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Which backpack cooler holds ice the longest?

Which cooler has the most comfortable straps?

What is the best backpack cooler on the market?​

These are all questions I asked when I was first looking to buy a cooler to take on weekend boating trips. I found it difficult to find an adequate answer so decided to take matters into my own hands and begin testing. 

Our goal with this site is simple, to provide outdoor loving people with all the information they need to find the best cooler for their specific situation. The current cooler market has seemingly endless options which can become confusing to say the least. We put every pack we review through a set of real world tests that simulate how they would be used in the wild. 

Our breakdowns are simply the informed opinions of real people with the intent of providing honest and impartial reviews.

Genuine reviews written by genuine people.

1. Research

The first step in our process is to research the cooler market and collect data on the best backpack and soft sided options. We then purchase any cooler that seems worthy of reviewing and once it arrives we enter the testing phase.

2. real world tests

We run the coolers through an extensive set of tests that replicate real life usage situations. Ice retention, comfort, durability, internal capacity are all put under the microscope during this stage.

3. Review

Then comes time to write the review, we have categorized all factors that we believe play a crucial role in the decision making process. We collate all of our data to allow us to accurately compare every cooler we review.

4. Recommend

The final step in the process and the ultimate goal of this site is to reliably recommend a cooler that fits your personal requirements. Whether you need and everyday cold pack or a heavy duty cooler that retains ice for days at a time.

Over-Engineered Reviews for Over-Engineered Products

With the revolution in cooler technology in recent years manufacturers are now producing products that make no compromises. The goal with our site is to match the level of detail and craftsmanship shown by the cooler companies that we are reviewing to provide you with all the information you need to make the most informed purchase.

Up Close & Personal Hands-On Breakdowns

There’s nothing worse than trying to make an expensive online purchase and the site you are shopping on only has one or two stock images of the product. We take photos from all angles and in various real world scenarios so you can get the best possible impression of your potential new cooler.

Our Rating Methodology

Our ratings are compiled by testing each cooler in 10 categories, with each category carrying a rating of 1-10. This gives us an overall score from 10-100. The 10 categories that we see as most important and the basis of our reviews are listed below.

1. Ice Retention

The main requirement of any cooler is to hold ice over a period of time. This category is at the very top of our ranking criteria so we run multiple temperature focused tests for every cooler we review.

2. Design

Aesthetically pleasing means something different to everyone but in this section we try to evaluate both the look of the coolers and how well the components compliment each other.

3. Build Quality

The level of engineering involved in modern coolers is staggering, from welded seams to leakproof zippers and thermal insulation. We lay out the differences between models to make it easy to compare and contrast.

4. Durability

High-end coolers don't come cheap so if you've decided to investment in one then you want it to last. We test each cool bags potential 'high wear' areas like the base, seams and zippers to give you an idea of the potential longevity of your new purchase.

5. Comfort While Carrying

More so than traditional chest coolers, a good backpack cooler needs to strike a balance between portability and functionality. In this category we breakdown the straps, padding and positioning layouts of the packs.

6. Leakproofing

This category relates to the potential of leakage from within the bags. Nobody wants to be carrying their cooler and have ice water dripping down their back. During this phase we test the seams, zippers and the pack as a whole from all angles whilst full of ice water.

7. Features

This section evaluates the additional or unique components of each cooler that add functionality or increase the ease of use. For example drain plugs, built-in bottle openers and proprietary vacuum valves to name a few.

8. Can Capacity

One of the primary uses for this style of cooler is to carry drinks, 12oz cans in particular. Most manufacturers make a claim on their websites as to how many cans their coolers can hold. We put this to the test to find out the validity of those claims.

9. Value For Money

When we are talking about value for money we are looking to see if the product justifies its price tag. Even though a $300 bag is no doubt expensive, if the craftsmanship, materials and functionality are all of the highest level then the product would earn top points.

10. Real World Performance

Using the coolers we review in everyday scenarios allows us to test how the features and design mesh together during real world usage. Some packs can look ideal on paper and even when you unbox them but they can be let down by poor quality zippers, or a small mouth opening. The knowledge gained from this phase can only be learned through hands-on testing, a step that many review sites do not undertake.

Our Team


Favorite Cooler: RTIC Backpack Cooler


Favorite Cooler: Icemule Boss