You’ve spent hours researching your perfect camping gear. You’ve worked out exactly which tent, sleeping bag, and hiking boots you want to go with – but what about the cooler backpack?

They’re not as glamourous as a pair of rainproof gumboots or an ultra-warm sleeping cap – but they are essential if you want to keep your food and drinks chilled while exploring nature this summer.

So why is it that shopping for a cooler backpack leaves most of us feeling so hot under the collar? Well, there are so many brands, models, and features out there that it can be hard to know where to begin. It’s no surprise that every manufacturer has their own unique take on this essential piece of camping equipment – so let’s untangle the facts from fiction and help you find the best one to buy today!

What Is a Cooler Backpack?

A cooler backpack is exactly what is sound like: it’s a backpack that keeps your food and drinks cool. It’s designed to keep perishables like meat and dairy products cool for up to 24 hours, and non-perishables like water, energy drinks, and beer cold for up to 48 hours.

They’re the ultimate combination of two pieces of camping equipment – the cooler and the backpack – into one single, streamlined solution. No fuss. No mess. Just great functionality and convenience, every time you put it on. It’s an absolute essential for every camping trip, whether you’re going hiking, backpacking, or car camping.

Why Do You Need a Cooler Backpack?

Cooler backpacks keep your food fresh and your drinks cold while you’re exploring the great outdoors. It means you don’t have to compromise on the quality of your meals while you’re camping – you can enjoy the same gourmet meals you get at home, wherever you are.

They’re also a fantastic way to reduce the amount of food you have to carry. If you’re camping with a big group, you’ll quickly discover that you’re hauling a lot of heavy food. With a cooler backpack, you can keep your perishable foods frozen. That means you’ll have less weight to carry, and less risk of your food going bad.

It also helps you minimize your carbon footprint and keeps your impact on the wilderness low. A cooler backpack keeps your food and drinks colder for longer. That means you don’t need to be as vigilant about keeping ice stocked in your cooler, and you’re unlikely to run out as quickly. So you can avoid the need to buy disposable ice packs, and take fewer trips to the nearest river or lake.

Types of Cooler Backpack

If you’ve spent any amount of time browsing through the internet, you’ll be well aware that there are thousands of different cooler backpacks out there. You might think that’s good news – after all, there’s a cooler backpack out there for every kind of camper, right? Well, yes – but it can also make it harder for you to figure out which is the best cooler backpack for you.

There are three main types of cooler backpack: soft-sided, hard-sided, and hybrid. So, what’s the difference between them? Well, it comes down to the materials used, their size and their capacity. Soft-sided cooler backpacks are made from a thin, flexible material that is lightweight, easy to carry, and has a low capacity. They’re the perfect choice for backpackers and hikers looking for a lightweight, compact solution.

Hard-sided cooler backpacks are built with a rigid, insulated outer material that provides better insulation and is more durable.

Hybrid cooler backpacks are a combination of the two.
In general, hard-sided cooler backpacks are better if you’re going on an extended trip or want to fit a lot of food inside it.

The Best Cooler Backpacks for Camping

Now that we know what makes a great cooler backpack, let’s take a look at some of the best ones out there. You’ll find a wide range of prices on the market, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to spend a small fortune to get a high-quality product.

There are plenty of excellent cooler backpacks out there for less than $100.
And don’t forget – you can also save a ton of money (around $30-$50) by buying a cooler backpack that serves double duty as a backpack and a regular cooler.

Now you’ve done your research and you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’re ready to start shopping for your perfect cooler backpack.

How To Choose the Right Size for You

Now we’ve talked a bit about what to look out for, you know what size you need. But how do you know what size you need? Well, it’s important to choose the right size cooler backpack for your trip – and that means getting the measurements just right.

How many people are going on your trip? How long are you going for? What is the distance you’ll be covering? How much food and drink are you planning to take? How much space do you have in your car or RV?
These are all important factors to consider when choosing a cooler backpack.

Let’s say you’re going on a weekend camping trip for two people – you’re going to be covering a short distance, and you’re planning to take enough food and drink for both days. If you have a large car or RV, you’ll be able to fit a large backpack. However, if you have a smaller car, or you’re only taking a small amount, you’ll need to get a smaller backpack.


So, there you have it: everything you need to know about cooler backpacks. From the advantages of using one to the different types available, to the best one for camping, we’ve covered everything.

Now, the only thing you have left to do is decide which one is right for you. If you’re serious about your camping adventures, you’ll want to invest in a quality cooler backpack. They’re an essential piece of equipment and will help you enjoy more delicious meals and refreshing drinks, no matter where you are.

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