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A cooler you can take to the beach, your campsite, or the park is a summer essential, but hauling it around can be the biggest hassle. Of course, there are coolers with wheels — but there's no way you can use that on a hike or on uneven terrain. Luckily, there's another solution: a backpack cooler. Grab a comfy, durable backpack cooler for your next picnic or beach day, and you'll never dread packing a cooler again. We rounded up five of our favorite options for campers, beach enthusiasts, hikers, and more.
We looked for backpack coolers that had a good amount of storage space while still remaining comfortable to wear. For instance, we wanted to find options with shoulder straps that don't dig into you, and have a soft outer shell that will not irritate your back. And yes, we even kept our picnic lovers in mind. We made sure to include a backpack that can easily hold not one, but four bottles of wine. These backpack coolers will keep perishables nice and cool all day, whether it's for a road trip or an all-day outdoor adventure, your drinks will stay ice cold and your fruits and veggies will stay fresh. Also, these aren't just ideal for fun trips! Consider this a useful product to have in all types of situations — whether you need to save food from expiring during a power outage, are going car camping, or you need a cool place to keep your perishables until you make your trek back home from Costco in the middle of traffic, you'll be glad you had a backpack cooler. See our favorites below:
1. Our Top Pick
We're a big fan of this backpack cooler from RTIC. It has a pretty large capacity: you can fit up to 20 cans in this backpack cooler, plus ice. It's also 100% waterproof — I've actually taken one out to a river before, and its durability is unmatched. Between wading through the river and getting bumped against rocks in the water, the cooler can hold up to a lot. And don't even worry about it leaking or getting gross water inside of your cooler — the welded seams keep water and debris out! Some added features you'll enjoy are the adjustable shoulder straps and the waist buckle. This allows anyone to carry the cooler comfortably. This cooler will keep ice frozen for up to 24 hours. So pack all of your favorites. Choose from six different colors and both 20 or 30-can capacity sizes.
2. Best Splurge
YETI is an editor-favorite brand for a reason — they have quality products that take into consideration all sorts of outdoor activities. From the crag to the beach, this backpack cooler can fit 18 cans and the ice needed to keep them cold for you. The super-strong magnets keep things closed, it's easy to clean with a damp rag, and it's leak-resistant. The fabric protects against UV rays, punctures, and any wear and tear that might happen from a day outside. This one is also unique because the magnets are replacing the zippers: so it's incredibly easy to open and shut, but secure when it's closed. You really can't beat YETI's quality, so if you're willing and able to splurge, this is definitely a cooler you'll have for years to come.
3. A Great Picnic Option
Do you love picnics with a good bottle of wine? Then this backpack cooler is for you: it's easy to carry your favorite picnic foods and up to four bottles of wine in this option. The backpack cooler has a large main storage compartment for all other drinks and food, and it has an insulated liner that is made of top-quality materials to prevent leakage and tearing. The liner is also super easy to clean, just in case you spill some food inside. You can fit up to 30 cans in the compartment. It won't keep your food and drinks cold for 24 hours, but this budget-friendly backpack will provide you with an afternoon's worth of cold meals and food. This backpack is comfortable to carry, there's a padded back so you won't have to dread carrying it. Be sure to pack other necessary items like your phone, napkins, and sunscreen: You can keep dry items in the two front large zippers.
4. The Best Budget Pick
If you're only packing food and drinks for yourself, we recommend an affordable backpack cooler like this. It doesn't have large stretchy pockets for endless wine, but it has a 30-can capacity and will keep drinks cold for up to 16 hours. With over 17,000 positive ratings, this backpack is loved for many reasons: it's stylish, has a leak-proof liner, and keeps food hot/cold for when you need it to. It also weighs 1.1 pounds, making it super lightweight. It's perfect for anyone looking for a backpack that isn't bulky or heavy. The backpack is comprised of one main storage compartment for food and drinks, two side mesh pockets for water bottles, and two large pockets for utensils. Also, there's a beer opener on the strap. Love it!
5. A Versatile Backpack Made for the Lake or Tailgating
For those who need a little more bang for the buck, consider this convertible backpack cooler and chair. Yep, this thing has a chair attached to it, but you wouldn't know as its lightweight and compact. You get plenty of cooler space and a stool for under $50, which is a steal. Pack a sandwich, drinks, and snacks then unpack them at the beach and enjoy it all as you sit. The stool is made of top-quality oxford cloth, so it's durable and won't tear. This chair does beat carrying a large foldable chair, but keep in mind it's probably not the comfiest option for all-day use — consider it for a short trip to the beach, the lake, tailgating, or an outdoor concert.
Don't Forget The Ice Packs
While you can use real ice for most coolers, we recommend grabbing ice packs like these high-quality ones from Cooler Shock. Made in the USA, just fill them with water once and you'll never have to refill them again.
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