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The 8 best backpack coolers

An insulated backpack offers a hands-free way to keep food and drinks at the ready when you’re hiking, camping, or heading to the beach. And the best backpack coolers are comfortable, offer leakproof insulation, and are roomy enough to store all the beverages and snacks you’ll need for your excursion.

Each of the options on this list features an insulated lining to keep items cold (or warm, if you want to pack a hot lunch) and are made from durable, water-resistant material that's easy to keep clean. They also have adjustable padded straps that won't dig into your shoulders, no matter how many beverages you're hauling. Some of them also have features that'll upgrade the comfort factor, like chest and waist straps for even weight distribution. Beyond that, you have a range of sizes to consider, from an insulated mini backpack for a couple drinks and some snacks all the way up to an option that's large enough to carry up to 34 cans of your favorite soda or beer.

If you love clever design touches, you can get an insulated backpack cooler with a built-in bottle opener so you'll never be without one, or a backpack that doubles as a chair so you can kick back and open a cold one the minute you reach your campsite.

No matter how many bells and whistles you want, these are the best backpack coolers on Amazon to refresh with your favorite drinks and snacks wherever you are.

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1. The basic one

This best-selling cooler backpack has all the essential features you need to keep food cold for up to 16 hours. It's made from durable waterproof fabric and has a roomy main compartment with leakproof insulated lining. This backpack can hold up to 30 cans of your favorite beverage, and there’s plenty of other storage space, as well: two side mesh pockets, two front zippered pockets, and a top zippered pocket. Also helpful: The padded shoulder straps have a built-in bottle opener so you never have to remember to pack one again. This option is available in three neutral colors: black, blue, and gray.

One reviewer says: “The first time I used this, one [of] my water bottles inside leaked, and I had no idea because the bag never leaked! Not even a drop! I was so impressed. I love it. The size is perfect - for our trip to the beach it held all the water, sodas, and snacks for a family of four.”

2. The budget one

If you want to spend a little less, this budget-friendly cooler backpack is a dependable choice, with a leakproof main compartment that has enough room for 28 cans. There’s also a zippered front pocket and two mesh side pockets, and you can store other essentials using the bungee cord on the front. The BPA-free plastic lining keeps everything chilled, and the padded shoulder straps and waist strap let you carry the backpack in comfort.

One reviewer says: “Very impressed. Took this out for the first time on a five mile hike in 95 degree southern heat. Ice held all day no leaking. Drinks were cold and ice was in cooler long after we got home. Was comfortable to wear. Definitely recommend. Can’t beat it for the price.”

3. The splurge

Featuring YETI’s patented DryHide Shell — a high-density, durable waterproof fabric that’s resistant to mildew and UV rays — this rugged cooler backpack costs quite a bit more but is built to last. The main compartment is made with closed-cell rubber foam, which offers excellent insulation and water-resistance, and it can hold up to 20 cans. The sturdy zipper is also leakproof and waterproof, and for comfortable carrying, there are padded shoulder straps and chest and waist straps. The backpack also has a grid for attaching bottle openers and YETI accessories. Choose from charcoal gray, coral, and navy blue.

One reviewer says: “Ice stays for hours and you can enjoy a nice cold beer after a long day of hiking! The zipper definitely requires some effort to open/close, but that's to be expected for sealing purposes.”

4. The double-decker

If you want to keep items separate — like cold drinks on the bottom and room temperature snacks or hot food on top — this double-decker insulated backpack cooler is perfect. With room for up to 34 cans, the interior lining is made with vinyl and padded foam for insulation, while the exterior is made from durable, water-resistant Oxford fabric. There are front and side pockets for additional storage and comfy padded shoulder straps for easy carrying.

One reviewer says: “We keep our hot foods usually on the top and cold drinks on the bottom … It did a great job of keeping our hot sandwiches warm and our drinks nice and cold. It has great thermal resistance! We filled it with ice on the bottom compartment and it didn't leak at all!”

5. The versatile one

Similar to the previous option, this versatile backpack cooler features two main compartments for storing food and drinks separately, but the top carry handles have a bit more heft and padding to them, making it more comfortable to carry by hand. The backpack also features padded shoulder straps, a large front pocket, two side pockets, and a hidden back pocket. And it's roomy, too: One reviewer reported that the bottom compartment has space for an entire six-pack, with room to spare. Made with water-resistant polyester, the backpack features an insulated lining made from leakproof food-grade aluminum foam and is available in four colors: gray, black, blue, or purple.

One reviewer says: “Plenty of room for lunch, utensils, big coffee cup, and miscellaneous items needed to get me through a twelve hour shift. Comfortable to carry.”

6. The compact one

Perfect for toting just a few things, this lightweight cooler backpack is about the size of a book bag and features an insulated, waterproof interior, along with insulated front and side pockets to keep smaller items cool. The padded straps make for a comfortable fit, and the backpack is available in three styles — quilted black, polka dots, or stripes.

One reviewer says: “This backpack is adorable, sturdy, and will be great for bike riding to hold water, snacks, etc. I am very pleased and it came beautifully packaged! Great find.”

7. The one that doubles as a chair

For those who plan to go hiking, camping, or tailgating, this backpack cooler transforms into a mini stool, giving you a convenient place to hang out and have a cold drink while you enjoy the great outdoors. Made from waterproof Oxford fabric, the bag features a pocket for utensils and a built-in cooler bag for an ice pack, so you can keep drinks and snacks extra chilly. The breathable straps add to the comfort factor, and when you're not using the backpack, it folds up flat for easy storage. The bag comes in two different camouflage prints, and reviewers noted that it's big enough to hold a 12-pack.

One reviewer says: “Very cool! Portable comfy seat to keep your cold drinks at the ready!”

8. The one for picnics

For an elegant dinner al fresco, this picnic cooler backpack comes with all the tableware you need for a picnic, plus a fleece blanket to keep you warm if the temperature drops. The cold storage compartment has plenty of space for your favorite drinks and snacks, and the zippered insulated compartment is perfect for keeping a bottle of wine chilled — corkscrew included.

As for utensils, you'll get stainless steel cutlery, washable cotton napkins, durable plastic wine glasses, plates, a cheese knife, and a cutting board. Oh, and salt and pepper shakers. The entire set packs neatly in a zippered compartment with storage straps. It comes in multiple colors in a two-person option for romantic dinners, as well as a four-person option for picnicking with a crew.

One reviewer says: “I just drop some frozen ice packs in it and it keeps food and drinks cold for a good four hours - while sitting outside! There is enough space for lunch and dessert for the both of us. The picnic blanket is very convenient because it straps on the outside of the backpack, freeing up space on the inside for more food."