Hauling a cooler full of drinks and food can be quite a hassle when you are out hiking, trekking, or walking, which is why a backpack cooler is a perfect solution.
With shoulder straps that will allow you to carry all of your supplies easily and hands-free, a good quality backpack cooler is a must for all of your outdoor people.
We thoroughly reviewed as many backpack-style coolers for you and came up with our top 10 picks for 2021. We tested their comfort, capacity, ice retention, and their functionality.
The leader in our list is the Polar Bear Original Performance backpack cooler but read on to find out more about why we liked it, as well as to see all of our other top picks for this year.
First and foremost, it offers outstanding ice retention of up to 24 hours, even in temperatures up to 100 degrees.
Thanks to its 1-inch thick high density 10 gauge foam insulation and the durable TPU double-coated liner, as well as the 1000 denier top-grade nylon shell of this backpack, you will have access to frozen ice, cold drinks, and fresh food during an overnight camping trip or other adventure.
The Polar Bear backpack cooler can hold 10 lbs. of ice and 18 12oz cans.
The liner is the longest-lasting and most resilient liner we have seen in a soft-sided cooler so far. It is also antimicrobial and completely safe for carrying perishable foodstuffs.
The outer shell of the polar bear backpack is also extremely durable thanks to the thick nylon material, which is anchor stitched, and all seams are with double hems for added sturdiness.
The heavy-duty zipper is rustproof and weatherproof and is incredibly well attached to the cooler, so you don’t have to worry about ripping it off by accident.
The cooler has four tie downs on the bottom, which are heavy duty D-rings that can be used to anchor it to the car or to the floor to keep it steady when on the road.
The padded shoulder straps are comfortable and will allow you to carry your drinks and snacks with your hands-free. It also has an optional grab handle on the top as well.
The Polar Bear bottom saddle adds to the durability of the cooler and will ensure that it stays intact even when you have packed it up to the maximum capacity.
The amazing backpack cooler is available in black, orange, navy, red, and gray colors, and you want to make it even more special, you can contact Polar Bear Coolers to add a customized monogram or company logo to your backpack.
The backpack has a large expandable mesh pocket and three zippered pockets to keep your other stuff as well.
There is a metal bottle opener that is attached to the zipper of the cooler too.
We think that this definitely one of the best built, most durable, and comfortable backpack coolers on the market, and most importantly – it will keep your ice frozen for an amazing 24-hours!
The backpack cooler has lash points on each side and has a sturdy HydroLok zipper which ensures that the cold stays in, the heat stays out, and that there is no leaking from the cooler.
The BackFlip 24 is completely waterproof.
Its DryHide outer shell will withstand a lot of wear and tear, which we all know happens quite often when enjoying time outside, hiking, camping, fishing, and others. It is made of very high-density fabric, which is mildew, puncture, UV, and water-resistant.
The flat bottom of the cooler allows for the backpack to stand straight up when you place it on the ground. It can be carried via the side strap handles, by the top handle, or the comfortable and adjustable shoulder straps. It also has an optional chest strap and waist belt for added comfort during carrying the cooler.
The backpack cooler is large enough to hold 20 cans and the ice in a 2:1 ice to drink ratio.
The dimensions of this Yeti cooler inside are 12 5/8 x 6 ½ x 15 inches. The liner inside the cooler is completely safe, and FDA approved for food safety too.
The BackFlip 24 is Yeti’s first cooler which can be carried on the back.
We love the fact that it is built of top-quality materials, it is capable of keeping the ice for up to two days, and that it is so durable that paying such a premium price actually makes perfect sense when it comes to this amazing cooler.
Best budget choice
It can hold 20 cans plus the ice needed for cooling them. The dimensions of this affordable backpack cooler are 12.25 x 16.5 x 7.75 inches.
The liner is heat sealed so that it prevents any melted water or condensation from leaking out and getting your back wet.
You can carry extra gear, snacks, or water in one of the two large side mesh pockets of this backpack. The padded straps are very comfortable and adjustable and will make your outdoor adventure much more enjoyable without the need to carry a heavy cooler in one of your hands.
There is also a large zippered front pocket with an added bungee for even more stuff.
This inexpensive cooler comes in various colors, including gray, green, blue, red, black, and Realtree APX camo.
It will cost you a fragment of what you will need to pay for a premium cooler brand backpack, and yet will keep your drinks cool while you are hiking or spending time outdoors during the entire day, so it is definitely a must if you need a backpack cooler but are on a tight budget!
Our other top picks for 2021
- The cooler backpack weighs only 1.1 lbs.
- It has a 25L capacity and can hold 28 cans plus ice packs
- The cooler will keep the ice cold for up to 16 hours
- It is leak and water-resistant
- Made of 600D Oxford outer shell with a 10mm EPE foam insulation and a heat-welded PEVA liner
- The backpack has two big front zippered pockets and two mesh pockets on both sides for carrying water, extra gear, and goodies on your trip.
- The back is ventilated to keep your back dry.
- It can fit your family meal when you go to a picnic
- The size of the cooler backpack is 17.7 x 13 x 7.5 inches
- The adjustable shoulder straps are ergonomic and padded for more comfort
- It is durable and weather-resistant
- Thanks to its very lightweight it is suitable for ladies and for children too.
- Offered at a very reasonable price
- Available in black, blue, red, and gray colors
- A large 25L capacity
- A double-decker design – the bottom is an insulated cooler, and the top is for storage of your gear.
- The cooler on the bottom can keep your drinks and food cool for up to 16 hours with the help of ice packs.
- The cooler has a capacity of 12 cans.
- Made of top-quality weather-resistant and durable materials with thick EPE foam insulation and a water-resistant lining
- It has a large back, water-resistant compartment for a laptop, which is sized up to 15.6 inches.
- It is made of leak resistant materials.
- A large front pocket secured with a zipper for your personal items
- Two side mesh pockets for water or other items
- There is a mesh pocket on one of the straps for your phone
- The light weight of only 1.1 lbs.
- The size of the backpack is 16.9 x 10.6 x 7.9 inches
- The padded shoulder straps are adjustable and very comfortable
See also: Personal Item Bags for Your Next Trip
- A huge capacity of 40L can hold 40 cans and the ice needed to keep them frosty cold for up to 24 hours thanks to the PolarLayer insulation.
- Made of extremely sturdy MuleSkinET fabric and tough MuleSkinEV liner
- A very clever IM AirValve allows you to let the air out before rolling it up for storage
- You can easily roll it and store it away when you are not using it
- Very comfortable double padded shoulder straps
- The nifty closing system will avoid any leaks and makes loading and unloading is much easier than with a zipper or a welded seam.
- It floats, so it is great for water sports and adventures
- The dimensions of the cooler backpack are 23 x 11 x 14 inches
- It is available in an assortment of colors and sizes to meet every need and taste
- Large capacity backpack cooler – 21L
- Can hold 39 cans or 22 bottles and ice
- A very lightweight of just 4.6 lbs.
- A size of 17.7 x 13.8 x 10 inches
- Has leak-proof insulation that is BPA-free, FDA approved, and perfectly safe.
- The high-density insulation will ensure the food and drinks stay cold (or warm) for up to 36 hours.
- Two side pockets with zippers
- An airtight and waterproof zipper helps prolong the ice retention
- Adjustable and comfortably padded shoulder straps
- Straps on the bottom can be used for attaching your hiking accessories
- A beer opener attached to the strap
- The webbing on the front to hold your jacket or other accessories
- Very cool design, available in blue and gray
- Also available in a smaller version for 20 cans
- Sold with a lifetime warranty
- Two large interior insulated compartments
- Can be used for family trips, picnic as well as for carrying lunch to work or school
- Multiple pockets for water, your gear, camera, and other stuff, including a mesh bottle holder and a hidden zippered compartment for your valuable belongings
- Non-slip, padded shoulder straps
- A grab handle on the top
- The main compartment closes with a sturdy zipper and a flap
- The size of the backpack is 19 x 16 x 5 inches
- Available in mocha, black and olive colors
- Very elegant design
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Waterproof, crushproof bucket backpack with a capacity of 5 gallons
- Made of top-quality 500 denier
- Padded and insulated
- The cooler liner can be removed so that you can use the backpack for carrying other things.
- Comfortable straps
- The padded bucket lid makes the backpack a very comfy chair
- Molle straps on all three sides for adding accessories
- Extremely durable construction and materials used
- A large bottle pouch on the side
- The custom molded bucket is very sturdy and can be replaced by Muul if necessary.
- A capacity of 24 cans and 15lbs. of ice, or a total weight of up to 59.5 lbs.
- The outer shell is waterproof and very sturdy.
- The insulated compartment is ultrasonically welded for maximum ice retention, which can last for days.
- The backpack is closed by a reinforced and waterproof TIZIP Master seal zipper.
- Comfortable padded shoulder straps
- An exclusive flip top to keep the cold in
- Waterproof and leak-proof construction
- The liner is FDA approved, BPA-free and antimicrobial
- Sold with a 3-year warranty
We picked the best backpack coolers based on a number of factors. They need to be portable, comfortable to carry, easy to load and unload, and most of all reliable when it comes to cooling your drinks and foodstuffs.
With one of these nifty backpack coolers, you will be able to carry your food and drinks hands-free, hassle-free, and without having to haul a bulky ice chest cooler.
Of course, the ice retention of soft-sided coolers is not as long as that of the top quality ice chest coolers, but these backpack coolers still have the capacity to keep your food fresh and edible and your drinks cool for one and even more days.
So, they are perfect for day trips, weekend camping, hiking, and picnics. For a longer outdoor trip, you may want to opt for a regular cooler chest, which you can use to store your food and beverages for a week and even more, and you can even use it as a seat or table.
With one of these backpack coolers, you can ensure that your lunch stays warm or cold when you go to work, to the gym, or to school, and some are large enough to carry serious amounts of cans and food.
We have picked backpack coolers of all sizes, prices and with different pros and cons for you, so there is a cooler backpack for just about anybody on our top 10 list for 2021.
Hopefully, we have helped you choose the most appropriate one for your specific needs and for your budget, and pretty soon, you will be able to enjoy having an easy to carry, comfortable and efficient backpack cooler of your own.
Go ahead and get one of these nifty accessories, and always have access to a cold refreshing drink wherever you are and no matter what the weather is.
Last update on 2021-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API