Everything has a cooler now. Your home, car, workplace – so why not kayak too? Having a kayak cooler is very important as you will experience some harsh sun on your kayak, and almost no shades to keep you cool. It would be great to have a handy cooler from where you can take out a cold bottle of water or beer. Your food also needs to be stored in a safe and relatively cold place. And if you have a fishing kayak, it would be very important to have a place where you can put in your catch of the day.
No one is denying the fact that a kayak cooler can have several benefits. But you need to keep in mind the shape and size of the cooler so that it can be conveniently attached to your kayak. After all, no one wants a wobbly kayak cooler that jumps up and down when the kayak hits the water. Your kayak cooler can have a hard shell or a softshell. Some coolers float behind your kayaks. This way you don’t have to waste space on your kayak while still benefitting from the cooler.
Recommended Coolers for Kayaking
Before purchasing your kayak cooler, consider these factors:
- Ice Retention
Think about what the aim of buying your kayak cooler is? Whether you plan to take it along with you on your day trips, or you want to keep things cool for a couple of days (like in camping)? How much pre-prepared food and beverages do you plan to take with you? Any good kayak cooler can keep its contents cool for a day. However, you need something with better insulation and ice retention for trips that involve multiple days.
Transportation is also an important factor. If you want a kayak cooler that will just sit inside your kayak, you may not have to worry about its weight (as long as your kayak is okay with it!). However, if you want to take your cooler outside the kayak multiple times (for instance, taking your cooler along on hiking and running adventures), you need something with a relatively lightweight and a better grip. Also, it is great to have a multi-functional kayak cooler that you can use a dry storage bag on normal days.
The best kayak cooler is the one that keeps the things inside it safe, cold, and fresh no matter what the outside temperature, weather, or conditions are. A kayak cooler keeps your food at a good-to-eat temperature – who likes to eat sweaty sandwiches? A kayak cooler is a great investment that you will be needing a lot of. There are different types, sizes, brands, shapes, and price ranges that you will find. While buying one, think about your kayak and how it will blend in while giving you the best possible benefits. A cooler that is not the right one for your kayak will more likely be a liability than an asset. And you don’t want that!
Best 5 Kayak Coolers
On a kayak, you need to have a cooler that takes minimum space but is most effective for your requirements. You may need to put in a fish that you just caught, or some drinks to keep you cool, or the cold sandwiches you brought along. The size and shape play an important role in deciding what you want. Whatever you need a cooler for, here are our best kayak coolers to keep you (and your stuff) cool on your kayak adventures.
CreekKooler Pup Floating Towable Cooler
The CreekKooler Pup 15-quart Floating Towable Cooler is ideal for your short kayak trips as the cooler floats safely behind your kayak saving you some precious kayak space. It can keep its contents cool for up to a day. It is quite spacious as you can put in around 10 pounds (4 kgs) of ice and fill it up with as much as 15 of your 12-oz drinks. It has dual wall construction that keeps insulation at the top of its game. With thick insulation, your food and drinks remain cold and fresh – just like you want them to be.
The intelligent design of the CreekKooler Pup Floating Towable Cooler makes towing, carrying, and transporting the cooler very convenient. It has tow-points from where you can tie your floating cooler to your kayak (or boat) as it keeps your eatables and drinks at an arm’s distance. When you are not on your kayak trip, it can be used as a dry storage bag as well, making this kayak cooler very versatile.
It could slightly be more expensive than an average ice chest, but you cannot deny its practicality and chic design. The CreekKooler Pup 15-quart Floating Towable Cooler comes in three attractive colors: green, red, and orange.
Seattle Sports Kayak Insulated Deck Top Catch Cooler
If you are looking for a kayak cooler specifically designed for your fishing adventures, the Seattle Sports Kayak Top Catch Coolers for fishing and food Items is what you need. It has a closed-cell foam insulated interior and a heat-reflecting exterior that promises to keep your ‘hard work’ nice and cold.
The cooler is compartmentalized in the form of a pull-out bag so you can keep your precious catch and equally precious snacks separately. Just place an ice bag at the bottom, with separately sealed fish on the top, along with your packed lunch and canned drinks. Everything can be a store here making it your all-in-one bag. Also, if you want, you can leave the main cooler bag in the kayak and take out the inner bag. This makes it quite practical and cleaning this kayak cooler is super easy as well.
If you want, you can use this 19 X 12 X 5 inches bag as your dry storage bag, when not in kayak/ boating use. They are easy to carry, handle, transport, and make a great deck-top cooler for any paddler.
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler
Who would like to deal with a stubborn zipper right in the middle of the water? If you are one of those paddlers who prefer a softshell cooler but would not want to deal with the zipper-mess that often comes with soft-case bags, Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler has brought you a zipper-less solution.
The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler has a soft exterior, but the interior is a hardbody cooler – solid and sturdy. It has a good capacity to fit in 9 to 30 cans (depending upon the size you choose). It has a shelf-like structure where you can put a few drinks handy. The main lid can be flipped and latched (no zippers involved), however, you can find some zippered pockets on the sides to store other stuff. There is a padded strap that makes carrying this 16.5 x 11 x 12.8 inches cooler easy.
The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipper-less Hardbody Cooler is good for a day trip or an over-night kayak adventure. Since it does not seal in the air as much as many competitors do, the insulation has limitations and it is better to use it if you are going out for 2 days or less.
It comes in three colors: blue, white, and moss. You can choose between its storage options of 9, 16, 30, and 48 cans – depending upon your requirements. The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler is recommended for budget-conscious paddlers who want a good capacity cooler without getting broke.
Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler for Kayaks
There is no fun in your fish, food, and drinks getting jumbled inside one ice bag, is it? With the Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler (that fits most of the sit-on-top kayaks), you get to keep all your items separately (with separate access points) while not compromising on the cooling performance. It has separate compartments that make storing and taking out stuff a breeze.
The cooler is well insulated that will keep the contents cold and fresh all day long. The large compartment can be used as a storage area for your fish. The 420-denier nylon interior is tough and durable so the inside soft walls cannot be damaged by the sharp fish fins (making it an ideal kayak fish bag). You can store your energy bars, chocolates, or other items in the external mesh pocket.
The dimensions of this catch cooler are 29 X 16 X 7 inches. Thanks to its comfortably padded straps, it is quite convenient to carry this kayak cooler on your back. It is easy to clean as well, making it a perfect kayak cooler for you.
The fish, food, and drinks always will be cool in this cooler.
Reliable Fishing Products Insulated Kayak Bag
If you like going for the big fish like halibut, rockfish, yellowtail, etc. and do not want to compromise your food and beverage space, the Reliable Fishing Products Insulated Kayak Bag is just for you.
The closed-cell foam insulating keeps the inside nice and cool. The insulated kayak cooler bags show resistance from ultraviolet rays, rust, and heat. These kayak fish bags are super easy to clean. With 3 comfortable handles, you can transport your cooler to your kayak and back. It has 3 D-rings on each side that lets you tie the cooler down to your boat or kayak.
The dimensions of this Reliable Fishing Products Insulated Kayak Cooler Bag are 36 X 8 inches, with its width from 10 to 20 inches. With huge storage, you can put in stuff that you can store in a 70 quarts ice chest – that is humongous!
Types of Kayak Coolers
There are different types of kayak coolers: cooler bags and ice chests. Every type serves its purpose. Let’s have a look in details:
A kayak cooler bag is a light-weight bag with a soft-shell exterior that can be carried on the back through a couple of comfortably padded shoulder straps. Often it has one or more zippered compartments, where the main compartment has good foam insulation. Here you can put in your drinks, pre-packed lunches, and your catch. If you are looking for a multi-purpose cooling bag that you can take along on your outdoor adventures (hiking, camping, cycling, etc.), a cooler bag is the best option.
The cooler bags come in different sizes, depending upon your cooling requirements. If you do not plan to go fishing and store your catch inside these bags, you may go for a kayak cooler bag big enough to store your drinks and sandwiches.
A great thing about kayak cooler bags is that they are versatile. When you are not using them as cooler bags, you can use them as a normal bag to store your stuff. They are also recommended if you plan to do a lot of getting-in/ getting-out of the boat as they are easier to transport as compared to an ice chest.
An ice chest is a hard-shelled kayak cooler that has better insulation than soft-shelled cooler bags. Due to their strong and tough exterior, they have a better durability factor as well. You can store in your fish, drinks, food items, or even some camera equipment or gadgets that are sensitive to high heat.
If you plan to go on a kayak adventure for multiple days, an ice chest is a better cooler than a bag. An ice chest has better insulation that keeps its components cool for as long as 5 days (though it depends on the brand and its insulation mechanism). Most of the kayaks have a special place to put your ice chest in, which is often behind the seat.
On the flip side, carrying an ice chest is not much fun. Due to its sturdy design, an icebox is heavier to carry as compared to a cooler bag. An ice chest is great if you do not plan to take the cooler to places, and it will primarily stay in a spot. Having said that, ice chests also come with carrying straps or handles making it easier for you to transport them.
Towable Cooler or Floats
There is a third type of kayak coolers getting quite popular these days – the floats, towable coolers, or floating coolers. They are great for your kayaking trips as the kayak cooler floats separately. It is outside the kayak but also attached to it, so it does not get lost in the water. This way, you have all our food and drink supplies at an arm’s distance, without giving up any kayak space.
This is great when you have a lot of gear (camping, swimming, etc.) and do not want to use that precious space on the cooler.
How to Choose the Right Cooler for Your Kayak?
The best cooler for your kayak depends upon your requirements. Ideally, your kayak cooler should keep your food items and drinks cool for one to three days. You can also find coolers that can keep items cool for 5 days, which is great if you want to go on a longer trip. Also, if you plan to go hiking or running and need to carry your cooler along, a cooler bag is advisable. If you want to fix it on your kayak (provided you have space), you can go for the ice chest. Many adventure lovers prefer a floating cooler as it does not take any precious kayak space and keeps your stuff cold and handy.
If you plan to go kayak for a day trip, you can choose a small 10-quart kayak cooler that will have enough room for a couple of drinks along with a packed lunch. However, for a fishing trip, you will need a bigger cooler that works as a kayak fish bag as you will be needing it to store your fish. Also, a bigger kayak cooler is needed for storing more amount of food/ drinks if the adventure is going to take a couple of days.
How Can You Attach a Cooler to a Kayak?
Secure your cooler to your kayak with the help of a rope (or bungee cords) as you do not want to lose it on your way. Most of the coolers come with a few loops or hooks that you can run a strap through. You can also use a Velcro strap to fasten the cooler safety on your kayak.
Before attaching your cooler, make sure it is right for your kayak. Kayak coolers come in different sizes and so do the kayaks. If you have a kayak that can fit in an ice chest comfortably, there is nothing like it. If you have a bigger kayak, you can go for a bigger size of kayak cooler. Many kayaks have space especially for coolers and your other stuff right behind the seat.
How Long Can You have Your Products Kept Cool Inside a Kayak Cooler?
It depends upon the cooler as well as the ice you have put inside your cooler. If your kayak cooler is properly packed with ice, it will keep your food and drinks cold for up to 2 to 5 days.
Whether you are going on a calm fishing day trip, or for a couple of days’ of kayak adventure, there is nothing more important than food and drinks that you will be needing on your trip. Your food supplies can get spoiled if they are exposed to much heat or if water goes inside them. Also, who wants to drink a bottle of juice as hot as tea? Or eat a damp sandwich? A good kayak cooler will be a blessing for you (and your food and drinks) and make your kayak trip cool and pleasurable.
So, which is the best kayak cooler for you and your kayak?