The Best Backpack Coolers to Instantly Upgrade Your Summer

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The Best Backpack Coolers to Instantly Upgrade Your Summer

If you make one purchase this summer, it should be a backpack cooler. This genius invention is perfect for any and all types of picnics, whether you're hanging in the park, relaxing on the beach, or taking a breather atop a peak. It allows you to go anywhere and easily bring your chilled food and beverages with you — not to mention giving you a safe place to store your keys, wallet, and phone. Plus, with weight evenly distributed between two straps, there is no easier or more comfortable way to transport your goods. That's why we've rounded up the eight best backpack coolers that you'll want to use all season long.

1. Polar Bear Original Backpack Soft Side Cooler, $149.89

This Polar Bear backpack is the real deal. Thanks to a puncture-resistant, coated nylon liner, it offers superior insulation that keeps ice frozen for over 24 hours in 100-degree heat, yet it doesn't leak or sweat one bit. Adjustable shoulder straps and a two-inch-thick padded backrest make it exceptionally comfortable, while exterior pockets provide convenient space for water bottles and dry snacks.

2. Igloo Marine Ultra Switch Convertible 28-Can Backpack, $53.99

There are two ways to carry this versatile Igloo cooler. It functions as both a backpack and a tote since the zippered back pocket can stow away the backpack straps. No matter which way you want to use it, the bag is extremely lightweight at just 2.38 pounds and can still fit up to 32 cans.

3. IceMule Pro Large, $114.95

Ideal for a day on the boat, this Icemule backpack is made of a slick, proprietary fabric that is completely waterproof. By ditching leaky zippers in favor of welded seams and a roll-top construction, the brand has created a cooler that can literally float in the water with you. Its ice retention exceeds 24 hours, so items will stay cool all day long. When empty, the entire bag rolls up neatly for minimal storage.

4. Hydro Flask 22L Insulated Soft Cooler Pack, $199.95

Tremendously lightweight for its size at 3.2 pounds, this structured Hydro Flask eliminates the bulk typically associated with a large cooler backpack. It's quite accessible, as well, with a wide mouth, hinged top that makes for easy packing, unpacking, and cleaning. The 22-liter size has plenty of room for an entire al fresco meal.

5. OtterBox Trooper LT30 Soft Cooler, $254.99

Though it's funky in shape, this OtterBox cooler is no joke. It has the longest ice retention of all the products on this list, with the ability to keep ice frozen for over three days. A heavy-duty base protects the bag and its contents, while Duraflex tie-downs keep everything secure. It's also convertible from a backpack to a tote and has a wide opening for easy access — seems like the perfect choice for camping weekends.

6. Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 Soft Cooler, $299.99

Yeti is famous for its preeminent coolers (and high prices) and this backpack iteration is no exception. It has a tough DryHide shell that's waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays, along with ColdCell insulation and leakproof HydroLok zippers. Ergonomically engineered to efficiently distribute weight, it makes carrying 20 cans of beer feel manageable.

7. Corkcicle Brantley Backpack, $129.95

Chic and compact, you'd never know this Corkcicle backpack is actually a cooler. Its sleek design gives a fashionable, back-to-school vibe, but it can hold and chill up to 24 cans. Padded, adjustable shoulder straps, expandable bottle sleeves, and an accessory pocket complete the product.

8. Tourit Terns Insulated Backpack, $39.99

Another stylish option, this Tourit backpack is also inconspicuously a cooler. The exterior is outfitted with two bottle holders, a phone-sized mesh pocket, and a bottle opener on one strap. The interior is leakproof and insulated for 16 hours of chill. Plus, at 1.6 pounds, it's the lightest bag on the list.


Morgan Goldberg is a writer based in Los Angeles. She likes pasta, hiking, and crossword puzzles.

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