Whether you are going down to the beach to enjoy a day under the sun, or to the park to reconnect with nature, or going on an adventurous hike at your nearest mountain trail, having a backpack cooler will make your whole journey a lot less cumbersome. That is not to say that hard coolers are a bad choice by any means. They do an excellent job of keeping your food and drinks cold even after hours of being exposed to bright sunlight. However, the biggest issue with hard coolers is their wheels. Hard cooler wheels are not very adept at dealing with difficult terrains like sand, snow, or rocky areas. That is why we prefer to use backpack coolers instead.
Backpack coolers, as the name suggests, are coolers that come in the style of backpacks. In other words, all you need to do to carry them is just put them around your shoulders, and you are good to go. This means that, unlike traditional coolers, your hands will be free from having to carry the cooler all day. However, there is one thing you should also note – backpack coolers can put a lot of strain on your back depending on how much weight you are carrying. Hence, there are pros and cons to using both type of coolers. With all that said, let’s take a look at some of the best backpack coolers that you can take to the beach.
Our Top 10 Picks for the Best Backpack Coolers for Beach
If you check online or go visit your local outdoor shop, you will find many different kinds of backpack coolers. But which ones are worth getting? How can you know? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Let’s start by first taking a look at some of the best backpack coolers that you can take to the beach.
For our first pick, we have the excellent Everfun Leakproof Insulated Cooler Backpack. It checks all of the boxes that you would require in a backpack cooler. Not only that, but it also comes with a few neat little extra features that are bound to put a smile on your face.
This backpack has an oxford fabric exterior and polyethylene foam insulated liner that is antimicrobial, leak-resistant, and easy to clean. The main cooler compartment is spacious enough to accommodate 30 beverage cans, with two front zip-closure pockets, a front elastic band, one side mesh pocket, and a side zip-closure pocket for your EDC items. Moreover, the thickened foam insulation will keep your food and drinks cool or warm, preserving your desired temperature for 20 hours. Other than that, it also has a top insulated pocket that is perfect for your dry snack bag and a removable bottle opener for opening beer bottles. However, what we appreciated most about the Everfun Leakproof Insulated Cooler Backpack is how easy it is to carry. You can fold this cooler down to a very compact form factor that you can store in your car’s trunk, luggage, or any other place. Plus, the waterproofing and anti-leak features make this cooler backpack extremely reliable.
All in all, we absolutely loved the Everfun Leakproof Insulated Cooler Backpack. This backpack has everything we hoped for and more. That is why it is quite safe to say that the Everfun Leakproof Insulated Cooler Backpack is the best leakproof insulated cooler backpack we have used so far!
What can we say about YETI that has not already been said yet? It is one of the most prestigious brands that is revered by the outdoor community. And when a brand has that much faith, it is important that they maintain a standard of quality. Well, during our time with the YETI Hopper Soft Sided Backpack Cooler, we realized that it does not maintain that standard. Rather, this backpack cooler goes far beyond it and is easily one of the best backpack coolers for the beach that we used.
Let’s start this product description with YETI’s most innovative feature – MagShield Access. This facet of the YETI Hopper Soft Sided Backpack Cooler comprises of powerful magnets that are used to create an ultra leak-resistant closure system that stays open when you need it and can be closed with a gentle push. The outer shell of this cooler is made from a high-density fabric that YETI likes to call DryHide Shell. This material is capable of withstanding punctures and UV rays. Whereas the inner shell is made from closed-cell foam with excellent insulation. You can easily carry 18 cans of your favorite drink in this cooler without any issue. Moreover, it comes with a Hitchpoint Grid which allows the user to securely attach their SideKick Dry Gear Case, YETI Molle Bottle Opener, Molle Zinger, or other multitools.
We really enjoyed our time with the YETI Hopper Soft Sided Backpack Cooler. It is feature-packed and has excellent ice retention. Overall, there is no doubt that YETI has created one of the best insulated cooler backpacks on the market.
Hydro Flask is a brand that outshines its rivals because of the sheer hype that surrounds it. Outdoor enthusiasts are crazy about Hydro Flask products. And this hype is definitely justified given how good they are for every day use.
The first thing you will notice about the Hydro Flask Day Escape Soft Cooler is that it looks more like a bag than a backpack. But in practice, you can actually use it either like a tote bag, a carry bag, or a backpack. This cooler comes in three available sizes and colors. You can choose between an 18 liter, 20 liter, or 26 liter variant and three colors. The Hydro Flask Day Escape Soft Cooler is equipped with a watertight zipper and welded seams that prevent any leaks. It is constructed out of a durable 600D polyester shell, which makes it both lightweight and waterproof. Also, the laser-cut welded gear attachment loops are excellent for all your extra add-ons, and the woven loops easily attach Hydro Flask Dry Storage accessories. This backpack is capable of fitting 24 cans without ice and is free of any BPA or toxins.
The Hydro Flask Day Escape Soft Cooler is a great backpack to take with you on your beach trips as it can retain its cool interior temperature for up to 36 hours. And given how many ways you can carry it around, the Hydro Flask Day Escape Soft Cooler provides excellent versatility and comfort.
The TOURIT Cooler Backpack is one of the best-selling products from the brand. Everyone who has used it has sung nothing but praises for it. But what makes it stand out among the rest? Well, you are about to find out.
The TOURIT Cooler Backpack looks like a true backpack that consists of one main storage section that can hold up to 30 cans, and several other extra compartments like 2 side mesh pockets, 2 large front zipper pockets to keep utensils, 1 zipper pocket on the lid, 1 mesh pocket and 1 beer opener on the strap. For most people, this much storage should be enough. Moreover, this backpack is made from 600D Oxford high-density foam with a leakproof liner. The insulation capabilities of this backpack allow you to keep your food and drinks as hot or cold as you want for 16 hours straight. On top of that, not only is this cooler very stylish, but it also comes with comfortable padded straps for those long hikes.
What’s interesting about the TOURIT Cooler Backpack is that you can actually use it like a regular backpack without any issue. However, you should also be aware that you should not put ice directly inside the bag as it can compromise the waterproofing material inside it. But other than that, the TOURIT Cooler Backpack definitely has the features and build quality to make it one of the best coolers for the beach.
If you are looking for a backpack cooler with great ice retention, then we recommend that you check out the ICEMULE Boss Backpack Cooler. From our testing, the ice retention capability of this cooler can last for over a day with ease. However, that does not mean that it compromises on other aspects.
At a glance, it might seem like the ICEMULE Boss Backpack Cooler looks bulky. But that is not the case at all. The backpack is incredibly easy to carry as it has very comfy padded shoulder and waist straps. As for the construction material, this backpack cooler uses ICEMULE’s proprietary MuleSkin Fabric on the exterior and the interior is made using PolarLayer Insulation. This ensures that the fabric is strong and has superior ice retention that can maintain the inner temperature of the backpack for more than 24 hours. The ICEMULE Boss Backpack Cooler can hold up to 24 cans of your favorite beverage. Furthermore, the welded seams and PakShield top zipper closure make this cooler 100% waterproof, However, what’s interesting is that this backpack has an additional feature called IM AirValve which allows it to float on water.
We know that there are other coolers that can retain its cool interior temperature much longer, but when compared with everything else, they usually come up short. Overall, the ICEMULE Boss Backpack Cooler is an exceptionally well-designed product that is guaranteed to keep the contents of your backpack nice and cool for a really long time. And it is because of its features that we can claim that the ICEMULE Boss Backpack Cooler is one of the best coolers for the beach.
If storage is your main priority when picking up a backpack cooler, then the Everlasting Comfort Insulated Cooler Backpack is an excellent option to consider. And at such a competitive price point, we are sure that a lot of people would be automatically drawn to this cooler.
While most backpack coolers can accommodate around 24 to 28 cans, the Everlasting Comfort Insulated Cooler Backpack can hold up to 36 twelve-ounce cans while still having enough space for you to put in ice. In addition, there are four side pockets with bottle covers that can hold four full bottles of wine, and a roomy front pocket for all your accessories like phones, keys, wallets, etc. Besides the ample amount of storage, this cooler has a lot more to offer. It can keep your food and drinks cool for an entire day, if not more. You also don’t have to worry about any leaks as the backpack is secured with a leakproof hard liner as well as waterproof zippers. In addition, its padded adjustable shoulder straps and carrying handle makes it very convenient to carry around. And to top it all off, this backpack is equipped with reflective strips and a bottle opener.
Everlasting has crafted something truly exceptional. There aren’t many coolers that are spacious on the inside while also giving the user plenty of storage compartments. Thus, you can use the Everlasting Comfort Insulated Cooler Backpack to carry a large portion of your essentials on your day out to the beach.
While most backpack coolers only come in one or two very specific colors, the SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack comes in 6 different colors. So, you can pick out your favorite one from the list. And with all of its excellent features, we highly recommend you to atleast check out this backpack. Not convinced? Let’s see if we can change your mind.
You can fit 25 cans inside of this backpack quite easily. And the interior is kept at an optimal temperature primarily due to the thick insulation foam and leakproof PEVA liner. Furthermore, the exterior is made from heavy-duty nylon, which will not rip, tear, or get scratched up, while still being quite lightweight. The shoulder straps are padded and fully adjustable, ensuring comfort and convenience. As for storage, you will find one large cooler as the main compartment, two side mesh pockets, one large front zipper pocket along with a divider to keep utensils, and one internal mesh pocket on the lid. Lastly, there is also a bottle opener and two D-shaped hooks for attachment.
The great thing about the SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack is that it is quite versatile. Whether you are going to the beach, on a hike, or just going to work, the SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack can be a great companion.
Although the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler is not your typical backpack-style cooler, it is still worth mentioning because of how amazing it is. This cooler comes in a variety of sizes which include 9-can, 16-can, 30-can, and 48-can variants. In addition, you can get this cooler in either dark blue, blue lagoon, citrus, moss, pine, process blue, or sharkskin grey colors.
A common complaint for most people who use backpack coolers is that a lot of the time, their soft and delicate food becomes squished because of all the cans and ice that are inside it. To avoid this problem, Arctic Zone has come up with an interesting solution. This cooler comes with a dedicated hard shelf so that you can keep your soft items separate from the hard items. You can even remove it from the bag if you need more space. However, the most exceptional feature of the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler is that it can keep your food and drinks cold for two days straight. Besides that, you will find a zipperless lid on the top, a zippered front pocket, and side mesh pockets. Moreover, the cooler is made using 300D poly ripstop with TPE coating, which makes it exceptionally durable. This cooler is also quite convenient to clean as you can just wipe away any residue with a damp cloth. The shoulder strap is another great aspect of this cooler, as it centers the weight perfectly without slipping off.
There is a lot to like about the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler. The variety of colors and storage capacity options gurantees that you can get the one best suited for your needs.
Although the Igloo Reactor Backpack Cooler may look a little boxy to some, we actually like its bold design choice. In most cases, the structure of a backpack cooler somewhat limits what you can and cannot carry. But the Igloo Reactor is compact and spacious enough to carry most of your drinks and food to your favorite spot on the beach.
Its compression molded base provides structure and stability. The zippers are leakproof and waterproof, which means no water can get in or out of the bag. You can rely on this cooler to keep your items nice and cold for up to two days. The exterior is made from nylon, however, it feels a lot more premium because of its abrasion-resistant properties. It can store up to 24 cans of 12 oz. beverages. And with a weight of only 3 pounds, it is quite lightweight too.
For people who are looking to get the most amount of space out of their backpack cooler, then the Igloo Reactor is definitely worth considering. It looks nice, maintains its shape, and is completely leakproof, which makes it ideal for a day or two out on the beach.
This list would be incomplete if we didn’t mention atleast one product from Coleman, the extremely famous outdoor brand that is loved by all. And for our pick, we went with a Coleman product that is very budget-friendly – the Coleman 28 Can Backpack Soft Cooler.
Given how well-designed the backpack is and how aesthetically pleasing it is, we can guarantee that nobody would be able to guess that it is actually a cooler in disguise. It’s easy and comfortable to carry, thanks to its adjustable padded straps. The main compartment keeps the contents inside of it cool for approximately 12 hours and prevents leaks thanks to its heat-welded seams. In addition, there is a large front pocket that you can access at any time and side mesh pockets. While we were testing it, we found out that we could store 28 cans inside of this backpack cooler. Lastly, the exterior fabric is made from recycled polyester fibers, which should come as good news to environmentalists.
For such an inexpensive cooler, we were expecting to make a lot more compromises. However, that was not the case at all. Coleman really delivered with this backpack cooler and we were really impressed at how good it is at this price point.
How to Select the Best Backpack Coolers for the Beach?
If none of our recommendations really caught your eye and you want to do your own research, then here are some key aspects that you should keep in mind during your search.
The most important aspect to consider when buying a backpack cooler is how good is its insulation capability. Typically, a backpack cooler can retain the temperature inside of it from anywhere between 16 hours to a couple of days. But if you want to get a cooler with longer temperature retention, then you can expect to pay a premium price for it as the insulation is directly proportional to price.
As you will be carrying this cooler on your back, how comfortable it is to move around with it is a very important factor. The comfort of a backpack cooler is determined by the level of padding the shoulder straps have. You should consider for how long you will be carrying it on a regular basis. If you are going on an extended hike that spans across a few days, then you should make sure that your backpack is equipped with double padded shoulder straps. But if you are just going to the beach in your car and only need a place to store your cold beers, then comfort should not be that big of a deal to you.
Whether you are going to the beach by yourself or with a group in tow, will significantly impact your decision on how much storage your will need. If you bring a backpack cooler that can only store enough drinks and food for two people, whereas you are going as a group of four, this could potentially lead to a disaster. Hence, check the storage capacity of your cooler, which you can gauge from how many liters it can accommodate. The storage usually ranges from 16 liters to 64 liters. For solo trips, a 16-liter cooler should suffice, but for a group trip with four people, you should consider getting a 64-liter cooler.
Although this may not seem very significant to a lot of people, having extra pockets in your cooler can come in very handy. Think of it this way, if you are carrying a backpack cooler, then you won’t be able to carry a traditional backpack. Hence, if you need to store things other than your frozen food and beverages, you must have additional compartments on your cooler to compensate for the lack of a regular backpack. But at the end of the day, it really comes down to you whether you want extra pockets or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will water leak out if the ice inside the cooler melts?
Unless the product description specifically mentions that water won’t leak out of the cooler, there is always a chance that a leakage could occur. You can also check for features like watertight zippers and sealed seams.
Q: Can you put dry ice inside of a backpack cooler?
It’s not a good idea to put dry ice inside of a backpack cooler. That is because most backpack coolers are soft coolers which are made from highly flexible materials. Hence, you should avoid putting dry ice inside of soft coolers because it could damage the interior and insulation system.
Q: How do you keep a backpack cooler cold for as long as possible?
There are several methods you can use to keep your backpack cooler cold for longer. Here are a few tricks that work best for us:
- Pack it with pre-chilled food and drinks.
- Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best ice-to-goods ratio.
- Use ice blocks or packs as your primary cooling component, then fill the spaces with ice cubes.
- Chill your backpack cooler in the freezer before loading it up.
Q: How should you clean and store your backpack cooler?
You can clean your backpack cooler by simply rinsing and drying it. However, if the interior of your cooler is a lot dirtier than you expected, then after you have cleaned it with water and soap, you can also use disinfectant wipes to scrub out any excess residue that may be present before rinsing it one more time.
Having a cold drink to sip on while you sit by the beach is one of those picturesque scenarios that everyone dreams of. And to make that dream a reality, we present to you ten of the best backpack coolers that money can buy. We have handpicked each of these products after extensively trying and testing them out. And hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as we loved reviewing them.