5 Best Backpack Coolers of 2022 – Consumer Reports

There is a large variety of backpack coolers on the market so how does one sort through them all in order to identify the best ones? Before purchasing one, features on the backpack cooler should suit one’s immediate needs. Things to put on utmost considerations includes features like pockets, size, weight distribution, size, and comfort. Pockets are considered based on the need to pack a variety of things other than food and drink. For example, concealing personal items such as passport and phone.

Comfort is key because one may carry around the backpack cooler for hours or even days. Extra padding on the backpack cooler may come in handy. Weight distribution is paramount because a heavy backpack is damaging to a person carrying it. No matter the content, the weight should be evenly distributed to promote comfort for the person wearing it. Size is a consideration for users of backpack coolers in terms of a number of users it can support. Also, is it meant for few or a lot of items? Usage feature looks from the perspective of whether the backpack cooler will be for the next fishing trip, replace the lunch cooler or one wants to keep food cold for days’ trip. Below listing will give an outline of the top 5 best backpack coolers that have been identified to adequately meet consumer needs based on above features.

5 Best Backpack Coolers

Polar Bear Backpack Cooler

Known for its versatility, polar bear backpack cooler is ideal for any type of activity such as biking and hiking. According to the manufacturer, this backpack cooler is featured with an ice retention rate of a day or 24 hrs. This is through the high-density open-cell foam insulation that the backpack has in place. The size of the backpack is 12x7x18 inches and it’s both leak and sweat proof thus one will not worry whether the cooler will leak its contents or be contaminated because of sweat.

The cooler is featured with one of the strongest and safest interior liner that prevents any forms of wear and tear. The exterior is also protected against rip, tears, and scratches through a strong and rugged 1000D Nylon exterior. When not in use, the backpack cooler can be compressed to half-size for easy storage or handling. Did you know that other than keeping their items cold, some users have used the backpack as a ‘washing machine’. A user took advantage of its leak-proof properties by filling the cooler with water, soap and clothes then walked around with the backpack. After an hour, the user drained the cooler, rinsed and aired the clothes to dry. One drawback about the backpack cooler is that it can become heavy if one puts a lot of items in the cooler. Weight distribution is acceptable depending on how much is being stored.

Igloo Marine Backpack Cooler

Listed among the most durable cooler backpack, Igloo Marine backpack cooler measures 16 x 17 x 11 inches. It is very easy to clean and entails protective features such as UV protection as well as anti-mildew. To keep its content cooler or colder for a longer period, the backpack cooler consists of MaxCold insulation which is featured with 25% more foam. The cooler’s durability has been hugely recommended for harsh marine conditions because the installed hardware is non-corrosive and best suited for such conditions. The cooler is odor and stain resistant due to its antimicrobial liner and it’s also leak resistant.

Apart from keeping items cooler, there are various additional compartments in which the user can use to conceal personal items. This entails the extra zippered compartment located at the top of the backpack that can easily fit two cell phones. Also, there are two mesh pockets on the side that can serve the purpose of drink holders. Various users of this top backpack cooler for 2022 have identified it to be very handy when transporting bought frozen or refrigerated items. This includes from point of purchase such as supermarkets to home, hiking, fishing or camping trips. One user review stated that ice stayed frozen for 2 days while on a camping trip.

A key advantage for this backpack cooler is longer ice retention times. However, some users have outlined issues with the zippers as well as the handle’s stitching. Although this is the case, the manufacturer has been reported to have the best warranty and has successfully replaced backpack coolers that presented such issues.

Picnic Time Insulated Cooler Backpack

A key strength is that Picnic Time ‘Zuma’ is very stylish. One can easily tell that it’s a normal backpack. With a capacity of 20 cans, this backpack cooler has a size of 19 x 8x 11 inches. 16 cans can easily fit together with the ice packs. Consist of durable polyester fabric which makes the backpack not only stylish but also lightweight. There are multiple divided sections with zipped pockets for additional storage. The cooler is leak proof due to its lining which is both heat-sealed and water-resistant. The shoulder straps consist of air mesh underside to ensure comfort while carrying the cooler which also comes with a handy cell phone pocket.

The backpack is divided into two sections to offer versatility where the top mesh section is meant to hold dry items such as clothing, gear, and towels. The bottom section functions as a cooler. More zipper pockets are provided on the sides which can easily hold water bottles.

User reviews on this top backpack cooler are its pointed-out ability to fit or store a variety of items because of different compartments and pockets on this backpack. Other than food and drinks, one can store more in the backpack pockets including phones, iPod, wallets or any other small portable items. For example, one user was much able to fit a couple of books, headphones, and a kindle. On keeping items cooler, the backpack has a long ice retention period where it can be ideal for a 2-day camp.

OAGear Cooler Sports Pack

Users that are looking for more sporty and open mesh pockets, OAGear Cooler Sports Pack is more suitable. This backpack cooler can easily hold 20 cans inclusive of the ice packs due to its more considerable size of 12.25 x 16.5 x7.75 inches. It is very easy to put the backpack on and off because of its padded straps which also is more comfortable to wear for a long duration. It is among the top best backpack coolers of 2022 because of its good weight distribution. Its large size can carry a lot of items but the user will not feel the burden of the items being heavy for one’s back. The cooler features excellent insulation through its no-leak liner which is also heat sealed. There are two mesh side pockets for additional holds. Featured front pockets provide enough space to store items such as keys and wallets.

Users have reviewed this item to have one of the best versatility for use as well as distribution of weight. One user identified the backpack to have a laptop sleeve which was very helpful after having 14 cans and ice packs already stored in the backpack. Other users considered it to be the best alternative to heavy and compact plastic coolers where items could fit comfortably and kept freezing for a long period. Also, the cooler was identified to be able to carry plenty of items without overloading.

Picnic Time Turismo Backpack Cooler

This backpack cooler comes with stylish pocket designs where it features hidden pockets, a detachable outer pocket that can fit a single water bottle, and a flat interior pocket which is zippered. The detachable outer pocket is removable and the zippered pocket can be used to store valuables. The backpack measures 19 x 16 x 5 inches and consists of the adjustable shoulder strap for extra comfort. The backpack features durable polyester canvas construction thus making it durable for use for travel, concerts, as a daypack, beach stroll, road trips, school or work backpack. There are two zipper spaces on the top flap that can easily fit a small tablet while the second can be used for smaller items such as loose change. The backpack has a padded handle grip which gives better handling for daily use especially when one should carry 20-25lbs of stored items.

Its inner insulated compartment can easily fit 16 cans and items can be kept cooler for a long period even if the backpack is under direct sun. User reviews this backpack cooler to be reliable when used with re-freezable cool packs. Many identified it not to be basic because it could fit a lot of needs. A user could carry a variety of items such as food, clothes, charges and even a radio. A drawback about this backpack cooler is that it does not allow overstuffing or loading of heavy items. The liner is well insulated but it appears to be fragile because the material is quite thin thus a user needs to be vigilant while packing items in the compartment.