The backpack cooler is ideal for those who engage in activities such as hiking, camping, attending or playing in sporting events, and picnicking that require food and drink to be kept at a certain temperature but need the ability to carry and transport it easily and conveniently. The disadvantage of a backpack cooler is that it does not hold as much as a traditional cooler and is generally not as effective in keeping food or drink hot or cold for extended periods of time. For those who want a portable insulated cooler in something other than a backpack, they are also made in a variety of styles such as duffel bags, messenger bags, over the shoulder collapsible models, and rectangular beverage can coolers.
The exterior of backpack coolers are typically made of nylon or polyester with an insulated interior made of a waterproof or water resistant material. The backpack may be constructed with a one strap "sling style" or a more traditional two strap design. Other common features include multiple insulated compartments, removable interior liner, exterior storage pockets, auxiliary carry straps and waist straps to more evenly distribute the weight of the bag.
Buyers of an insulated backpack cooler bag should consider the following factors. Does it sit well on the body when worn? Are the straps adequately padded? Are the compartments easy to open and use? Are the compartments large enough for the intended use? Will the liner contain liquid and moisture to prevent exterior leaking? Does it appear to be well constructed?
Another consideration when considering a backpack cooler is price. Backpack coolers can be found at all ends of the price spectrum. Many well known outdoor and sporting goods companies manufacture coolers that tend to be more expensive than "no-name" insulated coolers. For the increased price, the coolers are often made of higher quality materials, have more features and also have the panache of a brand name.