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Pondering about purchasing RTIC’s latest backpack cooler? Our RTIC Back Pack cooler review may be able to help you.
In This Article
RTIC’s biggest competitor YETI has released their Hopper BackFlip 24 cooler about 2 years ago. RTIC has come up with a response to this cooler only recently, so over the past few years, you had no worthy alternative to the pricey BackFlip 24.
Things have changed though. If you’ve been holding onto your money for 2 years in hopes that RTIC will offer something similar to BackFlip but cheaper, then the RTIC Back Pack may be for you.
To help you determine whether it’s truly the right backpack cooler for your needs, we’ll provide you with an in-depth overview of its features and compare it head-to-head vs. YETI BackFlip 24.
RTIC Back Pack Cooler Review
Durability And Build Quality
Aimed at competing with YETI BackFlip cooler, the RTIC Back Pack cooler promises durability and quality. Well, does it actually live up to the claims?
As our tests showed, Back Pack indeed is an extremely rugged backpack cooler. This cooler is as premium as it's main competitor – throughout our tough testing (mostly aimed at ice retention, but still), the RTIC backpack cooler did not show any signs of wear and tear.
The build quality is very nice and sturdy as well – it does make you feel that you are holding a pretty pricey backpack cooler. So whether your use cases are heavy or light, expect the RTIC backpack cooler to last you for a good bit.
Notably, RTIC also advertises that this cooler can float. Our tests have confirmed this – the cooler is waterproof and does not sink even when filled with ice and beverages.
Apart from that, we’ve checked whether this cooler is leakproof. We’ve filled the cooler with ice and hanged it upside down for a few hours – not a single drop of water or moist spots on the cooler was detected.
Throughout our testing, we’ve paid most of our attention to the ice retention capabilities of RTIC Back Pack. After all, keeping ice, food, and beverages cool are the main purposes of coolers.
Well, here’s what we’ve found out during testing.
In terms of ice retention, we’ve managed to get 3 full days out of RTIC Back Pack. We’ve gotten this number with the backpack left outside and filled halfway with cube ice. We opened it once per day to see if the ice was still there.
However, you probably won’t be keeping your backpack cooler shut for days, so we’ve performed a little tougher test too.
We’ve taken Back Pack to a beach in over 90-degree heat and subjected it to extensive use, with multiple openings a day. We think that this particular test better reflects how RTIC Back Pack will be used by the average user.
We’ve gotten a full day out of Back Pack under these conditions, left it outside for the night, and about 30% of ice was still there at noon the next day. You could use this cooler for full-day beach parties with ease!
With both our tests, we feel that adding more ice would probably add an extra day of storage. By “more ice”, we mean large block ice or a decently-sized cooler ice pack on top of the used cube ice. Using an ice extender like KoolerGel would likely have a similar effect.
Is the insulation of Back Pack good? Well, it’s as good as it can be for its product category. It's on par with its direct competitor, YETI BackFlip 24, as both products use the closed-cell rubber foam made of industrial-grade polyurethane.
However, if you don’t need convenience but do want to store ice for days, then opt instead for one of the RTIC hard coolers. These coolers don’t offer the carrying comfort of Back Pack or BackFlip 24, but they have thicker insulation and can store ice for up to 7-10 days.
Backpack coolers will probably never reach the cooling performance of hard coolers because they have to stay lighter. So when shopping for a cooler, you will have to choose between comfort and insulation.
Comfort & Convenience
You’re likely to wear a backpack cooler for hours at a time, so comfort is critical to consider. We’ve given this backpack a good ride to determine how comfortable it is and whether it brings any backaches.
The result – this is one very comfortable backpack cooler that can be carried comfortably even when filled to the brim.
RTIC has done a really good job of ensuring that Back Pack is easy to carry. The padding on the straps is thick and wide, and there is also some padding on the back for added comfort.
This backpack also has a chest and hip buckles. These have their own contribution to comfort and support, and they will allow you to stay hands-free while traveling too since they won’t let the backpack slip off.
Filled with as many cans and ice as we could fit in it, RTIC Back Pack stayed comfortable to carry and didn’t excessively strain the back after prolonged wearing.
RTIC Back Pack also has a top handle along with side handles for more convenient carry while the backpack isn’t on your back. There also are a few tiedown points to keep the cooler secure in your boat or trailer, as well as some netting in the back for gear transport.
All in all, Back Pack offers excellent wearing comfort and has a few handy features to make carrying a little easier. It could even work as a solid ordinary backpack (though this certainly isn’t what you should buy it for).
However, RTIC Back Pack doesn’t have some of the key convenience features of the BackFlip 24 backpack, which we’ll talk about a little bit later.
Capacity is also important in coolers. Unfortunately, RTIC is extremely uninformative with this backpack’s capacity (and so is YETI with their coolers) – the only thing that they give you is that Back Pack can hold 30 cans plus a bag of ice.
We did, however, filled it with water to see what the actual capacity is, and we've been able to use 8.75 gallons of water, which translates to 35 quarts.
It's a hell lot of space.
For some perspective, the Back Pack cooler can fit a 1/6 keg plus a little ice. 1/6 kegs are sized at 23.4 x 9.25 inches (height x diameter) and hold 5.16 gallons (about 20.64 quarts).
This is pretty impressive for any backpack cooler.
Size and Dimensions
Size-wise, the RTIC backpack cooler is rather bulky, although it may not seem like it from photos. It feels bulky, too.
The measurements of this cooler are as follows – 15 x 10 x 20-1/4 (W x D x H) inches. It’s pretty large, as you can see, and this becomes even more evident when you compare it with alternative options.
The size isn’t necessarily a downside for Back Pack. On one hand, storage and carrying do become a little more difficult (especially for petite users). On the other hand, you wouldn’t be getting the same ample storage room if this cooler was more compact.
Design & Colors
Back Pack clearly draws inspiration from YETI’s BackFlip, though it has a few small details that make it feel noticeably different. We like RTIC’s backpack, but we actually prefer YETI BackFlip’s design since it looks sleeker to us.
Color-wise, you have 3 options – camo, tan, and blue/grey. In contrast, YETI’s backpack comes in coral, navy, and charcoal. In terms of colors, we like the Back Pack, but it would also be nice if it had a few girly colors.
This video shows the RTIC Back Pack in use:
RTIC Back Pack VS YETI BackFlip 24
RTIC vs YETI backpack cooler – what’s the difference?
First, let's take a look what the hard data says:
|Soft Backpack Cooler
|RTIC Back Pack
|Yeti Hopper BackFlip™ 24
Cans of Beer*
|Ice Retention (at 90F)
|Up to 48 hours
|Up to 48 hours
|15" × 10" × 20 1/4"
13" × 7" × 17"
|13 3/4” × 8 1/2” × 19 1/8”
12 5/8” × 6 1/2” × 15”
|View at RTIC Store
|View at YETI Store
* Using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio by volume; ** According to yeti.com
Now, let’s have a closer look at the similarities and distinctions between the two competitor backpack coolers – Back Pack and BackFlip 24.
Build quality & durability
In terms of build quality and durability, the two backpacks are very similar. RTIC Back Pack feels no less premium than BackFlip 24, and its build quality is likewise comparable.
Durability is a little bit difficult to compare without actual long-term use, but given what we’ve seen, Back Pack shouldn’t be too far off YETI’s backpack cooler.
Size & capacity
Size and capacity are among the biggest differences between the YETI and RTIC backpack coolers.
RTIC Back Pack is noticeably larger – it’s sized at 15 x 10 x 20-1/4 (W x D x H) inches, while the YETI cooler is sized at 13-3/4 x 8-1/2 inches x 19-1/8 (W x D x H).
On one hand, this means that the RTIC cooler will be bulkier and heavier, but it also means that you’ll have more storage space.
YETI BackFlip 24 has 25.15 quarts of storage space and can hold up to 20 cans or up to 25 pounds of ice, while the RTIC Back Pack is 35 quarts, and holds 30 cans plus some ice.
Back Pack actually seems to have thicker insulation on the sides and the top.
With that, the RTIC backpack cooler should match or even outperform the YETI cooler.
The larger size of the RTIC cooler may play a big role here since larger coolers can typically store ice longer.
When it comes to comfort, the two backpack coolers aren’t much different – both are comfortable to carry even when heavily loaded.
With that said, the RTIC backpack cooler has wider shoulder straps (which makes sense since it’s bigger), and the YETi cooler doesn’t have back pads.
As a clone of BackFlip, Back Pack looks very similar – most notably, it has the same shape and feel.
However, as mentioned earlier, we like BackFlip’s design more – it looks sleeker to us and perhaps even more premium.
Back Pack still looks very good though, and its build quality contributes to the overall impression you get from this backpack cooler.
YETI BackFlip also has HitchPoint Grid attachment points for tying the cooler down or mounting accessories like bottle openers or whatnot. RTIC's backpack also has attachment points for gear, but their number is just 4, while BackFlip has 18.
RTIC’s promise of “overbuilt, not overpriced” is delivered in Back Pack to the fullest. For the money, Back Pack is an amazing buy, and it also has a higher capacity.
On the other hand, YETI’s cooler is more practical if lightness and compactness are important for you. If you’re a die-hard YETI fan, then it’s also obvious that BackFlip is the way to go. Additionally, as a pricier cooler, BackFlip may actually be more durable in the very long run, but only time can tell.
Where To Buy RTIC Back Pack
If you want to buy RTIC Back Pack, then we recommend that you check out their official store. The store is trusted, offers good pricing, and has plenty of reviews to help you choose.
We also usually recommend Amazon as a buying place, but unfortunately, Back Pack isn’t yet available there (listed as coming soon).
Other Coolers Like RTIC Back Pack Worth Looking At
If Back Pack’s features don’t look convincing enough for you, then here are similar coolers that we think are worthy alternatives to consider.
The Pelican Dayventure is a premium backpack cooler option that offers remarkable organization capabilities. Unlike RTIC Back Pack and YETI BackFlip 24, Dayventure has a few external pockets along with separate cooler and dry storage compartments.
The cooler compartment in Dayventure is very small – it holds only up to 6 cans + some ice. However, the layout of this backpack may be excellent for you if you want to keep your stuff tidy.
In terms of build quality, Dayventure is great as well, boasting a puncture-resistant shell, waterproof sealing, and a compression-molded base. The shoulder straps and pack are perforated too and should be pretty breathable.
Polar Bear Backpack
The affordable Polar Bear backpack offers a more classical approach with just a single compartment for cooling, but it’s still different from RTIC and YETI backpack coolers. Most importantly, the Polar Bear backpack cooler’s shell isn’t as hard as in our today’s contestants.
Despite this, this backpack cooler is pretty rugged and durable. Its outer shell is made from tough nylon, while the seams are double-hemmed and anchor-stitched to resist rips. The main compartment zipper is rustproof and leakproof.
As for insulation, it’s claimed to be capable of storing ice for 24 hours in 100+ heat. Find out more in our Polar Bear review here.
The IceMule Pro backpack cooler is fully collapsible, which makes it the most space-efficient cooler on this list when not in use. It’s also pretty durable, waterproof, has breathable straps, and can even float.
And best of all, this backpack cooler has an interior capacity of 23 liters (that converts to about 24.3 quarts), which is awesome given how little space it occupies when in storage. More details in our Ice Mule cooler review.
Finally, IceMule Pro is not very expensive and is a good option for limited budgets too.
For more options, check out the other post where we discuss best cooler backpacks for 2020.
RTIC Back Pack Cooler Review – Final Words
That’s it for our RTIC Back Pack cooler review! Hopefully, we’ve given you a good enough idea of what the RTIC backpack cooler has to offer.
It boasts excellent value for the money, especially considering how similar it is to YETI’s BackFlip, and is a great buy if your budget is limited. Best Cooler Reviews‘ team strongly recommends this product.
RTIC Back Pack Cooler Review Summary
- Ice Retention
RTIC Back Pack Cooler Review
RTIC’s promise of “overbuilt, not overpriced” is delivered in Back Pack to the fullest. For the money, Back Pack is an amazing buy, and it also has a higher capacity than its YETI rival. It might be too bulky for some users, but if you need a lot of storage, this is the one to buy.
User Review( votes)
Last update on 2024-02-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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