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Ice chests and coolers primarily used by all of us for the beach and camping are entering into a new realm of convenience and reality. Now, we all know that lugging a cooler is necessary for some vacations and outings but seriously coolers are heavy, take up needed space in our vehicles and not suitable for long distance travel. We’ve evolved in recent years to some somewhat adequate soft bag coolers for travel, but they don’t hold much and often leak over time.
Ice and cans or even bottled water in coolers aren’t light to carry ever. Enter the latest trend in coolers - a breath of fresh air when it comes to portability -- the backpack coolers.
This is one badly needed product that has lots of possibilities, even for international travel when your entourage includes being very conscious of packing something to help make your sunniest days pleasant even when abroad. Backcountry hikers, roadtrippers, campers, family beach days, and picnics all will welcome the backpack coolers as a “must have along.”
Dream Travel Today has identified the top 7 backpack coolers we recommend you use instead of lugging old fashioned coolers or wheeled coolers around. Here are our top backpack cooler picks:
Coleman is a brand Americans have trusted when it comes to coolers ever since William Coffin Coleman’s company manufactured the first galvanized Coleman cooler in 1957, something that wasn’t possible until the invention of styrofoam in 1951.
Dream Travel Today likes the Coleman Soft Backpack Ultra Cooler while it looks like a regular backpack with a dry pocket for non-perishable foods, it can carry a hefty 28 cans inside completely insulated.
Pros: Portability; anti-leak proof; easy carrying straps and handles, outside pockets; antimicrobials liner resistant to mold, mildew, and odors; extra padding in the back; adjustable shoulder and waist straps; only weight 1.06 pounds by itself; and measures approximately 19” x 6” x 12 inches.
Cons: Zippers are reported not 100% leak proof, but this probably is easily solved by using baggies if using ice.
This smaller Dakine Party Pack is a soft backpack cooler lives up to it’s full name with the “party” in it. It’s an ideal soft backpack for picnics, outdoor parties, sightseeing tours, fishing trips, concerts; and theme parks. What Dream Travel Today likes about it are the two insulated koozie sleeves for canned or bottled drinks (capacity 12) and the fleece-lined sunglasses pouch.
Pros: It has a built in upper snack section; an on-strap bottle opener; comes in two colors (washed palm and seaford pet); adjustable straps; is washable; weighs 1.95 pounds by itself; and measures approximately 8” x 6” x 2 ½.”
Cons: Will leak, must use ice packs; not suited for heavy use or daily use, but great for outings and when you don’t want to pack a lot of weight.
There’s a lot to like about the IceMule Boss, especially when it comes to easy portability and not being hard on your back even when fully packed. It can hold 24 cans plus ice which definitely puts it in the “boss” category when it comes to backpack coolers. Even at full capacity with ice you can easily carry up to 60 pounds in this completely hands free cooler.
We love the fact that should it accidentally fall in the water it floats. Not only that the IceMule Boss is designed for multi-day ice retention. That’s huge in terms of making this a wonderful backpack cooler for multi-day camping, hiking, hunting and fishing trip adventures!
Pros: Comes with a wide mouthed tri-fold d
DriTop enclosure making it easy to fill with ice; ventilated mesh back pads and carrying straps; cushioned hip belt and sternum strap; hands-free; waterproof; over sized pockets; measures approximately: 11” x 24” x 17.”
Cons: It’s a little pricey, but rugged enough to warrant the price as it should last for years.
The Ice Mule Pro’s best feature is that it is fully collapsible when not in use. Beyond that, the dry bag top keeps everything safe, even if it should fall in the water. Less pricey than the IceMule Boss, it’s also hands free and waterproof.
The Ice Mule Pro is ideal for the beach, picnics, day trips for camping and fishing, tailgate parties, and even some theme parks or concert venues.
Pros: It has that Ice Mule feature of the TriFold DriTop system that keeps ice in and air out; it’s rugged and well insulated enough to keep things cold for at least 24 hours; it’s collapsible for storage when not in use; and easy to carry; cylinder shaped which is also ideal for biking.
Cons: No real complaints, could be a little bigger but if that is a concern buy the Ice Mule Pro XL.
This is absolutely an upstanding cooler backpack since its hard bottom makes it a backpack that can stand up. The Igloo Sportsman Backpack has a nice built-in draining plug that combined with its capacity makes it a great backpack cooler to own.
This is the ideal backpack cooler for the beach, out on the water, pool-side, or floating down the river.
Pros: Geared for a 48 hour ice retention; waterproof welded seams; wide-mouth top opening; hard bottom also elevates the cooler to prevent hot surfaces from the cooler; removable and adjustable shoulder straps; hands-free carrying; waterproof front pocket; slip back pocket for small items; 4 d-rings for easy tie-downs; stainless steel carabiner/bottle opener; measures approximately: 13” x 7’ x 20.”
Cons: Little to complain about, all-in-all a great backpack cooler.
This reasonably priced Tourit Cooler 30 comes in a variety of colors, blue, grey, light grey, and black. It’s ideal for hiking, road trips, the beach, picnics, and even as a daily lunch cooler backpack.
Pros: Keeps food and drinks cool up to 16 hours with freeze paks; easy to clean and durable; leak resistant; two bottle holders (or umbrella); mesh pocket for cell phones; front zipper pocket; bottle opener; holds up to 21 cans; and measures approximately 15” x 11” x 7” and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cons: No real cons, other than it probably falls in the category of backpack coolers on the small side.
Lastly, there’s the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24. Well, pretty much everyone agrees anything with the “Yeti” label on it is top notch and coveted for its durability and extreme insulation so this backpack cooler.
It’s taller and wider than other Hopper Backflip’s and falls in the category of being both a cooler and a backpack. It’s great for fishing trips, beach, and camping trips.
Pros: Ergonomic shoulder straps; removable chest strap and waist belt included; 100% leak proof; holds 20 cans.
Cons: Living in tourist land, we would be remiss to not point out that there is a problem with anything branded Yeti in terms of theft, that would be the only drawback in that you will need to watch your backpack cooler. Yeti cups are right up there with cellphones and other things that get stolen very often just because they are so popular.
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