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15 Best Boat Coolers: Which Is Right For You?

boat cooler

RTIC

Searching for the perfect boat cooler for your motorboat, dinghy, or kayak? We’ve tracked down the best on-the-water options whether you captain a yacht or a canoe so you can keep your beers chilled and your lunch fresh all day long and beyond!

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design enable the Tundra to hold ice for several days
  • Measures 30.5 by 17.5 by 16 inches - able to hold 42 cans with a 2:1 ice ratio or 52 pounds of ice
  • Rotomolded construction makes this cooler essentially indestructible
Price: $375.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 2-inches of polyurethane insulation and a 360 degree freezer-grade gasket provide extreme ice retention
  • Measures 36 by 20.3 by 21 inches, able to hold 48 cans at a 2:1 ice ratio
  • Cooler top features four self draining cup holders and a fish ruler
Price: $389.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Heavy-duty rotomolded construction is essentially indestructible
  • Measures 30 by 16.75 by 17.3 inches
  • Keeps ice up to 8 days
Price: $275.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
KONG 70 Quart Rotomolded Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Measures 36.5 by 18.37 by 17.87 inches and can hold up to 45 cans along with 33 pounds of ice
  • Offers 6 to 10 days of ice retention!
  • Included dividers keep food dry and drinks wet - and can also be used as a cutting board, side table or shelf
Price: $419.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bison Coolers Extra Large 125 Quart Rotomolded Ice Chest Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Rotomolded construction featuring a pressure-injected 2-inch thick lid and insulated walls for maximum ice retention
  • HUGE 125 quart capacity (43.25 by 21.6 by 18.75 inches) can hold 104 cans with a 2:1 ice:drink ratio or 160 pounds of ice
  • Lockable lid with integrated fish ruler
Price: $599.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
RTIC Ultra-Light 52 Quart Rotomolded Ice Chest Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Innovative injected molded design makes this cooler about 30% lighter than standard hard coolers, weighing in at 21 pounds
  • 27 by 18 by 18 inch size can hold up to 64 cans while remaining manageable to carry by one person
  • Includes a removable divider for organization and an upper basket for stashing dry goods
Price: $229.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
RTIC Hard Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Multiple sizes available ranging from 20 to 145 quarts
  • Rotomolded construction is virtually indestructible
  • 3-inch foam insulated walls for maximum ice retention (up to 10 days)
Price: $249.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
YETI Tank Bucket Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 25.5 by 19.5 by 19.13 inch dimensions and 85 quart capacity holds 96 cans with a 1:1 ice ratio, or 80 pounds of ice
  • Relatively light empty weight at just 20 pounds considering the large capacity here
  • Versatile cooler option that works wonderfully as a bait bucket, live well, and beyond
Price: $200.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Igloo Marine Ultra Commercial Grade Coolers Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wide array of sizing ranging from 30 to 94 quarts
  • Ultratherm insulated body and lid for maximum ice retention
  • Integrated fish ruler on the lid
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Extra-thick foam walls and lid offer up to 4 day ice retention
  • Heavy duty blow-molded construction with reinforced base for increased strength and life span
  • Measures 25.98 by 16.34 by 16.54 inches
Price: $149.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Coleman 100 Quart Wheeled Ice Chest Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fully insulated lid and body keeps ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • Heavy-duty 6-inch wheels and durable tow & swing-up handles are designed for easy transport
  • Huge capacity cooler able to hold up to 160 cans
Price: $115.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 70 quart capacity holds 112 cans
  • Igloo ultra herm insulated body and lid provide up to 4 day ice retention
  • Oversized never-flat wheels nicely traverse sand and challenging terrain with a ground clearance of 10 inches
Price: $299.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Elkton Outdoors Large Insulated Fish Kill Bags Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Kill bag designed for keeping fish cold and fresh
  • Holds 32 pounds of cubed ice for up to 72 hours utilizing closed-cell insulation technology
  • Tough waterproof tarpaulin construction protects against punctures from sharp fish spines and fins
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
TOURIT Leak-Proof Soft Sided Cooler Backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-density insulation material and leak-proof liner work together to keep food and beverages hot/cold for 3 days
  • Roughly 21-liter size measures 17.7 by 13.8 by 10 inches, and can hold 36 cans with ice, or 35 pounds of ice
  • Tough waterproof shell and zipper are designed to handle the elements as well as the abuses of regular use
Price: $179.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Available in 23 and 33 liter sizing
  • Ultra-tough Muleskin exterior and interior is totally watertight and can handle the abuses of boating in stride
  • Welded seams and roll-top closure make this a fully waterproof, floating cooler
Price: $169.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

    Pros:
    • 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design enable the Tundra to hold ice for several days
    • Measures 30.5 by 17.5 by 16 inches - able to hold 42 cans with a 2:1 ice ratio or 52 pounds of ice
    • The rotomolded construction, hinge, and latch design makes this cooler bear-proof and essentially indestructible
    • T-Rex Lid Latches constructed of heavy-duty rubber ensure longterm durability
    • Coldlock, freezer-grade gasket keeps the cooler perfectly sealed
    • Bearfoot Non-Slip Feet prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck
    • Anchorpoint Tie-Down Slots enable easy mounting to your boat, truck, etc.
    • Neverfail Hinge System is built with an interlocking design to prevent over-strain
    • Vortex Drain System enables easy draining of excess water
    • Includes a dry goods basket
    • Certified bear-proof
    • Wide color selection and various sizes available
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • 29-pound weight is fairly heavy - the price you pay for this level of insulation
    • Limited included accessories (just a dry goods basket) considering the price point here

    It’s not for no reason YETI is a renowned industry leader when it comes to top-quality coolers. The insulating ability, quality of construction, and functionality of their products is top-notch, and the brand’s Tundra series of coolers is no exception.

    This 65-quart option is in our opinion, a wonderful size for utilization on larger rowboats, motorboats, and other vessels with generous deck space. Measuring 30.5 by 17.5 by 16 inches, this unit is able to hold 42 cans with a 2:1 ice ratio or 52 pounds of ice. The brand also offers the Tundra Hard Coolers in an array of different sizing, so if you think this 65-quart option is a bit too big or small for your needs, consider the 45, 75, or the massive 105.

    Equipped with 3-inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design, the Tundra will hold ice for several days. The rotomolded construction, T-Rex Lid Latches, and Neverfail Hinge System furthermore go on to make this cooler line essentially indestructible.

    A Coldlock, freezer-grade gasket keeps the Tundra perfectly sealed, while YETI’s Bearfoot Non-Slip Feet prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck. There are also integrated Anchorpoint Tie-Down Slots enabling easy mounting to your boat, truck, etc.

    The brand even includes a dry goods basket so you can keep your snacks and sandwiches apart from your beverages on ice. 

    Available in a wide array of sizing and aesthetics, you can’t go wrong with a Tundra from YETI.

  2. 2. Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler

    Pros:
    • 2-inches of polyurethane insulation and a 360 degree freezer-grade gasket provide extreme ice retention
    • Measures 36 by 20.3 by 21 inches, able to hold 48 cans at a 2:1 ice ratio
    • Cooler top features four self draining cup holders and a fish ruler
    • Overmolded carry handle, 3-inch locking latches, anti-shear hinge system, and reinforced lockable hasp are built with maximum integrity in mind
    • Non-skid rubber feet and molded-in tie down slots prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck
    • Certified Bear-Resistant by the IGBC
    • Sloped Drain with Tethered Drain Cap
    • Built-in stainless steel bottle opener
    • Sharp color selection
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensve option
    • Design of the press and pull latches might take a little getting used to
    • The design of the carry handles may be a bit difficult to tote when the cooler is full loaded

    The Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler is another mega-durable insulating option great for on-the-water use that’s loaded with practical features.

    Measuring 36 by 20.3 by 21 inches, the Elite can hold 48 cans at a 2:1 ice ratio. Built with 2-inches of polyurethane insulation and a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket, the brand has gone on to ensure extreme ice retention with this option.

    Four self-draining cup holders, an integrated stainless steel bottle opener, and a fish ruler built into the cooler top make the Elite a particularly awesome option for utilization onboard your boat – especially if you and your crew like crushing beers and catching fish. 

    Non-skid rubber feet and molded-in tie-down slots furthermore prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck, so you won’t have to worry about this option moving around in rough seas or at high speeds. If you plan on employing this cooler for river trips, or backcountry applications, the brand has built it to be certified Bear-Resistant by the IGBC – so you’re covered on all fronts.

    In regards to durability, an overmolded carry handle, 3-inch locking latches, anti-shear hinge system, and reinforced lockable hasp are built with maximum integrity in mind. Pelican has built this cooler knowing you’re going to abuse it. 

    Featuring a cool, tough aesthetic and a sharp color selection, the Elite will look right at home in virtually any outdoor context.

    Also available in 30 and 50-quart sizing, there are some smaller variants of this cooler option available if you don’t think you have the deck space for the 70-quart unit. The brand also offers a 95-quart Elite for a truly high capacity cooler, as well as a MONSTER 250-quart option for commercial purposes, and huge ration loads.

  3. 3. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler

    Pros:
    • Heavy-duty rotomolded construction is essentially indestructible
    • Measures 30 by 16.75 by 17.3 inches
    • Keeps ice up to 8 days
    • Built-in Microban protection makes the cooler interior easier to clean
    • Anti-skid feet prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck
    • Features a freezer grade 360° rubber gasket and heavy-duty T-latches to ensure a perfect seal
    • Two built-in locking mounts offer added security
    • Includes a wire basket for stashing dry goods
    • Cooler top features a fish ruler
    • Certified bear proof
    • Padded handles for easier carrying
    • Available in several sizes
    Cons:
    • Handle design is difficult to carry on your own when the cooler is full
    • Heavy option at about 30 pounds
    • Limited coler selection

    If you’re seeking a simple and straightforward boat cooler option that offers high integrity, insulating ability, and capacity at a fair price point, the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler should most definitely be on your radar.

    The brand sent me this model cooler for field testing a few years back, and its performance and integrity have very much impressed me. I utilize mine for boating, beaching, camping, and beyond, so it’s a versatile option great for all sorts of applications.

    Measuring 30 by 16.75 by 17.3 inches, the Titan Deep Freeze borders on being an extra-large cooler but remains a manageable size for use on smaller vessels, and portages. Featuring a freezer-grade 360° rubber gasket and heavy-duty T-latches to ensure a perfect seal, it will hold ice for up to 8 days depending on your ice quality, outside temperature, and other factors – so if you need a cooler for extended or overnight trips, this is a great go-to.

    The heavy-duty rotomolded construction is essentially indestructible, but in turn, makes this cooler a fairly heavy option for its size at about 30 pounds. There are padded handles for easier carrying, but the Deep Freeze is inherently a bit cumbersome to carry on your own when full.

    In regards to compatibility boating, Arctic Zone has built this cooler with anti-skid feet to prevent it from shifting on deck during rough rides, as well as an integrated fish ruler for measuring your catch of the day on the cooler top. It’s also certified bear proof if you plan on bringing this cooler on rafting trips through bear country.

    Not to be ignored, built-in Microban protection makes the cooler interior easier to clean, so wiping up after a messy day of fish harvest is made easy. There is also an included wire basket for keeping your dry goods apart from the rest of your cooler contents.

    If theft is ever a concern for you, two built-in locking mounts offer added security, so making off with this cooler or even opening it is made impossible until you unlock it.

    Also available in 20-quart sizing (through this same link), boaters with smaller vessels can also spring for a Deep Freeze without occupying all of their precious deck space.

  4. 4. KONG 70 Quart Rotomolded Cooler

    Pros:
    • Measures 36.5 by 18.37 by 17.87 inches and can hold up to 45 cans along with 33 pounds of ice
    • Offers 6 to 10 days of ice retention!
    • Included dividers keep food dry and drinks wet - and can also be used as a cutting board, side table or shelf
    • Non-slip feet and built-in tie down points prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck
    • Stay-Put Lid enables easier access to the cooler contents when your hands are full
    • Insulated super-seal and CAM action latches ensure the cooler remains perfectly sealed
    • Sturdy drain plug makes draining excess water easy
    • Rigid, padded handles are built to last
    • Certified bear-proof
    • Compatible with an array of KONG accessories
    • Sharp color selection
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • 38-pound weight when empty will be difficult to move/transport on your own
    • Cam style latches are built tough, but may take a little getting used to

    The KONG 70 Quart Rotomolded Cooler is an excellent option for boaters seeking a high capacity, ultra-rugged cooler option that can also be utilized as a food-prep or fish cleaning station.

    Equipped with removable interior dividers that keep food dry and drinks wet – KONG has engineered an invaluable design with this one when it comes to organizing a hectic cooler load. Not only do the dividers effectively separate your drinks and groceries, but you can also use them as a cutting board, side table, or shelf. It’s a simple design feature, but highly practical for onboard use when it comes time to set up a charcuterie board or clean a pile of fish.

    This model cooler is furthermore compatible with an array of KONG accessories – so you can really personalize its functionality to your boating style.

    Measuring 36.5 by 18.37 by 17.87 inches, this cooler can hold up to 45 cans along with 33 pounds of ice, so it can support larger groups of boaters. Offering 6 to 10 days of ice retention, the brand has furthermore ensured you’re more than covered for multi-day trips and especially warm forecasts.

    Non-slip feet and built-in tie-down points prevent the cooler from sliding on deck, while the innovative Stay-Put Lid enables easier access to the cooler contents when your hands are full. 

    The brand’s insulated super-seal and CAM action latches ensure the cooler remains perfectly sealed, while a sturdy drain plug makes draining excess water and/or blood easy. The cooler is also of course bear proof.

    Keep in mind that the 38-pound (empty) weight may be difficult to move/transport on your own depending on your strength. This might make this option more of a permanent installation on your boat than a deployable cooler, but at least the rigid, padded handles enable easy carrying with a partner.

    Available in an array of cool color aesthetics, selecting a KONG cooler that matches your preferred style should be easy!

  5. 5. Bison Coolers Extra Large 125 Quart Rotomolded Ice Chest

    Pros:
    • Rotomolded construction featuring a pressure-injected 2-inch thick lid and insulated walls for maximum ice retention
    • HUGE 125 quart capacity (43.25 by 21.6 by 18.75 inches) can hold 104 cans with a 2:1 ice:drink ratio or 160 pounds of ice
    • Oversized anti-skid rubber feet prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck
    • Heavy duty rubber latches with cantilever hinge system and double-wall silicone gasket ensure a perfect seal
    • Open, ergonomic grab rails make it easy to carry, tie down, and secure
    • Lockable lid with integrated fish ruler
    • Large drain plugs for fast draining do not need to be fully removed in order to allow water to escape
    • Sharp color selection
    • Industry leading 5-year warranty and 30-day trial
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • Massive cooler weighing 57 pounds empty will be difficult to move on your own
    • No included dividers, basket for dry goods, or botttle opener

    The Extra Large 125 Quart Rotomolded Ice Chest from Bison Coolers is a wonderful option for those in need of a truly high-capacity boat cooler.

    Measuring 43.25 by 21.6 by 18.75 inches, this big boy can hold 104 cans with a 2:1 ice:drink ratio or 160 pounds of ice. Now that’s a LOT of beers.

    The rotomolded construction features a pressure-injected 2-inch thick lid and insulated walls for maximum ice retention, while heavy-duty rubber latches with a cantilever hinge system and double-wall silicone gasket ensure an always-perfect seal.

    Oversized anti-skid rubber feet prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck during rough weather or high speeds, so keeping this beast in place is made easy. Open, ergonomic grab rails furthermore go on to make it easy to carry, tie down, and secure no matter what you’re up to.

    A lockable lid adds security and even includes an integrated fish ruler for boaters with a passion for angling.

    Large drain plugs for fast draining do not need to be fully removed in order to allow water to escape – a simple but underrated feature considering how easy it can be to lose standard drain plugs.

    Perhaps best of all, Bison Coolers offers an industry leading 5-year warranty/30-day trial for this cooler, so you can purchase in complete confidence! 

  6. 6. RTIC Ultra-Light 52 Quart Rotomolded Ice Chest

    Pros:
    • Innovative injected molded design makes this cooler about 30% lighter than standard hard coolers, weighing in at 21 pounds
    • 27 by 18 by 18 inch size can hold up to 64 cans while remaining manageable to carry by one person
    • 3 inches of closed-cell foam insulation provide excellent ice retention
    • Includes a removable divider for organization and an upper basket for stashing dry goods
    • Molded tie-down slots enable you to secure this cooler and prevent it from sliding around on deck
    • Marine-grade rope handles with textured grips for easy toting
    • Easy flow drain spout enables quick draining of excess water
    • Awesome array of color options
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive considering the size
    • Utilizing the rope handles to carry this cooler when full may be awkward on your own depending on your size
    • Some might not like the utilization of the rubber T-latches, it's a matter of preference really

    Designed with an innovative injected molded design that makes this cooler about 30% lighter than standard hard coolers, the RTIC Ultra-Light 52 Quart Rotomolded Ice Chest is a brilliant option for boaters seeking a cooler that’s particularly lightweight without sacrificing capacity.

    The brand recently sent me this model cooler to field test, and its integrity, insulating ability, and surprisingly low weight have no doubt impressed me. It also features a totally cool, almost retro aesthetic available in an array of rad colorways.

    Measuring 27 by 18 by 18 inches, the Ultra-Light can hold up to 64 cans while remaining manageable to carry by one person. Featuring 3-inches of closed-cell foam insulation, this option provides excellent ice retention despite its lower weight of just 21 pounds.

    A removable divider for organization and an upper basket for stashing dry goods are included here for greater functionality, so keeping your groceries, beverages, and snacks effectively organized is made easy. An easy flow drain spout furthermore goes on to enable quick draining of excess water.

    Equipped with molded tie-down slots enabling you to secure this cooler essentially anywhere, RTIC has made sure you can prevent this cooler from sliding around on your vessel.

    While this option is certainly not cheap, we find the price point to be well worth it considering the integrated features, functionality, and expected lifespan here. 

  7. 7. RTIC Hard Cooler

    Pros:
    • Multiple sizes available ranging from 20 to 110 quarts
    • Rotomolded construction is virtually indestructible
    • 3-inch foam insulated walls for maximum ice retention (up to 10 days)
    • Durable T-latches and Traction Lid ensure an airtight seal
    • Marine-grade rope handles
    • No-sweat exterior
    • Easy flow spout with rapid drain system enables easy draining of excess water
    • Non-slip feet and molded in tie-down points for securing the cooler on deck
    • Multiple color options
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • Design of the rope handles may be hard to carry when the cooler is full depending on your upper body stregth
    • Does not include any dividers or a dry goods basket

    Available as a compact 20-quart cooler all the way up to downright tremendous 145-quart sizing, the RTIC Hard Cooler is a fairly priced, high-quality cooler choice that’s built with dependability, lifespan, and functionality in mind.

    Engineered with 3-inch foam insulated walls for maximum ice retention (up to 10 days), the rotomolded construction here is more or less indestructible. Durable T-latches and a Traction Lid ensure an airtight seal for maximum insulation and freshness, while a no-sweat exterior prevents the cooler from wetting out with condensation.

    Non-slip feet and molded-in tie-down points are present for securing the cooler on deck during rough seas, while marine-grade rope handles provide you with some solid handholds for transporting this bad boy. 

    The Hard Cooler does not include any dividers or a dry goods basket, but it is compatible with a number of RTIC accessories including their dividing trays – so definitely consider picking some up to further boost this cooler’s functionality.

  8. 8. YETI Tank Bucket Cooler

    Pros:
    • 25.5 by 19.5 by 19.13 inch dimensions and 85 quart capacity holds 96 cans with a 1:1 ice ratio, or 80 pounds of ice
    • Versatile cooler option that works wonderfully as a bait bucket, live well, and beyond
    • Features Permafrost Insulation for maximum ice retention
    • DoubleHaul Handles enable easier team-carrying
    • Vortex Drain System enables quick and easy draining of excess water
    • Relatively light empty weight at just 20 pounds considering the large capacity here
    • Non-slip feet prevent sliding and keep the cooler in place
    • Multiple color options available
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • Lid sold separately
    • Round design might fit awkwardly on deck your boat compared to squared off coolers
    • Will be difficult to carry on your own when full

    The YETI Tank Bucket Cooler is a unique, but highly practical cooler design for boating applications depending on your vessel and the style of your on-the-water adventures.

    Featuring 25.5 by 19.5 by 19.13 inch dimensions and an 85 quart capacity, this big ol’ insulated bucket will hold 96 cans with a 1:1 ice ratio, or 80 pounds of ice. According to the brand, “The YETI Tank 85 can hold up to 60 longnecks, 51 blue crabs, 24 mullet & menhaden, 98 slices of watermelon, 20 gallons of trash can punch, or 2 bushels of oysters”…. not too shabby! Equipped with YETI’s renowned Permafrost Insulation for maximum ice retention, you can furthermore rest assured whatever you store in the Bucket Cooler will stay cold for quite some time.

    Due to its inherent design, keep in mind that this option is a highly versatile cooler that will work wonderfully as a bait bucket, live well, and beyond. Unfortunately, YETI does not include a lid with the purchase of the cooler (which we find to be a bit ridiculous), so if you want to maximize this unit’s insulating ability, you’ll have to spring for one separately. 

    Featuring a relatively light empty weight at just 20 pounds considering the large capacity here, moving this beast of a cooler to and from your boat is made as easy as possible. DoubleHaul Handles enable easier carrying, but you’ll likely want a partner’s help when it comes time to haul this cooler when full.

    Integrated non-slip feet prevent sliding and keep the cooler in place, while the Vortex Drain System enables quick and easy draining of excess water, blood, or shellfish slime. YETI has really hit all the bases here (aside from not including a lid!) in order to make the Tank Bucket Cooler a true on-the-water workhorse.

    Lastly, with a few different colors to choose from, selecting an aesthetic that matches your style shouldn’t be difficult.

  9. 9. Igloo Marine Ultra Commercial Grade Coolers

    Pros:
    • Wide array of sizing ranging from 30 to 94 quarts
    • Ultratherm insulated body and lid for maximum ice retention
    • Integrated fish ruler on the lid
    • UV Inhibitors protect against sun damage while marine-grade, extended-life hinges stand up to the abuse of saltwater environments
    • Rust-resistant stainless-steel screws, lid strap and hinged latch further boost overall integrity
    • Stain and odor resistant liner
    • Drain plug enables easy draining of excess water
    • Tie-down points on the handles prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck
    • Very reasonably priced
    Cons:
    • The reinforced handles on the larger sized coolers may be a bit akward to carry on your own
    • Lacks a rubber gasket in order to acheive an airtight seal
    • No color options

    If you’re seeking an affordable boat cooler that still offers reliable performance and a durable design, Igloo’s Marine Ultra Commercial Grade Coolers are most definitely worth checking out. Available in an array of sizing from 30 to 94 quarts, priced to sell, and well-rated for performance, this is a great go-to for those who can’t afford to break the bank.

    Built with an Ultratherm insulated body and lid for maximum ice retention, a stain and odor-resistant liner, and an integrated fish ruler on the lid, this cooler has it going on when it comes to boating applications. It certainly won’t hold ice for a week plus like some of the higher-end options listed here, but you’re still getting much more than you pay for with this one.

    The rust-resistant stainless-steel screws, lid strap, and hinged latch boost overall integrity when it comes to corrosive marine environments, while UV inhibitors protect against sun damage. For the price point, Igloo has taken some serious strides to ensure you’ll own this cooler for many years to come.

    Tie-down points on the handles go on to prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck, so you can secure it wherever you see fit.

    A quality-built option offered at an affordable price point, you can’t go wrong with a classic Igloo cooler! 

  10. 10. Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler

    Pros:
    • Extra-thick foam walls and lid offer up to 4 day ice retention
    • Heavy duty blow-molded construction with reinforced base for increased strength and life span
    • Reinforced base and kick plates for increased strength and protection
    • Integrated fish ruler on the lid
    • UV inhibitors protect the cooler against sun damage
    • Rubberized T-grip latches ensure snug closure
    • Oversized hinges and stainless steel screws resist saltwater environments and increase lifespan
    • Triple point grab handle with stainless steel reinforcement and rubber grip
    • Skid pads add extra traction and an extra layer of corner protection
    • Tie-down points prevent the cooler from sliding around on deck, and still enable you to open the lid when being utilized
    • Several color options
    • Fair price point
    Cons:
    • Cooler top is not entirely flat, so using it as a table or cutting board may be a bit difficult
    • Blow-molded construction with reinforced base is impressively tough, but not as indestructible as rotomolded coolers
    • Some might not like the design of the T-latches

    The BMX 52 Quart Cooler is another affordably priced option from Igloo that’s loaded with practical features for boating applications and beyond.

    Built with an extra-thick foam insulated lid and walls, the BMX offers up to 4 days of ice retention – pretty impressive considering the low price point here. The heavy duty blow-molded construction with a reinforced base in addition to integrated kick plates is furthermore designed with high integrity and life span in mind, so you can beat on this cooler pretty hard without concern.

    UV inhibitors protect the cooler against sun damage, so prolonged exposure under the sun is A-ok. Oversized hinges and stainless steel screws go on to resist saltwater environments, Igloo has really hit all the bases here in regards to durability.

    Measuring 25.98 by 16.34 by 16.54 inches, this is more or less a medium-sized cooler offering a moderate capacity perfect for small groups of boaters. 

    Skid pads add extra traction and an extra layer of corner protection, while built-in tie-down points prevent the cooler from moving around on deck and still enable you to open the lid when being utilized – a simple, but underrated feature.

    Rubberized T-grip latches have been employed to ensure always-snug closure, so keeping a tight seal is a non-issue. There is even an integrated fish ruler on the lid for measuring your harvests, so anglers, in particular, will find a friend here.

    With an array of cool color aesthetics to choose from, you can ever personalize the BMX to match you or your boat’s style!

  11. 11. Coleman 100 Quart Wheeled Ice Chest

    Pros:
    • Fully insulated lid and body keeps ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
    • Heavy-duty 6-inch wheels and durable tow & swing-up handles are designed for easy transport
    • Huge capacity cooler able to hold up to 160 cans
    • Self draining cup holders are built into the lid
    • Stain resistant liner for easy cleanups
    • Channel drain plug enables easy no-tilt draining of excess water
    • Available in smaller sizing
    • Very reasonable price point
    Cons:
    • Integrated wheels are a nice feature for hard ground, but likely not suitable for soft sand
    • Closed lid supports up to 250 pounds - so particularly heavy boaters should not sit on this cooler
    • Limited color selection

    Have a hard time getting all of your groceries, snacks, and beverages down to the boat without breaking your back? The Coleman 100 Quart Wheeled Ice Chest is a high-capacity-hero when it comes to portaging an extra heavy cooler load down the boat ramp or dock slip – and it’s very reasonably priced.

    This is a fairly huge capacity cooler able to hold up to 160 cans, so it’s perfect for BIG boat days with the whole gang. The heavy-duty 6-inch wheels and durable tow and swing-up handles make both pulling and carrying this cooler easy, so if rolling this unit is not possible, simply grab a partner and lift it!

    A fully insulated lid and body keeps ice for up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F, so don’t let the low price point fool you into thinking this is an inferior product. Coleman is known for offering quality, affordable products, so this is a brand you can trust.

    Self draining cup holders are built into the lid for a place to set down your beer, while a channel drain plug enables easy no-tilt draining of excess ice water or fish blood. The brand has also equipped this option with a stain-resistant liner for easy cleanups – so it’s mess-approved!

    While this simple and straightforward option may not offer a plethora of fancy add-ons or accessories, we find it to be one of the best bangs for your buck when it comes to high-capacity cooler options. No doubt a reliable go-to worth owning from Coleman.

  12. 12. Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler

    Pros:
    • 70 quart capacity holds 112 cans
    • Igloo ultra therm insulated body and lid provide up to 4 day ice retention
    • Oversized never-flat wheels nicely traverse sand and challenging terrain with a ground clearance of 10 inches
    • Built in cup holders and butler tray utilize the telescoping handle in order to create a table space for serving snacks and drinks
    • Drain plug is strategically placed for easy draining of excess water
    • Includes a suspended interior food basket for keeping food items cold yet dry
    • Removable, integrated rod holders are present on the cooler rear
    • Built-in water-resistant storage is lockable and fitted with an anti-leak gasket to keep pocket-sized essentials safe and dry
    • External mesh storage space is great for stashing other gear and on-hand essentials
    • Integrated bottle opener
    • Multiple color options available
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • Wheeled design is convenient, but perhaps a waste of space on board your vessel
    • Lacks tie-down points for easy securing during rough seas

    The Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler is a remarkably versatile, feature-loaded, highly portable option that will champion your boating days and beyond this summer. Featuring a 70-quart capacity that can hold up to 112 cans, this is a big cooler for big boat days. The brand recently sent me a Trailmate to field test for myself, and its plethora of integrated features have proven to be game-changing. 

    It’s hard to know where to start when singing the praises of this innovative cooler option. It’s equipped with some brilliant features for meal prep and actively dining in addition to the standard cooler add-ons you’re used to seeing.

    First and foremost, Igloo’s ultra therm insulated body and lid provide up to 4 days of ice retention, so you’re more than covered on overnight trips. The Trailmate Journey includes a suspended interior food basket for keeping food items cold yet dry, and a strategically placed drain plug for easy expelling of excess water.

    The oversized never-flat wheels nicely traverse sand and challenging terrain with a ground clearance of 10 inches, so you can even wheel this beast down the beach to your favorite hangout spot, or take it on the trail (as the name implies) outside of boating contexts. It will likely be a challenge to pull through soft sand when full, but that can be said about almost any rolling cooler.

    My personal favorite features are the built-in cup holders and butler tray that utilize the telescoping handle in order to create a tablespace for prepping and serving snacks and drinks. The tray quickly and easily deploys, and then collapses back into the cooler body when you don’t need it. There is also an integrated bottle opener so you can pop bottles right at the source.

    A built-in water-resistant storage space is lockable and fitted with an anti-leak gasket to keep pocket-sized essentials safe and dry, so you have a space for sensitive electronics, and other personal items. An external mesh storage space is also present; great for stashing gear you want immediately on hand.

    Not to be ignored, included removable rod holders can be snapped onto the cooler rear, so you even have a space to stash a few rods. This also makes the Trailmate awesome for surfcasting applications on the beach as a fishing cart.

    With multiple sharp color options to choose from, you can even personalize this workhorse of a cooler to your preferred aesthetic. 

  13. 13. Elkton Outdoors Large Insulated Fish Kill Bags

    Pros:
    • Kill bag designed for keeping fish cold and fresh
    • Holds 32 pounds of cubed ice for up to 72 hours utilizing closed-cell insulation technology
    • Tough waterproof tarpaulin construction protects against punctures from sharp fish spines and fins
    • Rolls up and cinches tight with nylon straps for compact transport
    • Secure waterproof zipper prevents any water, blood, or slime from escaping the cooler bag
    • Fat-mouth drain enables easy draining of excess fluids
    • All of the hardware is corrosion resistant to resist saltwater environments
    • Shoulder strap and carry handles offer a few different carry options
    • Non-stick interior lining makes for easy clean-up
    • Reinforced heat welded seams ensure the bag will stay leak-proof despite wear and tear
    • 40 and 60 liter options measure 40 and 60 inches long respectively
    • Slim profile fits nicely in tankwell, and below deck
    Cons:
    • Farily expensive considering the simplicity of the design here - but nonetheless a quality product worth the price point
    • Not very suitable for packing food and beverages
    • Waterproof zipper should be regularly lubricated in order to retain smooth operation

    Avid fishermen who embark on boating missions with the sole intention of putting meat in the cooler will find a friend in Elkton Outdoors’ Insulated Fish Kill Bags. Designed for keeping whole, or cleaned fish cold and fresh, this soft cooler bag is easily tucked below deck and out of the way for when you need it.

    Able to hold 32 pounds of cubed ice for up to 72 hours, this innovative cooler design utilizes closed-cell insulation technology for maximum freshness.

    The tough waterproof tarpaulin construction protects against punctures from sharp fish spines and fins, while the mindfully designed non-stick interior lining makes for an easy clean-up.

    A secure waterproof zipper prevents any water, blood, or slime from escaping the cooler bag, so you can go ahead and toss this bad boy right in the backseat without fear of it leaking when it’s time to head home to clean your harvest. A fat-mouth drain is also present in order to easily drain excess fluids and reduce the cooler’s weight.

    The 40 and 60-liter options measure 40 and 60 inches long respectively, so you can slide quite a large fish (or several) into this unit. Despite its high capacity for your day’s harvest, these cooler bags feature a 3-point folding system for compact storage – so you can easily stash it within tank wells, underneath seats, and even in kayak stern wells or cargo holds! A shoulder strap and carry handles go on to offer a few different carry options, so getting this meat-bag from A to B is made easy.

    It’s worth noting all of the hardware is corrosion resistant in order to resist saltwater environments, so getting this cooler salty is a non-issue. Reinforced heat-welded seams furthermore ensure the bag will stay leak-proof despite wear and tear, so you can plan on owning this valuable tool for many fishing seasons to come.

  14. 14. TOURIT Leak-Proof Soft Sided Cooler Backpack

    Pros:
    • High-density insulation material and leak-proof liner work together to keep food and beverages hot/cold for 3 days
    • Roughly 21-liter size measures 17.7 by 13.8 by 10 inches, and can hold 36 cans with ice, or 35 pounds of ice
    • Tough waterproof shell and zipper are designed to handle the elements as well as the abuses of regular use
    • Two exterior pockets are great for stashing cutlery, and personal items
    • Exterior webbing works well for attaching additional gear and accessories
    • Padded, ergonomic shoulder straps are comfortable to wear even when the cooler is fully loaded
    • 3-layer insulation material is BPA-Free and FDA approved
    • Flat bottom enables the cooler backpack to stand upright
    • Several color options
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • Zippers will require lubrication every so often in order to remain smooth
    • Color selection only includes muted aesthetics

    The TOURIT Leak-Proof Soft Sided Cooler Backpack is an excellent go-to if you’re on the market for an insulated backpack that’s boating-approved. Built to handle heavy abuse and generously sized in order to support a solid group, this is a highly versatile backpack cooler you’ll end up using for all sorts of outdoor endeavors.

    The roughly 21-liter size size measures 17.7 by 13.8 by 10 inches, and can hold 36 cans with ice, or 35 pounds of ice – far from shabby. The high-density insulation material and leak-proof liner go on to work together in order to keep food and beverages hot/cold for up to 3 days, and are furthermore BPA free and FDA approved.

    Two exterior pockets are great for stashing cutlery and personal items while built-in exterior webbing works well for attaching additional gear and accessories. All together, TOURIT has engineered an impressively high-capacity cooler pack here for its inherent size and portable design.

    Padded, ergonomic shoulder straps remain comfortable to wear even when the cooler is fully loaded, so you won’t chaffe or abrade your shoulders during portages or treks to and from the boat.

    Another underrated feature worth noting, the flat bottom of this pack enables the cooler to stand upright on its own. This can be especially handy onboard a boat that’s bobbing around in the wave action. 

    Although the color options don’t include any fun vibrant aesthetics, there are at least a few different options to choose from in order to best match your preferred style. 

  15. 15. ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler

    Pros:
    • Available in 23 and 33 liter sizing
    • Ultra-tough Muleskin exterior and interior is totally watertight and can handle the abuses of boating in stride
    • Welded seams and rolltop closure make this a fully waterproof, floating cooler
    • PolarLayer Insulation ensures ice-like temperatures for 24+ hours
    • IM AirValve allows air to be added to insulation layer to increase buoyancy
    • Padded and ventilated straps for maximum comfort
    • Bungee system on the pack front is great for storing additional accessories
    • Rolls up nice and compact when empty for easy transport and storage
    • Several color options
    Cons:
    • Expensive considering the low capacity here
    • No real organization potential
    • Will not hold ice for more than a day - but considering the capacity here, this is likely a non-issue

    The ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler is a brilliant option for boaters seeking an exceptionally portable, easy to tote and pack cooler – and it even floats!

    Available in 23 and 33-liter sizing, the ultra-tough Muleskin exterior and interior of these packs is totally watertight, and will handle the abuses of boating in stride. The rolltop closure makes the ICEMULE Pro 100% waterproof, while an IM AirValve is integrated to allow air to be added in order to increase buoyancy.

    Simply inflate it manually after loading it up, and then feel free to tie the bag off and toss it overboard! This makes it a killer cooler option for kayakers and boaters with small vessels lacking cargo or deck space.

    PolarLayer Insulation ensures ice-like temperatures for 24+ hours, so although this bag won’t be able to hold ice on overnight trips, the smaller capacity here likely means this is a non-issue.

    Padded and ventilated straps ensure the ICEMULE Pro remains comfortable to wear on your person even when full, while an integrated bungee system on the pack front is great for storing additional accessories and gear.

    When it comes time to pack it up, the innovative design easily rolls up nice and compact for easy transport and storage.

    Available in a few different color options, there’s bound to be an ICEMULE Pro right up your alley!

Ice Retention 

If ice retention time is particularly important to you, there are some details to consider before making a cooler purchase. Many variables affect a cooler's ability to hold ice, so be sure to run the numbers while you're comparing and contrasting options.

If you're simply seeking a cooler that will hold ice for a full day on the water (let's say 10 hours), all of the above options will exceed your expectations. If you need a cooler to keep your groceries, beverages, or harvested catch cold for days at a time, you'll need to spring for a higher quality insulating option. 

Typically, as a general rule, thicker insulation equals longer ice retention times. Thicker insulation also usually equals higher weight, so you'll have to consider that detail as well.

According to the experts at YETI: "Variables that can affect ice retention include the ice quality, ice quantity, type of ice (crushed, block, cube, dry), outside environment, exposure to direct sunlight, etc. Which is to say there’s a lot you can do to affect the longevity of your ice. Because of the large number of variables, as well as the lack of an industry standard for measuring ice retention, claims that place a definite time (5, 10, 14 days) are often based on testing conditions and not real-life situations."

The brand has also compiled a comprehensive list of tips and tricks to dramatically boost ice retention.

Extra Large Boat Coolers

Seeking a monstrous cooler for supporting BIG groups of boaters, commercial catches, or extended multi-day trips? You'll likely want a unit that's at least 100 quarts to tackle the job - some of our favorite extra large options for on-the-water use include:

Compact Boat Coolers

Seeking an easy-to-stash-onboard, compact cooler option for personal use or smaller groups and/or vessels? Check out our top picks for small to medium sized boat coolers that won't occupy too much deck space

Fishing Coolers

If you're an avid angler shopping for a cooler option that will support your on-the-water hobby or profession, there are a plethora of options that are wonderfully suited for fishing applications.

Integrated fish rulers for measuring your catch, easy-flow drain spouts for discharging blood and slime, integrated rod holders, and odor-resistant liners are all features to consider if you're purchasing a hard cooler with angling in mind.

Alternatively, soft coolers designed for fish harvest, or kill bags, are another solid choice - and they're often more affordable and better sized for large and in charge fish species.

Some of our favorite go-to coolers for fishermen include: 

Canoe and Kayak Coolers

Canoeing and kayaking call for an especially compact, lightweight cooler choice.

Soft-sided coolers are often the way to go because they are able to be stuffed into cockpits and tight storage spaces.

Collapsible coolers are another great option because you can break them down and store them easily once empty or close to empty.

Our list of the best kayaking coolers features the best choices for kayaks and small watercraft and includes a variety of different style options including seatback coolers and soft coolers that are designed to sit in your stern well.

Floating Coolers

Depending on your vessel, a floating cooler that can simply be tied off to the boat might make sense for you. Kayakers and rafters in particular often utilize this style of cooler, freeing up precious cargo space for other essential gear. 

Alternatively, if you're the type of boater who just wants to ensure their gear won't be lost forever in the event it goes overboard, consider an option that swims rather than sinks. 

Our list of the best floating coolers has highlighted our favorite options.

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