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11 Best Kayak Coolers: Which Is Right For You?

kayak cooler

Perception Kayaks

Seeking a cooler for your on-the-water endeavors that’s especially suited for compatibility with your kayak? We’ve tracked down the best kayak coolers in every style so you can maintain order on your vessel and bring along all the beverages, snacks, and food you’d like!

Whether you’re a fisherman, a river-runner, or simply a leisure paddler, there’s a cooler here perfectly suited for your vessel and kayaking style!

Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Features a 12-can capacity with a 1:1 ice ratio
  • Slim seat-back kayak cooler compatible with lawn chair style kayak seats
  • Zippered opening on the cooler top enables easy turn-around access from a seated position
Price: $76.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Skywin Seat Back Kayak Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Features a 24 can capacity
  • External mesh pockets and accessory loops enable easy attachment of additonal gear, tools, and more
  • Seatback cooler compatible with kayaks that have lawn-chair style seats
Price: $67.49 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Yakhacker Seat Back Kayak Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 24 can capacity
  • Seat back kayak cooler compatible with lawn chair style seating
  • Features an external waterproof pocket perfect for stashing a phone
Price: $65.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 40 Liter capacity holds 20 cans with a 1:1 ratio of ice
  • Fits within the open storage area (tank well) of most sit on top kayaks
  • Adjustable backpack style shoulder straps and a strong haul handle allow for easy portages
Price: $98.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pelican Sport ExoChill Cooler Bag Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 17 Liter capacity can hold about 14 cans with ice
  • Measures 18.75 by 13.75 by 5 inches and is designed to conveniently fit into most kayak stern wells
  • A front pocket, external clips, and lash tabs provide you with lots of options for packing accessories
Price: $47.92 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Buffalo Gear Large Portable Waterproof and Insulated Kayak Bag Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Stern well kayak cooler specially designed for storing harvested fish
  • Screw-on drain plug ensures no ice water or fish blood will leak into your vessel or vehicle
Price: $152.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Coolers Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Patented, "flip open" zipperless lid enables quick and easy access to food and drinks
  • Features FDA compliant HardBody liner with removable SmartShelf
  • Multiple sizes available
Price: $62.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Earth Pak Heavy Duty Waterproof 20-Can Soft Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Features a 20 can capacity
  • Detachable interior mesh tote can be lifted in order to drain excess water
  • Insulated with high density NBR foam ensuring your food and drinks stay ice cold for up to 72 hours
Price: $139.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ORCA 20 Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 20 quart capacity can hold up to 18 cans (with ice)
  • Durable, roto-molded construction holds ice for up to 10 days!
  • Lifetime warranty
Price: $205.51 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Engel 19 Quart Air Tight Drybox Cooler with Rod Holders Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Measures 16 1/2 by 11 1/4 by 12 3/4 inches and features a 30 can capacity
  • Airtight EVA gasket ensures this cooler or gear box is always dry inside
  • Includes 4 detachable rod holders
Price: $119.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 15 quart capacity holds 15 cans and 10 pounds of ice
  • Floating, towable cooler you do not have to store on board your kayak
  • 24 Hour ice retention
Price: $119.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler

    Pros:
    • Features a 12-can capacity with a 1:1 ice ratio
    • Slim seat-back kayak cooler compatible with lawn chair style kayak seats
    • 3/4 inch thick closed cell foam keeps drinks and food cold all day
    • Zippered opening on the cooler top enables easy turn-around access from a seated position
    • Connects to kayak seats via a strong bungee ball system, and also includes webbing loops and D-rings for additional/alternative lash points
    • RF welded internal seams ensure splash and rain stays out
    • Array of external lash tabs and D-rings for securing gear and accessories
    Cons:
    • Lacks a shoulder strap for use apart from your kayak
    • No color options
    • Fairly expensive

    The Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler is a slim and out-of-the-way cooler option compatible with lawn chair style kayak seats. Offering a 12 can capacity with a 1:1 ice ratio, this is a stellar choice for packing your lunch, snacks, and a few beverages that won’t take up any more deck space than necessary.

    A zippered opening on the cooler top enables easy turn-around access from a seated position, so you won’t have to awkwardly wrestle this option open while on the water and risk tipping or dropping items overboard. Equipped with 3/4 inch thick closed-cell foam, the Splash Cooler effectively insulates drinks and food all day long.

    RF welded internal seams ensure splash and rain stay out, while an array of external lash tabs for securing gear and accessories are also included in the design. Perception has really hit all the bases here in regards to both long-term integrity and on-the-water convenience. Even the bungee ball system used to connect the cooler to your kayak seat is exceptionally quick and easy to set up.

    The perfect companion for die-hard anglers, long-distance paddlers, and leisure kayakers alike, the Splash Seat Back Cooler is a brilliantly designed option that’s well worth the price point.

  2. 2. Skywin Seat Back Kayak Cooler

    Pros:
    • Features a 24 can capacity
    • Narrow design takes up very little space while still offering adequate capacity
    • Seatback cooler compatible with kayaks that have lawn-chair style seats
    • Includes bungee ball cords that securely fasten the cooler to your kayak seat
    • Water-resistant zipper and waterproof outer material keep rain and splashes out
    • External mesh pockets and accessory loops enable easy attachment of additional gear, tools, and more
    • Easy to clean material inside and out
    • Multiple color options available
    • Very reasonable price point
    Cons:
    • Does not include a shoulder strap
    • Not an especially effective cooler outside of kayaking contexts due to the particularly narrow design
    • Some might find the color options to be a bit tacky

    The Skywin Seat Back Kayak Cooler is a slim-profile, fairly high-capacity option that will pair wonderfully with kayaks featuring lawn chair style seating. 

    Sporting a 24 can capacity as well as an array of external mesh pockets and accessory loops for easy attachment of additional gear, tools, and more, Skywin has engineered a very practical cooler for cluttered paddlers with this one. Its out of the way, narrow design takes up very little space while still offering adequate capacity, so if you’re seeking a cooler that won’t cramp your style, this is it.

    Bungee ball cords securely fasten the cooler to your kayak seat, so set up just takes a matter of seconds. A water-resistant zipper and waterproof outer material go on to keep rain and splash out, so the contents of your cooler will remain effectively shielded from wetness and the elements.

    This cooler furthermore wipes clean nicely, so if you make a mess in there, don’t sweat it. It’s perfect for stashing a lunch and some drinks, a few harvested fish, or an 18 of beer to name just a few applications. 

    This option does not include a shoulder strap and is quite narrow (may not sit upright on its own depending on packed load), so utilizing it apart from your kayak might not be all that practical. That being said, this is an exceptional value option offered at a more than fair price point – so unless you require a particularly versatile cooler for a variety of different uses, you’re getting quite a lot of bang for your buck here.

  3. 3. Yakhacker Seat Back Kayak Cooler

    Pros:
    • 24 can capacity
    • Seat back kayak cooler compatible with lawn chair style seating
    • Features an external waterproof pocket, integrated net pocket, and detachable mesh storage bag for stashing other tools and gear
    • Connects to seat back via a strong bungee ball system
    • Includes a shoulder strap and tote handle for multiple carry options
    • Side net pocket works nicely for holding an umbrella and as a drink holder
    • Zippered top enables easy access from a seated position
    • Durable PVC shell
    • Multiple color options
    Cons:
    • Insulating ability is not as impressive as some higher quality options (holds ice for ~16 hours)
    • Thicker profile compared to some seatback coolers increases capacity, but makes the cooler more cumbersome
    • Detachable mesh storage bag is not very practical apart from the cooler

    The Yakhacker Seat Back Kayak Cooler is a fairly high-capacity, out-of-the-way option that’s designed for simple attachment to lawn chair style kayak seats. Affordably priced and offering a 24-can capacity, this cooler is in our opinion, one of the best value options on this list.

    The Yakhacker Cooler connects to kayak seat backs via a strong bungee ball system, so setup is both quick and easy. It’s intended for attachment to lawn chair style seats, but may be compatible with other high-backed seating. Designed with maximum convenience in mind, a top zippered opening enables easy reach-behind access from a seated position, so turning around to snag your sandwich or a beverage won’t make you feel like you’re going to tip your boat!

    Featuring an external waterproof pocket, integrated net pocket, and a detachable mesh storage bag for stashing other tools and gear, this cooler option furthermore provides you with a plethora of spaces to stash your on-hand essentials. The waterproof pocket works especially well for stashing a phone (or even two!), so paddlers can ensure their water-sensitive electronics stay dry in there.

    Not to be overlooked, the side net pocket works nicely for holding an umbrella, so you can even utilize this cooler as a shade system as well! 

    Built with a durable PVC shell, the brand has engineered this cooler bag to last, so it should handle the abuses of kayaking in stride. 

    While this cooler may not hold ice as long as some better-insulated options, it’s more than adequate for a full day on the water. If you’re seeking a more versatile cooler for use in a variety of contexts, perhaps consider an option with better ice retention ability so you can bring it camping, on road trips, etc. 

    All things considered, this is a stellar option for the price point that offers a generous capacity, awesome array of accessory storage, and streamlined functionality. No doubt a brilliant buy from Yakhacker!

  4. 4. Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler

    Pros:
    • 40 Liter capacity holds 20 cans with a 1:1 ratio of ice
    • Fits within the open storage area (tank well) of most sit on top kayaks
    • 1/2 inch of insulating foam keeps drinks and food cold all day
    • Adjustable backpack style shoulder straps and a strong haul handle allow for easy portages
    • Top facing full zipper allows for easy access
    • Low-profile shape minimizes the impact of wind
    • Lash-down D-ring points for easy attachment to your kayak and other vessels
    Cons:
    • Does not hold ice especially well compared to better insulated options
    • No exterior webbing, or pockets for stashing additional items or accessories
    • No color selection
    • Fairly expensive

    The Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler is a brilliantly designed option for kayaks that feature a stern well offering a generous capacity and awesome versatility both on and off the water.

    Featuring a 40 liter capacity, this cooler can hold 20 cans with a 1:1 ratio of ice. The Splash fits within the open storage area (tank well) of most sit-on-top kayaks, connecting via lash-down D-ring points for easy and secure attachment.

    A 1/2 inch of insulating foam keeps drinks and food cold all day, but some customer reviews claim this cooler won’t retain ice much longer than that. If you’re seeking an especially high-performance option in regards to insulating ability for applications such as overnight paddling trips, you may want to consider something else. That being said, the Splash Cooler is absolutely adequate when it comes to keeping your lunch and beverages nice and chilled for a full day on the water.

    A top facing full zipper allows for easy access from your seated position, while the cooler’s low profile, tapered shape minimizes the impact of wind. Perception has very mindfully engineered this tool for maximum convenience on the water.

    Perhaps best of all, adjustable backpack-style shoulder straps and a strong haul handle allow for easy portages, so you can effectively utilize this versatile cooler on the beach, at the campsite, and beyond.

  5. 5. Pelican Sport ExoChill Cooler Bag

    Pros:
    • 17 Liter capacity can hold about 14 cans with ice
    • Measures 18.75 by 13.75 by 5 inches and is designed to conveniently fit into most kayak stern wells
    • 1/2 inch of insulation keeps your food and beverages cold all day
    • A front pocket, external clips, and lash tabs provide you with lots of options for packing accessories
    • Exterior is built from durable 420D material
    • Top facing zippered opening enables easy access
    • Water resistant zipper keeps your cooler contents and/or gear dry
    • Includes a detachable shoulder strap
    Cons:
    • Not a terribly practical option for kayaks that lack a stern well
    • Lacks backpack straps
    • No color options

    Featuring a 17-liter capacity able to hold about 14 cans with ice, the Pelican Sport ExoChill Cooler Bag is a brilliant insulating tool and gear-hauler for paddlers seeking versatility and lifespan out of their kayak cooler

    Measuring 18.75 by 13.75 by 5 inches, the ExoChill is designed to conveniently fit into most kayak stern wells. The exterior is built from durable 420D material to ensure durability, while a 1/2 inch of insulation keeps your food and beverages cold all day long. 

    If insulating ability is the main criteria for your cooler search, we suggest springing for a thicker insulated option sporting longer ice retention times. The ExoChill is more than adequately insulated for a full day on the water, but anything beyond that and the contents of this cooler will likely start swimming in ice water.  

    A top facing zippered opening enables easy access from your seated position, so turning around and grabbing a snack or beer out of this bad boy is a piece of cake. There is even an integrated front pocket, external clips, and lash tabs providing you with an array of options for packing and securing additional accessories, tools, and personal items.

    The brand has also included a detachable shoulder strap here, so utilizing this cooler on the beach or at the park is made that much more convenient.

  6. 6. Buffalo Gear Large Portable Waterproof and Insulated Kayak Bag

    Pros:
    • Multiple sizes available
    • Stern well kayak cooler specially designed for storing harvested fish
    • Double-layer of unique, 1/2 inch thick, close-cell foam insulation keeps your food, beverages, and fish cold all day long
    • Heavy-duty heat-sealed, fiber-interlaced skin construction is built to be totally leak proof, while the 22 oz polyester Tarpaulin interior lining wipes clean with ease
    • Exterior bungee straps and an exterior pocket allow easy access to your on-hand essentials
    • Screw-on drain plug ensures no ice water or fish blood will leak into your vessel or vehicle
    • Includes detachable padded shoulder straps in order to be worn as a backpack or sling pack
    • D-rings at the cooler base enable easy attachment to your vessel
    Cons:
    • Not a very practical cooler if your kayak does not have a stern well
    • No color options
    • Expensive option

    The Buffalo Gear Large Portable Waterproof and Insulated Kayak Bag is a brilliant solution for kayak fishermen seeking a tough and well-insulated solution for storing their day’s catch. While this option works wonderfully as a regular cooler, it’s equipped with some features that make it really excel as a kill bag.

    Available in multiple sizes, this cooler is designed to sit within your kayak’s stern well. It’s also a great cooler for use on bigger boats, but smaller kayaks lacking above deck storage will find this option to be too cumbersome. There are integrated D-rings at the base for easy attachment to your vessel, so it’s easy to secure no matter which boat you plan to use it on.

    The brand has designed this cooler to withstand the abuses of thrashing fish and sharp spines, so it can handle some heavy abuse. The heavy-duty heat-sealed, fiber-interlaced skin construction is built to be totally leakproof, while the 22 oz polyester Tarpaulin interior lining wipes clean with ease. This means you don’t have to worry about fish blood and slime leaving a nasty residue within your cooler after a successful day of fish harvest. A screw-on drain plug is also equipped here to prevent interior leaks within your boat or vehicle.

    Exterior bungee straps and an exterior pocket allow easy access to your on-hand essentials, so this kayak bag can bring along more than just your food and beverage for the day. Detachable padded shoulder straps furthermore enable this option to be worn as a backpack or sling pack, so you can effectively utilize it apart from your kayak.

    Insulated with a double-layer of unique, 1/2 inch thick, closed-cell foam, this cooler will keep your food, beverages, and fish cold all day long. No matter how you choose to utilize this option, Buffalo Gear has engineered a highly durable and practical cooler bag for kayakers with this one.

  7. 7. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Coolers

    Pros:
    • Patented, "flip open" zipperless lid enables quick and easy access to food and drinks
    • Features FDA compliant HardBody liner with removable SmartShelf
    • Leak proof, easy to clean interior lining
    • Deep Freeze high performance insulation with radiant heat barrier reflects heat as opposed to absorbing it, and holds ice for up to 3 days
    • Features an insulated front zipper pocket and an easy access side mesh pocket
    • Adjustable Backsaver padded shoulder strap and side handles for different carry options
    • Rhino-Tech water, stain, abrasion, and puncture resistant exterior wipes clean with ease
    • Triple Layer ColdBlock Base prevents the cooler bottom from heating
    • 30 and 48 can options include a detachable bottle opener
    • Multiple sizes available
    Cons:
    • Shoulder strap is not detachable
    • Does not include any easy attachment points for securing the cooler to your boat
    • Might be difficult to conveniently store in kayaks without a stern or bow well

    Arctic Zone’s Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler is a brilliantly innovative and versatile option for your kayak and beyond. Featuring a patented, “flip-open” zipperless lid, reaching for a snack or beverage with even one hand is made exceptionally easy with this cooler. Available in multiple sizes, you can select a Titan Deep Freeze to nicely suit your kayak’s specs.

    For the price point, this cooler option offers an impressive insulating ability as well as integrated features. The Deep Freeze high performance insulation utilized here employs a radiant heat barrier to reflect heat as opposed to absorbing it and can hold ice for up to three days. The brand has also designed this option with their Triple Layer ColdBlock Base, preventing the cooler bottom from heating. 

    Artic Zone’s Rhino-Tech water, stain, abrasion, and puncture-resistant exterior furthermore goes on to wipe clean with ease, so this cooler doesn’t mind getting messy. An FDA compliant HardBody liner with a removable SmartShelf nests within the cooler interior, and is also leakproof, and quite easy to clean. It’s a handy system that enables superior interior organization compared to most coolers of this style.

    The brand has even gone on to include an insulated front zipper pocket and an easy access side mesh pocket here, so you can pack and effectively organize cutlery, snacks, tools, and other gear.

    When you want to bring this cooler to the beach, park, or campground, an adjustable Backsaver padded shoulder strap and side handles offer a few different comfortable carry options, so the Titan Deep Freeze can truly come with you anywhere.

  8. 8. Earth Pak Heavy Duty Waterproof 20-Can Soft Cooler

    Pros:
    • Features a 20 can capacity
    • Insulated with high density NBR foam ensuring your food and drinks stay ice cold for up to 72 hours
    • Top zippered opening enables easy access from a seated position
    • Zippered mesh pocket on the top side of the cooler provides a great place to stash snacks, a phone, and other items
    • 500D TPU exterior for high puncture, UV, and chemical resistance
    • Side handles and shoulder strap offer multiple carry options
    • Detachable interior mesh tote can be lifted in order to drain excess water
    • Constructed with an IPX-8 leak proof and airtight zipper
    • Double-stitched Nylon MOLLE webbing on both sides of the cooler provide anchor points to attach additional gear
    • 4 attached D-rings at the base enable quick and easy fastening to your vessel
    • Includes an attached bottle opener
    • Several color options
    Cons:
    • Might not be the best fit for your kayak unless your boat has a stern well
    • There is no drain valve on the cooler, so you have to pour out excess water as your ice melts
    • Fairly expensive

    The Earth Pak Heavy Duty Waterproof 20-Can Soft Cooler is an awesomely versatile option for all sorts of on the water applications. Well insulated, built tough, and equipped with exterior MOLLE webbing and a mesh pocket for securing additional gear and accessories, this cooler has it going on.

    Featuring a 20 can capacity, this is in our opinion a great size cooler for a full day on the water. The width of this option may be difficult to slide behind your kayak seat if your boat doesn’t have a stern well, but the generous capacity is well worth the added bulk if you can fit it.

    Insulated with high density NBR foam, the Earth Pak will keep food and drinks ice cold for up to 72 hours. Built with a 500D TPU exterior, the cooler is furthermore designed for high puncture, abrasion, UV, and chemical resistance – so this bad boy is built to last.

    Constructed with an IPX-8 leak-proof and airtight zipper, the contents of your cooler will stay effectively shielded from rain and splash, nor will melted ice water leak out. There is no drain plug in order to allow excess water to escape, but the cooler is designed with a detachable interior mesh tote that can be lifted in order to drain the cooler.

    The top zippered opening enables easy access from a seated position, so reaching back for a beer is made easy. The mesh zippered pocket on the top side of the cooler furthermore enables easy access to your phone, snacks, or other items you prefer to have close on hand.

    In regards to securing this cooler to your kayak, SUP, or boat; attached D-rings at the base enable quick and easy fastening to your vessel. When you need to portage your cooler or choose to utilize it for contexts off the water, side handles and a shoulder strap offer multiple carry options.

    With multiple color options to choose from, you can even personalize this option to your preferred aesthetic.

  9. 9. ORCA 20 Cooler

    Pros:
    • 20 quart capacity can hold up to 18 cans (with ice)
    • Impressive insulating ability - able to hold ice for up to 10 days!
    • Durable, roto-molded construction
    • Integrated cargo net on the rear of the cooler for added storage/organization potential
    • Lid gasket ensures the perfect waterproof seal
    • Extendable flex-grip handle makes this option easy to portage
    • Integrated easy-flow drainage spout
    • Lifetime warranty
    Cons:
    • 18 pound weight is fairly heavy for use on a kayak
    • 17 by 16 by 11 inch dimensions may be difficult to store on board your kayak depending on your stern space
    • Expensive option

    Orca’s hard-sided coolers are built with an excellent degree of craftsmanship and quality, so if your kayak has the deck space, the ORCA 20 will make for a wonderful on-the-water companion.

    While the price point is certainly a bit high here, the durable, roto-molded construction holds ice for up to a whopping 10 days! This makes this option an excellent all-purpose cooler for camping, beach days, road trips, and beyond – so the versatility here is vast. The brand also offers a lifetime warranty on this product, so you can further purchase in confidence despite the price tag here.

    The 20 quart size can hold up to 18 cans with ice, so the capacity here is pretty generous. A high-quality lid gasket ensures the perfect waterproof and leakproof seal, while an integrated easy-flow drainage spout allows you to easily drain excess ice water.

    When it comes time to pick up and move or portage this cooler, an extendable flex-grip handle has your back.

    Keep in mind the 17 by 16 by 11 inch dimensions of this option may make it difficult or unwieldy to store onboard your kayak depending on your stern space, so smaller vessels are likely not compatible here. The ORCA 20 is furthermore 18 pounds due to its thick build and subsequently impressive insulating ability, so if you’re extra mindful about your packed weight while paddling, this cooler might not be the best fit for you.

    That being said, if you have the space and strength to bring this option onboard your kayak, you’ll be seriously impressed with its quality of construction and ice retention stats, so definitely consider whether or not this model can be strategically utilized on your kayak.

    On a different but related note, if you’re seeking a high-performance cooler for use on a larger boat with open deck space, be sure to check out some of ORCA’s larger capacity cooler options.

  10. 10. Engel 19 Quart Air Tight Drybox Cooler with Rod Holders

    Pros:
    • Measures 16 1/2 by 11 1/4 by 12 3/4 inches and features a 30 can capacity
    • Airtight EVA gasket ensures this cooler or gear box is always dry inside
    • Insulated with High-Grade molded Polystyrene foam for awesome ice retention
    • Includes 4 detachable rod holders
    • Hanging accessory tray is great for stashing your dry snacks, tools, and items you want easy access to
    • All fittings secured with stainless steel screws
    • Odor and stain resistant
    • Includes a removable shoulder strap for easy portages and more convenient use apart from your kayak
    Cons:
    • Might not fit very well in kayaks without a large stern well
    • Limited color selection
    • Fairly expensive option

    The Engel 19 Quart Air Tight Drybox Cooler with Rod Holders is a wonderfully sized, compact cooler option that will pair nicely with kayaks containing a tank well at the stern. Equipped with four removable rod holders, this is furthermore a stellar companion for kayak fishermen that can be alternatively/dually used as a watertight gear box.

    Measuring 16 1/2 by 11 1/4 by 12 3/4 inches and featuring a 30 can capacity (without ice), this is a moderate capacity option that will hold a solid amount of food and beverage, or equipment if you choose to use it as a gear container.

    No matter how you choose to employ this cooler, an airtight EVA gasket ensures it always remains dry inside – so the contents are safe from rain and splash. The brand has insulated this cooler with high-grade molded Polystyrene foam for awesome ice retention, so whatever you pack for lunch will stay cold all day long.

    An included accessory tray goes on to add even more versatility and functionality – perfect for stashing fishing tools, or for setting aside your dry snacks, cutlery, or anything you want quick and easy access to.

    It’s worth noting that all the fittings are secured with stainless steel screws, so you can rest assured this cooler will remain part of your kayaking gear lineup for many years to come. When you want to utilize this righteous tool apart from your kayak, an included detachable shoulder strap allows for easy transport. 

  11. 11. CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler

    Pros:
    • 15 quart capacity holds 15 cans and 10 pounds of ice
    • Floating, towable cooler you do not have to store on board your kayak
    • 24 Hour ice retention
    • Quick connect water-tight lid
    • Includes two integrated cup holders
    • Built with a dual wall blow molded construction and foam insulation
    • Molded handles with tow points for easy carrying and towing
    • Also great for secure storage
    • Multiple color options available
    Cons:
    • May be hectic to tow a cooler of this nature while paddling on moving water (rivers and streams)
    • If you're an angler, having a floating cooler connected to your boat could interfere with your fishing line
    • Fairly expensive

    The CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler is a unique approach to packing your food and beverages while kayaking that will leave your deck and cargo space entirely free for other gear.

    This is a 15-quart capacity option that can hold 15 cans and 10 pounds of ice – not too shabby! The PuP Floating Cooler is great if you’re paddling on still water bodies like lakes and ponds, but might be a bit hectic to tow if you’re paddling in fast-moving streams and rivers, or pounding surf. That being said, there are plenty of customer reviews insisting this cooler will bang down white water rapids just fine. The quick-connect water-tight lid prevents the cooler contents from taking on water, so your sandwich won’t be soggy in there once you’re ready for it!

    Featuring 24-hour ice retention by employing a dual wall blow-molded construction and foam insulation, this cooler option is furthermore a great insulator, so it’s awesome for especially long days on the water and even overnight paddling trips.

    Two integrated cup holders and molded handles with tow points for easy carrying and towing go on to boost this cooler’s practicality stats even further. 

    Keep in mind how awesome utilizing this floating cooler for pool parties and days down at the lake or beach could be – it’s a versatile accessory for all sorts of on-the-water fun! That being said, don’t rule this innovative device out for secure dry storage of your gear as well – it could make a great equipment hauler depending on the paddling conditions and your gear load.

    Available in an array of colors, you can even match the PuP Cooler to your boat’s aesthetic if you choose to!

Selecting a Kayak Cooler

Whether you're shopping for yourself, or searching for a kayaking gift for one of your favorite paddlers, choosing the right cooler has everything to do with the kayak at hand, and the expected on-the-water conditions. Read on to determine which style of insulation is best suited for your needs.

Kayak Seatback Coolers

A cooler that attaches to your seatback is a brilliant method of bringing your food and beverages on the water that maximizes your deck space, and minimizes clutter. If your kayak has a lawn chair style or compatible high-backed seat, you'll love the space this style of insulation saves!

Seatback coolers typically do not offer as much capacity as other styles, but if you're seeking something solely for your lunch and refreshments, this is a great go-to! 

These style coolers furthermore work wonderfully for toting to the beach, park, and beyond due to their compact size, so chances are you'll use a cooler of this nature for all sorts of applications.

Some of our favorite options include: 

Tankwell Coolers

Coolers that nest within your tank well at the stern of your boat are nice and out of the way, easy to access from your seated position, and offer a generous capacity.

This style of cooler will occupy most of, or all of your tank well, so kayakers with big gear loads might find that they can't sacrifice this amount of deck space. The interior dimensions of larger tank well coolers, however, make them great for storing harvested fish, so anglers who are seeking an insulating option for their catch of the day should definitely perk their ears here. 

Our top picks for coolers that nest within kayak sterns include:

Floating Coolers

How about towing your cooler rather than packing it onboard your vessel!? Floating coolers offer a brilliant solution for paddlers who want to keep as much deck space and room for gear open as possible, so if you typically kayak on still water bodies (as opposed to rivers and through moderate/heavy surf), this could be a great choice.

By tying off a watertight, floating cooler to your boat, you can simply  pull it in when it's time for a snack or beverage. Fishermen with lines out might not like the idea of a tethered object around their boat in case of line snags, but leisurely paddlers might LOVE the reduced clutter of a truly "external" option.

Our list of the best floating coolers has tracked down the top options, but a few worth highlighting here include:

Larger Boat Coolers

If you own a truly large and in charge kayak for offshore applications, and/or fully-kitted out days fishing, taking photographs, etc., you may have the space for a larger boat cooler. Some paddlers might even like the idea of removing their lawn chair style seating on sit-on-top-kayaks in order to switch it out for a high-capacity cooler. 

A big cooler can be used to stash bait, harvested fish, and loads of beverages and food, so consider how you might utilize a 40+ quart cooler if your vessel can accommodate it. 

These coolers are furthermore of course perfect for big beach days, camping trips, and beyond, so the versatility here is unmatched if you're an outdoorsman or woman with multiple hobbies.

A few of our favorite high-performance and high-capacity coolers great for boating include:

Insulating Ability

If ice retention time is an especially important criterion for your cooler search, you would be wise to learn a bit more about insulation in general. 

As a general rule, thicker insulation material equals longer ice-retention times, so particularly thick-built coolers will keep their contents cold the longest. That being said, not all insulating foams and materials feature the same ability to trap cold/heat, so be mindful of both the type of insulation used, as well as its thickness while shopping.

You can read a bit more about open vs, closed cell foam insulation, why they perform differently, and the effects of ice and air on temperature retention here. 

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