11 Best Backpack Coolers To Take On Your Next Adventure

Last Updated 01 Dec 2023 by Fiona Perisone

EDITOR'S PICKS

Recommended
Best Overall    
YETI Hopper Backpack Cooler thumbnail

4.7/5

  • Heavy duty and incredibly functional
  • Versatile and portable
  • Includes MOLLE Zinger, MOLLE Bottle Opener and SideKick
Recommended
Runner Up     
Picnic Time Tarana 12 qt Cooler Backpack thumbnail

4.9/5

  • Made from recycled plastic water bottles
  • Sustainable and functional
  • Easy to clean
  • Built to last
Recommended
Budget friendly
Picnic Time Tarana 12 qt Cooler Backpack thumbnail

4.7/5

  • Light yet durable
  • Made from high-density tear resistant fabric
  • Comfortable and versatile

MORE PICKS TO CHOOSE FROM

Backpack coolers are versatile products designed to be carried and keep your perishable goods and beverages cold. They take the convenience of a traditional cooler and slap it with straps on it. Whether you want to enjoy some cold beverages on a longer hike or keep your perishable foods from going bad at the beach, a cooler backpack offers an ergonomic solution.

We have put together this guide to help you find the best backpack coolers. Armed with one of the selections below, you can take your delicious snacks and drinks along while you find the perfect spot to enjoy them.

What to Look for in a Insulated Cooler Backpack

With tons of cooler backpacks available, looking for the perfect one for you can be daunting. To help narrow down your search, here are some key features to consider.

Insulation

The main reason to get a backpack cooler is to keep your food and beverages cold while on the go. Uninsulated packs will spoil temperature-sensitive foods too quickly to enjoy. So, hunting for a cooler with high-quality insulation is a top priority.

Coolers typically use insulation made of foam to ensure that your items stay chilled for as long as possible. Cheaper coolers use styrofoam (extruded polystyrene), while premium coolers use heavier, thicker closed-cell foam but more effective, long-lasting, and durable polyurethane (PU). Backpack coolers are soft coolers and use open-cell foam to insulate, and it doesn't insulate better than closed-cell foam, but it provides flexibility.

To prevent future messes, consider a cooler with a leak-proof liner to prevent any melting ice or ice packs from seeping out.

Activity Type

Think about what you'll be using the cooler for. From kayaking to simply bringing back groceries, how you plan to use your cooler will narrow down what type to get.

Think about how much space you'll need and how easily you want to be able to access your food and beverages. Smaller, more compact models might be the way to go if you're planning on using the cooler for short hikes or day trips.

On the other hand, if you're going on a longer excursion, you'll want a larger cooler with more capacity to keep your food and beverages safe from the elements.

Strap System

A good strap system is essential for a backpack cooler because it will help distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders and back. Nobody wants (more) back pain, so look for a cooler with padded shoulder straps and a chest or waist strap for maximum comfort. With padded straps, you can carry the backpack cooler in comfort. Some will come with hip and sternum straps, allowing you to carry heavy items comfortably.

Durability

Investing in a cooler that falls apart after a few uses is a waste of time and money. Look for a model made with sturdy materials, like high-quality plastic or waterproof fabric, to make sure it can handle the rigors of outdoor adventures. Durability is a sticking point for a lot of people. Check out user reviews on the cooler you like and look for mentions of durability.

Capacity

The bigger, the cooler compartment, the more food and drinks you can fit. High-capacity coolers can carry more stuff but are generally bulkier and heavier when full. Consider how much food and drink you'll need to pack, then choose a cooler with enough room to accommodate your needs. Some models even have dividers, compartments, or specialized pockets for things like wine bottles, to help you keep things organized.

By taking the time to review these key features, you drastically lower the risk of buying a backpack cooler you won't enjoy.

11 Best Backpack Coolers

YETI Hopper Backpack Cooler

Best Overall

overall 

4.7/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

YETI Hopper Backpack Cooler

Features:

  • High-density fabric that is waterproof, UV rays and puncture resistant.
  • Coldcell insulation for superior cold-holding
  • Hydrolok zipper
  • Hitchpoint grid for accessories

The YETI Hopper is our top choice for a high-quality, reliable backpack cooler. The brand has become a household name in the cooler market, both well-known and well-loved. Its rugged and durable construction helps it stand up to whatever nature's willing to throw at it. Coupled with reliable insulation and a comfortable strap system, the Hopper is perfect for the outdoors.

The Hopper has a leak-proof design and is made with tough, waterproof material, so you can take it anywhere without worrying about spills or leaks. Unlike many other backpack coolers on the market, the Yeti Hopper Backpack Cooler shell is made with high-density fabric that can withstand puncture and UV rays. There are also a series of hitch point grids on the outside that you can clip gear to, increasing the capacity even more. It can also hold up to 18 cans with a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio.

Material

Foam

Capacity

19.8 Liters

Dimensions

13.75" l x 10" w x 14.5" h

Pros:

  • Heavy duty and incredibly functional
  • Versatile and portable
  • Includes MOLLE Zinger, MOLLE Bottle Opener and SideKick

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavy and the straps might be uncomfortable for others

Picnic Time Tarana 12 qt Cooler Backpack

Runner Up

overall 

4.9/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

Picnic Time Tarana 12 qt Cooler Backpack

Features:

  • Water resistant and leak-proof
  • Two compartments
  • Hot/Cold capability
  • Outside storage pocket

The Tarana is a stylish and convenient option that looks more like a backpack than a cooler. It has a 12.6-quart capacity, three storage compartments, and can hold up to 13 cans. It's a great fit for personal use or small groups.

Crafted using recycled material, each Tarana cooler backpack is made of 14 plastic water bottles and is the perfect choice for any environmentalist. The Tarana also has a leak-proof, easy-to-clean lining that is water-resistant and padded shoulder straps for added comfort. The Tarana is built with two compartments: a sturdy bottom half (ideal for six cans) and a soft top half (much like a floppy lunch bag). It also comes with two side pockets for water bottles. This hiking-and-beach-ready cooler bag is ready to explore the planet with you while protecting it too.

Material

100% Recycled Polyester, Plastic

Shell: 98% Recycled Polyester, 2% Plastic

Liner: Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate, 

Capacity

12.66 Quart

Dimensions

16.93" h x 7.28" w x 11.22" d

Pros:

  • Made from recycled plastic water bottles
  • Sustainable and functional
  • Easy to clean
  • Built to last

Cons:

  • Shoulder pads are not very soft

TOURIT Backpack Cooler

Budget Friendly

overall 

4.7/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

TOURIT Backpack Cooler

Features:

  • Multiple pockets
  • High-density insulation
  • Leak-proof

For those on a tight budget, the TOURIT is a great choice. It has a lightweight and portable design, making it perfect for shorter trips. With a sleek modern look, the cooler can also double as a regular backpack.

Crafted using 600 oxfords, high density foam and leak proof liner, this cooler backpack can keep food hot/cold for 16 hours with ice packs. The TOURIT also has a highly praised leak-proof and insulated interior, as well as multiple well-sized pockets for organization and storage. It can hold up to 30 cans plus all your personal necessities, making it a convenient economic choice. Light yet durable, this cooler is perfect for work, picnics, road trips, hiking, camping, and so much more.

Material

600D Oxford, Foam

Capacity

330 Milliliters

Dimensions

13" l x 7.5" w x 15.8" h

Pros:

  • Light yet durable
  • Made from high-density tear resistant fabric
  • Comfortable and versatile

Cons:

  • Cleaning can be a bit difficult

Igloo Maxcold Evergreen Top Grip 9qt Backpack Cooler

Best Value

overall 

4.6/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

Igloo Maxcold Evergreen Top Grip 9qt Backpack Cooler

Features:

  • Padded shoulder straps and top grab handle with a vegan leather wrap
  • Outside storage pocket
  • Adjustable straps
  • Leak-proof

This Igloo Maxcold Evergreen Top Grip 9 qt Backpack Cooler offers great value for its price, and it is quite stylish too. The fashion-forward backpack cooler is more functional than your handbags and features multiple carry options.

Crafted from a vegan-friendly PU leather exterior with a gold metallic insulated antimicrobial liner that is easy to clean, this backpack cooler is "pretty cool." It has a 9-quart capacity and can hold up to 26 cans. It also has three extra mesh pockets on the outside for storage. The Maxcold cooler has a leak-proof design for its main compartment and is made with durable, easy-to-clean materials. It also has padded shoulder straps and a top handle for added convenience.

Material

Faux Leather

Liner: Easy Processing Polyethylene

Capacity

19.74 Quart

Dimensions

16" h x 11.75" w x 7" d

Pros:

  • Functional and stylish
  • Insulated liner is leakproof, antimicrobial and easy to wipe clean
  • Spacious main compartment and lower compartment

Cons:

  • Zippers can be difficult to zip around corners

RTIC Backpack Cooler

Best for the Beach

overall 

4.6/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

RTIC Backpack Cooler

Features:

  • Waterproof
  • Chest and waist straps

The RTIC is a top choice for beach-goers. Its durable construction and reliable insulation make it perfect for long days on the sand. The best part is that it also floats! This means you can take the cooler on a boat or raft without worry.

Crafted with premium insulation that will keep your perishable cold for days. The RTIC cooler has a leak-proof design and can hold up to 20 cans. Like many backpack coolers, this one also has padded shoulder straps and a top handle for added use. This backpack cooler also floats, so you can take it with you on any adventure. Available in two different sizes and six different colors, you will find one that meets your style and needs.

Material

Polyester, Polystyrene Foam, 

Capacity

20 cans

Dimensions

14.49" l x 16.97" w x 21.5" h

Pros:

  • Insulated
  • It floats in the water
  • Lightweight and comfortable to carry

Cons:

  • Zipper zips firmly so unzipping can be difficult

Coleman Soft Cooler

Best for Camping

overall 

4.6/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

Coleman Soft Cooler

Features:

  • Side handles
  • Front flap pockets and side mesh pockets for accessories
  • Bottle opener

Coleman is another popular name in the camping and outdoor world. This cooler is a great choice for those heading out to spend a night under the stars. It has a lightweight, portable design, making it easy to carry on longer treks.

Crafted from with extra foam for added insulation and durability. For easier cleaning, the antimicrobial-treated liner resists the forming of odor, mildew, and mold. The Coleman cooler has a leak-proof design, can hold up to 28 cans, comes with an integrated bottle opener, and has two side mesh pockets and a front flap pocket for extra storage. To top it off, this durable backpack cooler has excellent insulation; you can keep your food and drinks cold for up to 42 hours. Available in three different sizes so you can find one that meets your lifestyle and needs.

Material

N/A

Capacity

28 Liters

Dimensions

13.75" l x 8.5" w x 18" h

Pros:

  • Keeps drinks cold up to 42 hours
  • Adjustable straps for added comfort
  • High-quality and functional
  • Easy to wash and keep clean

Cons:

  • Cooler has limited space

Picnic Time On-the-Go Traverse 34.65qt Cooler Backpack

Best for Picnic

overall 

4.8/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

Picnic Time On-The-Go Traverse 34.65qt Cooler Backpack

Features:

  • Attachment harness
  • Stretch-side cargo storage
  • Bottle opener and spacious front accessory pocket

The On-the-Go Traverse is a great choice for picnickers. It has a large 34.65-quart capacity, making it perfect for families and friend groups. The Traverse cooler has a leak-proof design and can hold up to 28 cans, making it one of the higher-capacity options on the list.

The On-the-Go Traverse also has padded shoulder straps, which you'll be thankful for if you're hauling 28 cans. It also has an ample accessories pocket for your personal items. Like others, there's also a top handle for that extra convenience. With features like an attachment harness, stretch side cargo storage, bottle opener, and a spacious front accessory pocket, you will never have to worry about having too many items.

Material

Polyester, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), Plastic

Capacity

34.65 Quart

Dimensions

15" h x 7" w x 12" d

Pros:

  • Versatile and easy to clean
  • Stylish, spacious, and comfortable to wear
  • Sturdy straps and fabric
  • Built to last

Cons:

  • Bag might be heavy for some

CamelBak ChillBak Pack 30 Soft Cooler Hydration Center

Best Group/Family-Friendly Size

overall 

4.8/5

Quality

Speed

Ease of Use

Cost

CamelBak ChillBak Pack 30 Soft Cooler Hydration Center

Features:

  • 6L Fusion™ Group Reservoir with Tru® Zip waterproof zipper
  • Waist belt for added stability
  • Hose with spigot accessible from exterior for quick refills
  • Padded back panel and shoulder straps

CamelBak is another outdoor name brand that got its start in the backpack hydration game. With the ChillBak Pack 30 Soft Cooler Hydration Center, they've come up with a sleek, stylish choice for larger groups. It has a 30-quart capacity, slightly smaller than the Picnic Time On-the-go Traverse cooler, but can still hold an impressive 24 beverages plus 6 liters of water for extra hydration.

The ChillBak cooler has a leak-proof design, a side pocket, extra straps to clip gear to, and a back panel compartment for the included 6L water reservoir. It also has padded shoulder straps, a top handle, and, most importantly, a hip belt for ultimate comfort for all that weight. The roll-top closure allows single-hand access while providing premium insulation, keeping your perishable cold for 72 hours and retaining ice for 72+ hours. With the side stretch pockets, you can place extra water bottles, snacks, or other essentials for easy access.

Material

Safer chemicals

Capacity

24 cans

Dimensions

N/A

Pros:

  • Carries cold beverages for 72 Hours and retain Ice for 72+ Hours
  • Holds 15 pounds of ice
  • Convenient water reservoir

Cons:

  • When the cooler is full, it creates a bulge that makes wearing the backpack uncomfortable.

Oniva On-the-Go Roll Top Cooler Backpack

Best Portable Design and Best for Hiking

overall 

5/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

Oniva On-the-Go Roll Top Cooler Backpack

Features:

  • Front pocket and side pockets
  • BPA-Free
  • Handles and adjustable shoulder strap

The Oniva On-the-Go Roll Top is a top choice for those looking for portability, especially hikers. The cooler is compact, lightweight, and easy to sling over your shoulders, making it an obvious choice for long hikes or trips.

The Oniva cooler backpack has a leak-proof design and can hold up to 18 cans. The roll-top feature is great as well; if you leave it unrolled, the can capacity jumps up to 42. It also has padded shoulder straps, a top handle, multiple pockets, and an attached bottle opener. With the convenient side pockets, you can stick a water bottle and snacks in for easy access. When it's not in use, the backpack cooler is easily packable, and traveling with it is largely hassle-free.

Material

Plastic, Polyester, PVC

Capacity

42 cans

Dimensions

18.5" h x 12.5" w x 7.5" d

Pros:

  • Spacious and convenient
  • Keeps things cold for a long time
  • Water resistant interior
  • Stylish and comfortable to wear or carry

Cons:

  • Can get really heavy when loaded

Corkcicle Eola Bucket Bag

Most Stylish and Best Vegan-Friendly

overall 

4.9/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

Corkcicle Eola Bucket Bag

Features:

  • Padded adjustable backpack straps
  • Rear accessory pocket with zippered closure
  • Food safe interior liner
  • YKK full zip closure

For those looking for a fashionable backpack cooler, the Eola Bucket Bag is a fantastic option. It has a stylish and versatile design, which is useful for a variety of occasions. Whether it's a sunny beach day or a picnic in the park, this bucket-style bag has you covered. The Eola Bucket bag's main compartment is fully zippered and has a back pocket for accessories.

The Eola is made with vegan leather (which looks quite classy) and has a leak-proof, insulated interior that is lined with a food-safe interior liner. It can hold up to 12 cans or 8 cans and two wine bottles. Featuring padded and adjustable backpack straps for comfort. With a rare accessory pocket with zippered closure, you can store away your essentials like wallets and keys. The smaller size capacity helps its portability, making it perfect for the city, suburbs, or great outdoors. Available in seven different colors so you will find one that fits your vibe.

Material

Neoprene

Capacity

12 cans or 8 cans and 2 wine bottles

Dimensions

16" l x 11.7" w x 11.7" h

Pros:

  • Great quality and and highly functional
  • Sleek and super stylish
  • Can also be used as a travel bag
  • Sturdy and easy to carry

Cons:

  • Expensive

ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler

Best For Water Activities

overall 

4.6/5

Quality

Durability

Comfort

Cost

ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler

Features:

  • Padded and ventilated straps
  • Collapsible design
  • Roll-top design

If you love cold beverages or snacks during your water activities on a hot summer day, you must check out ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler. Whether it is paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, or boating, this collapsible, waterproof, and buoyant cooler is a game changer.

Crafted from ultra-tough proprietary MuleSkin fabric and PolarLayer Insulation that ensures strength and offers superior ice retention to maintain ice-like temperature for 24+ hours. Large enough to haul up to 18 cans and ice, making it a perfect size for a day on a boat, for your water adventure, or tailgate before a game. Designed with welded seams and zipper-less closure, this cooler is waterproof and buoyant with the UM AirValve that allows air to be added to the insulation layer, making the cooler buoyant enough to float. It features a padded sternum strap for support and an adjustable cross-body strap that allows you to carry it easily and comfortably on your back. Unlike the other soft coolers, the collapsible design allows you to roll it up and down easily. With different sizes and color options available, you can find one that fits your needs.

Material

N/A

Capacity

23 Liters

Dimensions

11.02" l x 14.17" w x 16.93" h

Pros:

  • Waterproof and buoyant
  • Keeps beverages cool up to 48 hours
  • Made to last

Cons:

  • Strap can strip when the load is really heavy

About the Author

Fiona is a veteran travel consultant, photographer and travel writer at planetrider.com. She has spent many years as a corporate travel consultant and decided to actually live the life rather than plan it for others!