Gear Review | Cold Shoulder Bag

Retail: $99

Company: Cold Shoulder Bags
Hailing from the rugged Wasatch Front in Utah, Cold Shoulder Bags is attempting to solve an age old hiking problem; how do I keep my beverages cold while hiking on a hot summer day?  Their answer is a cooler that is also a comfortable and stylish backpack.  Brilliant right!? We think so.  Read on to see how we rate the backpack/cooler combo and whether or not this bag needs to be on your summer go-to list.

The review

In this review, we will be testing and reporting on the Frosty Backpack Cooler. This is their signature item and comes in two pieces; the main backpack and the cooler tote insert.

Backpack Specs:

  • Weatherproof, 1000-denier nylon shell
  • 18 oz. welded waterproof PEVA liner to keep all of your essentials dry.
  • Fleece lined laptop pocket to keep your laptop (up to 17″) nice and cozy with a waterproof zipper
  • Sternum strap for load distribution
  • Waterproof, rolltop design allows for a wide range of load sizes
  • Waterproof rolltop side zipper allows for more convenient access
  • Dimensions: 13″ x 19″ x 6″
  • Volume: 1,350 cu. in. (22 Liters) expands to 1,870 cu. in. (30 Liters)
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs (0.34 Kg)
  • 100% guaranteed to keep the good times going

Cooler Specs:

  • Weatherproof, 1000-denier nylon shell
  • 18 oz. welded waterproof PEVA liner prevents any leaking
  • Double walled cooler
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 18″ x 5.5″
  • Volume: 1,296 cubic in. (21 Liters)
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs (0.34 Kg)

Right from the package I liked this bag. It's a great size for a day pack at 21L. The bag has one main compartment which houses the tote, both of which are insulated. The front has a full length zipper which is perfect for a laptop or notebook. There are also two front pockets and two side pouches. Each shoulder strap has a small pocket (not big enough for a smartphone) and a sternum strap. The bags come in four colors; black, tan, blue, grey. Check out the demo below to see how the bag works;

The bag can hold up to 24 12 oz. cans if you stack them three rows high. There isn't much room for ice but it does actually hold what the company claims. We recently took several 20 oz. water bottles with us on a scorching hike up to Piestewa Peak and the bag held up very nicely on my back and kept our water very cold. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how cold my drinks were even after about 3 hours of hiking in 90+ degree heat.
I have a love/hate relationship with how the bag is designed. I love the idea of the detachable tote but it also makes the bag much heavier and really limits your space inside the main compartment. The bag's roll top and two front pouches are held down by metal c-hooks which makes it really easy to access.

What We Liked

  1. The Versatility:  I loved a good multipurpose piece of equipment.  This bag can serve as a day pack, a school backpack, a portable cooler backpack, or as a simple insulated tote bag.
  2. The laptop sleeve: I am a huge fan of this feature.  Listen, we rarely go anywhere nowadays without our devices and this bag really does a nice job of housing my laptop in a waterproof sleeve.  I don't have to worry about my devices getting wet because they are double lined with insulation.
  3. Comfortable: The bag is comfy even when packed to the brim with cold beverages.  The sternum strap is a nice addition as well.

What We didn't like

  1. Color Choice: Black. In the summer. As a cooler? Bad idea. Luckily they have three other colors to choose from.
  2. Roll top:  I love the idea and access of the roll top pouch but the roll top on this bag was too loose and the strap did not hold the fabric in place or tight enough for my liking.  Even pulled to it's tightest the roll top didn't stay neatly rolled which can really affect how cold the cooler will stay.
  3. Shoulder strap pockets:  I don't really see the point in these.  They are long and skinny but not wide enough to make them valuable in my opinion.  If I put something small down there it's hard to fish it out with my fingers.  I'd much rather like to see a slightly larger pocket with a zipper for my smart phone.


This is a great little bag if you need a versatile cooler.  In Arizona, water is scarce and people are abundant.  Sometimes you have to hike, climb, or bike to a secluded water hole and this bag would be perfect to get your cold beverages where you need them.  The removable tote allows you to leave your gear in a safe place while you take your beverages down to the water.

GearCameron JarmanComment