Looking for something to keep your beverages ice cold while you’re out kayaking? We hear ya!
Going out on the water is always a good time, but sometimes it’s nice to bring along some snacks or a couple of beers while you’re out there.
That’s where a kayak cooler comes in. The best kayak coolers are able to not only keep your drinks, food, or fish cold for hours on end, but they’re also small enough to where they don’t take up a ton of space in your yak.
Imagine kicking back with an ice cold beer as you relax in the sun, combining the joy of kayaking with some much needed rest and relaxation. With a quality kayak cooler, the world really is your oyster.
Before we jump into reviewing each model, let’s take a look at a quick comparison.
Polar Bear Coolers
AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler
ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box
Stanley Adventure Cooler
RTIC Soft Pack 20
IceMule Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
YETI Roadie 20 Cooler
K2 Cooler Summit 20
IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
Choosing the right cooler for your kayak size can be a difficult decision, which is why we compiled a list of our ten favorite coolers of 2020.
Some are big, some are some, some are hard, and some are soft. We’ve covered all our bases with a variety of top quality coolers, so let’s get into it!
This Polar Bear cooler is the perfect solution to your kayak cooler needs, and offers the same cool temperatures as the namesake! Ice can stay cool and frozen for 24 hours, even in 100+ degree heat, and this makes it perfect for enjoying hot summer days in comfort.
Made from 1-inch thick high-density foam insulation, this is the perfect way to keep your essentials cool and comfortable, as well as making sure any foodstuffs are kept safe and edible. The double-coated nylon is also durable and hardwearing – perfect for braving the elements of the open water.
Heavy-duty zippers help to reduce the risk of rust and means that you can keep your belonging secure while on board. The double hemming and stitching is tough and top-quality, and the interior liner is constructed from antimicrobial FDA food-grade double-coated nylon, making it perfectly safe for your food and drink.
As well as a truly memorable name, the Yeti kayak cooler has plenty of other advantages in its favour. The waterproof element is one of the most popular points, and a 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper keeps everything dry and safe, and while also ensuring easy access to the kayaker at any time.
This also opens super-wide, allowing access and visibility of contents. The shell is waterproof, and designed and treated to resist punctures, damage, mould and mildew – perfect for taking on a challenge in the wilds of the water!
This is complemented by a ColdCell Insulation on the interior – this consists of closed-cell foam, providing top-quality cold-holding, and keeping your ice and belongings cold, fresh and appealing for longer.
Whether you are heading out for a full day and a delicious picnic or planning on catching your lunch en-route, this is one of the best canoe coolers to have on board.
Sleek, sophisticated and designed to last, this AO soft cooler is the perfect addition to your kayak and boasts a side pocket, removable shoulder strap, and high-density insulation.
This cooler offers twice the insulation of competitors, and this means that it is able to hold ice for around 24 hours, even in 120 degrees plus weather – perfect for summer picnics.
The cooler is designed to hold 12 cans, plus approximately 5 pounds of ice, and this means that it is the best choice for long kayak journeys.
Whether you are boating, fishing, or simply relaxing and enjoying the water, this is an essential addition to your kayak, and can really help to boost your overall experience.
The durable canvas material is also hardwearing enough to withstand the elements and weather conditions on the water.
For a sturdy, durable option when it comes to your kayak cooler, the Engel Cooler/Dry box is a top choice. The solid construction allows you to keep your belongings safe and secure, with no risk of opening your cooler to damaged items once you are onboard your kayak and safely on the water!
The cooler is constructed from a lightweight polypropylene case, combining durability with easy transport – the perfect blend for your kayak. An airtight, EVA foam rubber gasket helps to keep your good fresh until you are ready to enjoy it, and stainless steel latches are easy to use to keep everything secure.
A shoulder strap is attached to help make transporting your cooler easier, and this means you can pick it up and put it down at a moments notice. Even better, the cooler comes in a stylish white finish, so is the perfect fit for any decor.
As the name suggests, this is the perfect cooler for those looking for an adventure! Whether you are taking your kayak out for a relaxing paddle or braving the rapids for a real challenge, this is the best kayak cooler to tackle any endeavour.
The foam insulated lid and body help to keep your goodies cold for up to 27 hours – perfect if you are planning on heading out for a lengthy trip! A leak-resistant gasket is perfect for tackling even the roughest of rapids – don’t let a heavy current let you risk losing your lunch!
Strong latches and an adjustable tie-down also make this the perfect cooler for your kayak – it can be easily slipped into a corner, tied down securely, and kept safe until it is needed.
Can be easily locked into your kayak for security and safety
This soft cooler comes with a heavy price tag – but fans will be pleased to discover that it is well worth every penny! If you are on the hunt for the best, and a budget is of no concern, this is a high-performance product that will be the perfect accompaniment to a serious kayak fan, heading out to tackle nature.
Ice can be held for up to four days with ease, and the generous size helps ensure everything you need can be stored. The zipper runs the full length of the bag and is fully waterproof, allowing for easy access no matter where in your kayak you are reaching from.
Vacuum valve technology also helps to improve the overall insulation of the product, keeping items cool and comfortable for longer. The outer wall is made from tough, durable TPU, and this means it is the perfect pick for your kayak journeys.
An ergonomic shoulder strap helps make transportation easy and portable, and there is the added bonus of a bottle opener included!
If you are on the hunt for a top-quality kayak cooler, this IceMule model should be amongst your top choices. The product comes in a wide range of sizes, allowing you to choose the best one for your needs, and has a very tempting USP: the chance to go hands-free.
This can be invaluable when you have your hands full on board a kayak, and the sling-style backpack is perfect for transporting your cooler anyplace you need to go. The straps offer another advantage – the cooler can be easily attached to your boat for extra security.
Even better, this is a flexible cooler which can be rolled up and stored away in a corner of your vessel when not in use – perfect when you are on board and space is short.
The IceMule has the added bonus of being waterproof – essential for your time on the water – and is zipper-free for easy, instant access. With a ten litre capacity, it can hold around 6 cans – or 4 bottles of champagne for a special occasion – and is the perfect kayaking companion and the best pick on our list.
Yeti makes another appearance on our list of the best coolers, this time with their Roadie 20 Cooler. This is a solid box – perfect if you need something long-lasting, hardwearing and durable to keep your items fresh and cool while onboard your kayak.
Perfect for transporting food and drink for the ultimate riverside excursion, this has a capacity of 14 cans, as well as space for plenty of ice. 2 inches of PermaFrost insulation help to keep items cool, and the extra thick FatWall design has the added advantage of being bear-resistant, so is the perfect cooler companion for a trip in the wild!
Durability is the major plus for this item – it is designed to tackle any challenge thrown at it, and so offers the best protection against the elements when you head out on a long trip.
Take on anything Mother Nature can throw at you, and make sure you have everything you could possibly need on your trip! Heavy-duty latches will also allow you to keep your cooler secure and locked down – even if you are faced with some wild rapids!
Tough, durable and built to last, this is one of the best of the best when it comes to kayak coolers. Constructed from a single piece of roto-moulded polyethylene, this is a solid, durable cooler which is designed to tackle even the toughest of weather conditions.
The insulation is extra thick allowing for the maximum amount of ice retention, and this helps to keep your items fresh and cold, ready for any time you need them. Professional grade materials make this the perfect pick for the outdoors, and every feature is top quality, from the lid latches to the ENDURA integrated hinge system.
A padded shoulder strap means that portability and transportation are super simple – transfer your cooler bag from car to kayak in no time!
Portable, flexible, and more than fit for purpose, this IceMule cooler bag is one of the best options on our list. High-performance is combined with portability and ease of transportation, and the backpack style is perfect for making sure you have both hands free while you are on board a small kayak.
Balance can be an issue when onboard, so having the option to keep your cooler out of the way is a real plus point. Double padding and ventilated straps ensure that you are comfortable while carrying the cooler, even when it is full of your favourite items.
With no zippers to roust or become stuck, access is easy at any time, and the interior stays secure and dry thanks to the waterproofing properties, making it one of the best choices for kayak coolers.
As an added bonus, they can even float – falling overboard is not a problem! With a 23l capacity, and the option to roll up and fold away when not in use, this is the perfect cooler for your needs and will be a valuable asset to your kayak kit.
Choosing the best kayak cooler is an important decision; it can have a significant impact on your overall trip and whether those beverages will stay ice cold or turn warm and nasty.
Nobody wants to show up to a gathering with lukewarm beer and no ice! Kayak coolers need to be lightweight and portable, while still being capable of keeping items cool and fresh
What size cooler fits in our boat?
Kayaks do not have much room, and so any cooler you pick needs to be small enough to tuck away in a storage area or hatch with ease.
That’s why choosing the right size for you kayak is pretty important. If you have a bigger kayak, you can opt for a cooler with more capacity such as the Stanley Adventure or K2 Cooler Summit.
How do you secure a kayak cooler?
Most of the best coolers can be fixed in place with bungee ropes, or locked away in the hatch of the vessel.
What are the best small coolers?
The best small coolers are those which offer a small size with a great capability for ice retention, freshness and efficiency.
The best options will blend durability and portability, and make sure that everything you need is wrapped up in an easy-to-access package.
We suggest going with the IceMule Classic if space is limited.
When it comes to the best kayak cooler, the Polar Bear Coolers 24 pack takes our top prize. It offers a great compact size along with tons of capacity, suiting both kayakers and anglers alike.
In addition to that, it comes with a shoulder strap for a hands-free option that is a perfect choice for when you are struggling to keep your balance when carrying your kayak or hiking to the location! The best cooler choices will be able to keep your drinks, food, or fish cold for hours on end.
With the Polar Bear cooler, you’re able to keep them cold in hot temperatures for up to 24 hours. Now that’s hard to beat!
Last update on 2020-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising APIScroll to Top