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The Best Cooler Backpacks

🕚 Updated April 2023

With a cooler backpack, chances that your favorite soda or sandwich becoming warm or soggy are slim to none. If you want to invest in a new cooler backpack for a picnic or beach trip, here are several we recommend.

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  Top Choice Premium Option Best Value Most Versatile Largest Capacity
Insulated and Lightweight Cooler Backpack
Insulated Two-Compartment Cooler Backpack
Insulated Lightweight Cooler Backpack
Insulated Cooler Backpack Lunch Box
Everlasting Comfort
Insulated Cooler Backpack
Our SummaryA simple, large-capacity cooler backpack for the hiker in you.Sturdy and durable, this insulated backpack is ideal for your next picnic and the great outdoors in general.This cooler backpack will keep food hot or cold and comes in several colors.This versatile backpack works great for camping or business travel.A large-capacity cooler with holders for four wine bottles.
Pros✓ Simple design
✓ High-density insulation
✓ Built-in bottle opener
✓ Leakproof
✓ Spacious insulated compartment
✓ Multiple pockets
✓ Adjustable straps
✓ Side pockets for water bottles
✓ Durable
✓ Padded adjustable shoulder straps
✓ Built-in beer opener
✓ Two D-shaped hooks
✓ Several compartments and mesh pockets
✓ Multiple colors
✓ Multiuse
✓ Three main compartments
✓ Laptop sleeve
✓ Anti-theft pocket
✓ Several colors options
✓ Keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours
✓ Leakproof lining
✓ Four wine bottle holders
✓ Adjustable padded straps
Cons✗ Not great for heavy loads✗ Limited colors
✗ Higher price tag
✗ Bottom cooler section may collapse
✗ May leak a bit
✗ Low quality zipper
✗ Not waterproof✗ Heavy when filled to max capacity
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16 Models Evaluated

7 Hours Researched

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The Best Cooler Backpacks

A young man wearing an insulated backpack stands on a hilltop on a hike.

Buying Guide for Cooler Backpacks

A young man wearing an insulated backpack while hiking in the woods.

Why buy a cooler backpack?

A cooler backpack is a type of backpack that is designed to keep food and beverages cold while on the go. It typically features insulated compartments or pockets and waterproof or leakproof lining to prevent ice from melting or condensation from getting on other items. Cooler backpacks are ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, picnics, and beach trips. They also make great makeshift reusable grocery bags or can be used to carry your lunch and snacks to work or school. While you can always pack a lunch box and water bottle in a regular backpack for the day, an insulated cooler backpack will keep your food and drink cooler, crisper, and safer to eat. These backpacks are generally lighter and easier to carry than a standard cooler, and some even have built-in bottle openers, adjustable straps, and extra pockets for storage.

What should you look for in a cooler backpack?

  • Compartments: The number of compartments, their size, and their accessibility is essential when picking a cooler backpack. A simple, single-compartment insulated backpack should work well if you want to travel light. However, a family headed to the beach or park will likely want a cooler backpack with a large main compartment for ice, food, and beverages, plus compartments for utensils, keys and a wallet, and a large blanket.
  • Insulation: The goal is to keep hot things hot and cold things cold, so quality insulation is a must-have. Look for backpacks with double-layer foam insulation with a PEVA lining for optimal waterproofing. The backpacks that perform best in terms of insulation can keep your stuff at an ideal temperature for up to 24 hours. Some cooler backpacks stand out for other important qualities like versatility and less insulation.
  • Fit: It’s easy to overlook the importance of a cooler backpack that can be worn comfortably for as long as needed. The weight adds up quickly when you go for products with main compartments with a capacity for dozens of soda cans, side holders for wine bottles, and top compartments for wallets and keys. Such insulated backpacks won’t serve you well if you want to go on a day-long hike. These are better suited for walking a relatively short distance. Regardless of your picnicking plans, look for nicely padded, adjustable shoulder straps.

Can you use your cooler backpack to carry items besides food and drink?

You shouldn’t have any issues using a cooler backpack as a regular backpack as needed. While these backpacks feature insulated compartments and waterproof linings to keep food and beverages cool, they can also carry other items that need protection from the elements, such as electronic devices, cameras, or medications that need to be kept at a specific temperature. The insulated compartments provide additional padding and protection for these items, and the waterproof lining can help to keep them dry in case of rain or spills. However, it’s important to note that some cooler backpacks may have limited space for nonfood items, so you’ll want to check the backpack’s dimensions and features to ensure it will meet your specific needs.

Our Picks for the Best Cooler Backpacks

Top Choice

TOURIT Insulated and Lightweight Cooler Backpack

A simple, large-capacity cooler backpack for the hiker in you.

Pros: Sometimes, it takes a simple design to make a genius product. This insulated cooler backpack is a great example. There’s one main cavity large enough to hold a mixture of food, water, and other necessities. This compartment comprises high-density insulation and a leakproof liner to keep your perishables hot or cold for up to 16 hours. Then there are two front zipper pockets and one top compartment. These extra spaces are perfect for personal items, extra snacks, or emergency items. Also, there are two side bottle holders and a mesh pocket just for your iPhone.

Cons: This isn’t the best option if you use your new cooler backpack to transport bigger, heavy loads. For example, it’s not great for groceries (unless you’re just running to the store for one or two items).

Bottom Line: This bag may sound like a luxury backpack, but it’s designed for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and picnicking. And it’s not just for outdoors lovers, but beer lovers too, since it comes with a built-in bottle opener.


Premium Option

Carhartt Insulated Two-Compartment Cooler Backpack

Sturdy and durable, this insulated backpack is ideal for your next picnic and the great outdoors in general.

Pros: When it comes to camping and hiking, having a backpack that can keep your food and drinks cool is a game-changer. This cooler backpack is an excellent choice for these and other outdoor activities, as it has a spacious insulated bottom compartment that can hold a significant amount of food and drinks. The top compartment with multiple pockets is perfect for storing other essential items such as sunscreen, bug spray, or a first aid kit. The backpack straps are adjustable for a comfortable fit, and the side pockets are ideal for holding a water bottle or tumbler, making it easy to stay hydrated during outdoor activities. In addition to being durable and comfortable, this cooler backpack is also made of high-quality polyester, ensuring that it can withstand the wear and tear of outdoor activities.

Cons: This model is a bit pricier than many other cooler backpacks, and the color selection is limited. The zipper is also made of plastic, not metal; some have reported that the zipper teeth have broken after a few months of use. Additionally, the backpack’s bottom cooler section doesn’t have a sturdy wall, which leads to it collapsing and crushing food when you set it down on the ground.

Bottom Line: Carhartt is a big name in outdoor gear, so it’s no surprise that their cooler backpack is an excellent option for bringing food and drink on a hike or camping trip. As long as you don’t mind the higher price tag and are careful about setting it down, this backpack should serve you well in the great outdoors.


Best Value

SEEHONOR Insulated Lightweight Cooler Backpack

This cooler backpack will keep food hot or cold and comes in several colors.

Pros: Here’s another large-capacity (25 L) cooler backpack that’s leakproof and has padded, adjustable shoulder straps. So what sets it apart from others? The SEEHONOR cooler backpack comes with a beer opener and two D-shape hooks for attaching keys, hand sanitizer, or a flashlight. The backpack also features organizing compartments: the main cooler, two exterior side mesh pockets, a large front zipper pocket with a divider for utensils, and an interior mesh pocket. Also nice to have is inner insulation and a PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) liner, which keeps your food items hot or cold.

Cons: While it’s advertised as 100% leakproof, you may find the backpack tends to leak a bit at times. The zippers aren’t of the highest quality or especially durable, so they are prone to breaking.

Bottom Line: The backpack cooler is made of durable nylon material that won’t rip or tear, no matter how hard your kids or pets try. It’s a great portable container for family and friend gatherings or a romantic picnic.


Most Versatile

MATEIN Insulated Cooler Backpack Lunch Box

This versatile backpack works great for camping or business travel.

Pros: The MATEIN cooler backpack is much more than an insulated lunch box. It’s a multi-use commuter or school backpack with an insulated section for your food. Store your 17-inch laptop in the deepest compartment where it stays safe right against your back. The main compartment has two smaller front pockets for accessories, two side mesh pockets for drinks, and an anti-theft pocket. The cooler compartment at the bottom of the backpack essentially cuts the main one in half. Choose to use the lunch box section for food or nonfood items like books or extra clothes.

Cons: The backpack is not waterproof, unlike many cooler backpacks so if you take it on camping or fishing trips and it rains, the interior will likely get wet. Thus you may want to limit this backpack to use for picnics or school, where it’ll be easier to seek shelter in case of a sudden downpour.

Bottom Line: This insulated backpack offers much more than a lunch box container. It makes a great hybrid bag for those who want to go from work to play that much easier, and it’s got plenty of room for perishables and non-perishables alike.


Largest Capacity

Everlasting Comfort Insulated Cooler Backpack

A large-capacity cooler for all kinds of beverages with holders for four wine bottles.

Pros: This backpack features extra-thick foam insulation to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours and prevent leaks. Its large capacity holds around 54 cans of your favorite drinks. Additionally, two wine bottle holders are on each side of the cooler backpack, so you can tote four bottles of wine. If planning a picnic, you can easily pack food into the main compartment or in one of the multiple pockets. You can count on a comfortable experience wherever your destination as this backpack features padded adjustable straps.

Cons: If you fill the backpack to its max capacity and add four bottles of wine, you may find walking very far with it hard, as it’ll be quite heavy and weigh you down.

Bottom Line: The Everlasting Comfort backpack cooler could be ideal for future trips to the beach, drive-up campsites, or birthday celebrations at a local park. If you want to walk or hike with it, pack some food, water, and gear, and you’re off.

Final Thoughts

Cooler backpacks are super convenient accessories to take with you on your adventures. If you’re an avid hiker, a busy student, a frequent beach-goer, or a commuter, you could benefit significantly from having one in your life.

Britta Kallevang Britta Kallevang
Britta is a professional writing tutor and freelance writer that is trained in journalistic, technical, and creative copywriting. At LifeSavvy, she researches products, writes about the items, and shares what she's uncovered with readers. Her writing is comprehensive and sometimes a bit silly. Read Full Bio »
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