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RTIC Backpack 30 Review

Ready for your remote picnic or beach day, this large-capacity cooler doubles as a backpack
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RTIC Backpack 30 Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $180 List
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Manufacturer:   RTIC
By Genaveve Bradshaw and Rebecca Glades  ⋅  Sep 22, 2023

#7 of 19
  • Insulation - 30% 6.8
  • Convenience - 25% 4.5
  • Portability - 25% 8.9
  • Packability - 10% 5.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.6

Our Verdict

Ready for just about any adventure ahead, the RTIC Backpack 30 is large, durable, and comfortable to carry. The weight is evenly distributed thanks to its thick shoulder and waist straps. Meanwhile, its large capacity can hold enough for the whole family, including various-sized containers and bottles. The durable build is resistant to scuff and scrapes, and its zipper is completely watertight. This soft cooler has a rather large footprint, so it's not the easiest to store in tight places. However, its impressive cooling performance and excellent features make this a great soft cooler to take on your next beach day, river trip, or backyard barbeque.
Floats in water
Good insulation performance
Large capacity
Difficult to store
Minor pressure points when heavy

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Bottom Line This large-capacity soft cooler doubles as a backpack and does well in insulation testsThis is one of our top choices for the best all-around soft coolerThis budget-friendly cooler lacks a zipped top, yet keeps its contents fresh among the restA great cooler that's simple, easy to use, and less expensive than mostThis soft cooler has the lowest price tag of the soft coolers we've tested. While it isn't going to give you everything you need, it'll get the job done for quick and easy trips
Rating Categories RTIC Backpack 30 Engel HD30 Arctic Zone Titan D... AO Coolers 24 Pack... Lifewit Large Insul...
Insulation (30%)
Convenience (25%)
Portability (25%)
Packability (10%)
Durability (10%)
Specs RTIC Backpack 30 Engel HD30 Arctic Zone Titan D... AO Coolers 24 Pack... Lifewit Large Insul...
Measured Capacity in Cans 42 cans 63 cans 30 cans 36 cans 24 cans
Measured Capacity 27.1 L 41.8 L 19.4 L 23.4 L 13.2 L
Food Shelf Life (Measured Days Below 40ºF) 2.5 3.0 2.1 2.3 1.6
Cold Beverages (Measured Days Below 50ºF) 2.8 3.3 2.3 2.5 1.8
Carry Style Pack Tote Lunchbox Lunchbox Lunchbox
Can a standard sized wine bottle fit? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, but can only fit small bottles horizontally
Measured Dimensions L x W x H 10.1" x 14.8" 20.1" 20" x 9.5" x 17" 15.1" x 11.3" x 12.1" 17" x 9" x 12" 10" x 6.7" x 8.3"
Measured Weight 5.0 lbs 4.5 Ibs 3.6 lbs 2.8 Ibs 0.8 Ibs
Closure Method Zipper Zipper Zipperless Zipper Zipper
Available in Different Sizes? Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Exterior Fabric Heavy-duty coated fabric 840 denier fibers and an outer wall constructed with Thermal Plastic Urethane (TPU) Polyester Canvas Ripstop Oxford fabric with PU coating
Additional Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Removable Liner? No No Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The large RTIC Backpack 30 is capable of holding dozens of cans, wine bottles, ice, and other variously shaped items. The durable pack is waterproof and floats, so it's an excellent option to tug along on your next float trip. While it's not the easiest to store in tight places, its insulation performance is one of the best.

Performance Comparison

The RTIC Backpack has no trouble packing up for the day or weekend ahead.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Worth 35% of the overall score, insulation is the most important metric in our testing. After all, a cooler that doesn't keep its contents cold somewhat defeats the purpose. To test insulation performance, we set the coolers in a temperature-controlled room for 10 days. Each cooler was filled with ice and a small device measuring ambient temperature. We noted when the internal temperature of each cooler reached 40 and 50°F. Those that lasted longer below these temperatures did better. The RTIC Backpack was our best-performing backpack-style cooler in the lineup.

We used the FDA-recommended food-safe temperature of 40°F for our initial threshold. The RTIC lasted a whopping 60 hours below this temperature. Additionally, we tested the beer-ideal drinking temperature of 50°F. This backpack lasted an additional seven hours before it reached its temperature, totaling a time of 67 hours. Part of the cooling powers this model has comes from its heavy-duty coated fabric and waterproof zipper.


Next, we inspected how easy it was to get into each bag. We specifically looked at the access points, including how easy zippers were to use. We also cleaned each model, wiping down the insides with a wet rag. Part of this cleaning inspection was allowing it to dry. Finally, we assessed how easy it was to store each soft cooler. This metric was worth an overall 20% of the final score.

Most notably, the RTIC Backpack 30 was very easy to clean the bag itself as a smooth material that can easily be wiped down. RTIC provides specific instructions on how to care for the bag in case stains and odor appear, which is handy and easy to carry out. The bag's lid is opened by a single zipper along the top. The zipper requires some effort to unzip, and the lid does not stay open on its own. This can be slightly annoying when loading items into the bag, as the lid will continually close on your hand. The cooler itself is rigid and does not collapse or fold. This makes loading a bit easier, but also means that it does not store in tight places well. We also found that this bag is watertight and can float on water.

rtic backpack 30 - the rigid rtic backpack 30 is easy to pack up and get going. its...
The rigid RTIC Backpack 30 is easy to pack up and get going. Its large capacity is capable of holding enough for the entire group.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


The RTIC was among the most portable options in our lineup. Attest to this we carried it to various destinations with different distances. We stuck close to the parking lot for some and others. We took a bit of a hike to find our favorite picnic spot. Throughout this, we inspected the handles, straps, and comfort of each pack.

The RTIC Backpack has comfortable shoulder straps that are cushioned and adjustable. It also includes a hip strap that helps disperse the weight of the pack evenly. Aside from the backpack straps, it also includes two longer straps that allow the cooler to be carried like a grocery bag. These two straps can be connected and feel comfortable to hold for extended periods. The items within the bag felt stable throughout our walk test, never sloshing around, regardless of how full it was packed. It also includes two additional side handles. With these extra handles, it was easy to lift the bag overhead and into our vehicles. With how well it performs in its portability, this is an excellent option to take on various journeys of different lengths. A simple picnic right by the car or a longer track into a remote location are both within this backpack's capability.

rtic backpack 30 - the padded waist strap help keep the rtic backpack comfortable for...
The padded waist strap help keep the RTIC Backpack comfortable for extended use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Worth 15% of the overall score, our packability test measures the amount of items that can be filled within the bag and any exterior storage options. We also look to see how well the cooler can accommodate odd-shaped items like fruits or storage containers.

The RTIC backpack measures in at roughly 27 L. Within this, we were able to fit 42 cans along with ice. Additionally, we had no trouble fitting in an upright wine bottle and other variously shaped items. The bag is rather deep, so reaching for the final items at the bottom can be slightly challenging, especially for those with shorter arms. The exterior of the bag has one additional storage feature. The bungee cord at the front of the backpack is large enough to hold a small blanket or jacket.

The lid of the RTIC Backpack doesn't stay propped open, which can be an annoyance when packing up the cooler or grabbing a snack.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


For the final 10% of the overall score, we measured the overall durability of the soft cooler. Throughout our entire tests, taking the cooler to various destinations, we noted any wear and tear that occurred along the way. We also performed an in-depth soak test where we filled large buckets with water and left the cooler to soak for hours. After that, we inspected the inside and outside for dampness and waterproofing.

Through Our test, we had no durability troubles. When setting the cooler on rough surfaces like rocks, it didn't pick up any scuffs or scrapes. Its thick material is resistant to wear and tear and appears to be made to last. After our soap test, the interior was completely dry. This proves that the zipper is watertight. The exterior had some minor drops of water that were easily wiped off. However, it was not damp whatsoever.

rtic backpack 30 - the backpack 30's zipper is a tad difficult to use, but it's...
The Backpack 30's zipper is a tad difficult to use, but it's watertight and keeps its contents dry.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the RTIC Backpack 30?

The RTIC Backpack 30 is an excellent option for those in the market for a waterproof backpack-style soft cooler. It's comfortable enough to wear on long journeys, like treks into remote picnicking spots. It also does great for quick trips, like heading to your friend's barbeque. It floats in water, has a large internal capacity, and performs well in its insulation test. Overall, there's lots to love about this cooler. However, it's on the larger side and doesn't fold up, making it a bit challenging to store in tight places.

rtic backpack 30 - the external bungee cord is great for storing a light layer or...
The external bungee cord is great for storing a light layer or keeping ahold of your shoes at the beach.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Soft Cooler Should You Consider?

If a backpack style sounds great, but you're not looking to fork over a whole lot, the Maelstrom Backpack 35 is another great option. Though it's about average in its cooling performance, it includes many storage options. With this pack, you can store dinnerware, light layers, and even discreetly hide your keys and wallet in its back panel pocket. The REI Co-op Cool Trail Split Pack is another decent backpack-style soft cooler. It has two main compartments, one being the cooler, and the other being a large compartment for your daily essentials. This bag is specifically great for days on the trail where you want to bring along a perishable lunch.

rtic backpack 30 - thanks to its backpack straps, it's easy to take this on your next...
Thanks to its backpack straps, it's easy to take this on your next picnic, no matter how far away it might be.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Genaveve Bradshaw and Rebecca Glades