Cooler Backpacks - Learning About Backpack Coolers

A sport (otherwise known as “backpack”) cooler is ideal for comfort, concealment, and convenience. They have the look and feel of a regular backpack, but with the added bonus of keeping your food and drinks cold! They are great for hiking, or any activity, but are even better at cooling down your food and beverages, while remaining close to you, during a vacation.

CoolersFeaturesOur Rating
Polti 3
OA Gear - Cooler Sports Pack
● Large capacity
● Heat sealed, no-leak liner
● Side zippered mesh pockets
● Padding on the straps and back
4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)
Polti 3
Picnic Time Turismo Cooler
● Large storage capacity
● Compact design, multiple storage options
● Thick insulation
● External water bottle holder
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

A good cooler backpack will generally have multiple compartments so you can carry more than just what you want chilled. They also tend to make the best soft cooler, as these coolers can fit more than just food and drinks inside of it, and can easily be transported from place to place. Of course different backpack coolers will have different features, so it’s always important to research your options before making a decision.


OAGear - Cooler Sports Pack

Sport (Backpack) Coolers

For those who live an active lifestyle, and are constantly on the move, this is the backpack cooler you’re going to want! It’s a comfortable 12”x14”x10”, so it averages the size of a regular backpack. It comes with two zippered, mesh side pockets, and can hold up to 20 cans inside when filled with ice, or an ice pack. The lightweight material is designed to keep your food and drinks cold while you move, without adding any strain to your back or shoulders. Its heat sealed, no leak liner will keep the cooler dry -so you won’t have to worry about any unwanted wet patches!

The insulation in this cooler backpack will keep your food and drinks cool for approximately 12 hours, which is perfect for whatever outdoor activities you may have planned. Should you want to spend more time outside, you would need to replace the ice by the end of the day to keep your contents cool. The shoulder straps on this sport cooler are padded, which means that you can hike, or bike, without your shoulders and back becoming sore.

The OAGear is one of the best soft coolers in terms of comfort and style, but it lacks add-itional pockets for storage. As these are commonly used by those with an active lifestyle, it’s preferred to have the option of storing any smaller items in different compartments of the backpack cooler.

Things We Like

  • The heat sealed, no-leak liner is efficient, meaning no spills!
  • Compact design making it easier to hold all that you need without              adding any strain
  • Side zippered mesh pockets allow for water bottles, or small items      to be stored securely
  • Padding on the straps and back make it easier to move with ease         and comfort

Things We Want

  • A chest strap for added comfort and stability
  • Tighter stitching, especially around the zippered areas, as they tend        to fray
  • Larger side pockets, or an added centre pocket for extra storage

Picnic Time Turismo Cooler

Even though this backpack with cooler is slightly more expensive than the OAGear, it has more room for storage, a sleek design to conceal them, and it comes with a water bottle included for its holster! This has the design of a backpack with a cooler, rather than a cooler backpack, so that on first glance, it looks like nothing more than your average travel pack. At 9”x19”x16”, it’s also about the size of one too. The Picnic Time has a zippered front compartment for a water bottle, as well as three additional concealed pockets for added storage, and two smaller side pockets for cell phones or keys.

Just like the OAGear, this one also retains its temperature for approximately 12 hours, but unlike the OAGear, only holds about 12 cans. Also different with the Picnic Time are non slip, extra comfort shoulder straps, and two separate interior insulated compartments, which adds more comfort for travel than a standard padded shoulder strap.

If you are looking for something multipurpose, and needing a sleekly designed cooler backpack is high on your list of requirements, then this is what you’ll want. The Picnic Time is likely the best soft cooler for travelers, who have the option of keeping their personal belongings in the backpack portion, and food in the cooler section of the pack, while effortlessly carrying it to their destination like a backpack.

Things We Like

  • The compact design, with multiple storage options, and large storage capacity
  • Rugged, thick canvas with strong zippers and tough plastic
  • Thick insulation
  • External water bottle holder 

Things We Want

  • Side pockets and a main flap secured with zippers, rather than velcro, as the current material feels flimsy
  • An added water bottle that doesn't leak

In Short...

For a functional cooler with the look of a backpack, the soft cooler to go with would be the OAGear. It’s primary use is that of a backpack cooler, where everything that is needed to be chilled can be done so conveniently, while still comfortably being able to carry it around. It has the comfort and sleek look of a backpack, and is lightweight so you don’t feel like you’re carrying a cooler on your back for hours. It’s got a lot of room for storing your food and beverages, and can hold enough for at least two people. Smaller items, or water bottles, can be stored in the two side pockets, which should suffice for its intended use.

For the best backpack with a cooler, the Picnic Time is what you’ll need. It’s best for when you have a full day ahead of you, and while living your active life, keeping your food and drinks cold for when you decide to consume them. It will cool enough for what about two people would consume, but has the added bonus of the extra compartments for papers, wallets, keys, or whatever else you may want to carry. The straps have extra cushioning, which means that the bag is very well equipt for a longer period of wearing time. As long as you don’t overpack it, this should be perfect for a day long excursion to wherever you want to go!