I can’t stand coolers. They’re difficult to lug to campsites, and even walking from the parking lot to the picnic spot is a hassle. They’re inevitably always red or blue, with a flimsy plastic handle, and the lids often get stuck. I have about three gathering dust in my pantry right now. With so much technological innovation in other fields, why has the cooler industry lagged behind? Do we have any other options?
Coolers aren’t cool
I agree. Coolers aren’t cool at all. In fact, recent scientific studies show that 91% of people carrying a “Li’l Playmate” cooler look like total doofuses.
And you’re right – the flimsy plastic handle is not conducive to easy carrying. Like, at all. Like, it’s so unconducive, this teensy box that fits two beers and a sleeve of crackers requires handling by two adult humans, or else it flips over and spills its contents.
Is there a better way? Can we hope for a brighter, cooler future?
We can. Bring in Outxe’s cooler backpack.
You might remember Outxe from past reviews of their nifty 3-in-1 rugged lantern and super-useful rugged power bank. They hit another homerun with their new cooler backpack, which is exactly what it sounds like: An actual wearable backpack that is, in fact, a cooler.
The cooler backpack, from the outside, looks like a typical day pack: durable black fabric; wide, comfortable shoulder straps with ample padding; a chest strap for stability; side mesh pockets for water bottles (or, if you’re me, bear spray); and several zippered compartments. It’s definitely stylish, and a bit more understated than the standard day-glo colored hiking packs. It looks a bit like a commuter backpack, so it would not stand out in the slightest for daily use at work or school.
“We’re looking good so far,” I thought, assessing the stylish-yet-standard situation the pack had goin’ on. But then… but then! But then I unzipped the main compartment, and…
WHAT?!? It’s a fully insulated, fully lined cooler that can hold up to 30 soda cans, with room for snacks. I tested this with cans of La Croix and I, uh, ran out of cans. (Look, who keeps more than two dozen cans of La Croix in their fridge? Hardcore addicts, that’s who. I can quit whenever I want.)
Outxe estimates the cooler can maintain temperature for 4-6 hours, but that can be extended – or, in very hot weather, assured – by using ice or cool packs. They also report that it’s leak-proof. Always a skeptic, I poured water in it and walked around my house. Outxe was right, and I ended up watering my plants with backpack water. Nothing leaked.
Let’s do a rundown.
- If you pour water in this cooler backpack, and then literally flip it upside down, water will leak through the top zipper. Honestly, if you are doing this, you need help.
- It’s a teensy-weensy bit heavier than the standard backpack – probably due to its super effective insulated lining.
- Comfort! I mentioned the wide, padded shoulder straps and the sternum strap, but I failed to mention that there’s also a hip belt. I had no problems hauling this up onto my back and walking much farther than I could have skipping along with a regular cooler.
- Outxe says the pack is made with 600D polyester fabric. I have literally no idea what that means, but I can tell you, this pack will not rip anytime soon.
- This is a 28L pack, which is more than enough room for a full picnic and hiking essentials.
- The pack comes with its own rain cover, so if you’re hauling 23 cans of La Croix and a Macbook Air in a thunderstorm (which, duh, of course you would be; what else are you doing when it rains?), your electronics will be safe and your drinking water will remain non-acidic.
I’m not being overzealous when I say that I don’t know how on Earth I tolerated old coolers for so long. I am so delighted with this backpack, I want everyone to have one.
Stay cool, my friends,