There is a type of backpack for pretty much any situation. Everyone has at least one backpack at home but there is no universal type that serves all purposes. For just commuting around the city, a simple laptop backpack is enough but for traveling, we have a whole different category. People that like walking on foot or spending time outdoors in the wilderness, need something tailored for this type of situations. For warm weather, backpack coolers are probably the best bet due to their functionality.
A decently made backpack cooler can be used for almost any situation in which something needs to be transported while preserving it at a low temperature. We are talking about things such as bottles with liquids and even food. For example, a backpack cooler can be a great companion for a day at the beach or taking a hike during a hot summer day. The way they work is fairly simple.
In order to maintain a low temperature inside, the backpack has multiple insulating walls. A good practice is to leave the backpack opened in a cool room in order to ensure that the internal temperature is low before storing a drink inside. This ensures that the thermal difference and transfer between the liquid and the backpack will not be too noticeable.
Best Insulated Backpack Coolers for Camping In 2017
For this to be effective, the backpack also needs to be well made and reliable. As long as it is designed properly, it should keep something chilled for several hours. Below we have 10 of the most popular and reliable backpack coolers selected out of hundreds of different models. With these things said, let’s get right into our list of the top 10 best insulated backpack coolers for camping in 2017.
Table of Contents
- 10. Scuddles Picnic Back Pack Basket Cooler
- 9. North Coyote Hiking Backpack Cooler Bag
- 8. TOURIT Cooler Backpack
- 7. Oniva Picnic Time PTX Insulated Backpack Cooler
- 6. Dakine Campus Backpack With Insulated Cooler Pocket
- 5. Oniva Picnic Time Turismo Insulated Cooler Backpack
- 4. Igloo Real Tree Softside Hunting Cooler Backpack
- 3. Igloo Marine Ultra Square Coolers
- 2. Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler
- 1. OAGear Backpack Cooler
10. Scuddles Picnic Back Pack Basket Cooler
Scuddles backpack cooler is a great little set that includes no less than 28 pieces. It is being sold as a picnic backpack but it is just as good for camping. The backpack includes a small blanket, knives, cutlery, cups and plates. Storage space is generous and as for cooling, the backpack can keep drinks and food chilled for 6 to 9 hours. All compartments are insulated and have thick walls. This makes it quite durable and reliable. The backpack is not that expensive and it includes a lifetime warranty.
- Includes a blanket and many other accessories
- Thick insulated walls
- Keeps drinks and food chilled for up to 8 hours
- Insulated compartment is small
Not all the compartments in the cooler are insulated but this should not be a problem. The compartment that is indeed insulated is quite small. Not a lot fits in it which means that the other compartments need to be used. Only the insulated one is suitable to hold ice.
9. North Coyote Hiking Backpack Cooler Bag
North Coyote hiking backpack cooler is a great choice for the ones that need something inexpensive and decently large. It has a capacity of 17 liters for the cooler and has a collapsible design. In total it can hold a volume of up to 42 liters. The backpack can maintain food and drinks cold for several hours and was made to be suitable for hiking or camping. As a bonus, the backpack includes ice packs to help maintain a cool interior temperature.
- Large capacity of 42 liters
- Comes with bonus ice packs
- Very basic, looks a bit cheap
The backpack will surely not impress anyone at least in terms of design. Because of the material used, it looks and feels a bit cheap. However, the cooler compartment works very well and manages to keep drinks at a low temperature.
8. TOURIT Cooler Backpack
TOURIT cooler backpack is a versatile model that does not look like a regular cooler. It looks like a standard backpack as the insulated cooler compartment is properly hidden. It also offers excellent performance. It can maintain drinks and food cool for up to 16 hours. The insulation layer uses a special cotton blend and will not leak at all. Last but not least, the backpack is surprisingly lightweight for its size and does not cost all that much.
- Can maintain low temperatures for up to 16 hours
- Large 25 liter capacity
- Smaller than expected
A 25 liter capacity is decent but it is not as big as some would expect. For camping, it can hold most things a person would need but it would not have much room for anything else. It is still a decent backpack that can be used for a wide range of purposes.
7. Oniva Picnic Time PTX Insulated Backpack Cooler
Oniva Picnic Time PTX insulated backpack cooler is one of the most affordable models in our list. It is a decent backpack with a large insulated compartment that can store up to 23 standard cans. The backpack features one large side compartment and additional side pockets for storage. As for size, it is not very big but it is very comfortable to wear as it has padded shoulder straps and it is very durable. The manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee for their backpack.
- Large cooler compartment
- Can store up to 23 standard cans
- Side pockets and padded shoulder straps
- Not very big for a backpack
If this particular backpack will be used for camping it is important to note that it is not very large. It will not have enough space to store everything a person would need. It is a good cooler backpack but for camping, it might not be enough. It depends on the needs of the person that will use it.
6. Dakine Campus Backpack With Insulated Cooler Pocket
Dakine is a brand that needs no introduction. They have hundreds of high quality products and their campus backpack with insulated cooler pocket does not disappoint. It has plenty of storage with 3 small zippered compartments on the back, 2 side pockets and one large main compartment. The inner compartment is insulated to maintain the temperature inside. It is a lightweight backpack with a capacity of 25 liters. The model is available in other sizes as well as over 20 different colors and patterns.
- Large insulated main compartment
- 2 side pockets and 3 zippered compartments
- Not very efficient as a cooler
Even if it is advertised as having a cooler pocket, it is not that efficient. It works but it is not great. This has to do with the way the insulation was done for that pocket. Regardless, it can be used as a cooler backpack but there should be no high expectations with regard to how many hours it can keep food and drinks cool.
5. Oniva Picnic Time Turismo Insulated Cooler Backpack
Oniva Picnic Time Turismo insulated cooler backpack may not be the ideal choice for camping but it works. It is an affordable model that was built to be able to maintain a low temperature for many hours. It features two interior compartments with insulated walls and additional side pockets for storage. The model can be found in 3 different colors and has a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer.
- Practical design with two insulated compartments
- Lifetime warranty
- Quite small
Due to its small size, it might not be the most ideal choice for camping. Still it can work great if it is used just to transport items that need to be maintained cool. The cooler compartments are large enough but it does not offer extra room for much else. It does have a few pockets for small items.
4. Igloo Real Tree Softside Hunting Cooler Backpack
Igloo Real Tree hunting backpack cooler is one of the best options for people that enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. It is a great backpack for camping even if it holds just 18 regular cans of beverage. The model was designed to be lightweight but features excellent insulation that keeps the interior cool for many hours. It has adjustable padded straps and extra side pockets for more storage options.
- Can hold 18 standard cans
- Padded shoulder strap and extra side pockets
- Not very large
If there is one thing that could be improved about the Igloo Real Tree cooler backpack is its size. It does not need more storage space for the cooler compartment but it does need more general storage space for miscellaneous items. If the capacity would have been twice as big as it is now, it would have been the ideal camping backpack.
3. Igloo Marine Ultra Square Coolers
Igloo Marine Ultra Square Cooler backpack is a bit different when compared to other coolers in our list. It looks more like a regular cooler but with shoulder straps. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it fulfils the purpose it was made for. It has a special insulation that allows it to maintain a low temperature for a longer period of time. The model is completely leak proof, easy to clean and has a special antimicrobial liner. Last but not least the model is available in several different sizes to choose from and a rather modest price tag.
- Keeps items cool for a long period of time
- Leak resistant, antimicrobial liner, easy to clean
- Multiple sizes to choose from
- Shoulder straps are not sturdy enough
It is a bit harsh to say that the shoulder straps will not be able to sustain the weight of a filled backpack but that is the case if it is abused. The straps are not strong enough especially on the larger models. On the smaller models, the shoulder straps should be good enough even when the backpack is filled with liquids or food.
2. Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler
Coleman C003 soft backpack cooler is one of the best choices for the ones that need something more universal. It is still a great backpack cooler for camping. The model has a large main compartment with insulated walls and a smaller one for storage. One the sides, two mesh pockets can be found. The shoulder straps of the backpack are padded and can be adjusted. Last but not least, the design of the backpack makes it usable in pretty much any circumstance.
- Plenty of storage space
- Large main compartment with insulated walls
- Simple design and comfortable to wear
- Insulation is not great
The backpack can keep food and drinks cold but not for longer than a few hours. This is due to the way the insulation was designed and how it was placed. It offers plenty of storage space and the only way to extend its ability to keep things cool is to use ice packs.
1. OAGear Backpack Cooler
OAGear backpack cooler is a great pick for the ones that do not want to spend too much money yet need something efficient. The model has a capacity of 20 standard cans. The insulated walls work quite well. Additional storage space is provided by the two mesh side pockets and the additional zippered pocket on the back. As with most other backpacks, the shoulder straps are adjustable and have a soft padding for added comfort.
- Large 20 can capacity
- Plenty of storage space
- Side pockets and no-leak liner
- Works best with ice packs
Even if the insulation is good and for most part it can keep food and drinks cool for several hours, the best results can be obtained by using ice packs. These can be found and purchased separately and usually they are not expensive. Other than that there is not much to complain about the OAGear backpack cooler.
Choosing a Suitable Backpack Cooler
Backpack coolers come in many shapes and sizes. Not all of them deliver on their promise and there are even some that barely keep drinks cool. Since there are so many different models to choose from, we would like to make a few points about what makes a backpack cooler suitable for various needs.
- Capacity: The capacity of a backpack cooler can be important. Bigger can be better but not all the time. The bigger a backpack is, the heavier it will be because most people are tempted to fill it up.
- Additional storage: Backpack coolers usually have additional compartments and pockets that are not insulated. It is important to have some extra space for common items such as a charger, a smartphone, clothing and other various things.
- Ability to keep drinks cold: This can vary a lot depending on how the backpack is made. In some cases, the manufacturers will offer some generic estimation of how efficient their backpack is while other times, they do not mention anything. What others have to say about a particular backpack cooler might help a bit.