The Finest Backpack Coolers of 2022

Whether or not you’re automobile tenting, biking to a close-by park, fishing, mountaineering, or whitewater rafting, we’ve narrowed down one of the 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, type, and a spread of distinct options.

In the event you’ve by no means thought-about one, carrying a backpack cooler is a handy alternative for hands-free, single-person transport of tasty refreshments. That might imply tailgating after a run membership meet-up, heading to an area softball sport together with your leashed canine, or driving a cruiser to a park BBQ. They’re useful when you could have your fingers full with kiddos or different gear and may also help commuters by bike, bus, or practice swoop their groceries for the week.

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

With stunning complexity, backpack coolers provide a spread of capability, ice retention, and particular traits to assist make your out of doors expertise extra snug 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 any other case, scroll via to see all of our really helpful buys or bounce to the class you’re searching for:

Table of Contents

The Finest Backpack Coolers of 2022

Finest General: Icemule Boss

Profitable our ice retention check, the Icemule Boss ($349) additionally stands out as one of many largest pack coolers however distributes weight effectively. The pack has snug 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 might probably 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 neglect the pack was on in any respect, so it’s additionally an important alternative for hikers that wish to cowl far. And this design provided a bit higher airflow than others.

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

That mentioned, the straps are much less ergonomic than the REI Co-op Cool Path Pack Cooler. We additionally have a good time 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 check, taking first place throughout all of the cooler packs. To place the scale in perspective, this pack may match 24 12-ounce cans.

  • Dimension: 17″ x 11″ x 24″
  • Capability: 30 L
  • Weight: 3,402 g (7.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~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 more durable to entry
  • Waterproof zippers on pockets are laborious to open and shut
  • Pricier

Test Worth at IcemuleCheck Worth at Amazon

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 stored 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 in all 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 tremendous 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 you must attain down for a canine or toddler.

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

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

Test Worth at OtterboxCheck Worth at Amazon

Finest Finances: 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 good financial alternative that’s surprisingly snug to put on and easy to make use of. We pulled this pack on for Colorado day hikes, and it did an important job at maintaining our items chilled. Plus, the ten kilos of ice we trekked with didn’t really feel noticeably heavy.

Principally, we loved mountaineering with this tidy pack. The straps and mesh again panel are padded, snug, malleable, and sweat-absorbing. It isn’t as stiff as different packs right here, which works in the event 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, based on our check. That’s truthful ice retention in our ebook. For an thought on the scale, this pack may match 20 12-ounce cans.

  • Dimension: 20″ x 8.5″ x 23″
  • Capability: 64 L (with prime unrolled)
  • Weight: 680 g (1.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~3 days
  • Light-weight
  • Rolltop design retains water out and in
  • Low worth
  • 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 probably the most inflexible alternative

Test 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 underneath the blazing solar. If you must stash miscellaneous gadgets 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.

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

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

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

  • Dimension: 12.6″ x 7.5″ x 18.9″
  • Capability: 29 L
  • Weight: 907 g (2 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~2.5 days
  • Loaded with pockets
  • Clear aesthetic
  • Delicate exterior materials
  • Doesn’t retain ice tremendous effectively in direct daylight
  • Chest strap isn’t probably the most appropriate for greater chests or busts
  • Complexity of the pockets confused a few of our testers

Test Worth at AmazonCheck Worth at Igloo Coolers

Most Dry Cargo Area: Carhartt Cooler Backpack

carhartt cooler backpack

If 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 Purple Bull.

The shoulder straps aren’t tremendous strong, however for toting a average load for a couple of hours, the pack offers 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 snug to seize.

We like that you would be able to arrange 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 line with our check, this cooler is ready to retain ice for practically 25 hours. To place the scale in perspective, this pack may match one dozen 12-ounce cans.

  • Dimension: 12.5″ x 8″ x 17.8″
  • Capability: 29 L (whole backpack)
  • Weight: 680 g (1.5 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~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 via the zipper of cooler compartment — use ice packs
  • Aspect mesh water bottle pockets are fairly shallow
  • Two tiny entrance pockets are too small and lack zipper for safety

Test Worth at AmazonCheck Worth at Carhartt

Finest 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 may drop the liner for a standard day pack. Basically, you’re getting two pack types in a single piece of substances for less than 100 bucks, which is an efficient deal in the event you’re not searching 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 may 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 straightforward 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 line with our check, this cooler is ready to retain ice for practically 77 hours, effectively above the claimed price. To place the scale in perspective, this pack may match 20 12-ounce cans.

  • Dimension: 17″ x 9″ x 22″
  • Capability: 38 L
  • Weight: 1,446 g (3.2 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~3 days
  • Useful cooler suggestions 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 is just not waterproof
  • Clips and zippers aren’t high-end however get the job performed

Test Worth at REI

Finest Magnetic Closure: YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Delicate Cooler

YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Soft Cooler

The YETI Hopper M20 Backpack Delicate Cooler ($325) lives as much as the model’s mission of making the hardest coolers on the market. This ergonomic, snug, and pliable pack is a good choice for half-day hikes or days out on the water through boat or SUP. As an alternative 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 may load up the bag with out wrestle. 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 gadgets and the model’s accent baggage, too. The pack’s base contains 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 material is waterproof and immune to 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 often capable of retain ice for roughly 95 hours. For dimension comparability, this pack may match a dozen 12-ounce cans.

Try our full overview of the brand new cooler pack.

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

Test Worth at YETI

Finest Waterproof Zipper: Hydro Flask Day Escape Delicate Cooler Pack

Hydro Flask Day Escape Soft Cooler Pack

The Hydro Flask Day Escape Delicate 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 quite skinny, so we had been stunned by the general snug, ergonomic help as we trekked. We had been completely happy 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 practically 60 hours, based mostly on our check, 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 fingers and extra time to open and shut than a standard zipper.

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

  • Dimension: 13″ x 7.8″ x 17.7″
  • Capability: 20 L
  • Weight: 1,360 g (3 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~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 may use an elastic attachment in order that they don’t dangle

Test Worth at AmazonCheck Worth at Hydro Flask

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.

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We give a thumbs-up for the way snug 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 practically 62 hours. Observe: The lid’s zipper isn’t waterproof.

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

  • Dimension: 13″ x 9″ x 19″
  • Capability: 28 L
  • Weight: 907 g (2 lbs.)
  • Ice retention check: ~2.5 days
  • Snug to hold absolutely loaded
  • Fashionable
  • 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

Test Worth at Backcountry

Coleman Sportflex Delicate Cooler Backpack

coleman sportflex soft cooler backpack

For canine walks, hikes, and picnics, we crammed up the Coleman Sportflex Delicate Cooler Backpack ($60) 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, due to 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 snug to hike with in comparison with different choices, so it’s a more sensible choice for shorter distances.

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

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

  • Dimension: 10″ x 7″ x 12″
  • Capability: 14 L
  • Weight: 454 g (1 lb.)
  • Ice retention check: ~2 days
  • Number of helpful pockets
  • Ice retention labored higher than claimed
  • Chest strap helps safe pack in place
  • Light-weight
  • Padded straps are snug
  • Not probably the most sturdy exterior
  • Cloth and backside dirties shortly and isn’t simple to scrub
  • Shoulder straps can press into arms when mountaineering

Test Worth at AmazonCheck Worth at Walmart

Igloo Outside Professional Snapdown Backpack

Igloo outdoor pro snapdown backpack

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

The outside appears 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, based on our assessments, 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 may match 42 12-ounce cans.

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

Test Worth at Igloo CoolersCheck Worth at Amazon

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 ($90) works in our favor for tossing across the boat or rig. The outside is constructed of 840-denier material with a double-sided TPU lamination, all at underneath $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 mountaineering round.

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

  • Dimension: 11″ x 14.5″ x 18.5″
  • Capability: 48 L
  • Weight: Unavailable
  • Ice retention check: Unavailable
  • Padded again panel
  • Contains bottle opener
  • Loaded cooler can float

Test Worth at Academy

Purchaser’s Information: Find out how to 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 Delicate 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 offer you an thought, we discovered the 29L Igloo Pursuit provided greater than sufficient area for a two-person single-day fishing journey. And the Hydro Flask Day Escape Delicate Cooler Pack match sufficient nutriments for a four-person mountaineering group.

The outside dimensions of every pack offers you a stable image of the out there space for storing. However the inside dimensions of every pack will likely be a tad smaller, relying on the sort 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 possibly can pack a rain jacket within the non-cooler part of the Carhartt Cooler Backpack or a ebook within the facet pocket of the Icemule Boss.

That mentioned, loads of backpack coolers don’t have any exterior pockets in any respect. Some people want that streamlined, easy strategy. 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 typically extra compact and product of softer, lighter supplies than laborious coolers, in order that they weigh much less. They often have sturdy shoulder straps plus handles which might be simple to seize, so the burden feels comparatively simple to move. A pack’s weight is greater when the capability, sturdiness, and insulation functionality improve.

Our favourite slimmer backpack coolers weigh 454-680 g (1-1.5 kilos): the Coleman Sportflex Delicate 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 material produces condensation. The supplies additionally decide consolation, breathability, or help.

Premium supplies come at a better worth, however these merchandise additionally usually last more and face 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 sturdy 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 sturdy.

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


Our highlighted backpack coolers price as little as $35 and as excessive as $359. That’s an enormous hole.

Increased Value Backpack Coolers

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

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

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Mid-Vary Value Backpack Coolers

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

$100 or Much less Backpack Coolers

Pack coolers which might be $100 or much less are typically 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-resistant zipper on the lid.

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

Match & Consolation

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

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

Inflexible designs have a secure 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 total consolation. Wider, stiffer, or broadly positioned straps can restrict vary of movement or really feel disagreeable. One of the 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 provide consolation and evenly redistribute the burden off the shoulders.

woman wearing YETI backpack cooler
(Photograph/Eric Phillips)


Our testers all discovered that with narrower, longer backpack coolers, the contents had been inevitably more durable to succeed in. 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 check, 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 Delicate 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. Usually, there’s a correlation between a better price ticket and stronger ice retention, however not at all times.

Our ice retention check 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. While you use a cooler outdoors, many elements affect a pack’s ice retention, together with the frequency of opening the cooler, direct daylight, and ambient temperature.

Ice Retention Take a look at Outcomes

For quite a lot of situations, the backpack coolers on this information present sufficient cooling energy to serve a spread of recreation wants.

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

Further Options

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

Why You Ought to Belief Us

Our staff 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 capacity, and a large worth vary.

Our crew put these packs to the check in situations 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 check to confirm model claims. For the experiment, we crammed every cooler 70% with contemporary, frozen cubed ice and set them in a shaded, dry indoor area at ~65 levels F.

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


Who Makes the Finest Backpack Cooler?

There are oodles of backpack coolers on the market now. Primarily based 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.

The most effective backpack cooler is the one that matches your meant use and wishes together with the journey size, cargo amount, and worth.

Which Backpack Coolers Retain Ice the Longest?

Some coolers retain ice higher than others, which is mirrored in worth tags. In our side-by-side ice retention check, 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 setting at 65 levels F.

In every day adventures, soften velocity 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 sort and amount of ice, further 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 an alternative, it’s best 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, intention to make use of a 2-to-1 ratio of ice to contents. You’ll be able to shortly prechill your cooler with a sacrificial bag of ice a couple of hours earlier than loading it up, particularly if the cooler is saved in a scorching place. Or, deliver the cooler inside a cool room to decrease the temperature the evening earlier than use.

The kind of ice makes a distinction. Block ice and contemporary cubed ice from freezers are denser than chipped ice or crushed ice from ice machines. In the event you 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 excellent 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. While 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 together 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 further area with contents, as a result of air hurries up the ice soften. If wanted, you possibly can pack crumpled paper or small towels in there, too.

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