What are the best cool bags

Cool bag: test, comparison and buying guide

You don't want to go without cold drinks or you don't want to worry about your frozen products? There is a simple solution to this - a cool bag! This simple yet ingenious invention has already saved some ice cream from thawing. In addition to other useful information, we have also summarized the results of cooler bag tests for you. In the following you will find out everything you need to consider before buying a cooler bag.

Table of Contents

The most important information about cooler bags in brief

  • Cool bags are available in a wide variety of designs, for example as rucksacks or shopping baskets. There is sure to be the right model for you!
  • You don't need electricity to use a cooler bag, which makes it a perfect companion for on the go. Pre-chilled food or drinks are sufficient and the cooler bag is ready for use.
  • Additional frozen Cold packs can extend the cooling effect and keep your food cool for several hours.
  • The insulation of the cooler bag makes it possible that you can use it not only for cooling, but also to keep your food warm.

The best cool bags: editors' favorites

Because you can quickly lose track of the large range of cooler bags, we have put together our four favorites for you below. All of them belong to the middle price range and should make the decision for a cooler bag easier for you.

The water-repellent cooler bag: Reisenthel UH7003 coolerbag

What we like:
  • water repellent
  • very thick insulation for increased cooling performance
  • tightly fitting lid with two-way zip
  • stable and resistant floor
  • different designs
What we don't like:
  • Customers complain about the short cooling capacity

Editorial assessment

The “coolerbag UH7003” from Reisenthel is made of a water-repellent polyester. The very thick insulation made of high-quality aluminum foil, the inner lining and the tightly closing lid lead to increased cooling performance. Since the bag is equipped with a two-way zipper, you can fill it very easily. A sturdy floor and the two carrying handles make it easy to transport even heavier things. The coolerbag is available in different designs, so there is definitely something for your taste.

Volume: 20 l | Material: Polyester | Weight: 480 g

The cooler bag with padded handles: Lifewit cooler bag

What we like:
  • Inner lining: insulated PEVA film with extra thick EPE foam
  • padded handle + detachable shoulder strap
  • foldable
  • multifunctional use
What we don't like:
  • not for everyday use

Editorial assessment

The “Insulated Lunch Bag” from Lifewit is available between 20l and 40l capacity. The waterproof and dirt-repellent polyester makes the bag robust on the outside. The insulation consists of PEVA foil and an extra thick EPE foam. The padded handle and the shoulder strap, which is also removable, ensure better comfort during transport. The large outer compartment and the side mesh pockets make the cooler bag your multifunctional companion, which can be folded up and taken anywhere.

Volume: 20 - 40 l | Material: Polyester | Weight: 570 g

The cooler bag with tableware set and blanket: Eono picnic backpack tableware set & blanket

What we like:
  • generously sized cooling compartment
  • Also includes a complete picnic set for 2 people (including cutlery, crockery, blanket, washable cotton napkins, wine glasses, bottle opener, cutting board and cheese knife)
  • removable bottle cooler
  • available in different designs

Editorial assessment

The “picnic backpack” from Eono is just right for you if you still need a bag for a perfect picnic. The backpack not only has a large cooling compartment for your groceries, but also an integrated and individually removable bottle cooler. The backpack has everything you need for a picnic. You can not only choose from different designs, but also adjust the number of people. The sets are available for 2 or 4 people. Due to the extensive content, the backpack weighs 1.6kg.

Material: Polyester with thermal aluminum foil | Weight: 1600 g

The cool bag as a shopping basket: Allcamp insulated shopping basket

What we like:
  • foldable handle
  • leakproof
  • Outside pocket with zip

What we don't like:

  • a bit heavy at 830 g for just one basket

Editorial assessment

With the “insulated shopping basket” from Allcamp you can easily transport your shopping home even on hot summer days. The basket can easily be closed tightly with a zipper and is also leak-proof. You can fold in the handle so that you can stow the basket in a space-saving manner. The shopping basket is available in two different sizes, 22l or 32l capacity. The basket also has an outside pocket in which you can store your valuables.

Volume: 20, 32 l | Material: Polyester and aluminum foil | Weight: 830 g

Buying guide for cooler bags

Here you will find all the important information that you should consider when buying a cooler bag.

What is a cool bag?

A cool bag is exactly what the name suggests, a cool bag. If you put pre-chilled drinks or food in a cooler bag, this condition will be maintained for a longer period of time. There are now many different models that you can choose from. Finding the right cooler bag shouldn't be a problem for you.

How is a cool bag constructed?

On the outside, cooler bags are made of sturdy polyester. For the necessary insulation, there is a cold-reflecting film inside the bag, which also prevents heat exchange with the outside environment of the bag. To increase the cooling effect and maintain it for several hours, add frozen ice packs. It is important that you always close the cooler bag tightly. Otherwise the unwanted heat exchange can occur. Depending on the model, cool bags are equipped with handles and / or a strap.

How does a cool bag work?

A cool bag is basically divided into two layers. The outer polyester layer prevents heat from penetrating the inside. Your drinks and food won't heat up like this. There is also a cold-reflecting foil in the bag for support, which works like the classic aluminum foil. So the cold is intensified and your food stays cold.

By adding ice packs, you can even extend the cooling effect by several hours. The frozen batteries give off constant cold, so that the heat from the outside has no chance.

What are the advantages of a cool bag over a cool box?

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of a cool bag and a cool box in comparison.

Cooler bagcooling box
+ Can be used anywhere because it is light and no power source is required+ Unlimited cooling possible if there is a power source
+ easy to stow, as the fabric is usually flexible - mostly bulky, large and not space-saving
+ easy to transport thanks to the shoulder strap, so that hands remain free - usually has handles, so no free hands when carrying

Of course, you can't keep your drinks and food cool forever with a cooler bag and ice packs. A cool box is more suitable for cooling over a longer period of time. But these are usually large, bulky and you need electricity to use their active cooling. In comparison, you can take the cooler bag with you anywhere and stow it anywhere when you don't need it. The cooler bag also performs better during transport, as it is lighter and you can even hang it around your neck if necessary.
You can find the best cool boxes in our cool box test overview and our buying guide on this topic.

Did you know that you can also use a cooler bag to keep food warm? The insulation made of aluminum foil also works the other way round. In this case, the heat inside is simply reflected back and the cold outside tries to keep away. Your cooler bag can be used for other purposes.

Who is a cool bag suitable for?

A cool bag is basically suitable for anyone who does not want to go without chilled drinks while on the go and wants to be independent of a power source. It doesn't matter whether you use the cooler bag for refreshment after exercise or to cool your snacks during a hike. A cooler bag is also a great companion for your camping weekend. The wide range of cooler bags leaves practically nothing to be desired and you will quickly find a suitable one for you.

Are you planning a road trip with a converted van and don't have a lot of space left over? But you don't want to do without chilled food? Then check out the following video. Here are a few tips from Indiefairne:

What types of cooler bags are there?

Cool bags come in all conceivable shapes and sizes. They can be so small that only a single bottle fits in or have a capacity of several liters. Because of this variety, you can adapt them to your individual needs. You are also not limited to the classic shoulder bag when it comes to choosing the shape. For example, a backpack is ideal for longer hikes. To keep your shopping cool for the weekend in summer, there are even shopping baskets with a cold-reflecting film and zip.

What should I consider when buying a cooler bag?

When buying cool bags, pay particular attention to criteria such as cooling performance, material, equipment and workmanship.

Cooling capacity

Probably the most important criterion when buying a cool bag is its cooling performance. This should also be ensured with a larger usage content. Make sure that the cooling effect is sufficient and that the contents do not heat up after a short time. The temperature after hours is also a purchase criterion. This can be influenced by adding ice packs, but cooling for 2-3 hours should also be possible without them. If this is not the case, it suggests poor workmanship or poor quality material.

Watertightness

The point of watertightness should also not be ignored. Depending on what you want to use the bag for, it should be water-repellent on the outside. You should also make sure that liquids cannot escape from the inside, so the bag is also waterproof here.

Ease of filling

As different as the types of cooler bags can be, the way in which they are filled can also be different. Pay attention to this when you buy it and think about what you want to use the cooler bag for the most. If, for example, you often want to cool food storage containers with prepared snacks, then a large opening is important. Also make sure that the zipper is easy to close and that it does not get caught.

Note: If your cooler bag has a two-way zipper, you can only open the bag from one side. In this way you prevent unnecessary heat from entering.

Furnishing

Which equipment you choose ultimately depends on what you want to use the cooler bag for. Padded shoulder straps are recommended as they are still comfortable to wear even when the weight is higher. Then a reinforced floor is also an option. The number of compartments can also be decisive if you do not only want to store food for cooling. If you don't want to carry the cooler bag at all, a model with castors is a good choice. These allow you to easily pull the bag behind you.

Material & workmanship

Make sure that the material is of high quality. Only then can you be sure that the content is adequately cooled. For example, if the insulation is too thin, heat exchange can occur, which should actually be prevented. The same applies to the outer material. Good workmanship is also important. If the seams are too thin, they can tear at the slightest weight. This can also have a negative effect on the cooling.

Dimensions

At this point you should be sure what you want to transport in the cooler bag and adjust the dimensions accordingly. Make sure that you don't choose a bag that is too small or that is too large. This can also have an influence on the cooling effect.

Color & design

The range of colors and designs is just as large as the selection of cooler bags. Here you can freely decide according to your taste.

A little tip: dark colors absorb the heat more than light colors

Which brands make quality cool bags?

The Reisenthel brand, for example, offers a wide range of high-quality cool bags. Reisenthel is known for the good workmanship of their products, which are accordingly durable. In addition to classic cool bags for carrying, Reisenthel also offers insulated shopping baskets. Bags from the Lifewit brand have a large opening so that you can easily transport large plastic cans with your food. Backpacks from Tourit offer a practical alternative to classic cool bags, which are perfect when you need to keep your hands free.

Where can I buy a cooler bag?

Of course you can fall back on a wide range of cool bags on the Internet. Amazon in particular offers a wide selection here, so that you are sure to find what you are looking for quickly. But local shops also have cool bags in their range. For example, you could find a classic cooler bag for camping accessories in a hardware store. Outdoor shops will tend to have special models such as thermal backpacks in their range. If you are looking for a way to cool larger quantities of food, fishing shops could also be an option for you.

How much do cool bags cost?

There are cool bags in almost every price range. You can buy the simplest version for less than 5 euros at supermarket checkouts or hardware stores. In general, it always depends on which model you choose and which brand you choose. At Amazon you can find cool bags for less than 10 euros, with no upper price limit. If you are looking for a high quality and durable cooler bag, you should budget 20 to 30 euros.

If you shop in a local shop around the corner, you save the sometimes very high shipping costs. In the end, this can have a positive effect on the price.

What should I look out for when using a cooler bag?

In order for the cooler bag to cool your food well, it must be well closed. So make sure to close the zipper completely after each opening. Intact insulation also plays a crucial role, which is why you should be careful with sharp things. A crack in the foil can lead to a poorer cooling effect. When filling, make sure that there is still enough space for ice packs. In addition to these difficulties, you could also provoke the straps to tear.

What do I have to pay attention to when storing my cooler bag?

When storing cool bags, you should follow similar guidelines as for other bags. Put them in a dry place to prevent mold from building up. It is best to also close the zipper to protect the insulation inside. If you do not want to use the ice packs for other purposes, you can also store them in the bag. But then be careful not to put them in a place without direct sunlight, as they can burst if it is too hot.

What alternatives to cool bags are there?

Not only cool bags can be used to cool your food and drinks on the go. Cool boxes often offer more space as well as the option of active cooling. In contrast to cooling bags, a motor is used here to actively extract heat from the inside of the bag and to release it to the outside world. For this you need a power connection.Their outer material is not made of fabric, but mostly of plastic. They are therefore generally more robust and can also be filled with heavier objects without hesitation.

Important accessories for the cooler bags

As already mentioned, buying ice packs is very worthwhile, as they can extend the cooling time. If you mainly want to refrigerate food, food storage containers are an idea for you. These are usually more space-saving than the original packaging and they can be easily stacked in the cooler bag. Active cooling is not only possible with cool boxes, but also with cool bags with a built-in battery. The purchase of a car charging cable makes sense here. So you can recharge the battery on the go if you need to.

Cool bag test overview: which cool bags are the best?

In the following we have put together an overview of cooler bag tests for you, which should support you in your purchase decision. However, all tests relate to cool boxes and not directly to cool bags. You can still get an overview of which aspects you should pay attention to when buying.

Test magazineCool bag test available?Release yearFree accessLearn more
Stiftung WarentestNo, only test on cool boxes2017NoClick here
eco testNo, only to cool boxes2017NoClick here
Konsument.at--------
Ktipp.chNo, only to cool boxes2017NoClick here

In all tests, the passive coolers in particular performed poorly, as the contents had warmed up by 12 ° C after just four hours. Stiftung Warentest and K-Tipp therefore recommend cool boxes with active cooling, i.e. that the heat is actively extracted from the inside of the box with the help of a motor. The power supply usually works via the car's cigarette lighter, so you can benefit from it on the go. Öko Test also points out that cool boxes can also consist of problematic substances.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions about cool bags

At this point we have compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions about cool bags for you. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to write them in the comments.

Can you wash a cooler bag?

No, you shouldn't use the washing machine to clean it because of the insulation. Just take a damp rag and clean the bag like this.

How do you use a cooler bag?

It's very straightforward. Fill it with your already chilled food or drinks, close the cap and the cooling starts. To increase or extend the cooling, simply add ice packs.

Which cooler bag is suitable for breast milk?

There are special cooling bags for storing breast milk, which are adapted to the size of baby bottles. But you can also use classic cool bags for this. Just make sure that the capacity of the cooler bag is sufficient.

How long does a cool bag stay cold?

Without ice packs, a cool bag will stay cold for several hours if it is properly closed. This time can be extended by additional hours by adding ice packs.

How long does meat keep in a cooler bag?

Not very long. In general, with meat you should make sure that the cold chain is not interrupted. It is advisable to have a cooler bag with you for transport home, but the meat should be put in the refrigerator as soon as possible. If you have to cover a further distance, it is best to take cold packs with you.

How do I clean my cooler bag?

Washing in a washing machine is not recommended because of the insulation. A damp cloth is more suitable, with which you can clean the inside and outside of the bag.

What else are cool bags called?

Another name for cool bags is, for example, the English expression cooling bag. You can also find many cool bags under Lunch Bags. As the name suggests, these have been specially developed to keep food fresh.

Further sources

  • Are you still missing the right cold drinks for the cooler bag? Try one of these recipes!
  • If you are looking for some refreshment for exercise, then one of these sports drinks might be for you.
  • Your baby's food is cold and you have no way of changing it on the way? Maybe there is something suitable for you with these baby food and bottle warmers.

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