boating on a Wisconsin lake, we might nonetheless carry the bag with ease.

One caveat: The fabric doesn’t wick sweat tremendous effectively, however it’s barely suspended for some airflow. The deal with isn’t fancy however is simple to seize — holding it, we carried the pack a full mile.

These trusty pockets are well-built and utilitarian. For our 32-ounce Nalgene water bottles and sunscreen, we used the 2 mesh water bottle holders, that are sandwiched on the face of facet zippered pockets.

The Bluesign-approved supplies make the design extra eco-friendly than different packs we examined, as the outside is made with recycled ripstop nylon, and the liner is recycled polyester.

In accordance with our take a look at, this cooler is ready to retain ice for almost 77 hours, effectively above the claimed charge. To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 20 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 17″ x 9″ x 22″
  • Capability: 38 L
  • Weight: 1,446 g (3.2 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~3 days
  • Useful cooler ideas are listed contained in the pack’s lid
  • Two-in-one design permits for non-cooler day pack conversion
  • Retains ice effectively
  • Pack doesn’t simply keep upright when set down
  • Zipper to cooler compartment just isn’t waterproof
  • Clips and zippers aren’t high-end however get the job finished

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Greatest Magnetic Closure: YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Tender Cooler

YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Soft Cooler

The YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Tender Cooler ($325) lives as much as the model’s mission of making the hardest coolers on the market. This ergonomic, comfy, and pliable pack is a superb possibility for half-day hikes or days out on the water by way of boat or SUP. As a substitute of feeling inflexible, the design feels forgiving in opposition to the again, which we welcome.

There’s a singular closure design with the YETI’s MagShield Entry, a strong magnetic strip alongside the highest that helps retain chilly. We discovered the magnetic opening snaps open and stays open, so you possibly can load up the bag with out battle. The highest folds over as soon as and must be secured with two buckles — the additional step doesn’t take too lengthy.

A whopping quantity of daisy chains line the entrance and sides of the cooler for attaching random objects and the model’s accent baggage, too. The pack’s base includes a tenacious 840-denier nylon with a double TPU coating, so that you don’t must be involved about setting the bag down on rocky shorelines, in forest brush, or in a truck mattress.

The high-density exterior cloth is waterproof and proof against mildew and doesn’t construct up condensation. The pack comes with a chest strap to assist safe weight swing.

The model’s closed-cell rubber foam insulation is usually in a position to retain ice for roughly 95 hours. For dimension comparability, this pack might match a dozen 12-ounce cans.

Take a look at our full evaluate of the brand new cooler pack.

  • Measurement: 18.5″ x 9.5″ x 18.75″
  • Capability: 20 L
  • Weight: 2,495 g (5.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: Unavailable
  • Materials is leakproof
  • Three robust, ergonomic handles which can be simple to seize
  • Pack suits a bottle of upright wine
  • No built-in water bottle carry or exterior pockets
  • Dear

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Greatest Waterproof Zipper: Hydro Flask Day Escape Tender Cooler Pack

Hydro Flask Day Escape Soft Cooler Pack

The Hydro Flask Day Escape Tender Cooler Pack ($200) rewarded us on a double-date hike in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. Our quad packed all of the tasty fare from champagne and darkish chocolate to strawberries, lunchmeat, and bread.

The cooler’s malleable partitions really feel reasonably skinny, so we had been shocked by the general comfy, ergonomic help as we trekked. We had been joyful to put on this pack for longer hikes and prolonged intervals.

Regardless of its gentle weight and adaptability, the pack is structurally sound with sturdy handles and 600-denier polyester waterproof materials. The chest strap stabilizes the shoulder straps; in any other case, they annoyingly slide round. We additionally dig the stretch mesh facet pocket, which simply suits a 1L bottle or utensils.

This cooler is ready to maintain ice for almost 60 hours, based mostly on our take a look at, which is above what the model advertises. We cherished that the highest zipper is waterproof — it’s additionally silent. The draw back is a watertight zipper takes two arms and extra time to open and shut than a conventional zipper.

To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 36 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 13″ x 7.8″ x 17.7″
  • Capability: 20 L
  • Weight: 1,360 g (3 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~2.5 days
  • Main bonus of waterproof prime zipper
  • Pull handles assist with closing zipper
  • Wonderful ice retention
  • The adjustable chest strap wants a decrease setting
  • Extra shoulder straps might use an elastic attachment in order that they don’t dangle

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Better of the Relaxation

Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler

stoic hybrid backpack cooler

The Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler ($120) complemented our four-person fly fishing crew on the Gunnison River in Southwest Colorado. The pack chilled beer, cheese, salami, sandwiches, and glowing water whereas we casted.

We give a thumbs-up for a way comfy the pack was to hold — the size-to-capacity is spot on. It has a padded, breathable, supportive again panel. We additionally appreciated the sturdy exterior, a mixture of 600-denier polyester and versatile plastic. Plus, the design is hip.

The inside insulation can retain ice for almost 62 hours. Word: The lid’s zipper isn’t waterproof.

To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 24 12-ounce cans.

See also  The Finest Comfortable Coolers of 2022
  • Measurement: 13″ x 9″ x 19″
  • Capability: 28 L
  • Weight: 907 g (2 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~2.5 days
  • Snug to hold absolutely loaded
  • Trendy
  • Sturdy and stays upright when set down
  • Backside simply stained by mud
  • It’d be good to have a backside strap to assist unload ice
  • No storage pockets

Verify Worth at Backcountry

Coleman Sportflex Tender Cooler Backpack

coleman sportflex soft cooler backpack

For canine walks, hikes, and picnics, we stuffed up the Coleman Sportflex Tender Cooler Backpack ($65) with carbonated water, cheese, sausage, and veggies. This pack has a refreshing variety of pockets — together with a facet carry for a 20-ounce water bottle and a big mesh entrance pocket. There’s additionally a roomy zippered facet pocket with one other inside mesh hammock.

What else stood out was how light-weight this pack is and the way simple it’s to entry items, because of width and rigidity. The tradeoff: When empty, this cooler occupies the identical quantity of area in your backseat versus collapsing down. It’s additionally much less comfy to hike with in comparison with different choices, so it’s a more sensible choice for shorter distances.

We appreciated the comfortable mesh again panel. And the insulation surpassed the model’s claims, holding ice for two days in our take a look at. However the boxiness and rigidity docked ergonomics for us, so be sure you don’t thoughts a agency pack. Honest warning: The zip closure isn’t waterproof.

To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 30 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 10″ x 7″ x 12″
  • Capability: 14 L
  • Weight: 454 g (1 lb.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~2 days
  • Number of helpful pockets
  • Ice retention labored higher than claimed
  • Chest strap helps safe pack in place
  • Light-weight
  • Padded straps are comfy
  • Not essentially the most sturdy exterior
  • Material and backside dirties rapidly and isn’t simple to scrub
  • Shoulder straps can press into arms when mountain climbing

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Igloo Outside Professional Snapdown Backpack

Igloo outdoor pro snapdown backpack

The Igloo Outside Professional Snapdown Backpack ($120) saved our bubbly water, veggies, lunch meat, and condiments cool on a packrafting journey throughout Colorado’s Taylor Reservoir. Total, our crew provides a nod to the pack’s comfy and sweat-absorbing mesh again panel, sturdy overhead carry handles, and two facet pockets for reusable water bottles.

The outside seems like a whitewater raft and wipes down simply. We cherished the chunky zipper for quick one-handed use and a large prime hatch for streamlined entry.

The inside’s MaxCold insulation works effectively and, in line with our checks, can retain ice for greater than 2 days. However the design was docked factors for the drippy condensation, which will get uncomfortable.

To place the scale in perspective, this pack might match 42 12-ounce cans.

  • Measurement: 13″ x 7″ x 17.5″
  • Capability: 26 L
  • Weight: 989 g (2.18 lbs.)
  • Ice retention take a look at: ~2+ days
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Sternum strap provides stability
  • Exterior zipper pocket for keys or pockets
  • Very comfy to hold
  • Ripstop polyester exterior is coated for water repellency
  • Exterior produces condensation
  • We want the highest zipper had been waterproof

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Magellan Open air Leakproof 24-Can Backpack Cooler

Magellan Outdoors Leakproof 30-Can Backpack Cooler

The powerful nylon shell of the Magellan Open air Leakproof 24-Can Backpack Cooler ($99) works in our favor for tossing across the boat or rig. The outside is constructed of 840-denier cloth with a double-sided TPU lamination, all at below $100.

There’s a pleasant quantity of storage with two mesh facet pockets, a front-facing pocket with a zipper closure, and sturdy gear loops to clip on equipment. We just like the well-designed zipper pulls, too, that are simple to seize up prime and on the entrance pocket.

Three gear handles — on the 2 sides and up prime — assist with transporting the pack. A chest strap helps safe the pack whereas strolling or mountain climbing round.

For a dimension rundown, this pack holds as much as 24 cans.

  • Measurement: 11″ x 14.5″ x 18.5″
  • Capability: 48 L
  • Weight: Unavailable
  • Ice retention take a look at: Unavailable
  • Padded again panel
  • Consists of bottle opener
  • Loaded cooler can float

Verify Worth at Academy

Backpack Cooler Comparability Chart

woman wearing YETI backpack cooler
(Photograph/Eric Phillips)

Why You Ought to Belief Us

Our crew has developed backpack cooler guides for a number of years, objectively testing dozens of coolers within the subject from whitewater raft journeys to fly fishing adventures. For this information, we examined the preferred, extremely acclaimed, and bestselling backpack coolers with numerous capacities, ice retention skill, and a large value vary.

Our crew put these packs to the take a look at in circumstances from sunny high-alpine hikes in Colorado to pontoon boating in Wisconsin and tenting in Wyoming’s Teton Vary.

We additionally carried out a managed in-house ice retention take a look at to confirm model claims. For the experiment, we stuffed every cooler 70% with recent, frozen cubed ice and set them in a shaded, dry indoor area at ~65 levels F.

We periodically checked, making notes concerning soften charge, leaks, and condensation. Every reported time relies on when 100% of the ice was transformed to water.

Purchaser’s Information: Select a Backpack Cooler

Storage Capability

Select a cooler backpack based mostly on the storage capability and kind of again help you want. The bigger the group, the extra cargo room you’ll need.

A variety of storage capability exists amongst backpack coolers. We’ve highlighted the 14L Coleman Sportflex Tender Cooler Backpack on the compact finish, and the 64L OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler among the many bigger choices. Nearly all of cooler packs vary from 20 to 29 L.

To present you an thought, we discovered the 29L Igloo Pursuit supplied greater than sufficient area for a two-person single-day fishing journey. And the Hydro Flask Day Escape Tender Cooler Pack match sufficient nutriments for a four-person mountain climbing group.

The outside dimensions of every pack provides you with a strong image of the out there space for storing. However the inside dimensions of every pack can be a tad smaller, relying on the kind and rigidity of the insulation.

woman pulling drink out of backpack cooler
(Photograph/Eric Phillips)

Compartments & Pockets

A handful of our favourite backpack coolers have separate inside compartments or exterior pockets for dry storage, a portion of that are noninsulated. As an illustration, you may pack a rain jacket within the non-cooler part of the Carhartt Cooler Backpack or a e book within the facet pocket of the Icemule Boss.

That stated, a whole lot of backpack coolers don’t have any exterior pockets in any respect. Some people choose that streamlined, easy method. Others want at the least one mesh facet pocket for a water bottle and pocket to stash a cellphone and keys.

Backpack Weight

Backpack coolers are usually extra compact and product of softer, lighter supplies than onerous coolers, in order that they weigh much less. They often have sturdy shoulder straps plus handles which can be simple to seize, so the burden feels comparatively simple to move. A pack’s weight is increased when the capability, sturdiness, and insulation functionality improve.

Our favourite slimmer backpack coolers weigh 454-680 g (1-1.5 kilos): the Coleman Sportflex Tender Cooler Backpack and Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler. Cooler baggage can weigh as a lot as 3,402 g or 7.5 kilos.

On the beefier facet, our favorites embrace the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler and Icemule Boss, that are 3,039-3,402 g (6.7-7.5 kilos).

woman holding YETI backpack cooler along water
(Photograph/Eric Phillips)


A pack’s supplies embrace the outside, insulation, inside liner, shoulder straps and pads, again panel, zippers, buckles, and attachment factors. The standard of supplies influences the waterproofness, sturdiness, insulation worth, and whether or not or not the face cloth produces condensation. The supplies additionally decide consolation, breathability, or help.

Premium supplies come at the next value, however these merchandise additionally usually last more and stand up to out of doors components. Up to now, the Icemule Boss is made with Polar Layer XT Insulation, a proprietary closed-cell foam that’s 3 cm thick, with an air valve for insulation boosts.

The robust exterior is waterproof 1,000-denier tarpaulin, a tenacious materials used for crash pads. The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler, alternatively, has two layers of high-density superfoam plus a light-weight warmth reflective materials across the exterior. The fabric isn’t as robust.

Essential specs to concentrate to are a water-proof lid zipper, welded seams, and whether or not the outside cloth produces condensation. These aren’t nonnegotiable, however we don’t like getting caught off guard with an sudden spill or puddle.

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Our highlighted backpack coolers value as little as $35 and as excessive as $359. That’s a giant hole.

Greater Price Backpack Coolers

The priciest coolers ($300-359) are created with sturdy, puncture-proof, waterproof, and waterproof supplies that may be trusted on a whitewater rafting journey. The Icemule Boss has MuleSkin 1,000-denier cloth. The OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler has a TPU-coated nylon exterior. And the YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Tender Cooler is made with high-density cloth.

These top-tier coolers additionally retain ice the longest, have bigger capacities, and gained’t leak by means of the highest closure. The most costly coolers are typically extra inflexible and supportive. Nonetheless, value doesn’t essentially mirror a pack’s general consolation, which is influenced by the again panel and shoulder straps.

Mid-Vary Price Backpack Coolers

A step down in dimension is the $130 Hydro Flask Day Escape Tender Cooler Pack, which boasts a water-proof zipper, sturdiness, and glorious ice retention. The Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler ($120) additionally sits on this value bucket.

$100 or Much less Backpack Coolers

Pack coolers which can be $100 or much less are usually extra compact, don’t protect ice as effectively, or compromise a design function. For instance, the REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler ($100) doesn’t have a water-proof zipper on the lid.

The face cloth of the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler ($35) produces condensation. And the Coleman Sportflex Tender Cooler Backpack wasn’t as ergonomic, so it wasn’t our best choice for mountain climbing for longer durations.

Match & Consolation

Merely put, backpack coolers are usually not as supportive, ergonomic, and comfy as common day packs or backpacking packs. However we discovered some are extra comfy that we’d get pleasure from doing day hikes with, just like the Hydro Flask Day Escape Tender Cooler Pack, Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler, and Icemule Boss.

Backpack coolers have a variety of firmness, and the firmest packs have extra insulation, which will increase the ice retention. However, softer packs can really feel extra malleable and comfy to put on. Additionally, some designs have a stiff again panel and others have padded mesh.

Inflexible designs have a steady base. However some lack a padded hip belt and pressed into the sacroiliac joint of testers, inflicting discomfort on longer treks.

The shoulder straps additionally affect general consolation. Wider, stiffer, or broadly positioned straps can restrict vary of movement or really feel disagreeable. Probably the most ergonomic strap units is on the REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler, which allowed us to have full vary of movement.

Hip and chest straps add stability to the load, so it doesn’t swing round. Hip belts supply consolation and evenly redistribute the burden off the shoulders.


Our testers all discovered that with narrower, longer backpack coolers, the contents had been inevitably tougher to achieve. In distinction, a wider, shorter cooler with the identical quantity affords simpler entry — however that’s not appropriate with the human torso. The answer is to be actually strategic with the way you pack.

Ice Retention

Throughout our managed ice retention take a look at, the bottom recorded time was near 25 hours for the Carhartt Cooler Backpack, which has a big dry cargo area.

Most cooler packs preserved ice for two.5 to three days. That features the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Rolltop Backpack Cooler, Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler, and Hydro Flask Day Escape Tender Cooler Pack.

The REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler held ice for greater than 3 days. The most costly coolers in our information retained their ice for 4-5.5 days. Typically, there’s a correlation between the next price ticket and stronger ice retention, however not all the time.

Our ice retention take a look at was accomplished with managed variables. Every cooler backpack was stationed indoors, shaded, in regular 65 levels F, with the identical ratio and kind of ice. If you use a cooler exterior, many components affect a pack’s ice retention, together with the frequency of opening the cooler, direct daylight, and ambient temperature.

Ice Retention Check Outcomes

For a wide range of circumstances, the backpack coolers on this information present sufficient cooling energy to serve a variety of recreation wants.

cans in a backpack cooler with ice
(Photograph/Eric Phillips)

Further Options

Further options on packs embrace onerous clip factors, daisy chains, webbing straps, and bungee cords for carrying additional gear. Some packs additionally embrace reflective logos or a bottle opener.


Who Makes the Greatest Backpack Cooler?

There are oodles of backpack coolers on the market now. Based mostly on our testing, the merchandise listed in our information are all well-made choices. Every design prioritizes its personal distinctive options. As an illustration, some are fully streamlined with zero pockets whereas others are loaded with spots for dry cargo.

One of the best backpack cooler is the one that matches your supposed use and wishes together with the journey size, cargo amount, and value.

Which Backpack Coolers Retain Ice the Longest?

Some coolers retain ice higher than others, which is mirrored in value tags. In our side-by-side ice retention take a look at, the 2 backpack coolers that retained ice the longest had been the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler and Icemule Boss. They every held ice for ~5.5 days in a shaded indoor surroundings at 65 levels F.

In every day adventures, soften pace barely fluctuates based mostly on the frequency of opening the cooler, how lengthy it’s open, ambient warmth, and direct daylight. A bunch of different variables can affect ice retention, too, together with the kind and amount of ice, additional area within the compartment (which decreases effectiveness), and if the cooler was prechilled.

Can You Put Dry Ice in a Backpack Cooler?

For many backpack coolers, dry ice will burn the inside supplies. As a substitute, you need to use freshly frozen cubed ice, ice blocks, or reusable ice packs.

How Can You Make a Backpack Cooler Keep Chilly Longer?

For the longest-lasting ice retention and cooling functionality, goal to make use of a 2-to-1 ratio of ice to contents. You’ll be able to rapidly prechill your cooler with a sacrificial bag of ice a number of hours earlier than loading it up, particularly if the cooler is saved in a sizzling place. Or, convey the cooler inside a cool room to decrease the temperature the night time earlier than use.

The kind of ice makes a distinction. Block ice and recent cubed ice from freezers are denser than chipped ice or crushed ice from ice machines. For those who get tremendous strategic, you should utilize a mixture of block ice — which melts slower — and cubed ice, which cools down the container quicker.

Because the ice melts, it’s best to retain the ice water, which helps the opposite ice keep chilly. Restrict your entry to the cooler, as a result of opening it up releases the chilly air. If you cease or take breaks, set the pack cooler within the shade or cowl it with a towel or jacket to mitigate direct daylight.

How Do You Correctly Pack a Backpack Cooler?

Fill the cooler roughly 66% with a mixture of frozen ice blocks or reusable ice packs and cubed ice. Pack the remainder along with your meals and drinks, which ought to all be prefrozen or prechilled.

Extra particularly, layer these contents. Put the frozen blocks and contents on the bottommost part after which sprinkle on a layer of cubed ice. Subsequent, add the prechilled meals and drinks. On the very prime, add extra cubed ice.

Fill any additional area with contents, as a result of air accelerates the ice soften. If wanted, you may pack crumpled paper or small towels in there, too.

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