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Top 5: Best Kayak Cooler

Updated On April 22, 2020

On almost any outdoor trip, a cooler is an essential item to bring with you. When kayaking, having the best kayak cooler will ensure that you have a well-insulated storage area to keep your food, drinks, and snacks fresh. If you’re an angler, coolers will help keep your catch fresh until you get back to land. Some of the best kayak coolers are listed down below, along with a handy guide to what you need to consider before choosing the best kayak cooler.

Quick Summary: Top 5 - Best Kayak Coolers


Our seasoned editors have picked and rated these products for each specific category and area of expertise to recommend you the best models and products we can. We receive commission from some of these affiliate links.
Best Overall: 1. Arctic Zone Titan Zipperless Hardbody Cooler
​​​The Arctic Zone Titan Zipperless Hardbody Cooler is a durable, multi-layer cooler that insulates well and is available in many different sizes.
Best for Travel: 2. CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
​​​Extremely easy to store, the CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag can fold down into a flat 3 inch compact form yet still carry up to 50 cans when fully expanded.
Best Floating: 3. CreekKooler Floating Cooler
​​​The CreekKooler Floating Cooler is a large and durable cooler that you can tie to your kayak as it floats in the water. The cooler does not take up any space in your kayak but provides a ton of extra storage.
Best Insulation: 4. Seattle Sports Kayak Insulated Deck Top Catch Cooler
​​​Providing anglers with a good space to store their fresh catch, the Seattle Sports Kayak Insulated Deck Top Catch Cooler is a large water-resistant plastic cooler that fits on top of your kayak deck.
Best Design: 5. Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler
​​​The Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler offers a cool and compact design built to fit into the open storage of a standard sit-on-top kayak. It is a well-insulated cooler bag with a clean and sleek look.
Top 3 Quick Comparison

Our Reviews


Best Overall
The Arctic Zone Titan Zipperless Hardbody Cooler is a durable, multi-layer cooler that insulates well and is available in many different sizes.
Quick Specs
  • Sizes: 9 Can, 16 Can, 30 Can, 48 Can
  • Material: HardBody liner with SmartShelf, Triple layer ColdBlock base, Rhino-Tech exterior
  • Weight: 1.9lbs - 3.8lbs
The Arctic Zone Titan Zipperless Hardbody Cooler is a handy cooler that you can bring on a kayaking trip. The build is compact and it is a very efficient cooler because of the multiple insulation layers from exterior to interior. It features a zipperless lid that flips open but seals well, keeping items cool when closed. The inside of the cooler features a removable hard body liner with a plastic top where you can place smaller items. The bottom of the cooler has a triple layer cold block base. The entire product has a Rhino-Tech exterior material which is both stain and water-resistant. The material is handy in keeping things cool and dry when you’re out kayaking. (1)

This cooler is available in 4 different sizes with minimal differences in design and form. The larger ones have extra-soft non-insulated pouches. The cooler comes with a long and adjustable shoulder strap as well as 2 side handles. A large velcro strip helps keep the lid closed. Overall, the simple design of the Titan Zipperless cooler provides a compact and easy to use design. It is also available in 3 different colors - White, Blue, and Moss.
  • Multiple Insulation Layers
  • Multiple Color Options
  • Water and Stain-resistant Exterior
  • Different Size Options
  • Low Quality Shoulder Strap and Handle
  • Brittle HardBody Liner
Product Review
"I'm really impressed with the quality of this cooler bag! The fabric on the exterior of it is really rugged and seems very hard wearing. Very solid build all around."
Best for Travel
Extremely easy to store, the CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag can fold down into a flat 3 inch compact form yet still carry up to 50 cans when fully expanded.
Quick Specs
  • Size: 50 Can
  • Material: 50% Polyester, 35% Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate, 10% Polypropylene, 3% MDF, 2% ABS
  • Weight: 2lbs
One of the main problems with bringing a cooler around is that it takes up so much space. However, the CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag is a foldable cooler that only takes up 3 inches of space when not in use. If you have an inflatable kayak bag and carry bag, it might even fit into the bag as well. When expanded, this cooler is large enough to carry 50 cans or 30 liters. 

The main material is a mixed polymer of different synthetic materials while 3 layers of insulation finished with a sonically welded PEVA are set to create an efficient seal. From its folded position to the expanded form, the cooler relies on the SnapHinges which are installed on both sides of the cooler bag to provide structural support. (2)
  • Collapsible Cooler
  • Large Capacity
  • Ineffective Insulation Layers
  • Low Quality Exterior
Product Review
"Sturdy and well-made. This collapses flat and takes no room at all, so I will always have it in the car with me!"
Best Floating
The CreekKooler Floating Cooler is a large and durable cooler that you can tie to your kayak as it floats in the water. The cooler does not take up any space in your kayak but provides a ton of extra storage.
Quick Specs
  • Size: 30 Cans
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 19.8 pounds
The CreekKooler Floating Cooler is a cooler that won’t take up any space in your kayak. Its design is built to be tied to your kayak and float along with it when you are out in the water. It is an innovative design that is available in 5 different colors. The brightest cooler options are the red, yellow, and blue colors, while simpler colors, like the white or gray option, are also available. Both coolers are made from a thick polyethylene blend that has 2 inches of insulation on the interior side. A watertight lead is set on top, with 4 molded cup holders as an added feature to the design.

Lines are tied to each end of the cooler, so you can easily carry it around. This is also where you can tie a rope attached to the kayak. It is a large cooler, measuring up to 39 inches long. It is also quite heavy because of the base material and insulation. However, you can even drag it along the ground with minimal chance of damage because of the polyethylene exterior. But, you will see some scratches on the cooler if you do this.
  • Floating Cooler
  • Large Capacity
  • Durable Polyethylene Material
  • Large and Heavy Cooler
  • Adds Drag to Kayak
Product Review
"The Creek Kooler is very durable, and it is fully water-tight when the lid is properly secured"
Best Insulation
Providing anglers with a good space to store their fresh catch, the Seattle Sports Kayak Insulated Deck Top Catch Cooler is a large water-resistant plastic cooler that fits on top of your kayak deck.
Quick Specs
  • Size: 18L
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 2.3lbs
The Seattle Sports Kayak Insulated Deck Top Catch Cooler is a cooler specifically built to fit on top of your kayak deck. The large-sized cooler can carry food items, serve as dry storage, or if you decide to go fishing, for your catch. The form of the cooler allows it to accommodate nearly anything you want to store inside. The cooler is mostly made of a plastic exterior, making it water and stain-resistant. However, the interior is actually removable making it easy to take out your catch and clean without having to remove the entire cooler when you’ve already attached it to your kayak deck. 

The sides are secured by multiple straps while the top has an elastic cord wrap where you can insert other items for your trip. The exterior is made of reflective material to keep the heat out while the interior is also supported by cell foam insulation to keep your goods cool. 
  • Removable Interior Liner
  • Large Capacity
  • Kayak Deck Design
  • Cheap Plastic Exterior
  • Not Completely Water-Resistant
Product Review
"I use this as a cooler for drinks and lunch during kayak trips. Usually we are out on a lake or river for 4-6 hours at a time and like to have a light lunch and cool drinks. We froze water and it usually lasted the entire trip."
Best Design
The Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler offers a cool and compact design built to fit into the open storage of a standard sit-on-top kayak. It is a well-insulated cooler bag with a clean and sleek look.
Quick Specs
  • Size: 20 Cans
  • Material: YKK water-resistant zipper, water-proof materials, and RF welded internal seams
  • Weight: 1.2lbs
The Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler is a well-designed cooler that is made to fit into the open storage areas of most standard sit-on-top kayaks. When put in place, the cooler has 4 D-rings at each corner so you can tie it securely to the kayak. The top of the cooler has a go-around zipper that allows kayakers to open up and get easy access to the items inside. This cooler is built to hold food, drinks, and dry items. 

The insulation on this cooler is quite thin, providing only half an inch of insulation foam. However, it is still effective in keeping drinks cool throughout the day, provided that the cooler is not constantly opened. The storage capacity is spacious, providing up to 40L of space. When not set inside the kayak, the cooler is easy to carry either with the top handle or the thick adjustable backpack straps. (3)
  • Fits Most Standard Open Storage Areas
  • Easy to Carry
  • Durable Materials
  • Does Not Fit Some Kayaks
  • Thin Insulation
Product Review
"Love this cooler! fits in my kayak's hull perfectly. plenty of storage room for beer (12pk), water & food. Also like that it's a backpack."

Things To Consider Before Buying a Kayak Cooler

There are many different types of kayak coolers in the market. While we’ve already covered a list of the best kayak coolers you’ll find, here’s what you need to keep in mind while you ponder on which cooler is the best for you.

Purpose

Picking the right kayak cooler is all about identifying what you need. Are you an angler looking for a place to store your fish? Or are you just a recreational kayaker hoping to store some snacks while you go out exploring? Depending on what you really need to keep in your cooler, there are more than a dozen different coolers that can be right for you.

Size

If you have a small kayak, choosing a large cooler might not be a smart decision. It’s important to keep in mind the size of your kayak as well as the size of your storage space when picking out a cooler. Coolers can be quite large and having a good-sized cooler may be a necessity if you constantly go kayaking with friends and tend to bring a ton of drinks and snacks. However, foldable coolers may be a good option if you need the size but don’t have the extra space to store them away.

Price

Once you’ve identified the type of cooler you need and the specific size that is right for you, choosing a cooler that is well within your budget is the next factor to keep in mind. Coolers are not as pricey as other items, but there are still huge differences between the cheap coolers and those of premium quality. However, coolers are often used for multiple activities and you’ll probably get a ton of usage aside from just when you go kayaking. Going for a more durable but slightly more expensive cooler might be a worth-it investment, especially if you and your family spend a lot of time outdoors.
Our Top Pick
Best Overall
The storage capacity is spacious, providing up to 40L of space. When not set inside the kayak, the cooler is easy to carry either with the top handle or the thick adjustable backpack straps. 
References
(1) PVC - https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/chemicals-and-contaminants/polyvinyl-chloride-pvc
(2) vinyl - https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/vinyl-plastics

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About the author 

Andrew Bell

Andrew is a seasoned kayaker with 15 years of experience under his belt. He began kayaking as a way to reduce work stress but quickly became an avid kayak fisher and lure expert. He currently enjoys both lake and ocean kayaking and loves to write and share his experiences.


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