7 Best Backpack Coolers of 2021 – Top 7 Product Reviews

Summer is approaching. That means it’s time to make ourselves ready for the upcoming outdoor activities. Many of us like to take nothing but some dried foods and water for outdoor activities, but there are others who require a little more leisure with a nice cold beverage and some fresher foods.

If you are a solo camper or love to travel alone, then backpack cooler is perfect for you to carry all your beverages and fresh foods. Backpack coolers have developed a lot over the years, and they become more portable.    

There are a lot of backpack coolers available in the market to pick from. These coolers vary from size; build quality, price, etc. Moreover, the use and performance of cooler depend on different situations that you are thinking of using it. So you may find it very difficult to choose the best backpack cooler for outdoor activities. Therefore, we bring to you a few of the best backpack coolers to help you pick the perfect model.

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7 Best Backpack Coolers of 2021

My Top Picks of the Best Backpack Coolers of 2021

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack

In terms of sales and popularity, Yeti ranked top among the coolers available in the market. In fact, they sell more coolers in a year than all of their closest rivals combined. This suggests that they have a high reputation, which they maintain with superior product quality.

The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 has features like dry-hide shell that is waterproof, resistant to UV rays, and food safe. Moreover, it has hydro lock zipper that means you have the toughest possible combination. The straps, handle, and waist belt of this backpack is made of Cordura strapping, which allows you to carry all the loads of the full backpack.

This backpack cooler has closed-cell rubber foam that allows superior cold-holding compared to ordinary soft coolers. This type of isolation means you will have more ice time and colder drinks all day long. You may get up to 3 days of ice retention from this excellent backpack cooler.


  • Long ice holding time
  • Good capacity
  • Very durable


  • Harder to carry for thinner people

Polar Bear Coolers

Polar Bear may not be a popular brand like some of the cooler brands out there, but they do have some of the best backpack coolers available in the market. You can easily trust this brand to keep your drinks cold and food fresh while you are out camping.

This cooler has an excellent build quality. It has luggage grade TPE nylon exterior, Cordura strapping that ensures rock-solid durability. It has a huge #10 weatherized and rustproof zipper. It is one of the strongest zippers you may find in a backpack cooler.

For isolation, Polar Bear cooler uses 1″ thick 10 gauges high-density foam and a food-grade anti-microbial liner. This liner ensures the safety of your foods from any contamination. With the available size this backpack cooler is not a family pack. However, you can easily store a dozen cans and foods in this cooler, which makes it perfect for a picnic for a family of four members.


  • Excellent built quality 
  • Great ice capacity 


  • Less storage capacity

Engel Coolers Prym1 Camo Backpack

If you are looking for a backpack cooler with excellent storage capacity, then Engel Coolers Prym1 Camo Backpack is the right cooler for you. Generally large capacity cooler weighs much, but this is not the problem for this cooler as Engel Cooler uses lighter 500D polyester to reduce the weight. It also has waterproof zippers to ensure premium performance.

This cooler has a full 1-inch of closed-cell foam insulation that ensures a maximum of three days ice retention. There are 2 cold storage compartments available. So you can use one compartment for dry foods and the other for drinks and ice.

The Engel Cooler has excellent portability. It has a handle, shoulder strap, and backpack straps, which allows you to carry all the loads of the full backpack. You can store a full case of drinks with enough ice and a meal or two in this backpack cooler.


  • Great capacity
  • Excellent ice retention


  • Poor carry experience

IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag       

If you are looking for something big, then IceMule Pro backpack cooler is an excellent choice with exceptional durability. It has a high built quality that keeps everything cold for a longer period of time. It has three sizes available in the market from large to massive.

The IceMule Pro backpack cooler has a treated MuleSkinTe exterior with welded seams and nylon webbing. It has a roll down and clips system instead of zippers. This is a classic and proven watertight method.

Many people may find the shape of the cooler as an issue. This cooler has a rounded shape that is a little more difficult to carry as it presses into the back. Though the straps of this cooler are broad with padding, so the portability may not be a major concern for this backpack cooler.


  • Huge capacity
  • Great Durability
  • Simple design


  • Not comfortable carrying experience

Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler

Coleman is a very old cooler company; in fact, they were the first large company to manufacture portable cooler way back in 1954. So in terms of reputation and trustiness, there is nothing to worry about. Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler is a prime example of it.

The Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler is perfect for people who love hunting, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities for a short time. It has ripstop nylon made external part that makes the cooler more durable. Moreover, this backpack cooler has an anti-microbial liner and leak-proof zippers all around.

The cooler has standard Coleman soft insulation that ensures plenty of ice time for any shorter trip. It has great portability compare to other backpack coolers available in the market. Though the size of this cooler may be an issue for some people, it can hold up to 9 liters in total. This capacity is fairly good for a couple of people with a day trip.


  • Excellent build quality
  • Great ice retention


  • Small size

OAGear Backpack Cooler

OAGear may not be a popular brand as some of the backpack cooler brands out there, but they do have some of the best coolers available in the market. You can easily trust this brand to keep your drinks cold and food fresh while out camping.

The OAGear Backpack Cooler offers 5 years no-leak liner. It has a great storage capacity where it can hold 20 cans of drinks and enough ice to keep the drinks cold for at least one day. This cooler has two outside mesh side pockets along with a front zipper pocket and a bungee for extra storage. The backpack straps are padded, and you can adjust them very easily.


  • Great Durability
  • Good capacity


  • Less ice retention    

TOURIT Insulated Backpack Cooler

If you are looking for a lightweight backpack cooler, then the TOURIT Insulated Backpack Cooler will be the right choice for you. But for a lightweight cooler, its storage capacity is amazing. The capacity of this cooler is 25 litter, and it can hold up to 28 cans. It has high-quality insulation material, and the leak-proof liner makes sure the drinks remain cold for a longer period of time.

On the outside, the backpack cooler has a single zipper pocket with mesh divider and two side mesh pockets for extra storage. It has adjustable padded shoulder straps and thickly padded sections on the back of the cooler. These straps and padded sections ensure portability and comfortable carry when the backpack cooler is fully loaded.


  • Lightweight but great capacity
  • Excellent portability
  • Water resistance


  • Less ice retention

How to Choose the Best Backpack Cooler?

All the backpack coolers on our list are worth the value, but you have to remember that there are considerable variations among coolers, and they work differently in different circumstances. So not every backpack cooler will fulfill your requirements and worth the money. There are a few very important factors that you have to consider before buying the backpack coolers for outdoor activities.

Ice Retention

One of the questions people ask most while buying a cooler is, “how long the cooler will keep the ice cold?” So ice retention is a very important factor that you should look for in a backpack cooler. Generally, cooler for camping can keep drinks and other foods cold for more than 5 days, but for backpack cooler the number is not the same. Most of the backpack cooler can hold the ice for one day, some of the better backpack coolers will hold ice up to 2 days or a little more. Moreover, the longer the cooler holds ice, the more expensive it becomes. So you have to pic the cooler according to your requirements. If you think you don’t require ice retention for more than a day or two, then buy the one that is less expensive, otherwise, buy the expensive one.


Most of the backpack coolers are made for outdoor use. Therefore, they’re not going to fall apart in rough situations. However, not all cooler can take the same amount of abuse, and different backpack cooler works better in different situations. Backpack cooler made of quality materials is more durable though they will cost more money. Keep a sharp eye on handles, straps, zipper, and their build materials because if they are not well-built, then they will compromise the durability of your cooler.


The capacity of the cooler depends on what purpose you will use your cooler. Generally, food and drinks for one person are less than what you would need for a group of four people. There is various backpack cooler size available in market. Some people consider the liters, other considers the cubic inches, and many will simply consider how many drinks and food they can carry in their cooler. But you have to remember, when the backpack cooler size increases, it also increases the cooler’s weight. So think very carefully before you decide the capacity of the cooler. If you make a mistake here, you may end up with a big half-empty backpack cooler or a small overstuffed backpack cooler.


Comfort is a very important factor that you should consider the most while buying a backpack cooler. Because people who are in need of backpack cooler generally walk quite a distance with it where food source is not available, for example peak of a forest, hiking, etc. So the last thing you want is to be walking miles with an uncomfortable backpack cooler. So before buying your backpack, make sure the straps of the cooler are comfortable and well-padded; therefore, you can enjoy pain-free hiking.


Backpack coolers with some extra storage space like pockets are much convenient than coolers without pockets. Pockets help you keep all your things organized. For instance, if you buy a backpack cooler with one storing area, then you have to stash smaller items with the larger ones. So there will be a chance you may end up crushing the smaller items. This is why you should pick backpack cooler with extra pockets.


For backpack coolers, leakage is a very big problem. There are some cheap coolers available in the market that as soon as the ice inside melts, you find yourself wet (all the products in this article are leak-resistant). So while buying your backpack cooler, check the built quality and find out if it is leak-resistant or not. Using ice packs instated of ice cube can reduce the chance of leakage, and they are cheaper than the ice cubes.

FAQs about Backpack Coolers

Are backpack coolers any good?

Yes, backpack coolers have great portability. They are lightweight, have shoulder straps for comfortable carry. So if you require less storage capacity, then backpack coolers are the right choice for you.

What are the holes in a backpack?

The holes in a backpack cooler are known as the pass-through or eyelet or hydration port. You can pass a cable, wire, or tube through the fabric of the backpack cooler for different uses.

What is the diamond-shaped patch for on a backpack cooler?

Nowadays, the diamond-shaped patch is a very common feature in backpack cooler. With the help of this patch you can attach stuff to the bag with a string.

Does carrying a heavy backpack build muscle?

Well, it may seem a little odd but carrying a heavy backpack can build muscles. When you are walking with a heavy load on your back it not only burns your extra calories but also keeps up the postural stability of your body.

How can I make my backpack cooler last longer?

There are many ways you can increase the lifespan of your backpack cooler. Always clean your cooler after using it. Make sure the backpack cooler is not overload with stuff and stop carrying your backpack cooler on one shoulder.

Are Yeti soft coolers worth the money?

Yeti soft coolers are some of the best backpack coolers available in the market. They have super build quality, excellent ice retention, and portability. Though are little expensive compared to other coolers but they worth the money.

Are hard or soft coolers better?

Well, the right answer depends on what purpose you will use your cooler. Normally for rugged and extended use, the hard coolers are better. On the other hand soft coolers are perfect for single person use with excellent portability.

How long does a Yeti soft cooler keep ice?

Though ice retention depends on circumstance and uses, a yeti Hoppers soft cooler can hold ice up to 1-3 days thanks to their 1+ inch thick closed-cell foam isolation.

How many beers will a YETI Hopper Backflip 24 hold?

The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 has amazing storage capacity. It can hold up to 20 cans of drinks with enough ice to keep it cold.

Do Yeti Coolers have a lifetime warranty?

Yeti Coolers don’t have a lifetime warranty, but they offer 3 years warranty from the purchase date.

How much ice is needed for a cooler?

The perfect ice-to-products ratio is 2:1. So don’t fill a cooler with foods and just a sprinkle of ice on top and expect the cooler to stay cool for a longer period of time. Make sure you pack as much ice as you can for longer ice retention.

Does dry ice last longer than regular ice?

Yes, dry ice lasts longer than regular ice because dry ice starts out colder compared to regular ice.

Final Thoughts

How can there be hiking or outdoor activities without cool beverages? So if you want some amazing outdoor experience, then don’t forget to take the right backpack cooler with you. The backpack coolers that we have talked about in this post will help you attain a great experience. Just make sure you consider all your requirements and circumstance so that you end up buying the best backpack cooler for the money.       

Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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