Best Cooler Backpack Reviews 2022

Hiking can be fun, but having to carry an uncomfortable ice chest or portable cooler can make it annoying. That is why you should consider a cooler backpack. Cooler backpacks give you the convenience and comfort of having your hands free while you hike or picnic. The challenge is how to choose the best one on the market. We have researched some of the best cooler backpack brands, selecting one product from each brand to highlight its products. This is only a snapshot. For more options on what these brands offer, check out their other listings.
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Our Top Choice
Igloo MaxCold Cooler Backpack
Igloo started as a small metal works shop and developed into a reputable cooler manufacturing brand whose products can be found worldwide today.
Gives better insulation. Keeps contents cold for longer periods. Molded EVA foam keeps contents safe. Mesh side and front zippered pockets.
The stitch around the zipper unravels fast.
6.5 x 8 x 10.5 inches+ADs- 1.35 lbs
Adjustable, padded straps
Leak-resistant liner
Best Value
Picnic Time "Zuma" Cooler Backpack
At Picnic Time, the customer’s total satisfaction is the singular goal and force driving the company to greater heights and achievements.
Separate dual compartment. Breathable top fabric. Special pocket on the right strap for phones. Cooler section has 12-pack capacity.
Drawstring doesn’t always stay on tightly.
Black, blue, red
11 x 8 x 19 inches+ADs- 2.5 lbs
Padded straps with air mesh
Heat-sealed, leak-resistant liner
Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Cooler Backpack
Polar Bear Coolers makes coolers with some of the best insulation systems in the industry, with high quality and well-engineered materials.
Top-notch insulation. Keeps ice for up to 24 hours. Rugged and weatherized zipper. Food grade lining. Built to withstand rough and prolonged use.
Becomes less leak-proof after several years of use.
Available in 7 colors
Available in 4 sizes
Adjustable padded shoulder rest
High density open-cell foam
Picnic at Ascot Diamond Series Cooler Backpack
Picnic at Ascot redefined the way Americans enjoy the outdoors, with its functional products and elegant designs borrowed from elaborate English picnics.
Elegant and functional design. Two-year full replacement warranty. Well-padded, adjustable straps. Top flap inner mesh pocket and an outer zipped pocket.
Top flap zipper may be fragile.
Available in 8 colors
14 x 11 x 8 inches+ADs- 1.1 lbs
Adjustable padded straps
Leak-proof heat-sealed liner
OAGear Ultimate Backpack Cooler
OAGear believes in having the maximum fun the outdoors has to offer, and this is assured by its quality and tasteful products.
Super affordable and functional. Well-insulated compartment with PEVA heat-sealed lining. Heavy-duty back. Comfortable fully padded straps. Three extra pockets.
May leak if not kept upright.
Gray, royal
14 x 12 x 10 inches+ADs- 5 lbs
Adjustable shoulder straps+AKA-
Leak-proof, heat-sealed PEVA

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Watch Our Cooler Backpack Review

What is the Best Cooler Backpack?

The best cooler backpack is comfortable and lightweight enough to carry. There are other features from our guide above which may be of more importance to you and may influence your choice. That is why we prepared the guide. Below are our top five products with their important features. See which one of them meets your requirements.
Our Top Choice
The Igloo MaxCold Cooler Backpack has 25% more foam insulation than average. The top is made of molded EVA foam, which acts as crush-resistant padding, safeguarding the contents. For a cooler backpack with odor and stain-resistant lining and hardware that resists harsh marine conditions, go for the Igloo Marine Ultra Square Coolers.

Igloo MaxCold Cooler Backpack – Available as Backpack or Tote

Igloo started as a small metal works shop in 1947, supplying clean drinking water in safe containers to work sites. Today, its products include ice chests for outdoor parties, camping, road trips and other outdoor activities, and personal coolers for home, school, work or any other personal outing. Its coolers are known for their high insulating power, which keeps your beverages and other items cool for longer periods of time. It’s also known for designing products with functional and elegant designs, ingeniously fusing the two qualities together for the best possible result. Its focus is to add more quality and happiness to customers' lives at costs that won’t break the bank.

The Igloo MaxCold Cooler Backpack is sleek and convenient with unparalleled performance. It's designed to hold your lunch and other fragile items securely, and it’s great for school, play or work. It can be relied upon to keep its contents cold for several hours, while being comfortable and light enough to carry around on your back. Here are some of its features and attractions:
  • Its insulation system is strengthened by an additional 25% of close cell foam
  • The top is molded with EVA foam, which makes it crush-resistant and also contributes to the insulation
  • Mesh side pockets that can hold water cans or any corked container safely
  • Front expandable fasten pocket for additional storage space, so you don’t have to keep opening and closing the main compartment and increasing the temperature on the inside
  • Wide, adjustable and well-padded straps made with comfortable breathable mesh, and an easy grip top handle if you don’t feel like carrying it on your back
  • Leak-proof antimicrobial lining
  • Super lightweight at 1.25 pounds
  • Easy to clean and maintain; spot cleaning with a damp towel is recommended
This cooler backpack is covered by the manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty and also comes as a tote (if that interests you)
Best Value
The Picnic Time "Zuma" Cooler Backpack has a dual compartment specifically designed for storing clothes and towels in one and food and beverages in the other. This provides an efficient way to keep your things organized even while on the move. If you prefer a larger cooler backpack with vibrant patterns and colors, check out the Picnic Time "Pismo" Insulated Cooler Backpack.

Picnic Time "Zuma" Insulated Cooler Backpack – Available in Black, Blue or Red

Picnic Time’s successes and achievements in the industry are fueled by the need to ensure customer satisfaction and continued patronage. Its products are designed to fulfill the needs of customers and then some by offering a wide range of services and quality at reasonable prices. Picnic Time was established in 1982, and now has several bestselling brands under its umbrella, including the popular Oniva brand of products. Whatever your picnic needs are, you’re sure to find them with this company.

The Picnic Time "Zuma" Cooler Backpack is a product of the Oniva brand of Picnic Time. It’s a lightweight cooler backpack with dual compartment design. Its top part is made with mesh fabric, and has a drawstring and flap closing system so you can pack clothes, towels and other personal effects that need breathable storage to prevent odor and mildew growth. Because it fuses two different functions into one, it is extremely handy gear for those who enjoy traveling light. You can also embark on road trips, picnics, hikes, work and any other outdoor activity with this backpack. The material ensures that it doesn’t weigh you down even when packed to capacity.

Some of its notable features include the following:
  • Lower compartment is zippered and fitted with ThermoGuard insulation material to keep contents warm or cold for as long as needed
  • Lining is heat-sealed and water-resistant, which helps to guard against leakages
  • Comes with adjustable, well-padded mesh straps so you can carry it comfortably on your back, hands-free
  • Small, specially built front pocket on the right strap for holding your mobile phone or any other media device
  • Features a pair of large, zippered pockets, and another pair of mesh beverage pockets for expanded storage and easy access to often-used items
  • Bottom cooler section can hold a 12-pack or 20 12-ounce cans
  • Made with a durable, reliable and cool 600D polyester material
  • Fully covered by the manufacturer’s Built to Last Lifetime guarantee
This cooler backpack is available in three cool colors, so if you don’t like the blue one, you can simple go for a black or red color.
The Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Cooler Backpack has a food grade, FDA-approved Dura-Temp lining that is easy to clean and both leak- and sweat-proof. It holds ice for up to 24 hours. If you want a high-end, UV and water-resistant cooler backpack, try the Polar Bear Eclipse UV-Resistant Cooler.

Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Series Cooler Backpack – Available in 7 Colors and 4 Designs

Polar Bear Coolers keeps true to its name with one of the best insulation systems in the industry. It uses high-quality and technologically engineered materials to ensure its products live up to (and thoroughly exceed) every expectation. Since there’s no quality and safety compromise with this brand, its products feature food-grade linings and excellent hardware that helps provide safety and durability. It has a wide range of products that are built to last, with classy designs and cool accessories that make you feel totally “cool” and ready for the world when using them.

The Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Cooler Backpack is designed for looks, durability and top-notch performance. It’s built for long-term, everyday use, and can withstand lots of rough and hard handling without showing signs of wear or tear. Its exterior is well-made to complement your lifestyle. It stores away easily, as it can be compressed to just half its original size. Here are some of its distinguishing features and add-ons:
  • Exterior made with UV840 denier nylon covered with a TPE coating. This nylon material is the toughest of its kind and improves the backpack's longevity
  • Specialized high-density, one-inch-thick, open cell foam with air-trap and five-layer design foams the core of the insulation system. It can keep ice for up to 24 hours in 100-degree Fahrenheit external temperatures
  • Weatherized, heavy-duty YKK #10 zipper is built for tough and rough usage. Its patent-pending sew design allows you to use it without it unraveling in your hands
  • Comes with a bottle opener built into the zipper so you don’t have to worry about forgetting your can opener and trying to improvise
  • Food grade, FDA-approved liner is leak- and sweat-proof and also extremely easy to clean without leaving spots
  • Zippered side pocket that provides additional storage for quick access of items that you use often
  • Heavily padded straps for extra comfort hands-free handling, and easy-grip, wraparound carrying handle with Velcro closure
  • Side release buckles give additional space to the main compartment if needed
  • Comes with a one-year product limited warranty
Don’t like the black color? Don’t worry because this cooler backpack comes in 7 vibrant colors, ranging from duck blind to green to red. You can also get it in 4 different sizes.
The Picnic at Ascot Diamond Collection Cooler Backpack features a fully insulated main compartment that holds in the temperature for a long time. It has a 22-can capacity. For a deluxe cooler backpack with plates and cutlery included, see the Picnic at Ascot Deluxe Equipped 2 Person Picnic Backpack with Cooler.

Picnic at Ascot Diamond Collection Cooler Backpack – Available in 8 Colors

With its functional products and elegant designs, Picnic at Ascot has redefined the way Americans enjoy the great outdoors. It has successfully fused the muted elegance of the English with the unbridled adventurous spirit of the American to produce exceptional and top-performing items. Its products can only be found at selected retailers with an eye for quality, and you’re guaranteed complete value for your money with anything from this brand. It designs innovative products that will contribute to your boundless enjoyment of the outdoors by offering the convenience of modern-day living.

The Picnic at Ascot Diamond Collection Cooler Backpack is well-designed for work, play, hikes, camping, picnics, road trips and any other activity that requires packing lunch. It features sturdy and clean craftsmanship, with a lovely diamond design and sharp color combination. Some of its other notable features are outlined below:
  • Large and roomy main compartment fully insulated and zippered to keep contents cold for hours
  • Main compartment flap with inner, zippered mesh pocket where you can keep smaller and fragile food items like energy bars and candies for easy access. It also has an exterior, small zippered pocket
  • Buckled front pocket for expanded storage can hold some personal effects so you can get to them quickly
  • Two side pockets with drawstring closure for holding water flasks
  • Fully adjustable and sturdy straps well-padded for comfortable, hands-free carrying
  • Heat-sealed, durable, leak proof lining that holds in the cold in the main compartment for longer
  • Made from highly durable 600D polyester denier canvas material that is tough, reliable and lightweight, weighing just one pound
  • Main compartment has a 22-can capacity, which is large enough for a full-fledged family picnic
  • Two-year full replacement warranty
If the orange/navy color is not your thing, go ahead and choose between 8 cool color option.
The OAGear Ultimate Backpack Cooler is more affordable than others in the same category. It has a PEVA heavy-duty heat-sealed lining that keeps contents cold or warm for longer. For a smaller cooler backpack with two mesh side pockets and a front zippered pocket, get the OAGear Backpack Cooler.

OAGear Ultimate Backpack Cooler – Available in Royal Blue or Grey

It can be difficult to have an affordable and quality outdoor activity. You’re most likely going to face the challenge of tearing a hole in your pocket or making do with shabby gear that will end up spoiling your day. OAGear ensures you get quality, high-performing outdoor gear at affordable costs. Its product line is built to last, and has all you’ll ever need for any kind of outdoor camping or activity.

Available in two cool colors, the OAGear Ultimate Backpack Cooler is a sleek and elegant pack that seamlessly combines beauty and functionality. It’s designed for durability and comfort while serving its purpose beautifully. Its size makes it ideal for any outdoor activity, and the material won't add extra weight on your back. Here’s a list of features that makes it unique:
  • Well-padded and heavy-duty back and straps let you carry your gear hands-free
  • Exterior is made of a tough, durable, 600D polyester fabric with rip-resistant design
  • Fully insulated interior that keeps your food and drinks cold for 12+ hours, with a boarded bottom for improved performance
  • Inner lining made from heavy-duty PEVA material, heat-sealed to prevent leaks and hold in the temperature for longer
  • Zippered main large compartment with 20-can capacity plus a medium sized ice pack
  • Large front slip pocket that's flush with the main compartment and two roomy, zippered side pockets with outer mesh design
  • Top easy-grip padded handle

How Do I Choose the Best Cooler Backpack?

Are you to take your spouse on a picnic? How about a hiking trip with a few friends, or even a fishing trip? Maybe it’s a beach outing that you are putting together. Whatever you decide to do, there is usually the need to take some chilled drinks along. What is the fun in an outdoor activity in summer without some cold drinks? The first option that comes to mind is taking a portable cooler along with you, but if you're hiking on a trail that requires some climbing, hauling a cooler along with you is tedious. What is the best solution? A cooler backpack! It is almost like your regular hiking backpack, but it's insulated and ensures that your drinks or food will stay cool for a record time. Do you know that some cooler backpacks come with a few pockets that make it possible to put in other items that you need for hiking? That means that you may only need to have your hiking pole in your hands while everything else is in your backpack. Amazing, right?

There are several factors to consider when buying a cooler backpack. How many people are you planning for? This will help you know the capacity you need your cooler to have. What location will you be needing it for? This will help you determine the comfort level you need. Who'll be carrying the backpack? This will help you determine the weight of the cooler backpack, both loaded and unloaded. What is the temperature of the location you are going to? We know that ambient temperature affects how long the cooler can retain ice.
Just as there are different types of cooler backpacks with different features, so are there different prices attached to them. The different features either increase or lower the price of these cooler backpacks. When budgeting for your cooler backpack, you need to consider this factor.Buying the best cooler backpack can be a little stressful if you don’t have an idea of what it will cost. A good quality cooler backpack will be in the price range of $30 to $100.

There are cheaper backpacks, but they are mostly lacking in some important features, such as being waterproof. We ignored these cheap cooler backpacks and chose to go with those we trust to be of high quality.
With the understanding you now have regarding cooler backpacks and the factors you have to consider before buying one, it’s time to consider the features that an ideal cooler backpack should have. Then you can decide on what features are important to you and which ones you cannot compromise on for your coolers. Those features may include:
  • Insulation
  • Weight
  • Leakproofing
  • Compartments or pockets
  • Thermoregulation
  • Dimensions
  • Padded shoulder and waist straps
  • Capacity
  • Material
  • Color
  • Weight distribution
  • Comfort
If you read further down, you will get a better understanding of these features, what they imply, and how they should influence your choice of a cooler backpack.
Construction and Design
The difference between a backpack and a cooler backpack is the cooling function. If a cooler backpack is not insulated, it is only as good as any regular backpack out there. Check how thick the foam padding is, as this affects how long the cooler can retain ice.

Since this is something you will be carrying for a distance loaded with items, consider its overall weight. If it is too heavy for you to carry, then,the aim of using it to replace the inconvenience associated with a regular cooler is defeated. There is no use purchasing a cooler backpack that you will carry as though you are hauling an ice chest. Know the dimensions of your cooler backpack, so that you don’t purchase one that is bigger than its carrier.

One of the reasons to get a backpack is because you want it to be your one-stop bag for every item you take along for a trip or outing. If you have a cooler backpack and still need to carry another bag, the aim is defeated. The number of pockets and their sizes must be considered before deciding on a cooler backpack.

Cooler backpacks are made from different materials, including polyester, nylon, polycanvas, and PVC. Some materials are more durable and tougher than others; for instance, polyester and nylon are durable and long-lasting.

If you can get your ideal cooler backpack in a color and design that you love, why not go for it? See what colors your cooler of choice has available and get one that appeals to you. No one says you cannot be a head turner while sporting your beautiful cooler backpack.
Performance and Ease of Use
Let’s say your bag contains your passports, cheese, some clothing and some documents, and you have packed them in one compartment. If your cooler backpack is not leak-proof, all these items will be ruined. Consider how leak-proof or waterproof your cooler backpack is. Some cooler backpacks have drain pipes to help evacuate water after ice melts.

When you know the number of people you are likely to go on a trip with, it will help you to know the capacity your cooler backpack should have. Some have a 22-can capacity; others hold 18 or 20 cans. Check the capacity before making your purchase.

If you get a cooler backpack that puts the weight of the items on one side, you will be discouraged from going on long hikes with it because it will be uncomfortable for you to carry for any distance. Look for a cooler backpack that distributes the weight of its contents evenly. That will make it more comfortable to carry for long distances.

An ideal back strap should have adjustable, padded shoulder and waist straps. This allows you to carry it for long periods if you wish, without hurting your shoulders. Some cooler backpacks come with hip belts instead of waist straps. Check that the pack is comfortable enough for you to carry for a considerable length of time.

Get the Best Cooler Backpack of 2022!

The aim of this review and buying guide is to make the process of choosing the right cooler backpack a lot easier for you. We hope we achieved our aim. All you need to do now is select the cooler backpack that meets your specifications and make your purchase. Thank you for reading.

Our Top Choice
Igloo MaxCold Cooler Backpack
Best Value
Picnic Time "Zuma" Cooler Backpack
Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Cooler Backpack
Picnic at Ascot Diamond Series Cooler Backpack
OAGear Ultimate Backpack Cooler