Party Favors: 8 Best Backpack Coolers

Photo: IceMule Boss

The recent resurgence of hard-sided rugged coolers built for the outdoors has been nothing short of a blessing for individuals who live a more rough and tough extracurricular lifestyle. Yet, with that said, these hard coolers don’t come without their drawbacks. Especially when it comes to  transportation, lugging these things around can be quite cumbersome, to say the least. Now, thanks to a little bit of common sense in conjunction with good old fashioned innovation, we have a market of hybrid backpacks/coolers that – naturally – combines a soft-sided cooler with that of a standard backpack.

Needless to say, these portable backpack coolers are ideal for afternoons at the beach, at the campsite, or out on the skiff for a day of fishing. Typically, they boast enough room for all the essentials – from canned cocktails to the day’s food items – and can keep cool for up two days in some cases. Not bad for a backpack right? So if you’re on the hunt for one of these handy outdoor companions yourself, look no further. What lies below are simply the best backpack coolers on the market today.

United By Blue x Barebones Backpack Cooler

Outfitted as a trail companion in both aesthetics and functionality, the Barebones Backpack Cooler from United by Blue is a handy day cooler that can conveniently be thrown over your shoulders for simplistic and second-nature carry. And thanks to their attention to detail, the Barebones will keep food and drinks cold for up to 48 hours, is made from recycled polyester, and boasts a removable lining for easy and sanitary washing. In addition, it has front and side stash pockets that will house all your little “extras,” feature enough room for you to comfortably carry along your preferred 12 pack of choice, and because it’s United by Blue, for every cooler sold they’ll remove one pound of trash from the oceans and waterways worldwide.

Purchase: $98

Igloo Daytripper

It would be a huge mistake for one of the most well-known cooler brands on the market to not participate in this growing trend. Well, fortunately, Igloo isn’t behind the times here, and with their handy Daytripper Backpack, you won’t be either. Here, the Daytripper boast conveniently placed sleeves and pockets throughout for added storage in addition to the pack’s insulated liner in the main compartment. It’s an ideal companion for afternoon lunches by the river with friends, sharing a couple cold beers at the beach, or – dare we say – even a hot date? Whatever the case, it’s bound to be a success with the help of this handy backpack.

Purchase: $100

Engel Seafoam Backpack Cooler

Call it the party cooler, the beach boss, or the fisherman’s sanctuary, just don’t misconstrue the importance of being able to transport 24 cans of beer safely and easily on your back. It’s all thanks to Engel’s unique design and 5.75 gallons of interior storage space. Also, due to a 500-denier polyester diamond ripstop outer shell, the Seafood Backpack Cooler is no doubt a rugged and tear-resistant option purpose to hold ice for up the three days. Not bad, not bad at all.

Purchase: $130

Polar Bear Tracker Hunting Cooler

It’s no secret that while out on the hunt, keeping your wits about you is paramount. Needless to say, it’s important to remain fueled by keeping a cooler on site – though depending on what you’re hunting you may remain stationary or be mobile. If the latter is the case, sporting this handy backpack hunting cooler is a must. It’s built from Polar Bear’s patent-pending closed cell foam design and features a 1000D coated nylon outer shell along with an FDA food-grade liner.

Purchase: $145

Igloo Sportsman

Functioning as yet another option from the famed cooler company, the Sportsman boasts waterproof nylon complete with welded seams for some serious longevity season after season. Additionally, ultra thick insulation results in ice retention of up to 2 solid days, and a back slip pocket aids in additional storage capabilities for your small carry items. Also, carrying some dry items isn’t a hassle either with the help of the Sportsman’s sizable front pocket kept closed by a water resistant zipper. Simple, secure, and logical. That’s the Sportsman in a nutshell.

Purchase: $180

Orca Podster

From the trusted rugged cooler brand comes the cleverly named Podster. Outfitted as a handy day pack, the internal capacity here tops out at 3.5 gallons and the entire piece is both water and leak proof. Pepper that with padded shoulder straps for added comfort, a cross-chest adjustable T-strap, Molle webbing to keep any additional gear at the ready, and an FDA food grade and BPA-free composition the Podster will keep everyone satiated in style.

Purchase: $200+

Hydro Flask Unbound

We’re all familiar with Hydro Flask – in part – due to their trusted insulated stainless steel water bottles. Now, the brand has decided to implement that technology in the construction of a soft side backpack cooler that’s slated to hit the market here in the near future. It’s rumored to feature the same TempShield technology used in their proprietary water bottles but in the form of a 24-liter cooler that’s compression molded for a sleek and comfortable fit. It’ll also keep ice frozen for up to 24 hours, is made from a tear, abrasion, and puncture resistant material and is set to debut in the spring of 2018. We can’t wait to throw our favorite beers in this one.

Purchase: $275

IceMule Boss

If there’s a Paul Bunyan of backpack coolers out there then it’s gotta be the Boss from IceMule. Boasting portability unlike anything else on the market, this beast of a backpack cooler can keep ice for days, and doesn’t weigh you down thanks to a superior suspension system. It’s also 100-percent waterproof and features extra cargo room compliments of three insulated external pockets along with Molle and clip points to help secure whatever extra gear you need to bring along for a serious trek or just a jaunt down to the river. Oh yeah, and the whole thing even floats. Not bad for a backpack.

Purchase: $300

Now, It's Time To Pack

Let’s be frank, you’re not going to be heading to the woods with a case of craft beer. Here, it’s light lagers and pilsners that reign supreme. So if you’re looking for recommendations, look no further than this list of the best cheap domestic beer.