The new OtterBox Trooper LT 30 backpack cooler is huge, awesome and ingenious. It is easily one of the best backpack coolers for 2018 — for many good reasons.
To get Man Makes Fire a closer look at the Trooper LT 30, OtterBox sent us a review unit. This is what we learned:
OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Review
Let’s start with the ingenious part first. You can open and close the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 with just one hand. Most backpack coolers — and even the best all-around soft coolers — use zippers or clip systems that require two hands to open and close.
This might not seem like a big deal, but once you open the Trooper LT 30 with one free hand while holding a sandwich or drink in the other hand, you’ll appreciate the opening system.
There is more, though: The clam-shell sort of largemouth opening opens really wide for easy access to the roomy interior. You’ll spend less time fishing around the ice for your favorite drink, and if you load up with food, you’ll be able to fit some larger plastic food storage containers in there, too.
And that brings up the size: The Trooper LT 30 has a whopping 30-quart capacity. You can fit up to 50 cans in this cooler, or more likely, 20 or 30 with plenty of ice.
As for insulation, the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 performs admirably. The extra size lets you load up with most everything you want for your day trip or weekend and still use enough ice to get good results. One real-word problem we run into with smaller soft-sided coolers is cramming them too full of drinks and food and skimping on the ice. With the Trooper LT 30, we’re far less likely to go overboard on contents and expect too much from a marginal ice pack or two.
If you use a reasonable ice ratio to your drinks and be smart about not leaving it open in hot weather, you should be able to get more than two days of ice retention in real-world use. OtterBox says it will hold ice for three or more days — we don’t doubt that, but most people are getting in and out of their coolers pretty often. If you truly want several-day ice retention, you should go with a larger high-quality solid-sided cooler (like the OtterBox Venture series coolers) and use a lot of ice.
OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Review: The Backpack System
While the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 has wide and comfortable backpack straps, the straps are really an ingenious system that seamlessly transforms into a single over-the-shoulder strap . . . and then back again into backpack straps.
Here is how this works: Say you load the Trooper LT 30 on your back and hike several hundred yards down to the beach. You plop the cooler onto the sand, then start spreading out your beach towels and setting up your sun shade. Then you see some friends and move, but it’s not so far that you want put the backpack straps on again or try to lug the cooler with just one backpack strap.
All you have to do is pull on the single padded shoulder strap and the shoulder strap rises up from the cooler while sucking the backpack straps tight to the side of the cooler. You throw the strap over one shoulder and off you go. The OtterBox Trooper LT 30 backpack/shoulder strap system is surprisingly effective and just pretty damn smart. We’re big fans.
As for carrying comfort, we expected the large and boxy OtterBox Trooper LT 30 to be difficult or uncomfortable to carry — and we were wrong. The LT 30 is far more comfortable to carry than we expected. First, the wide shoulder straps really spread the weight and feel good on your shoulders. Second, while the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 is wider than most other backpacks, the shorter height means that the bottom of the cooler is far less likely to extend down to your butt when it’s heavily loaded. Along with the insulation and bit of padding on the back, the ride was very good.
Of course, with the larger size, you’re tempted to overload it beyond your own personal carrying capacity, but hey, that’s a problem with your brain, not the cooler itself. The good news is, if you can carry the load, the Trooper LT 30 will do its job.
OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Review: Leakproof
The OtterBox Trooper LT 30 backpack cooler is waterproof and leakproof — it has an IP-65 rating, which is ample protection for rapids, waves and rain.
An included bottle opener mounts on the front of one of two OtterBox accessory mounting points.
The cooler also includes two water-resistant pockets, which are great for your keys, wallet, phone or utensils.
Hazy Harbor, which is a light gray with a bright green interior
Alpine Ascent, which is a forest-olive green with a bright orange interior
Forest Edge, which uses Realtree Edge Camo with a bright orange interior
While we’re at it, we should mention the OtterBox Trooper 20, which is a smaller, non-backpack OtterBox soft cooler. The Trooper 20 has a similar but different design and it’s also awesome — read our full Trooper 20 review here.
When you buy gear using links in our posts, we can earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work — see below for more detail about the gear we choose to review and reputable manufacturers and retailers we trust.
OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Review: The Verdict
The OtterBox Trooper LT 30 blends innovative features with a versatile large size. The one-handed closure system is awesome while the transition from shoulder to backpack carry is smart and effective. Every part of the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 is constructed with premium, rugged materials and the overall design is fresh and utterly usable in the field. Plus, the overall fit and finish is detailed and superb — the front exterior pockets, for example, share the brightly colored interior found in the main body of the cooler. It’s a small detail, but it speaks to the quality of the overall design effort from OtterBox. In addition, OtterBox has created some accessories for its soft coolers, which include an interesting new collapsible food storage container.
Ultimately, the OtterBox Trooper LT 30 will change how you pack for day and weekend trips. If you nab an OtterBox Trooper LT 30, we bet you will start packing cold drinks and food well beyond the parking lot. As far as we’re concerned, that’s a win for you, for your friends, and for the world. Very highly recommended.