Simplemost is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Backpack Coolers

Last updated on October 8, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Backpack Coolers and dug through the reviews from 108 of the most popular review sites including Review Meta, Strawpoll, Comparaboo, Best Reviews Guide, Heavy, Travel Gear Zone and more. The result is a ranking of the best Backpack Coolers.

Best Backpack Cooler

Why Trust The Simplemost Score?

Simplemost is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.

Look for the Simplemost seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Backpack Coolers

Show Contents
Our Take
  Also Consider

YETI

Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack

Overall Take

UV ProtectionProtect your back with this backpack cooler, whic features ergonomic shoulder straps and a design that equally distributes the weight of its contents.

  Best Overall

Coleman

C003 Soft Backpack Cooler

Overall Take

Holds 28 CansThis backpack cooler is not only insulated to keep food and drinks cold, but it also has an outer pocket for dry items.

  Best Value

TOURIT

Insulated Backpack Cooler

Overall Take

Lots of ExtrasIn addition to seven extra pockets, this backpack cooler has a beer can opener.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, Simplemost analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the backpack coolers available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

108

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources.

7,218

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 3 others.

The Best Overall

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack

Our Expert Score
9.7
26 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.5
927 user reviews
Our Take

Quality is the best word to describe the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack, which features an FDA-approved food-grade liner that doesn't leak. The outer material also protects against UV rays and has the ability to resist mildew. The ergonomic shoulder straps and the backpack's ability to distribute weight equally protect users from back strain.


Our Backpack Cooler Buying Guide

Backpack coolers give families and outdoor adventurers a handy way to bring their food and drinks along for a day of fun. They are excellent for picnics in the park, soaking up the sun at the beach or taking a hike up a mountain. If you’re in the market for a backpack cooler, there are a few things you’ll want to look for before making a selection.

Determine what size backpack cooler would be best based on the number of people traveling with you and how much they drink. Most models list how many cans they hold. A smaller family or group would do better with the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack, as it only holds 20 cans. The TOURIT Insulated Backpack Cooler is a better choice for larger groups because it has a 30 can capacity.

Next, review the materials used to construct the backpack cooler. Some models are waterproof for use near a pool or beach, while others are made to withstand coming up against brush in the wilderness. The SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack, with its durable scratch-resistant outer layer, is an example of a model best used in forests and along nature trails.

Don’t forget to examine the inside materials used to create the cooler as well. You want to make sure they are leak-proof, non-toxic and made from an FDA-approved food-grade material. Remember, this is where you will store all your refreshing beverages and tasty treats.

Review the backpack cooler’s straps to make sure they are padded and comfortable. The Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler has an additional set of straps that go around your waist. Both the shoulder and waist straps are adjustable, so you’re sure to get the perfect fit, which is important when it comes to back health.

Finally, you’ll want to check the backpack cooler for any extras. See if there are enough outer pockets to hold your dry items. Look for side pockets that can hold extra water bottles. Some models even offer hooks for hanging little canteens and other gadgets. Others have built-in beer can openers. It’s all about which features best fit your specific needs and the needs of the group you’ll be traveling with.

Simplemost Fun Fact

Did you know that portable coolers have only been around for 60 years even though iceboxes were invented in 1802? It was the invention of Styrofoam in 1944 that made portable coolers a possibility, although the first model wasn’t available for sale until 1957. Not only was the Styrofoam able to provide the insulation needed to keep drinks cold, but it was also light enough to lift without difficulty. That meant it could be loaded with sodas and sandwiches and easily placed in the trunk of a car and transported to the nearest beach or public park.

Some of the first portable coolers were made with a hard outer plastic shell. A few of those models were even on wheels that featured a handle for pulling to make moving the cooler a breeze. Companies quickly discovered, however, the value of portable coolers constructed of softer plastics, as these models were lighter and easier to carry.

Today, portable coolers have evolved a great deal. There are models made from waterproof materials, such as neoprene, models with solar panels on top and even models you can ride on. Smaller portable coolers are designed for student lunches, and others are made to be worn like backpacks for outdoor adventures.

The Backpack Cooler Tips and Advice

  • Always check to see if the company selling the backpack cooler offers a warranty. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that some companies believe in their product so much that they offer a lifetime warranty, which provides protection against product defects.
  • After each use, you’ll need to clean your backpack cooler. Start by dumping any remaining ice or melted water into your kitchen sink. If the cooler isn’t dirty, you may be able to get away with simply drying the inside with a towel. Should the cooler need a cleaning, wipe it down using a soapy dish rag. Rinse it clean with a little water and then towel dry.
  • Follow the instructions on the product label when it comes to cleaning the outside of your backpack cooler. The cleaning method used will be determined by the type of fabric the outer shell is made out of.
  • Your backpack cooler may build up an unpleasant odor over time. This can be removed by filling the cooler with cold water and one cup of white distilled vinegar. Let the mixture sit for an hour before dumping it out and cleaning it as you normally would.
  • Whether you are using a traditional backpack or a backpack cooler, it is recommended that you pack the lightest items at the bottom of the pack and that you wear the pack on the lower half of your back. This will help prevent back strain or possible injuries.
  • For additional safety, weigh your backpack cooler after it’s packed. The total number of pounds should not exceed 20 percent of your total body weight. If the number happens to be above that, you’ll want to take a few things out of the cooler to bring the weight down.
  • When comparing backpack cooler prices, you’ll need to take into consideration the materials used to make the pack, how many cans the cooler holds and whether there are any extra pockets or accessories. While the Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler, TOURIT Insulated Backpack Cooler and SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack have similar features and pricing, the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack costs a considerable bit more. This is because the Yeti is made using a waterproof fabric, has an FDA-approved food-grade inner lining and is both taller and wider than your average backpack coolers.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in gardening. She enjoys spending time learning about the latest gadgets that make designing, planting and maintaining a garden a breeze. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared in sites like GardenGuides and eHow Garden.