If you’re fed up with carrying really heavy coolers in your hands, then it’s time to invest in a cooler backpack. They are great for people who use portable coolers often because they free up your hands entirely. Which means less pain, and just a more enjoyable experience overall. Especially when you are out on a day trip, hiking, picnicking, camping or other fun summer activities.
But what kind of backpack cooler is right for you? Should you get a bag that has one or two insulated compartments, or a cooler bag? And what’s the difference between a $30 and $300 cooler backpack?!
At A Glance: Top 3 Choices for Cooler Backpacks
You’ll get the answers to all those – and a few other – questions in the rest of this detailed review. And we’ll show you the ten best backpack coolers money can buy. From backpack coolers that are cheap and simple to ones that you’ll be able to use for decades!
Best Wheeled Cooler Backpack
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Best Premium Cooler Backpack
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Best Budget Option
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Best Medium Capacity Backpack Cooler
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Best Dual Compartment Cooler Backpack
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If you’re not that into hiking and outdoor adventures, then a wheeled cooler backpack might just be the best option for you. The Lovotex rolling cooler is a great option for people who value convenience over everything else, and who want to use the cooler in a more urban setting.
Maybe you’re heading over to your friend’s house, or you want to take some cold beers down to the beach in the cooler – as long as you’re moving around on concrete, you can use the wheels of the Lovotex. And you’ll love it – the wheels make your life a whole lot easier. This is an option you should consider if you are struggling with back pain, and find it uncomfortable to carry heavy bags on your body.
Additionally, this is also a backpack, which means that it comes with two shoulder straps that you can tuck away when you’re not using them. When you are using them, make sure to use the wheel cover first, so that you don’t get any dirt on your clothes.
This cooler backpack has a pretty large capacity – it can fit up to 40 cans in the main compartment, which is pretty cool. There’s also a zippered pocket on the front panel, which is perfect for utensils, snacks, or just stuff you don’t have to keep in the cooler portion of the backpack. And there are also stretchy side pockets, for items you want to have easily accessible.
The main compartment is well insulated, and it can keep the contents of the bag cold or warm for up to 16 hours. Plus the exterior of the bag is waterproof, so you can safely use it even in rainy weather.
The Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 is perhaps of the best backpack cooler around. If you want something premium that you can bring anywhere, this is the backpack to get. Its exterior is entirely waterproof, which means that you can even submerge the bottom of the backpack, and water will not seep inside.
And that’s pretty cool – it’s what makes the backpacks great for a boat, in addition to everything else. The Yeti Hopper Backflip 24’s DryHide Shell is also resistant to UV rays, while the interior liner is made from FDA-approved materials.
The Hopper Backflip soft cooler has a capacity of 20 cans, so it’s a medium-capacity bag. You can attach all sorts of things to the exterior of the packs though, considering that it has multiple daisy chain webbing attachment points. That’s one thing that makes it an awesome option for hikes and other outdoor adventures, where you need all sorts of bulky gear in addition to the cool drinks.
Additionally, you will also love how comfortable this backpack cooler feels on your body. The backpanel features really thick padding for excellent comfort, and the sternum strap and the hip belt help transfer the load away from your shoulders so that you’re not in pain from carrying 20lbs+ on your back. This backpack also features grab handles on the top and each side, so it’s always going to be easy to pick it up.
The only thing you won’t like about this backpack cooler is the price point. The Yeti Hopper Backflip is very expensive, but that’s the price you have to pay if you want the best thing on the market. If you’re okay with the second or third best thing, just keep scrolling through our options!
The Seehonor cooler backpack is an excellent option for those of you that are on a tight budget. it retails for about $30, which is a pretty fair price to pay for an awesome cooler backpack. Especially one that has a capacity of 25 cans and a fully leakproof interior.
This backpack cooler features a padded backpanel that is also covered with breathable mesh. The shoulder straps are also covered with breathable mesh, for excellent ventilation around your entire body. But the straps aren’t padded that much, so they’re not going to be too comfortable. And you don’t get a hip belt or a sternum strap, so there’s nothing to help with proper weight distribution.
The exterior of the backpack is made from heavy-duty nylon, which has a good tear and water resistance. And the interior of the backpack is fully waterproof, so even if anything leaks inside, it’s not going to get on the exterior of the bag.
Another thing I really like about the Seehonor backpack cooler is that it has several pockets on the outside. There’s a pretty big zippered front compartment that can fit utensils, plates, or even just your personal necessities. Then, there are also stretchy side pockets that can easily hold two bottles of wine each, as well as a bungee cord on the front panel, which is perfect for stashing a spare layer of clothing or a picnic blanket.
On top of all that, the backpack cooler is also equipped with a couple D-rings that let you attach some bulkier items to its exterior, and it comes with a beer opener. So, not only can you fit enough drinks and food for an entire day outside, but you can also use the backpack for all the other stuff you need in your outings. And for a measly $30!
The Coleman backpack cooler is a great option because it looks like any plain backpack. It features a standard top-loading main compartment, as well as an extra front compartment and side pockets. This soft cooler looks just like any other backpack – if you’d like an incognito cooler so people can’t really tell that you’ve got a pack full of goodies with you, this is the way to go.
And what’s even better is that this is manufactured by Coleman, a company that specifies in making coolers. You get the best of both worlds – a very reliable soft cooler, with the exterior of a plain backpack.
The capacity of the insulated compartment is some 28 cans, which is pretty good. There’s extra space in the front compartment and side pockets, for all the smaller stuff you’d want to keep organized. And the backpack features bungee cords at the front panel, which are great for storing a lightweight jacket or a picnic blanket.
In addition to all that, I’m also impressed by the back system of this backpack cooler. There’s breathable mesh everywhere as well as thick padding for premium carrying comfort. This includes the ergonomic shoulder straps and the extra-wide hip belt, which help with even load distribution.
There’s another thing you’re going to love about this backpack cooler, and that is the price point. The Coleman backpack cooler retails for about $25, which is incredible! It’s an awesome cooler, a comfortable (and versatile) backpack, and it’s an option for you regardless of your budget – as long as you’re okay with the medium capacity.
The Lifewit cooler pack is an excellent medium-capacity option. It’s an affordable backpack cooler with some unique features, and a pretty attractive price point. This bag retails for about $30, which makes it a great option for everyone’s budget.
The best thing about this soft cooler pack is that it features two insulated compartments. This is so far a unique feature that I did not see in many other backpacks – at least, not in any good ones. It’s a great feature if you want to be able to separate the food from the drinks, or alcohol from kid’s juices.
You can even use one compartment for the cold stuff, and the other for the hot stuff – it will retain the temperature of both compartments, allowing you to eat a hot grilled cheese sandwich and chase it down with an ice-cold coke, hours after you’ve packed them in the bag.
And you also get zippered and open pockets on the backpack cooler, for easy organization of all the other stuff you might want to pack inside.
Additionally, this backpack cooler features a back system with thick padding and breathable mesh on the shoulder straps, for excellent carrying comfort. The only issue is that there is no mesh on the backpanel, meaning that the ventilation of the pack is not the best. But that’s only going to be a problem during the summer.
You don’t get a sternum strap or a hip belt, so it’s not going to be that easy to carry it on your back when this backpack cooler is at full capacity. But, at least you do get a padded grab handle, which makes it super easy to pick up the cooler whenever you need to.
The Corkcicle cooler pack is a great option for people who want a small capacity backpack cooler. It can hold 12 cans or 8 cans and two wine bottles, which is a decent capacity for two people. And the best thing about this pack is that it doesn’t look like a cooler at all. It has the exterior of a small, chic everyday backpack, and you could get away with taking it to the office.
What makes this backpack cooler even better is that it is made from vegan leather. And it is lined with food-grade TPU inside, which ensures that the food and drink will be safe from harsh chemicals. In addition to that, the backpack features a heavy-duty, full perimeter YKK zipper at the top. It’s a high-quality zipper but it’s not waterproof – keep that in mind and avoid using the cooler in heavy downpours.
The soft cooler features high-performance cell foam insulation, which can keep your drinks cold for almost an entire day. As long as you put enough ice inside the cooler, that is. On top of that, the cooler also has a hidden zippered pocket behind the backpanel, which is great for some personal items you want to keep extra safe.
The shoulder straps are adjustable, but they’re not padded. And you don’t get a sternum strap or a hip belt on the pack, so it’s not going to be super comfortable if you fill it to capacity. But that’s pretty much the only downside of this awesome backpack cooler.
The Forich backpack cooler is another good budget option. It’s under $40, so it’s a pretty affordable cooler backpack. And it has some really good features, meaning it’s not just a cheap cooler. In fact, this is one of the few affordable backpacks that have proper padding and ventilation in the backpanel, for great carrying comfort.
It even has spaced-out foam inserts that allow for excellent airflow, ensuring you’re as comfortable as you can be with 30 cans on your back. And the shoulder straps are equipped with some really handy features, like the beer opener and a zippered phone pocket.
This cooler has a fully leakproof interior that is lined with PEVA, as well as a waterproof zipper of the main compartment. And it can fit up to 30 cans inside, which is a pretty good capacity for such an affordable backpack.
The soft cooler pack also features two zippered pockets on the front panel and two stretchy pockets on the sides. The side pockets can hold two wine bottles each, while the front compartments make it super easy to store all the smaller necessities. There’s even a convenient zippered pocket on the top of the pack, so you’ll definitely have enough storage space for all the extra stuff.
However, there are also some things I don’t like about this backpack cooler, like the lack of a hip belt and sternum strap. It doesn’t have the features that help with even weight distribution, which means you won’t be too comfortable when you’re carrying a full cooler. But the thought of ice-cold beer inside should help you get through the day.
The IceMule cooler is an excellent option for people who want something durable and reliable. It’s actually one of the coldest coolers on the market, and it performs outstandingly well even in really hot weather. If money isn’t an object, this is one of the best coolers you could possibly buy.
And it will be really comfortable to wear, thanks to the thick padding in the backpanel and harness. The comfy hip belt helps transfer the load onto your hips so that the pack doesn’t weigh you down too much, even when it gets super heavy. Additionally, the entire back system is covered with breathable mesh, for excellent ventilation during hot days.
The IceMule backpack cooler has a capacity of 24 cans, not including the ice. There are also several external compartments on this backpack cooler, for all the other stuff you might want to have easily accessible. And there’s a bungee cord on the front panel, which is great for stashing blankets or spare clothing layers.
On top of all that, this backpack cooler is also equipped with multiple daisy chain webbing straps, which are excellent for carrying the bulky stuff. Just use a carabiner, and you’ll be able to attach virtually anything to the exterior of this backpack.
The IceMule backpack cooler is easily one of the best options that exist on the market – its price point backs up that claim. The only downside of this pack is that it costs as much as a small fridge, so it’s definitely not an option many people will even consider. But if you can afford this particular cooler, then you shouldn’t even think about it – this is one of those items that you will buy now, and you won’t have to think about getting another one for at least a decade.
The Mier cooler backpack is a great mid-range option for people on tight budgets. It retails for about $30-40, which is pretty affordable. Especially for a bag that features sturdy SBS zippers, and can fit up to 24 cans.
The interior of the pack is lined with leakproof PEVA, and it works together with the thick insulation to retain the temperature of food and drinks for several hours. And if we’re talking about cold drinks, the more ice you put inside, the longer they will stay cool.
This cooler backpack also features two zippered compartments on the front panel, as well as two stretchy side pockets. And it has an internal pocket on the top cover, which is great for snacks or just cutlery.
On top of all that, the Mier cooler has a really comfortable backpanel. It boasts four foam inserts that are covered with breathable mesh, for excellent airflow even in really hot weather. The shoulder straps are also covered with breathable mesh, and they feature very thick padding.
However, the backpack does not come with a hip belt or a sternum strap, so there’s really nothing to help with even weight distribution. This means that you might struggle with it, when it is at full capacity.
Another thing worth noting about the Mier backpack is that the exterior fabric is highly water-resistant. Because of that, this backpack is not just suitable for hot-weather adventures, but also for outings in the rain or snow. Unless it is raining cats and dogs outside, the contents of the cooler should stay protected from the elements.
If you’d like a medium-capacity cooler, the Tourit backpack is a great option for you. It can fit up to 30 cans inside the insulated compartment, and it has several external pockets for all the extra stuff.
This backpack cooler features a top-loading main compartment with a full perimeter zipper. The interior of the bag is lined with heat-welded PEVA, guaranteeing that the main compartment is fully leakproof. And the exterior of the pack has really good water resistance, for excellent protection from the elements.
The cooler can retain the temperature of your drinks or food for up to 16 hours, which is pretty good for a bag of this price. That’s more than enough for day adventures – if you were hoping to get a backpack that can keep things hot or cold for two or three days, you’ll have to look at packs that have triple-digit prices.
The Tourist backpack has two zippered pockets on the front panel, which are great for plates, snacks, cutlery or just your personal items. There are also two stretchy pockets on the sides of the backpack, and they can each hold at least one wine bottle. In addition to that, the pack features another zippered pocket on the top, and it is the most spacious out of all the internal pockets.
It is also equipped with a built-in bottle opener and a zippered phone pocket – both on the shoulder straps. Which are pretty comfortable on your body, thanks to all the padding and breathable mesh. But you don’t get those two on the backpanel though, and that’s the biggest downside of this cooler backpack.
One of the things you need to figure out is whether you should get one of those regular backpack coolers or one with wheels. And it’s an easy decision to make, as long as you base it on your actual needs.
When do you usually find yourself in need of a cooler? Is it when you’re going on camping trips with your friends, or when you’re heading over to a friend’s house for a barbecue? Or maybe it’s when you’re heading to the beach, and the thought of ice-cold beers under the hot summer sun seems like a dream come true?
Wheeled backpacks are best for more urban environments. You can’t really use them on soil, so they’re not going to work for a camping trip somewhere in the forest or for a really long hike. In those cases, a regular backpack is the best option. But if you’re walking around on concrete, you can wheel that cooler everywhere.
The obvious advantage of rolling backpack coolers is that you don’t have to carry them. There’s no added weight on your body, and it’s much easier to move around when you’re just wheeling the cooler like any old suitcase. But then again, the obvious advantage of regular backpacks is that you can take them wherever you want, regardless of the terrain below your feet.
The key to finding the best cooler backpack for you is to find one that is just the right size. And I’m not talking so much about the exterior dimensions – it’s more about the capacity.
That’s why you need to think about what you’d want to put in the backpack. The capacity of cooler packs is indicated in cans, which gives you a general idea of how much stuff you can fit inside.
However, you also have to take into consideration that you need to put extra ice packs inside, and that takes away from the main capacity. So, if you’d like to be able to put 25 cans in a cooler, then you should look for a slightly larger backpack – maybe something with a capacity of 30 cans. That way you can be sure that you will be able to fit as many drinks as you want, as well as the additional ice bottles that will ensure those drinks stay cold.
And it’s also important to check out the dimensions of each backpack cooler, just so you’re not surprised at the size when it arrives. Especially if you’re someone who has a smaller body – make sure that the backpack will fit your body first, and that you will be able to carry it without getting too uncomfortable.
Should you prioritize the strength of the cooler, the durability of the exterior materials or the features that ensure your carrying comfort? Well, that depends a lot on how and when you usually use a cooler.
The first thing you should think about is what season you use a cooler most often. If you’re usually using them in the summer, then you should look for really strong coolers that are able to keep a drink ice cold for hours indirect heat. Especially if you want a cooler that you can take to the beach or to a picnic – look for something with welded seams, leakproof lining, and weatherproof exterior.
On the other hand, if you want a cooler that you can take to hiking and camping trips, then you should pay a lot of attention to the backpanel. Particularly if you know that you’re going to wear the cooler for more than 20-30 minutes – in this case, a hip belt is an essential feature.
The whole point of a hip belt is to transfer the weight of the backpack from your shoulders to your hips so that you don’t get tired too fast. If you regularly go on long hiking trips and want to replace your usual backpack with a cooler, you need something that won’t hold you back or weigh you down. And in that case, carrying comfort should be the top priority.
And if you want a cooler that can handle being in heavy rain or even submerged underwater, then look for a bag that has an entirely waterproof exterior. This is the most important thing to look for in coolers you want to bring on fishing trips, camping trips in rainy weather, and even to the beach.
I did include a couple of such backpacks, but they are the pricier options. However, if you want to be 100% certain that you can pretty much go scuba diving with a cooler on your back and that not a drop of water will seep inside, you should be prepared to spend a couple of hundred bucks at the very least.
Having a hard time choosing just one cooler pack? It’s okay – go with one of our top three choices and you will be perfectly happy with your decision!
The best cooler backpack you can get your hands on is the heavy-duty Yeti Hopper backpack. It’s also one of the most expensive coolers, but that shouldn’t be surprising if you’re looking for top-notch quality. This backpack is 100% waterproof and leakproof with a total capacity of 20 cans. It has external attachment points for the bulkier items, a very comfortable backpanel with lots of padding and great ventilation, and a hip belt for ultimate carrying comfort.
If you’d like to get a budget cooler backpack, the best option is the Coleman cooler. It’s made by a company that sells really great coolers, and it’s super affordable at the same time. It looks just like any regular backpack, but it has premium insulation inside the main compartment. The Coleman pack also features stretchy side pockets, bungee cords at the front panel, and an additional zippered compartment for all the accessories.
In case you’d like a dual compartment cooler pack, the Lifewit bag is the best one you can get. The two insulated compartments are great if you want to keep the food and drinks separate from one another, while all the external pockets and compartments ensure there’s also plenty of space for all the smaller necessities. And it’s still a really affordable cooler, so you can get it even if you’re on a really tight budget!
Head over to Amazon to see the prices of all the cooler backpacks featured in this review. And be sure to check out our related posts – there are a few other coolers and backpacks we’d like to tell you about!