The best backpack coolers

Enjoy an icy beverage in the wilderness with the best backpack coolers

best backpack coolers dakine party pack
When you’re camping in the woods — soaking up the scenery and spending time with friends — there’s no better way to celebrate the natural beauty around you than with an ice cold beverage. Unfortunately, transporting these frosty beverages to remote locations can be a bit tricky. If you’re car camping — or in an RV or camper van — bringing along a portable fridge or traditional cooler is likely your best bet.

However, toting a massive cooler around is only feasible if you’re hauling it a few yards down a trail or over to a picnic table. If you want to trek further into the wilderness or take a short day hike, a traditional cooler won’t cut it. Even for a day spent at the lake or riverside, no one wants to be the one stuck dragging a cumbersome ice chest, accumulating an unnecessary amount of strain on their shoulders and neck.

This is exactly why backpack coolers are often the way to go. They’re portable, convenient, and work just as well to chill any beverage of choice. If you’re unfamiliar, we’ve rounded up the best backpack coolers on the market, built to keep your camping food cold and your drinks even colder.

Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack

best backpack coolers hydro flask unbound lifestyle

Hydroflask’s new 22L Unbound Series soft cooler backpack keeps meat cold and beers frosty for two full days via the company’s TempShield insulation. The intentionally placed cooling system uses Advanced Thermal Mapping with Ultralon Buoyancy Foam to maintain arctic cold temps where it’s needed most and to shed bulk where it’s not. The result is a lightweight pack that gets the job done without being too big or heavy.

The backpack’s 820D scratch-resistant, press-molded base is contoured and rigid, allowing it to stand upright when you’re not wearing it. Available in black, graphite, storm, and goldenrod, this top-of-the-line pack features dry storage pockets, quick-and-easy access at the top, and welded seams which make it 100 percent waterproof.

Buy it now at:

HydroFlask

ORCA Podster

best backpack coolers orca podster lifestyle

ORCA’s Podster backpack cooler is designed in a simple and convenient 14.25-quart daypack size, making it the perfect choice for day hiking or picnicking. Similar to its big sibling — the 28.5 Realtree Max 5 Pod — the mini-version features comfy padded shoulder straps and a cross-chest T-strap to dial in your fit. With a double TPU exterior and 28 millimeters of thick meta-polymer insulation — combined with a closed cell foam lid — food and drinks stay cold for multiple days with properly packed ice.

The pack is constructed with a high-quality, leakproof zipper and welded like a whitewater raft, making it exceptionally waterproof and durable. To top it off, the Podster wins the fictional “Best Looking Cooler” award with its standout colorways including fuchsia, teal, seafoam, burnt orange, and coral.

Buy it now at:

Amazon Orca

Mountain Khakis Compass

best backpack coolers mountain khakis compass

This rectangular pack from Mountain Khakis is over two feet deep and, at roughly 20 quarts, is able to hold up to 30 dry beers (or about half as much when filled with ice). It features a zippered, water-resistant opening at the top with a snug drawstring inside, adding extra insulation to the 840-denier embossed dobby weave.

Its drop-in liner is fully waterproof and easy to clean while the firm, molded bottom section offers stability and structure so it’s not mushy or shapeless. When open, there’s a handy zipper inside for an ice pack or other smaller items, along with a bottle opener lanyard. Perhaps the best part of this pack, however, is that each individual bag features a handle made from one-of-a-kind, recycled climbing rope for style.

Buy it now at:

Mountain Khakis

Polar Bear Solar Bear Backpack

best backpack coolers polar bear nylon solar

The Solar Bear pack by Polar Bear Coolers is made for very hot, sunny days when you know you’ll be sitting outside for long stretches in the heat. With a robust, 1000-denier nylon outer shell boasting a sun-blocking, UV-Resistant polyurethane coating, the cooler keeps beverages frosty cold and stops ice from melting for over 24 hours — even in 100-plus degree temperatures.

If you plan to walk any sort of distance, the thick, ultra-padded straps provide comfort against your back without chafing your shoulders. The weatherized zippers are constructed with a patent-pending sew design, making it leakproof, sweatproof, and all around badass. As a bonus, the whole thing costs less than $100.

Buy it now at:

Polar Bear

Dakine Party Pack 28-Liter

best backpack coolers dakine party pack lifestyle

As its name suggests, Dakine’s Party Pack is made exclusively for one thing: Outdoor parties. Whether this means game day tailgates, Fourth of July barbecues, summertime boat parties, beach bonfires, or weekend camping trips, this pack is made for the job. In addition to being a backpack cooler, it features compartments, straps, and accessories to help carry everything you need for the party on your back — beverages, blankets, sunglasses, music, sunscreen, and more.

The bottom half works as your standard insulated cooler with a zippered opening and a slender, ice pack-sized mesh pocket. Up top is a dry space for extra clothes or accessories alongside a soft, fleece-lined pocket to protect your sunglasses. Outside, the pack features two fully-insulated beer koozies and straps to secure a throw blanket. There’s even a third koozie on the padded shoulder strap to hold whatever you’re sipping on while you walk, as well as a discreet, built-in bottle opener.

Buy it now at:

Dakine

IceMule Boss

best backpack coolers icemule boss lifestyle

The IceMule Boss is, without a doubt, one of the best backpack coolers on the planet. Offering a comfortable fit without sacrificing top-grade technical features, the Boss has a wide-mouth, Tri-Fold DriTop closure system and hold more than 60 pounds of weight. What makes the pack most unique, however, is IceMule’s patent-pending IM AirValve which lets you pump air into the cooler, creating a fully airtight insulation. That, combined with the pack’s 3-centimeter closed-cell PolarLayer XT insulating foam, means your beverages truly stay ice-cold for days.

Designed for hiking long distances, the pack also features three oversized external pockets. These are also insulated, so you’re able to store extra beverages while also having the option of bringing dry goods along. The backpack features a super comfortable suspension system and is made of MuleSkin fabric, making it waterproof and capable of floating.

Buy it now at:

Amazon IceMule

Outdoors

Columbia’s latest Star Wars jacket will keep you as warm as a Wookiee

Columbia Sportswear introduced a limited edition parka based on the jackets that were worn by the crew that filmed The Empire Strikes Back in 1979 that are sure to be a coveted item for Star Wars fans.
Outdoors

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.
Deals

These Raspberry Pi 3 bundles will cover everyone, from coders to gamers

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a low-budget computing platform capable of doing just about anything. We rounded up a handful of the best Raspberry Pi 3 bundles to get you started on a variety of DIY projects.
Mobile

The best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't rely solely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with one of these weather apps, each of which brings something unique to the table.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Deals

REI slashed the price of the Garmin Fenix 5, but the sale ends today

The Garmin Fenix 5 is a multisport fitness watch, built almost entirely for use with just about any indoor or outdoor activity you can think of. From now until the end of the day on December 1, you can save $150 on a brand new model.
Outdoors

Onak 2.0 is an origami-inspired folding canoe for waterborne adventures

The Onak 2.0 is an origami-inspired folding kayak that measures 15 feet in length when fully assembled, yet can breakdown and be stored in a small, easily transported box making it a great option for apartment dwellers.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Outdoors

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Outdoors

Lime’s dockless electric bikes land in London, but its scooters aren’t allowed

Lime has landed in London with its dockless bikesharing service. The pedal-assisted electric bikes are unlocked via Lime's app and can reach speeds of 15 mph. It plans to have 1,000 bikes on the streets before the end of the year.
Outdoors

Forget pumps. This innovative filter purifies H2O in 8 seconds flat

The Grayl Geopress water purification system removes more than 99 percent of all bacteria, cysts, and viruses from water in just eight seconds, providing clean drinking water to travelers and outdoor adventurers.
Outdoors

Built to take a beating and still perform, these are the best hiking watches

A proper hiking watch should track exercise metrics and act as a navigational co-pilot during any kind of hike. Ideally, it'll even have a built-in GPS system and sensors. Here are five of the best hiking watches.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

Conquer the cold season with the best heated clothing and outdoor apparel

If you're thinking about going outside this winter, heated apparel is a must. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best heated clothing, whether you're looking for battery-powered gloves or heated insoles.