As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time – and today I am testing the ICEMULE Pro XL Backpack Cooler.
This is one amazing cooler for all the right reasons. First, and most importantly, it keeps things cold. I had this thing filled with 30 pounds of beer and ice and left it in out on a dock by the water, in the sun, for a day. I put it next to another transport-friendly cooler. There was still so much ice left over in the ICEMULE and the other cooler I used was only water. 36 hours later, there was still ice.
Secondly, it’s a backpack, and it is great at that too. The backpack straps are cushioned and come with a sternum strap for load dispersion – two things that were greatly appreciated when this thing had 30 pounds of beer + ice in it. There is also some padding for against your back that is a breathable mesh, to keep you cooler for longer while you’re lugging (mule-ing?) this thing around.
It has a roll down seal, very much the same as waterproof sacks, and this is very much waterproof. It floats in water, so I had no concerns when I went kayaking with this. I strapped it into the boat, paddled to an island, hiked to a spot with a view, and cracked a few brews, had a sandwich, and watched the day pass by.
I do like that there is some flexible bungee webbing on the outside front so I can stash something like a jacket or a pair of shoes or something. I can lash things to the top where it clips and seals, but I would have appreciated some more pockets. Thing is, this cooler packs away very small for it’s 33L size, and a pocket would – I guess – prevent it from being so travel-friendly. My solution was to pack a smaller waterproof bag inside it and that way I could still transport all my things in one bag. This proved useful when I wanted to keep the sandwiches from getting wet from the ice in the cooler.
It also has an integrated valve that lets air in and out in this layer of the bag nestled between its durable outside protective layer and its inner cooler material. Yes, this definitely helps with the packability I was just mentioning, as you can let a lot of air out to compress it, but it also aids in the cooling effect of your stuff. When you load this up with ice and your whatevers, if you let air in, then seal it, it will keep the air in the bag and that air will help keep the cooler colder for longer while the ice melts off. Not a lot of backpack coolers have a valve system.
This bag is the Pro XL size. 33L is a big bag. They make some other sizes, and other models that come with less or more features (like outside pockets) so as a brand, ICEMULE has you covered. There are a few companies out there doing backpack coolers now, but I haven’t seen a better value out there. These are a great price considering their performance. I love how cold things were staying and how tough the bag held up through the woods. I am definitely bringing ice cream with me the next time I go hiking.
- It floats in water
- Contents stay cold 24-36 hours later
- Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps help handle heavy loads
- Built-in side valve for better packing and cooling.
- Not much external storage/pocket options, but they have other models online with that feature.