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13 Best Floating Coolers for Summer 2023

When you’re enjoying the summer heat down at the water, there’s nothing quite like a frosty beverage to make the day perfect. Whether you’re rafting, kayaking, boating, out on your SUP, or simply hanging out in the pool, these floating coolers offer easy accessibility to all your favorite drinks and snacks!

We’ve organized our top list with the most durable models for kayak and river raft trips up top, and the purely pool-worthy options below those.

Price: $ – $
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How Can You Choose the Best Floating Cooler?

Naturally, it comes down to how you plan to use your cooler. Do you want something rugged that you can take anywhere or are you looking for something more tame that lives strictly in your backyard pool?

Do you want long-lasting cooling power or do you plan to use your float cooler for a few hours during a pool party?

How much does it weigh and will that determine how far you're willing to carry it, whether it's empty or full? 

Let's explore the differences!

What's the Best Pool Cooler? 

Clearly, if you're searching for a fun and functional option for your backyard pool, you might want to consider one of the many inflatable coolers on our list. They range from cute and kitschy to more straight-ahead designs more suited to adult entertaining. (Although who would object to a floating cloud and rainbow cooler?)

Another consideration that can work in both your pool and on raft and kayak trips is a cooler float. These are inflatable bases that let you nestle your hard-side cooler into. 

The Intex Megachill we've featured can do double duty as a stand-alone cooler with a lid, or you can remove the lid and insert your own cooler inside. It comes at a pretty reasonable price point. Ozark Trail makes a solid option as well.

What Are Dry Bag Floating Coolers?

Rafters and kayakers are old friends with dry bags and how to use them, but this new generation of floating dry bag coolers is like having friends with benefits. These coolers operate much the same as a traditional dry bag and can be used as one when they're not on cooling duty. 

The key differences between these and regular dry bags are insulation, flotation, and straps. Keep in mind, a 30-liter bag loaded with drinks and ice isn't easily carried anywhere except for on your back. Our list of the best insulated backpacks speaks more to this fact.

Most of these floating bags come with either a crossbody strap or backpack-style straps to make carrying them easy while leaving your hands free for other things. Our vote for the best in this category has to go to the IceMule Pro which offers lots of capacity, super durability, and easy carry straps.

Are Hard-side Coolers the Best for Whitewater Trips?

We don't want to judge, but we do love stability and can't help but like a couple of particular coolers featured in our reviews. First, if the price isn't an issue, the YETI Tundra, while not marketed as a floating cooler, floats beautifully whether it's full or empty. It's a workhorse that can double as your favorite camping cooler and can handle trips of many days while maintaining your ice.

For a fun and more wallet-friendly option, the CreekKooler floating cooler looks like a mini creek boat and handles with great stability when the water gets rough. The CreekKooler Pup is a smaller cooler float option with similar performance.

Coolers for Kayaking

If you're seeking an insulation system for use on your kayak or personal watercraft, you'll want to select just the right option in order to properly suit your paddling style. A floating cooler very well may make the most sense for you, but be sure to check out our list of the best kayak coolers for some awesome alternative options.