Backpack coolers are the perfect summer companion.
Think about it: they’re built with the cold-trapping properties that keep your drinks frosty for hours at a time, but they’re also designed to be a backpack you can easily sling on your back at a moment’s notice.
They’re honestly the perfect blend of convenience and versatility. All you’ve got to do is fill them with your favorite bevvies and you’re ready for any summer beach, lake, river, or camping trip. Heck, you can even hoof them up a mountain and enjoy a cold one with a spectacular view.
Check out our list of the best cooler backpacks below. I guarantee one of them will be sized just right to serve your needs to perfection, giving you an easy, comfortable way to make sure you’ve always got a drink close at hand.
No one does cooling like YETI. Their travel mugs are my all-time favorite for keeping my iced coffee frosty and my cappuccinos piping hot. So when I saw they released a backpack cooler sized to fit 18 cans (plus ice!), I knew I had to get my hands on one. Money well spent, I promise.
This soft backpack is incredibly comfortable, with an ergonomic design and well-padded shoulder straps that I’ve literally hauled for 2+ hours with no discomfort or shoulder strain. The interior features ColdCell Insulation (closed cell technology) that guarantees not a wisp of cold air can escape, and it’s sealed using a special magnetic closure system that snaps open easily but seals the backpack airtight. Add to that a UV, puncture, and scuff-resistant exterior made from DryHide high-density nylon, and it’s a durable solution that can withstand hardcore hikes, treks, mountain climbs, and my weekly kayaking adventures.
The IceMule cooler is designed to be your constant companion no matter how far out into the wild you venture or how tough the terrain. The cooling container is built into a waterproof, ultra-rugged backpack, which features MOLLE webbing to allow you to customize what you carry, three insulated cargo pockets, industrial clip points, a hyper-tough MuleSkin exterior, and double-padded, mesh-backed straps. Add to that a cooler bag of your desired size—IceMule offers from 9 to 20 liters—and you’ve got the perfect recipe for summer relaxation. The cooler bags are capable of keeping your food cold and ice frozen for up to two days.
What makes this Igloo cooler backpack worth including on our list? Definitely its 24-can capacity, the built-in bottle opener, the included storage pocket, the adjustable and ultra-comfortable straps, and its waterproof design. But it’s also one of the most affordable options on our list, too, and backed by the quality manufacturing that makes Igloo one of the best-known names in the cooler game.
The backpack itself weighs just over two pounds, and is just 19 inches tall—small enough to fit into your car trunk or any corner of your RV or truck bed. It’s beautifully tough and even includes extra space to carry other picnic and camping supplies. Thanks to the addition of the top grab handles and quick-grab side handles (on top of the standard backpack straps), you can always find the easiest, most comfortable way to carry it.
You won’t find many bags as versatile as this Pelican backpack cooler, the ideal companion for an overnight or day-long adventure. The dedicated cooler compartment at the bottom can store up to 6 cans, and features both a closed-cell insulated wall and waterproof/leakproof design. The compression molded base ensures it can stand up on its own even when empty, making it easy to add in the extra supplies—snacks, water, chips, even a rolled-up blanket—into the upper compartment via the wide roll-top opening. The puncture-resistant material is more than capable of keeping up with any outdoor adventure, and will give you many happy years of use.
REI is a brand best-known for its adventure-ready gear, not just clothing, but also bags and backpacks like this amazing cooler backpack. Sized to hold 12 cans plus six ounces of ice, it’ll keep its chill for up to 40 hours in its removable (and easily washed) cooler insert. The backpack itself can hold up to 31.5 liters, more than space enough for all your clothes, gear, and food for an overnight jaunt into the wilderness or a long-distance backpacking trip. Weighing less than 3 pounds, it’s made using recycled materials that meet the BlueSign criteria, so it’s as eco-friendly as you are.
Wear this cooler bag like a backpack or carry it by the handles—however you transport it, rest assured that it’s got the chilling under control. It comes in three sizes (24, 30, and 42 cans), both in bag and wheeled cooler style, so it offers versatility as well as reliability. The welded construction won’t break, tear, or leak, and the premium insulation offers an excellent 34 hours of cooling capacity. And if you ever need more carrying space, the bungee straps integrated into the bag’s top makes it easy to strap additional supplies onto the pack. Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to pack a bottle opener, because it comes with one built right into the straps!
With this backpack on your back, you can take the perfect picnic literally anywhere! It’s sized to fit 32 cans in its airtight, leakproof, and waterproof cooling compartment, which will keep your drinks cold for a full 24 hours (and then some!). The attached carabiner doubles as a clip for your keys and a bottle opener. Thanks to the air mesh-padded straps, the bag will be comfortable on your shoulders all day long. It’s also designed for extra carrying capacity, with a drawcord closure that can expand in order to accommodate additional gear—perfect for packing a blanket or sheet to put down on the ground to enjoy your outdoor feast.
It may look like a bucket on a pair of backpack straps, but the BruMate Backtap is so much more! It’s really the ultimate cooling solution, featuring a stainless steel interior lining that locks in the chill for a full day and a tap that makes it easy to dispense your favorite alcoholic brew on the go. It can hold 3 gallons of liquid (if you want to make “jungle juice” or margaritas for your trip), or it’s capable of storing 5 bottles of wine, 12 standard cans, or 14 slim cans, plus enough ice to keep everything frosty. Backed by a 5-year warranty, it’s one of the toughest, most durable cooler backpacks on our list—and it makes drinking while you hike, walk, row, or sail a breeze.
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