High-quality kayak coolers are difficult to find because they have to meet a lot of conditions. These models have to be small enough to fit on a kayak, they have to be stable enough to withstand the punishment of the rapids without tipping over, and they have to keep your drinks cold, all at the same time.
Last but not least, kayak coolers also have to be waterproof. There’s no point in taking a cooler with you when you’re kayaking if the water can affect its content.
For the following article, we reviewed 6 of the best kayak coolers currently available on the market. Even though these coolers have different designs, all of them meet the above criteria, and then some. Not only are the coolers we selected suitable for kayaking, they might actually improve your experience altogether.
Here are the most valuable kayak coolers of 2018.
Best Kayak Cooler Reviews
- IceMule Classic Cooler
- PRICE $
- Ice Retention: 24+ hours
- Capacity: up to 12 cans
- Dimensions: 3 different size
- Weight : 3 pounds
- CreekKooler Floating Cooler
- PRICE $$$
- Ice Retention: 48 hours
- Capacity: up to 30 cans
- Dimensions: 39.5 x 21 x 12"
- Weight : 17 pounds
- K2 Coolers Summit 20
- PRICE $$$$
- Ice Retention: up to 5 days
- Capacity: up to 24 cans
- Dimensions: 16.9 x 15.6 x 12.6"
- Weight : 14 pounds
- Seattle Sports Kayak Cooler
- PRICE $$
- Ice Retention: 24 Hours
- Capacity: up to 18 cans
- Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2"
- Weight : 2.1 pounds
- THURSO SURF Deck Cooler
- PRICE $
- Ice Retention: 24 Hours
- Capacity: 10 cans
- Dimensions: 14 x 12 x 4"
- Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Silver Horde Katchkooler II
- PRICE $
- Ice Retention: Several hours
- Capacity: 60 lbs of fish
- Dimensions: 40" x 16"
- Weight : 1.5 pounds
IceMule Classic CoolerThe IceMule cooler is a perfect cooling solution for those who like to spend a lot of time rowing their kayaks, or for those who have a small kayak and they’re looking for a cooler that won’t take up too much space.
With a storage capacity of up to 12 cans of drinks, this is not the largest cooler on our list, but it definitely has one of the best designs. When it’s empty, this cooler is small and easy to store. When you want to use the cooler, you only have to unroll it and fill its walls with air, increasing its insulation proprieties. However, filling the walls with air has the downside of making the cooler’s opening smaller as well, so seeing what’s inside the cooler can become slightly difficult.
As far as this model’s cooling capacity is concerned, the IceMule can keep your drinks cold for up to 24 hours.
- Can Be Used As A Dry Bag – Thanks to its high-quality insulation, the cooler can also be used as a dry bag
- Not Very Tough – The cooler’s exterior is not very tough, so you have to be careful not to snatch it in branches or rocks.
CreekKooler Floating CoolerThe CreekKooler cooler has an ingenious design that will allow it to follow your kayak everywhere you row. This medium-sized cooler is the perfect solution for those who want to pack some food and drinks for their kayak trips but don’t want to give up space on the kayak itself.
This cooler is shaped like a miniature kayak, and you can simply tow it behind your watercraft. The good thing about this model is that it has an incredible stability when it’s floating. Overturning or sinking the cooler is very difficult, to say the least.
The cooler itself is pretty large, even though the pictures don’t do it justice. This model can fit up to 30 cans of drinks and a few lbs of ice to keep the drinks cold for a good amount of time.
Now, thanks to the cooler’s ability to float behind you, you can use it as a camera mount to record your adventures.
- Saves Space – This cooler allows you to take 30+ cans of drinks on your adventures without taking up any space on your kayak
- Lid Could Be Improved – There’s nothing wrong with the lid itself, but screwing it shut when you’re on a kayak can be somewhat difficult.
K2 Coolers Summit 20The K2 Coolers Summit is made out of a single piece of rotomolded polyethylene for an increased durability and a better insulation. This model is a good cooling solution for those who like to go kayaking for several days in a row because it can keep your food fresh and your drinks cold for up to 5 days.
Besides its ability to keep the ice from melting, this model also impressed us with its sturdy construction. The cooler will fit many kayak models with room to spare, and it will fit up to 24 cans and plenty of ice to keep them cool.
The only downside of using this model when you’re kayaking is that you can’t tie it down. The cooler doesn’t have any anchors, so it will only be suitable for kayaking if you’re navigating calm waters.
- Long Lasting Ice – This cooler can preserve the ice for up to 5 days, depending on the ambient temperature and how much ice you pack.
- No Anchors – The cooler doesn’t come with any anchors, so it will roll around in your kayak if you’re paddling in rough waters.
Seattle Sports Kayak CoolerThe Seattle Sports cooler is specially designed to fit most kayaks, and it’s thermally efficient, keeping your food fresh and your drinks cold throughout the day. Thanks to its size and design, this cooler will also be great for those who enjoy kayak fishing, and it will keep their catches fresh until they get home.
One of the things we liked about this model is that it manages to keep the fish fresh without withholding their smell. One of the problems fishers often face is having to change their coolers because they start smelling after a few uses. Fortunately, this model’s interior lining is smell-resistant.
As far as the cooler’s storage capacity is concerned, this model will hold up to 18 cans of drinks and enough ice to keep them cool for the better part of a day.
- Fits Most Kayaks – This cooler is designed to fit most kayaks, so chances are, it will fit yours as well.
- Doesn’t Hold Its Shape – The cooler doesn’t hold its shape when you strap it down, and you might crush your snacks while strapping it.
THURSO SURF Deck CoolerThe THURSO SURF cooler is a good model for those who enjoy taking brief kayak excursions. This small unit is capable of holding up to 10 cans of drinks, and it should fit on the deck of most kayaks.
What impressed us the most about this model was its security. The cooler comes with no less than 4 anchors, so you can be sure it will maintain its position even when you navigate through rapids. If your kayak doesn’t have any anchors you can use to secure the cooler, you can use the included suction cups for the same purpose.
Even though the suction cups have a good quality and they will keep the cooler in its place, you shouldn’t trust them to keep the cooler from moving when you’re kayaking in rough waters. If your kayak tilts heavily to one side or another, the suction cups’ grip might not be enough to stop the cooler from falling overboard.
As far as the cooler’s effectiveness is concerned, this model will keep your drinks cold for several hours.
- Small And Compact – This cooler is small and compact, so it should fit on most kayaks without taking up too much space.
- Anchors Could Be Better – The corner anchors are not extremely durable, and they might get damaged if you kayak in rough water conditions.
Silver Horde Katchkooler IIThe Silver Horde Katchkooler II was specially designed to help kayak fishers. One of the most frequent problems kayak fishers encounter is not being able to store their catch properly. The Katchkooler II solves this problem because its design makes it suitable for most kayak models, and its effectiveness will keep the fish fresh for several hours.
As far as the cooler’s storage capacity is concerned, this model will hold up to 60 lbs of fish. Now, each type of fish has its own shape and weight, so we can’t tell exactly how many fish will fit in the cooler.
Even though we can’t say how many fish it holds, we can approximate how long it will keep them fresh. Most customers report that the Katchkooler II can keep the fish fresh for up to 24 hours if you pack enough ice, so it should last you long enough to get home from your fishing trip.
- Good Length – The cooler’s length will make it suitable for larger catches.
- Vulnerable To Spines – The cooler’s inside lining can be ripped by large fish spines, so you have to be careful when you store your catches.
Top 10 Features Of Good Kayak Coolers
Kayaking is a great way to exercise and relax at the same time. But kayaking can be very demanding, and you have to make sure you have enough food and drinks for your expeditions at all times. Using a kayak cooler will not only help with keeping your drinks cold and your food fresh, but it will also allow you to store everything you need within easy reach. Let’s examine the 10 features that make coolers suitable for kayaking.
- Impervious To Water – One of the most important features of a good kayak cooler is that it’s impervious to water. Whether it’s an inflatable cooler or a steel one, the unit you use on your cooler has to be waterproof.
- Don’t Take Up Too Much Space – Say what you want about kayaks, but one thing they’re not is spacious. Even large kayaks offer a limited storage space, and many small kayaks don’t offer any. This is why kayak coolers have to occupy a small space, if at all. Models like the CreekKooler Floating Cooler float behind your watercraft, so they don’t occupy any space at all. However, despite their compact form, packing a cooler the right way will keep food fresh for a longer time.
- Sturdy – It doesn’t matter if you like metal coolers or soft-sided ones, the model you choose for your kayak has to be sturdy. The best places to kayak often include small or large rapids, so your cooler has to be able to withstand the punishment without spilling its contents into the water.
- Anchors Points– A good kayak cooler comes with at least an anchor point. The anchor point will give you the possibility to strap down the cooler so it won’t budge when you fit rough waters.
- Durable – Just like a camping cooler, you won’t use the cooler on your kayak every day. You might even have whole seasons when you don’t use the cooler at all. That’s why it’s important to find a model that will last for a long time. The best kayak coolers will last for years, if not decades of intermittent use.
- Good Storage Capacity – One of the most important things you should think about before deciding on a kayak cooler is how you’re most likely to use it. If you want to buy a cooler for kayak fishing expeditions, models like Silver Horde Katchkooler II can be very useful. On the other hand, if you want to pack enough food and drinks to last for several days, you might want to choose larger models like the K2 Coolers Summit 20. Using a cooler that has a good storage capacity will keep your food fresh on long trips
- Good Inside Lining – A kayak cooler’s inside lining quality is more important than that of other types of coolers, especially if you’re planning on using the cooler for kayak fishing. All fishers know that fish scales are nasty little things that can hurt your hands if you don’t know how to grab them. And if a fish scale is sharp enough to hurt your fingers, you can be sure it will poke holes through the cooler’s inside lining as well. If you want to avoid getting rips and tears in your cooler’s lining altogether, you can opt for a rotomolded model instead of a soft one. A good inside lining will also do a better job at keeping your food cold.
- Highly Portable – Kayaking offers multiple benefits, and one of them is being able to explore nature from a new perspective. But when you’re going kayaking, chances are, you’re going to have to trek or walk for a spell from the parking space to the water. Not to mention that you might want to spend the night in a remote location. This means you’re most likely going to have to carry the cooler for a while. This is why having a portable kayak cooler is important. Some models come with shoulder straps for an improved portability, while others come with padded handle guards for the same purpose.
- Cost-Effective – You don’t have to spend a fortune on a good kayak cooler. Unlike other types of coolers, the ones you can use on a kayak with good results don’t come at steep prices. You should also budget your acquisition according to how often you’re going to use the kayak. If you usually use the kayak once or twice in a year, there’s no point in spending a lot of money on a top-notch model. On the other hand, if you’re frequently kayaking, you should invest in a model that’s better suited for frequent use.
- Low Maintenance – Using a kayak cooler that has a low maintenance can be a real advantage, especially if you’re a kayak fishing enthusiast. Fishing is rarely a clean activity and storing fish in a cooler until you get home never is. Coolers like the Seattle Sports Kayak Cooler are great for fishing because their interior lining is impervious to smells, so they won’t make your whole house smell like fish after each trip.
Best Kayak Coolers Comparison Chart
|IceMule Classic Cooler||$||24+ hours||up to 12 cans||3 different size||3 pounds|
|CreekKooler Floating Cooler||$$$||48 hours||up to 30 cans||39.5 x 21 x 12"||17 pounds|
|K2 Coolers Summit 20||$$$$||up to 5 days||up to 24 cans||16.9 x 15.6 x 12.6"||14 pounds|
|Seattle Sports Kayak Cooler||$$||24 hours||up to 18 cans||21 x 14 x 2"||2.1 pounds|
|THURSO SURF Deck Cooler||$||24 hours||10 cans||14 x 12 x 4"||1.5 pounds|
|Silver Horde Katchkooler II||$||Several hours||60 lbs of fish||40" x 16"||1.5 pounds|
As you could see in our short reviews, kayak coolers come in all sort of shapes and sizes. Some models can only accommodate a handful of sandwiches and a couple of drinks, while others can fit several large fishes or enough drinks and food to last for several days.
Even if they might look differently, all the coolers we included on our list are suitable for kayaking because they are waterproof and they offer you the possibility to keep food and drinks close at hand.
The best kayak coolers are often not the most expensive ones. They’re usually the ones that come closest to fulfilling your needs, or the ones that exceed your expectations.
Whether you’re passionate about kayak fishing or you just like to test your courage and endurance by floating through rapids, we hope that our article helped you find the best cooler.