Most of the time these days, I’m not going far. But where I am going is always outside, and I’m trying to come as prepared as possible. That doesn’t mean just bringing a face mask and hand sanitizer, although those things are important. No, for me, when I’m going to socially distance at a park, I need snacks on hand, drinks on deck, and all should be ice cold. I usually would just bring all of this stuff in my backpack, but since it’s summer, I’ve come up with a new solution: a cooler backpack. Cooler backpacks are the backpacks of quarantine because whereas normally you’re going out to go fill it up with groceries or something else, now, you’re just headed outside and you need something that’s portable and keeps things cool. To help you pick out the best one for you this summer, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites.
FOR A SLING COOLER
The IceMule holds 15 Liters so you can fit anything, whether it’s a six pack or a bottle of wine and keep it frosty for up to 24 hours. The shell is extremely lightweight so you’re not carrying a bunch of ice and a heavy cooler, just what you need. In case it suddenly rains, the watertight seal and welded seams ensure leakproof transportation so no water gets in or out. It also floats in case you drop it off of your kayak.
FOR A DO IT ALL COOLER
Hydro Flask Unbound
This is the creme de la creme of backpack coolers. It comes in six different colors, has a wide mouth lid, two straps that are extraordinarily comfortable, and best of all, several pockets to hold things you don’t want kept cool. The minimalist design looks great with anything too, whether you’re on a hike or just out for a walk in the park.
FOR A 2-IN-1
Carhart Cooler Backpack
Whereas the other options are cooler backpacks, this is a cooler and a backpack. One compartment is ideal for holding food and gear, while the other compartment is heavily insulated, so you can put whatever you want in there. This is ideal if you just want to keep a drink or two cold, and really want to carry a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t need to be in a cooler.
FOR A STYLISH COOLER
Primus Cooler Bag
This doesn’t look like a cooler at all but it’s a top notch one. Just fill it with ice or ice packs, and the waterproof interior will retain a low internal temperature. This is sleek enough to take to parks without turning heads, yet rugged enough to handle the scrapes and scratches that come with being outdoors.
FOR A RUGGED COOLER
YETI Backflip 24L
This cooler can hold twenty canned refreshments and looks like you could run it over with a truck and it’d be ok. Don’t do that, but do bring it to the park, on hikes, or anywhere really. This will keep things beyond cold, and you can attach trusty tools like a bottle opener to the back so you’ll always be prepared, no matter what.
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