There are some reasons to have a cooler in your kayak. For instance, on a hot day, you need that cold drink out there. Still, after fishing, you'll need to keep your catch as fresh as possible. Besides, a kayak cooler can be used to keep snacks. The list is endless.
That said the quest that begs for answers is what type of kayak cooler should you buy? When you hit the market, you will be met with numerous options.
But, a kayak is faced with the limitation of space. So, you'll need something smaller and with the shape that fits your kayak.
Do you need to spend countless hours looking for such a cooler? I guess not anymore. This article presents you the best kayak coolers you can find in the market.
Best Kayak Coolers For Fish, Food And Drinks: At A Glance
- Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Original Nylon Soft Cooler
- YETI Roadie 24 Cooler
- Engel 7.5 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
- CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler
- Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler for Kayaks
- IceMule Pro Cooler
- YETI Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler
Best Kayak Coolers - Reviews
1. Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Original Nylon Soft Cooler
(The Most Affordable Cooler)
Quality does not necessarily have to be expensive. The Polar Bear Coolers Eclipse is a more cost-effective choice for kayakers looking for high-performance without breaking the bank.
For long-lasting durability, this soft cooler is made of 840 denier TPE, which is both waterproof and UV-resistant. The Eclipse is also leak-proof and sweat-proof, preventing messes on the water, thanks to its dense cloth.
However, it's worth noting that, in order to save money, Polar Bear Coolers didn't have a waterproof zipper in the Eclipse. If you turn it upside down, it will leak, but if you leave it straight, it will not.
A 1-inch thick layer of closed-cell foam is also included with the Eclipse, providing enough protection for long days on the sea.
This cooler comes with a single padded shoulder strap that makes transporting your drinks to and from the car much easier. It also has two grab handles and a variety of daisy chains for attaching the cooler to your kayak easily.
You don't have to spend your whole life savings to get a high-quality kayak cooler bag with the Polar Bear Coolers Eclipse. The Eclipse's top structure provides enough insulation to keep ice nice and cold on day trips while still being compact enough to comfortably strap down onto your boat.
2. YETI Roadie 24 Cooler (The Best Ice Storage Cooler)
Keeps Ice Cold for a Looooong Time
The Yeti Roadie is hard to beat when it comes to keeping your drinks cold and your ice frozen when driving around the lake on a beautiful day. This burly cooler, one of Yeti's smallest hard-sided coolers, is ideal for ice storage for longer days on the beach.
Because of its high-end Permafrost Insulation technology, the Yeti Roadie earns our award for best kayak cooler for ice storage. This insulation, which comes standard on all of the company's award-winning hard-sided coolers, will keep ice cold for days, even in the hottest weather.
The Roadie is also made of rotomolded plastic, which is tough enough to survive repeated use on the water. Its NeverFail hinge mechanism also includes an interlocking design that prevents serious damage by eliminating weak points between the lid and the cooler.
Yeti added a QuickLatch system to this cooler for added convenience, allowing one-handed cooler entry. This is especially useful when kayaking, as it allows you to hold one hand on your paddle while reaching back for a refreshing drink on the water.
When it comes to portability, the Roadie has a single wide HeftyHauler handle that makes it simple to transport. It does not, however, have side handles, which are useful for securing a cooler to a kayak. However, with a little imagination, you can tie the Yeti to a kayak while still keeping it accessible during your paddle.
At the end of the day, the Yeti Roadie is a good option if you need long-lasting insulation that will hold you icy cold for hours or days. Sure, you'll pay a high price for a Yeti cooler, but the quality you get in terms of longevity and insulation might be worth it.
3. Engel 7.5 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
(The Best For Live Bait)
Retain It Reel
It's no walk in the park keeping live bait alive during long days on the water. As a result, getting the right cooler is crucial.
The Engel Live Bait Cooler 7.5 Quart is a high-nd bait cooler at an affordable price. This cooler is designed to provide a sturdy carry-case for your live bait and is made of injection-molded copolymer with stainless steel fittings.
The Engel Live Bait Cooler performs admirably in terms of insulation. It features molded polystyrene foam and an airtight EVA gasket to help trap cold air and keep heat out.
An aerator is included in this cooler to help keep your bait fresh inside. Engel also outfitted this cooler with a pullout net for easy access so you can fetch your bait with one hand while fishing.
This cooler really shines in terms of portability for kayak anglers. It's not only small and thin, but it also has two attachment points (one on each end) that strap down to your kayak's hull. You'll be able to concentrate more on fishing and less on your gear.
You don't want to risk ruining your live bait before you even get a chance to cast your lines while you're out on the water with expensive live bait. For kayak anglers who need both performance and portability from their paddling cooler, the Engel Live Bait Cooler is a cost-effective choice.
4. CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler (The Best Pull Behind Cooler)
On The Water, There's Never A Dull Moment
On some journeys, what you need is a companion. The CreekKooler Floating Cooler comes into play in this situation.
The CreekKooler Floating Cooler is an excellent companion for paddling adventures that need maneuverability and convenience. This one-of-a-kind cooler is shaped like a miniature kayak and features a clever design that allows it to stick to the back of your boat and accompany you on your paddles.
It's made of blow-molded plastic for toughness, much like many kayaks, and has a dense layer of close-cell foam insulation for ice preservation.
The CreekKooler Floating Cooler can monitor on the water thanks to its kayak-shaped nature, so it won't knock you off course as you paddle. While paddling through choppy water or a mildly turbulent channel, the cooler's strengthened tow points provide enough durability and a good link.
The big opening of the CreekKooler Floating Cooler is one of its best features. When you remove the cooler's lid, you'll find a roomy interior that can accommodate up to 30 cans of your favorite soda and up to 20 pounds of ice. For enhanced comfort during your on-the-water pit stops, it has four molded cup holders.
The CreekKooler Floating is a great choice if you need a big cooler for kayaking adventures that won't be difficult to fit onto your boat. It's an excellent paddling companion, particularly when paddling in large groups and carrying capacity is essential.
5. Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler for Kayaks
(The Best For Fishing Kayaks)
Maintains the ice coldness of your catch
If you're going kayak fishing, you'll need a cooler that can hold your catch for the day. The Catch Cooler from Wilderness Systems is a full-featured fishing cooler that conveniently straps to the deck of most sit-on-top kayaks.
It has a 420-denier ripstop nylon interior that is specifically designed to withstand punctures caused by sharp fish fins. TPU coating adds toughness and water resistance to the cooler.
The Wilderness Systems Catch Cooler has two storage areas, which is unusual. It helps you to keep your catch cold in one compartment while keeping your drinks and snacks cold in another. Both compartments have their own access points, and the fish storage area has a rigid bottom with raised beams to make draining water out of your cooler easier.
The Catch Cooler also has built-in pockets for storing ice packs and keeping your day's catch new.
This cooler bag has a dual shoulder strap carry system for better transport to and from your vehicle, in addition to being easy to strap onto a kayak.
6. IceMule Pro Cooler (Best For Sit-Inside Kayaks)
Performance on The Job
Since you're dealing with limited cargo space that's not really accommodating of big, bulky products, finding a cooler for a sit-in kayak can be difficult. However, using the IceMule Pro, you can keep your drinks cold when paddling your sit-in kayak.
The IceMule Pro is a groundbreaking soft-sided cooler that can be used as a dry bag, backpack, and cooler all at once. With a storage capacity of 23 liters, this cooler can comfortably hold 18 cans and some ice for a day on the beach.
This cooler, despite its light weight, will hold ice cold for up to 24 hours. This is due to the use of a significant amount of high-end PolarLayer Insulation. Furthermore, the IM AirValve on this cooler's special design allows you to add air to the insulation layer for improved heat retention.
We really appreciate the IceMule Pro's two extra-thick layers of MuleSkin cloth, which provide a tough exterior for use in harsh environments.
The IceMule Pro also has two comfortable shoulder straps that can be used as a backpack. It also has a roll-top design that is fully waterproof and helps you to comfortably fit the cooler into the dry storage hatches of your kayak.
Since a bulky cooler has no place in a sit-in kayak, the IceMule Pro is a sure bet. It's a great cooler bag choice for storing inside your kayak's dry hatches for longer days of paddling thanks to its roll-top design and adequate insulation.
7. YETI Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler (Best for Sit-on Kayaks)
Insulation that is extremely portable
It's important to have a cooler that's both compact and well-insulated while shopping for a cooler for your sit-on-top kayak. Both of these requirements are met by the Yeti Hopper Flip 12.
Yeti's DryHide Shell fabric is both waterproof and UV-resistant, and it's used to make this soft-sided cooler. The Hopper Flip also resists punctures and mildew build-up thanks to this ultra-durable fabric for long-lasting consistency.
ColdCell technology is used to provide insulation in the Hopper Flip. When it comes to ice retention, this is a type of high-end insulating material made from closed-cell rubber that outperforms conventional closed-cell foam.
The Hopper Flip also has a Hydrolok Zipper, which is a waterproof and leakproof closure device that is tough as nails. As a result, this cooler is totally waterproof, preventing any unwelcome leaks, which can definitely ruin a kayak ride.
Oh, and the Hopper Flip has a HitchPoint Grid system as well. This attachment system makes it simple to secure the cooler to the back of your kayak without obstructing your access to your beverages.
If you have a sit-on-top kayak, you'll need a cooler that will keep your drinks cold while still allowing you to be exposed to the elements. The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is a small, lightweight cooler that can hold enough food and drink for a day on the water. It also attaches to your kayak for easy transport. What's not to like about that?
Kayak Coolers: What to Look For
A cooler may appear to be a simple piece of equipment, but there is a lot that goes into creating a well-insulated storage device that keeps food, beverages, and ice frozen. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when selecting a kayak cooler.
Hard-Sided vs. Soft-Sided
There are two types of modern coolers: soft-sided and hard-sided. The type of kayak cooler you select will have a significant effect on how well it works in the real world.
Soft-sided coolers are generally lighter and more compact. They're much easier to fit into a regular kayak dry hatch, making them a better option for use with sit-in boats. Consequently, soft-sided coolers are less expensive.
Hard-sided coolers, on the other hand, are difficult to match in terms of overall insulation and the ability to hold your drinks ice cold. Hard-sided coolers are typically large, bulky, heavy, and costly. They are, however, densely insulated and are typically the safer option for long-term ice preservation. Bear in mind that because of their size, they're best suited to sit-on-top rather than sit-in kayaks.
How much you need to keep cold when paddling determines how much carrying capacity you need in a kayak cooler. Larger coolers, of course, will hold more, making them perfect for bringing food and drinks on a large group outing.
However, it's important to remember that you're still limited by the size of your kayak. This is especially true if you have a sit-in boat, as your dry hatches are your best storage areas. Owners of sit-on-op kayaks have a little more wiggle room in terms of capacity, but it's important to calculate the amount of storage space in your boat before investing in a kayak cooler.
Capabilities of Insulation
A cooler's main function is to keep your food and drinks cold even though it's hot outside. As a result, the capacity of a cooler to insulate is critical.
Although each company has its own proprietary insulation system, hard-sided coolers tend to keep food colder for longer than soft-sided coolers. Foam and injected polystyrene are two of the best insulating products available, so look for them when you're out shopping.
One of the most important factors to remember when buying a cooler for a kayaker is how you'll carry it on your boat.
Sit-on-top kayakers have it a little easier because their vessels are better equipped to carry a large cooler on the back deck. Nonetheless, you'll need a cooler with a decent attachment system so you can tie it to your boat with straps or spare rope while you paddle.
A soft-sided cooler that fits comfortably in your boat's day well or dry hatch is the perfect option for sit-in kayak owners.
You may be able to fit it behind your seat or farther toward the bow of the boat inside the cockpit itself, depending on the size of your boat and the cooler in question. The trick is to find a cooler that fits well in your boat's storage compartments.
While kayaking is adventurous, it is better to store your catch in prime conditions.Everybody knows his/her kayak storage space. For this reason, it is easier to select the shape of the cooler you need.
Different kinds come in different shapes: backpack-like, insulated case, etc. Your choice and preference might much influence the decision you make. However, taking a critical look at features like color, purpose, and closure can make you land on one of the best kayak coolers.
Remember, some kayak coolers can double up as kayak seats. Such versatility makes the coolers an essential part of your kayak. With this article, you'll make the right decision.