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Best Backpack Cooler Bag

With the recent surge in high end coolers like Yeti and Engel, has came a surge in backpack coolers. Although, these types of coolers have been around for years, they have recently been reinvented. A backpack cooler is one of the newest trends and now provide many different aspects of functionality. Each cooler has its own unique features (waterproof, external pockets, weight, etc) and most importantly ability to hold ice for a long duration of time. Check out our top picks for backpack coolers and day packs.

Jump To Top Ten => Backpack Coolers

Top Cooler Backpack Comparison




External Pockets


Igloo Marine
Igloo Marine Soft Sided Cooler


Leak Resistant



Polar Bear
Polar Bear Coolers Soft Sided Cooler





Picknick Time Backpack With Cooler


Water Resistant



Igloo Real Tree
Igloo Camo Backpack Cooler





Official National Park Backpack Cooler


Water Resistant



Tourit Pack


Leak Resistant



Picnic Time Pack PTX


Water Resistant



Tourismo Day Pack





Roll Top Ice Bag










What Makes the Best Backpack Cooler?

The best backpack cooler is going to be one that offers the most space, the most ice retention, and still maintain the lightest weight. Ideally, they will not only provide you with a place to store drinks and cold snacks, but they will be so well insulated that you have extra pockets to keep your cellphone, MP3 players, medications, etc.

What Are the Advantages of a Soft Sided Cooler?

When you have an insulated cooler backpack, you can walk hands-free. Just think about past trips to your favorite camping spot or down to the lake. You carry your towels, cell phone, all your other necessities, and a cooler that weighs a ton. Some coolers are able to hold a lot, and when they are full, you have to lug it around in front of you, using both hands. There are no free hands to hold your child’s hand, additional gear, etc.

How Well Do They Retain Ice?

Many looking for a soft sided cooler are leery of exactly how long it can really hold ice. Admittedly, they may not hold ice for days like the high-end roto-molded coolers, but they usually can still hold ice for days. Much of ice retention times depend on how warm the external temperatures are as well as how often users open and close the cooler. If you chill the bag and your drinks before you put ice in it, you may get even longer ice retention times. Either way, you are likely to have enough ice retention, to enjoy a hands-free day at the beach, lake, or hike. The backpack coolers that are currently available are also more budget friendly than the higher end coolers so that you can put more money toward your summer fun.

Top Ten Backpack Cooler Choices

Igloo Marine Ultra Square Coolers

Igloo Marine Soft Sided CoolerThis cooler backpack is easy to clean and durable. It is protected against mildew, stains, odors and UV rays that may cause damage to other backpacks. It has 25% more MaxCold insulation foam than other coolers of its type. It has noncorrosive hardware so that it can hold up against the tough marine environment conditions. Also present are multiple compartments outside of the cooler and when empty it is very lightweight at only 1.25 pounds.

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OAGear Cooler Sports Pack

AO Coolers Soft Sided Cooler BagThis backpack cooler bag designed to handle heavy duty use. It has a heavy duty PEVA liner in the bottom, along with a board to ensure it sits properly when loaded. It has heavy duty shoulder straps that are adjustable, as well as a padded handle. There are back pads on it to protect your back from getting sore sports. It can hold an outstanding amount at 20 cans plus ice and it is heat sealed to ensure it does not leak. When empty, this backpack weighs only 1.5 pounds.

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Polar Bear Coolers Soft Cooler

Polar Bear Coolers Soft Sided CoolerThis cooler is available in a variety of colors and if you choose to purchase through the Polar Bear Coolers website you can further customize it with a logo or monogram. It is leak proof and sweat proof. It features a heavy-duty outer shell that is made of 1000 denier Cordura nylon. Inside there is high-density foam. With all of this, it is still flexible enough to fold up and put away when not in use. It is slightly heavier than most backpack coolers at nearly 3 pounds, but for some people, it is well worth it.

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Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Cooler Backpack

Picknick Time Backpack With CoolerThis cooler is ideal for a day out. It can hold up to 20 cans if they are already chilled, 16 if you want to use ice packs. It features a convenient cell phone pocket and zippered pockets. It is heat sealed and water resistant to protect you from leaks. It is light weight at around 1.45 pounds. This cooler is offered in a variety of colors as well.

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RealTree Camo Backpack Cooler Bag Igloo Camo Backpack Cooler

If you like hunting with a small cooler, this camo backpack cooler could be ideal. It is fully insulated to keep things cold, features exterior pockets for extra storage, and holds 18 cans with a little bit of ice. The entire bag is made of fabric/polyester so that it is durable enough to keep up with you. Total weight when empty is 15.2 ounces.

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 Coleman Soft Backpack Cooler

Official National Park Backpack CoolerThe Coleman gives you two large pockets. One is for the cooler area and the other is a dry pocket for added storage. It has side pockets as well for smaller, easy access items. It has fully adjustable shoulder straps and waist straps to ensure you do not feel a lot of pressure pulling you backward and all straps are padded providing added comfort. It also features a padded back area to ensure you do not feel the coldness on your back. You can choose from lime green and black or khaki color choices. It weighs in at only 2.5 pounds when empty and measures an impressive 12.2 x 6.3 x 19.3 inches. This means it can hold up to 28 cans and ice as well. Most importantly this pack is an official partner of the National Park Foundation!

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Tourit Pack This cooler is lightweight and water-resistant. It is able to hold up to 28 cans. The TOURIT is easy to clean and measures in at 17.7 x 13 x 7.5 inches and weighs only 1.1 pounds. It can hold ice for up to 16 hours if you are using freeze packs. Ice should not be used because it may damage the backpack’s water-resistance coating. You can choose from black, gray, and purplish blue in color. Overall, it holds 4.3 star rating and gives you plenty of storage with a total of four pockets; one for the cooler area, one large storage area, and two side pockets.

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Picnic Time “PTX”

Picnic Time Pack PTXThis fully insulated, water resistant cooler is available in a variety of colors. It is made with polyester and padded straps to ensure your comfort. It also features an attachment harness so that you can put it on golf carts or other UTVs. There are several pockets to give you storage as well as a stretch cargo cord to help you carry towels, extra change of clothes, etc. It can hold up to 23 cans and an ice pack as well. It measures a total of 12.5 x 11 x 7 inches and weighs 15.2 ounces. It is backed by the Picnic Time brand and has a lifetime guarantee.

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Tourismo Day Pack This cooler is truly one of a kind in looks and style. It is a Picnic Time cooler that features two large insulated interior compartments that are covered by a fold over flap, a mesh pocket, and a hidden zippered compartment. It has comfortable shoulder straps and comes with a removable, insulated water bottle holder. The bottle holder also has an adjustable shoulder strap. It measures 19 x 15 x 5 inches to give you plenty of storage and is available in black, olive, and moka. It weighs in at 2.6 pounds and has a lifetime guarantee.

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IceMule Coolers

Ice Mule Dry Bag CoolerIceMule is a popular choice for beach trips and adventure activities because of its unique shape. This cooler is a backpack that is more a “tube” for you to put your cold beverages and snacks into. It is considered one of the most portable, high performance coolers around and can hold ice for more than 24 hours and will never leak. It has a single padded backstrap to ensure your comfort when carrying it slung over your shoulder; even if you are shirtless and carrying a full 18 cans on your shoulder. It weighs in at 1.7 pounds and measures in at 12 inches around by 16 inches tall. This cooler can also double as a dry bag.

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Choosing a Backpack Cooler

When choosing a backpack cooler, most want to understand the full spectrum of what the pack is able to do; beyond keeping their colds cold. When looking at backpack coolers most of us want the most bang for our buck without weighing us down too much. It is important that they are not going to soak your back, be comfortable, large enough to hold what you need it to and be extremely usable. For that reason, we encourage you to also consider its size, comfort, and additional features when making your choice.


It is easy to see that a larger bag will hold more ice, but does it hold it longer? When choosing any type of cooler size does matter, but not in the way you may think it does. The key to keeping things cold for the longest amount of time possible is allowing the least amount of external air to be introduced to the interior. If you open the cooler often, you will significantly reduce the amount of time that the cooler can maintain ice. Also, you need to consider the ratio of ice to space. A small cooler filled to capacity with ice and beverages will last longer than a larger cooler only partially filled. Therefore, most are better off buying a cooler they can fill to capacity yet not limiting themselves with the amount of food, drinks, ice they can bring along.


Carrying drinks and snacks on your back is not always going to sound or be comfortable, especially when carrying for long distances/durations. Therefore, you need to look at styles that are not only great at cooling, but those that have comfort features that will ensure you do not mind carrying it. Adjustable shoulder straps, padded straps, sweating prevention, and naturally lightweight will help you be a lot more comfortable when carrying it around.


Many coolers have several pockets to help you carry other things that would normally be in a backpack. For instance, they may have a pocket for your keys, your cell phone, and other gear. The one thing you will want to ensure is that the pockets are protected. You wouldn’t want the pocket your smart phone is in to sweat or the one that has your keys to be open at the top where you risk dropping them. Adjustable, padded shoulder straps will help to ensure a good fit and less pressure on your back, even if you have a larger backpack that is fully packed with cans, bottles, and snacks.

More Backpack Cooler Options:

Live Bait Coolers & Live Bait Aerator Kits

Serious fishermen rely on live bait to catch the best fish. Of course, it’s no secret that live bait takes some special considerations. If your bait isn’t cool and fresh, you really won’t have much of an advantage. The answer to this solution is easy.

Live Bait Coolers are made, specifically, with this in mind. Live Bait Coolers are designed to keep your bait alive and fresh in both hot and cold temperatures. The aerators on these longer life bait coolers assure that the water is always oxygenated, allowing the fish to remain alive as well as strong and healthy. The result is the freshest live bait possible which means a more successful fishing trip. Aside from keeping your bait fresh, these little bait coolers also allow you to save money and time. You can keep your live bait fresh for days without having to restock. No more loosing expensive artificial lures either!

The cost of fresh bait is much less than the cost of fabricated bait. Want to save a little money on your live bait cooler? With an aerator kit, you can quickly turn one of your inexpensive coolers into one of these live bait coolers at the fraction of the cost. With these bait coolers and aerator kits, it has never been easier to use fresh bait. Below are a few options available if you are looking for live bait coolers.

Engel Live Bait Cooler Dry Box

Engel Live Bait CoolerThe Engel Live Bait Cooler is constructed with an insulation made of molded polystyrene, and it helps protect your bait in both hot and cold temperatures. It is operated with a 2-speed pump that aerates the water. The pump can run on batteries or can be plugged into your boat or car with a 12volt adapter. This makes it possible to keep the bait fresh for hours, even days. The plastic base is extremely durable and is made to hold up against high impact. The base and lid is odor resistant. Read More On Engel Live Bait⇒


Frabill Personal Bait Station

Frabil Live Bait Aeration KitThe Frabill Personal Bait Station includes a 1423 Aerator which is said to be “whisper quiet.” The aerator and lift-out liner will clip to any bucket and uses D batteries to operate. The inside net makes picking up minnows a breeze. This live bait cooler is built with durable insulation and will keep bait aerated in the 8-quart chest for up to 3 days when the aerator is used intermittently. Read More on Frabil Here⇒


Live Bait Cooler Aerator Kit

Live Bait Conversion KitThe Live Bait Cooler Aerator Kit will convert any cooler into a live bait tank. The kit includes everything you need such as brackets and fittings, a micro bubble diffuser, an aerator module, and an air hose. The Whisper Quiet aerator is designed with a fitted gasket housing to keep the unit water tight. More On Live Bait Aerator Kit⇒


Marine Metal 12-Volt Aeration Kit

Marine Metal Fishing Live Bait CoolerThis convenient pump is an all-in-1 aerator kit to aerate, fill, and empty your live well. The kit will connect to any insulated cooler or container. The spray bar simply mounts to the tank with suction cups, or you can use stainless steel tools and screws. The pump can be attached inside or outside the live well hull, allowing you to renew the water as well as aerate the tank. Included with the kit is a power cord and battery clips. More On Marine Metal⇒

In Conclusion….

If you’re serious about fishing, and you want to use the freshest bait possible; a live bait cooler may be just what you need. If you are going to use live bait, you definitely want to do it in the best way possible. Live bait coolers are the best option for keeping your bait fresh for that weekend long fishing trip. Whether you’re fishing in extreme heat or extremely cold weather, these aerators will keep your fish alive and ready. There are quite a few options available when shopping for a cooler for your live bait. Invest in one of the Live Bait Coolers or in one of these aerator kits to make the most of your next fishing trip.


Floating Coolers & Ice Chests For The River

If you enjoy spending your down time in the pool, lake, or even floating down a long lazy river on a sultry summer day, you will want to explore the idea of purchasing a convenient floating cooler. No more getting out of the pool and tiptoeing across hot cement to get you and your guest another drink. These floating ice chests make it so much more convenient to keep all of your drinks right at your side. And, if you’re on the lake or river there will be no need to take up space in your raft or having to drag along an extra tube just for your cooler. With a cooler that floats, you won’t be worrying about your cooler falling into the water and sinking to the bottom. Some of these floating drink holders are made for the river or lake, and some work better in a swimming pool. These reviews will help you decide which floating cooler will work best for you and your intended use.

Top Five Floating Coolers

Byers Big Bobber Floating Cooler

Big Bobber Floating CoolerThe Big Bobber is strategically designed with a sturdy built-in handle for easy carrying, and it really does float! This attractive red and white Big Bobber floating cooler is durable, light-weight, and easy to transport. It is designed to hold twelve drink cans plus ice, and is made to take along to the pool, lake, or river. More On Big Bobber⇒

GoPong Floating Beer Pong Set

Go Pong Floating Cooler FloatIncrease your fun in the sun with these two-in-one floating drink holders. This beer pong float includes two rafts as well as three balls so you can invite your friends to a challenging game while still cooling off in the water. Each floating raft will hold six cups, and can be used as a beer pong game or as a floating cup holder. The walls of the floating beer cooler are extra high to keep your drinks safe from large waves. This floating pong game works best in swimming pools and lakes. More On GoPong⇒

Kelsyus Floating Cooler

Kelsyus Floating CoolerThe Kelsyus Floating Cooler is an insulated soft side cooler which will hold ice and drinks and has six numbered holders for your individual drinks. It also includes a zippered compartment on the side for storage. This floating drink holder will hold up to 18 cans with no ice. It will hold up to 12 cans plus ice. The cooler is designed with an integrated carrying bag for easy portability. Whether spending the day in the swimming pool or on a calm serene river, this floating bar will work well. More On Floating Bar⇒

GoPong Floating Beer Pong Table

Party Barge Floating Cooler For RiverThis GoPong Pool Party Barge has just about everything you will need for a day in the water. It is 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, and is a three-in-one game, drink holder or cooler, and lounge. The cooler itself will hold up to 18 cans plus ice and includes six pong balls and 28 individual cup holders. This sturdy floating cooler will work well in a pool, lake, and even on some slower moving rivers. More On Party Barge⇒


Intex Mega Chill Floating Cooler

Mega Chill Floating Ice Chest The Intex Floating Cooler is highly durable and built to last, even on river trips which are guaranteed to include jagged rocks and tree limbs.  It is capable of holding up to 72 cans plus ice, or you can use it to carry your own cooler up to a 48 quart size. This floating bar includes 6 cup holders, four hefty handles, and a repair kit. The Intex Floating Cooler is equipped with a lid which will completely detach or Velcro in place if you decide to use it. The Intex Floating Cooler is made to use in the pool, in lakes, and definitely on the river. More On Mega Chill⇒

If you frequently spend your free time in the water during the summer and you enjoy taking along your favorite beverage or game, one of these floating coolers may be just the thing you have been looking for. Making it easy and convenient to take everything with you, most of these floating drink holders are made to serve more than one purpose. From lounging, to holding drinks while you float down the river, or enjoying a game of beer pong with your friends, one of these floating bars will be sure to please your entire group.


List Of The Best Soft Sided Coolers

You have many choices when purchasing a new cooler, and a soft sided cooler is one of them. At times, a soft sided cooler bag may be more convenient and useful than a rigid hard-body cooler. For instance, it might be easier to take a large soft-sided cooler to a sandy beach than a bulky roto molded cooler. These soft sided coolers are also perfect for toting along with you while fishing, hunting, as well as going to picnics or sporting events. They are easy to carry over your shoulder when rolling is not a great option. However, if you want wheels on your soft cooler, that is definitely an option that is readily available. Some of these coolers even meet airline requirements for carry-on luggage!

Pros to a soft sided cooler:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry and transport
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to store

The Five Best Soft Sided Coolers

Coleman 16 Can Soft Cooler

Coleman Red Soft Sided CoolerThe Coleman Soft Cooler with a hard interior liner can hold up to 16 drink cans. It includes a removable hard liner for use either way. This soft cooler is designed to use with ice or icepacks and includes a comfortable and adjustable carrying strap. The cooler also contains zippered pockets on the front and mesh pockets on the side for convenient added storage space. The PEVA soft liner is flexible and easy to clean making it the perfect soft sided cooler option.

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Polar Bear Soft Cooler

Polar Bear Coolers Soft SidedPolar Bear Coolers is quickly gaining popularity in the high end cooler market. The Polar Bear 24 Pack cooler will retain ice for up to 24 hours in 100 degree temperatures. This cooler is leak-proof, sweat- proof, and built to be durable and tough. The outer shell of the cooler is constructed of luggage grade 1000 denier Cordura nylon, at it is designed with heavy duty zippers, a padded shoulder strap, and side pockets. The Polar Bear soft cooler also includes a wrap-around handle made of Velcro and a built in bottle opener. It is offered in a variety of attractive colors. Polar Bear Color Options⇒

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AO Cooler Soft Cooler

AO Coolers Soft Sided Cooler For BeachThe AO Soft Cooler is offered in four different sizes as well as multiple colors and is guaranteed to retain ice for 24 hours in temperatures up to 120 degrees. It is also guaranteed to be leak-proof. This cooler includes a removable shoulder strap and meets airline requirements for carry-on luggage. The liner is constructed of high quality vinyl and extra-thick insulation which results in superior ice retention. The smallest cooler AO offers can hold up to 9 cans with ice, and the largest cooler they offer can carry up to 48 cans with ice.

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Coleman Wheeled Soft Cooler

Soft Sided Cooler With WheelsThe Coleman soft sided rolling cooler has the capacity to hold up to 42 cans with ice. This soft sided cooler includes a telescoping handle and is made with durable wheels so that it can easily handle its load. The hard plastic liner can be simply removed for use with or without. The PEVA liner is soft and easy to clean, and the cooler is also equipped with side handles for more convenient ways to carry and store the cooler. The front of the cooler is equipped with a zipper pocket, and each side of the cooler includes mesh storage compartments. Like the Igloo soft sided cooler, this soft sided cooler is also compliant with airline requirements and can be carried on as luggage.

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Koolatron Soft Electric Cooler

Electric Soft Sided CoolerThe Koolatron Electric Travel Cooler is conveniently cooled by plugging into your car’s cigarette lighter and is able to cool to 30 degrees below the ambient temperature. You won’t have to worry about restocking the ice or draining melted ice while traveling on the open road. However, you do have the option to use ice or icepacks as the Koolatron electric cooler is insulated and can be used either way. This soft sided travel cooler holds up to 20 cans or two 1 liter bottles, and it’s perfect for cars, offices, and hotel rooms.

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As you can see, there are many options when choosing the cooler which best suits your needs. Soft sided coolers may offer convenience and ease that hard-bodied rigid coolers cannot. Whether going to the beach, heading off to the airport, or taking a hunting or fishing trip, there is a soft sided cooler that will meet your needs.

More Soft Sided Cooler Options:

Best Small Cooler For Personal Use

For most people, a six pack is probably the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the term “personal cooler.” Of course, that is definitely one very popular use of a small cooler, but there are many more uses when it comes to these little coolers. Many people use small cooler bags on a daily basis. When it comes to adults, these mini coolers are especially useful in place of a lunchbox. The best small coolers will be easy to transport as well as highly functional. Not many lunchboxes offer enough space or cooling performance as that of a small igloo cooler or other small personal coolers. Whether you are looking for a cooler to take along to the pool or beach with you, a small beer cooler, or a cooler for use at work; there are many options available. Let’s look at some of the best personal coolers on the market today.

Coleman 16 Quart Wheeled Personal Cooler

  • Coleman 16Q Personal Cooler With WheelsThe Coleman 16 Quart is made of polyethylene
  • Capacity to hold up to 22 twelve ounce cans or 2 one liter bottles
  • Adjustable pull handle for comfortable transporting; easy to pull
  • Easy to use hinged lid for one hand access
  • Recessed wheels for easy carting
  • Rugged and durable
  • Weighs about 8 pounds
  • Perfect for sporting events, family outings, and picnics
  • 4.4 star consumer rating

Rubbermaid Victory 10 Quart Personal Cooler

  • Rubbermaid Best Personal CoolerKeeps contents cold with superior thermal retention
  • Easy to carry top-swing handle
  • Easy to clean interior liner; resistant to odors and stains
  • Capacity to hold up to 12 twelve ounce cans and ice
  • BPA Free
  • Weighs about 4 pounds
  • Perfect for taking lunch to work or any personal outdoor events
  • 4.5 star consumer rating


Igloo Diamond Plate 14.8 Quart Playmate Cooler

  • Playmate Boss Personal CoolerPatented locking lid which helps to avoid spills
  • Stylish diamond plate finish
  • Impact resistant construction
  • Two-way swinging lid for easy access
  • Easy to carry with a sure-grip molded handle
  • Weighs about 3 pounds
  • Perfect for any personal use such as lunch, picnics, and the pool
  • 4.2 star consumer rating


Coleman FlipLid 6 Quart Cooler

  • Coleman Personal CoolerHolds up to 6 twelve ounce cans (but caution, many have issues adding ice with 6 cans inside)
  • Includes molded holders for cans on the inside of lid
  • Designed with a wide base for stability
  • Comfortable carrying bail handle
  • Perfect for lunches, picnics, or sport events
  • Easy to transport; weighs about 1 pound
  • 4.4 star consumer rating

As you can see, these are some of the best small coolers on the market. For daily use, or just the occasional outing, one of these is sure to be exactly what you have in mind. So, whether you intend to use small cooler bags for lunch, picnics, or sporting events; any of these would make a great addition. From small beer coolers to a large lunchbox, the best personal coolers listed here can keep your contents fresh and cool. They are light and easy to pull, carry, or transport. And, finding one to fit your individual style and needs has never been easier!