There are few things better than sitting down with a group of friends to enjoy a cool, crisp, and tasty beverage. Whether it’s a beer, soda, or seltzer, joining in a communal sharing of cold ones is the best way to spend the days, especially during the brutal summer heat. But as you’re moving from one locale to another, it’s important to ensure your drinks stay cool when you’re on the go, which is where a cooler comes into play. But sometimes, a full cooler isn’t the easiest thing to transport.
Fortunately, backpack coolers are around to help lighten the load. They’re pretty straightforward; instead of hauling around a cooler, you can sling it on your back. Backpack coolers are typically reinforced with extra padding in the back and shoulders to support the weight of heavy cans. At the same time, the exterior is typically made to protect water from getting in or leaking out onto you while you move around. Oh, and yeah, they’ll keep those cans ice cold.
Great for the outdoors or those just on the go, cooler backpacks make all the difference in keeping the good times rolling. Here are our eight picks for the best of the best backpack coolers on the market right now.
1. Yeti Hopper Backflip Backpack Cooler
When it comes to anything in the world of coolers, Yeti reigns supreme — and that’s certainly the case with their take on a backpack cooler with the Hopper Backflip backpack cooler. The bag is designed to evenly distribute the weight of up to 20 cans of beer thanks to its ergonomic shoulder straps, chest strap, and waist belt. The 100% leak-proof zipper ensures a safe journey for your goods, while the outer is made of high-density fabric that’s resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays. While the bag itself is a hefty investment, it’s an investment into a piece that might, quite literally, last you a lifetime.
2. OAGear Ultimate Backpack Cooler
This OAGear backpack cooler is our pick for the best value for many reasons outside of its fantastic price; the double heat sealed PVEA liner ensures that the bag won’t leak, no matter how stuffed full it is full of cans and ice. With an up to 20-can storage capacity, there’s plenty of room for your brew needs. Additionally, the bag features side and front pockets for other handy storage. Plus, the padded back and shoulder straps help to protect your back from feeling too overworked. Oh, and did we mention that price?
3. Igloo Switch Cooler Backpack
Looking to get the most storage of your cooler backpack? Igloo’s Switch cooler backpack boasts a staggering 30-can capacity, making it the biggest cooler backpack on this list. Leak-resistant with an antimicrobial liner, it’ll be easy to clean out wipe out moisture after you stuff it full of ice and ice-cold cans. Additionally, the bag can be carried as a backpack or as a tote, providing extra flexibility depending upon your personal preference.
4. IceMule Backpack Cooler
BEST FOR FISHERS
With its back loops, netting, and side pockets, the IceMule backpack cooler is built for more than just hauling around whatever you need cold. A great option for fishermen, the backpack offers plenty of extra storage for things like a fishing net, baits, and other accessories need to reel in the best of the river. Additionally, the bag is leakproof, waterproof, and even floats (!) if you need it to do so. Plus, the rolltop closure makes it easy to toss your catch in and keep on reeling away.
5. Hydro Flask Cooler Backpack
Hydro Flask has made a name for itself with its well-designed water bottles that you likely know and love, and the same design process has been applied to their cooler backpack. Minimalist in its execution, the bag is light on exterior frills. Still, it boasts impressive features: a top, hinged-access allows for easy packing, the exterior helps to prevent leaks and stops water from coming in, insulation is layered at the bottom to help keep your ice-cold throughout the bag, and the lightweight construction throughout makes it not too heavy to carry.
6. TOURIT Backpack Cooler
Some cooler backpacks don’t immediately look like, well, an actual backpack. That’s not the case, however, with TOURIT’s backpack cooler, as it looks very similar to what you’d carry around a college campus or in grade school hallways but has excellent cold retention, keeping items cold for 16 hours. The interior storage can hold up to 28 cans and, of course, is made from durable and water-resistant materials.
7. Pelican Dayventure Backpack Cooler
As handy as a backpack cooler might be, there might more than a handful of situations that require you to have the option for storage separate from your cold items. Those looking for a pack that provides this option should consider Pelican’s Dayventure backpack cooler. The pack features dual insulated storage compartments; a dedicated cooler compartment in the bottom perfectly fits a 6 pack of cans, and then a top select that can fit other items for cooling or function as total dry storage. However you plan to use it, there’s plenty of flexibility to do so.
8. Carhartt Cooler Backpack
For as hard as you work, there’s a good chance Carhartt works harder — and that’s absolutely the case with the brand’s version of a cooler backpack. With a storage room of up to 12 cans, the back also features a main compartment area that can provide extra room for other stuff you might need along the way. The bag also has smart accessory features like side mesh holders for water bottles and even a dedicated key fob holder.