The best cooler bags to buy in the UK this summer

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by Tiffany Wallis |

We’re hopeful that the British summer is going to bring a number of sunny days across the UK so we can get outside to socialise at the beach, BBQs, in the park and in the garden. However, the warmer weather means our packed lunches and picnics are likely to be suffering from the heat too.

The best cooler bags will keep your food and beverages cold in two ways. Either, with ice to bring the temperature down or with insulation to keep the temperature down. Cooler bags or cool boxes are a simple solution to safely store food at a colder temperature. Plus they're excellent for a picnic, barbecue or day trip.

There are plenty of options available in the UK from electric cool boxes that can be plugged into your car or cooler bag backpacks for when you’re exploring on an adventure.

To help you choose the best cooler bag out there, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite options from a range of brands to suit all budgets.

11 of the best cooler bags to buy this summer

TOURIT Cooler Backpack

Top Pick
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If you've got your hands full with the kids, beach toys and the likes, a lightweight cooler backpack will definitely come in handy. Use it on walks, camping, day trips and more. The insulated lining makes sure that the contents will be kept cool for up to 16 hours.

Waterproof, durable and hardy, this Tourit cooler backpack does the job. It comes in five different design choices and has thousands of great reviews on Amazon. With loads of pockets to store all your essentials, as well as leak-proof liner, this is one you'll use for years to come.

A reviewer said, "Love it so far. Just got it 3 days ago so that I can take the 4 and 2-year-old to the beach by myself and it has already made my life so much easier. Went to the beach today with the kids again-lugging my chair, their tent and beach toys. Putting the weight of the heaviest items on my back made the trek through the sand so much more bearable. Albeit I did not load it up with cans. 4 bottles of water. A few cut fruit jars. Dry snacks. Perfect for one adult and 2 kids."

Dimensions: ‎33cm x 19cm x 40cm

Capacity: 28 Litres

Gardenia Stripe Insulated Family Cool Bag

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A brightly coloured cooler bag is exactly what's needed for those family trips down to the beach. High-density insulation means that the contents will be kept cool for hours, perfect for days out.

With the shoulder strap and shape of the bag, it means that it's well balanced as you carry it easily on your shoulder. In case of any spillages, the heat-sealed lining means that any spills won't leak and be cleaned away easily. Made from wipe clean material, this cooler bag couldn't be an easier option.

A reviewer said, "Well thought out - collapses for storage with Velcro straps to hold it in place. Kept food very cold/frozen for the four hours we needed it to, and sure it would have lasted for longer if needed, and it looks great."

Dimensions: ‎W 35cm x L 24.5cm x H 31cm

Capacity: 20 Litres

Isothermal Backpack 20L

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In two different colour choices, this Isothermal backpack by Decathlon keeps your cold drinks cool for up to 7 hours. Designed with carrying comfort in mind, this cooler bag has adjustable straps, foam back, waist and chest belt and thumb loops for your support.

It can also be folded down for convenience, and the sturdy outer material is abrasion-resistant meaning it'll withstand any bumps while keeping the contents safe.

A reviewer said, "A great size for a family of four on a day out. It's comfortable to wear, holds our picnic and keeps it cool."

Dimensions: ‎29 x 19 x 42 cm

Capacity: 20 Litres

Lifewit Large Cooler Bag

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Amazon

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This cooler bag from Amazon is ideal for family picnics in the bar. The exterior of the bag is made from high density water-resistant dirt-proof Oxford fabric for durability and easy cleaning. While the interior lining is padded with EPE foam for great thermal resistance. The cooler bag can hold all the essentials a family will need for a picnic so it’s great for holidays and BBQs.

It also comes with two side mesh pockets for storing additional drinks and bottles while the handy front pocket can be used to store napkins. The padded handle and detachable shoulder strap make it easy to carry and transport too.

A reviewer said, "Great cool bag. The bag has 2 net side pockets and a zip front pocket which is not insulated. The main compartment is well insulated and keeps my drink cold with an ice pack most of the day. The material and zips are made well. Perfect for taking to work or on a picnic.”

Dimensions: ‎37.1 X 32.1 X 10.6 cm

Capacity: 24 Litres

Cool Bag Bee Print

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Looking for a trendy cooler bag to take on your next picnic or beach trip? Look no further. These cooler bags from Joules, which come in a variety of designs are spacious, insulated, and have an adjustable shoulder strap for carrying.

Their range of cooler bags also come in insulated totes if you'd prefer. Either way, we're loving these cheerful and summery prints that come in a wipeable material.

A reviewer said, "Lovely quality, simple and great to use. Perfect size also. Absolutely Love it!"

Dimensions: ‎40W x 21D x 32H

Capacity: N/A

Halfords 12V Electric Cool Box

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With a 24-litre capacity, including room to stand two large bottles and an in-car socket, we felt this electric coolbox from Halfords offered a lot for its price tag.

It’s one of the best cooler bags because it powers from your car's 12v accessory socket and has a capacity of 24 litres with the ability to cool up to 18°c below the temperature of the air surrounding the coolbox. The cool box casing is made from polypropylene which is durable plus the interior can be easily wiped clean.

A reviewer said, “This coolbox is brilliant. It is just the right size to hold large bottles as well as food. Relatively quiet. You need to buy the mains electric connection but the fact that that is a separate item means the connected cable stores neatly and without hassle. We are very pleased with our purchase.”

Dimensions: L42.5 X W30.5 X H42.5cm

Capacity: 24 litres

Business & Pleasure Co. Striped Coated Canvas Cooler

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Selfridges stocks one of the best cooler bags around. The Business & Pleasure Co canvas cooler bag is ideal for someone looking for a luxurious option.

It’s crafted from the brand’s signature canvas treated with water, while it’s mould-resistant and features a UV coating so it’s beach-ready.

It keeps your refreshments cool while the vintage-inspired straps and supple leather handles make it easy for you to stylishly transport your picnic essentials. It features a zip fastening and can store multiple drinks!

Dimensions: L32 X W22 X H20cm

Capacity: 14 Litres

Red Paddle Co Waterproof Soft Cooler Bag

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This cooler bag from outdoor adventure brand Red Paddle is said to be in a different league. Making its mark on the best cooler bag roundup, the functional summer must-have is available from John Lewis and keeps ice cool for days.

The functional cooler bag is easily portable with its carry straps and additional shoulder strap while it is also 100% waterproof and leakproof with a special watertight zip. The cooler bag hybrid’s impressive cooling capabilities mean it lives up to its 72-hour credential for keeping ice frozen - and it floats!

There are also two side pockets and a luggage tension system for attaching it to your boat, roof or car. If you’re looking for an easy-to-carry cooler bag for adventures for a family of six, this is one of the best.

A reviewer said: “This bag will find itself being dragged everywhere. Paddling, kayaking, sailing, picnics, long car trips.”

Dimensions: L56 X W30 X H37 cm

Capacity: 30 Litres

Fortnum's Picnic Cool Bag, Eau de Nil

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If you’re looking to add a touch of style and finesse to having the best cooler bag, then Fortnum &Mason is a great place to start. Their picnic cool bag, available at £40, is essential for alfresco dining and it’s the perfect size for a family picnic.

The interior is lined with the brand’s signature print while the eco-friendly cooler bag is made from recycled materials inside and out. There’s space for nibbles and pockets to ensure your tipples stay put while it’s easy to clean at the end of the day.

The zip-up lightweight cool bag is also comfortable to carry with its contrasting black carry straps and most importantly, it’s fully insulated to keep your picnic goods chilled. Get the matching blanket and wine cooler to really look the part!

Dimensions: H35 X W37 X D26 cm

Capacity: N/A

Flexible Camping Cool Box

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Keeping your lunch cool for 9 hours, this lightweight cooler box from Decathlon is spacious, easily stored and folds away. Used for a number of purposes, the bottom of the cooler has been made with reinforced 600 denier polyester fabric (PES) to increase durability.

A reviewer said, "We put new ice packs in each morning and evening and this worked well for us camping for a week. Nice and big."

Dimensions: ‎38 X 34 X 31 cm

Capacity: 20 Litres

Halfords Family Cool Bag

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Simple, easy to use and super affordable. This family cool bag from Halfords keeps contents cool for 6 hours with its thick thermal insulation, so it's ideal for a day out or beach trip. With PVC lining that has bonded seams, any spillages won't leak and can be wiped clean with ease.

A reviewer said, "Bought two of these for a family holiday. Sturdy, eaily portable, ideal size, easy to pack into a car and kept everything cool."

Dimensions: N/A

Capacity: 20 Litres

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