Best Kayak Coolers – Buyer’s Guide & Top Recommendations

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Best Coolers for Kayaks


We need coolers at various places now, be it indoor or outdoor. We use coolers at homes, workplaces, vehicles, camps, and even in kayaks. While kayaking, you can feel the harsh sun’s heat, so having a kayak cooler can enhance your comfort. When you are on a day tour or a multi-day tour by kayak, you need to store your food and drinks. A kayak cooler can be helpful for this.

Also, while fishing, a kayak cooler is necessary for keeping fishes. So, a kayak cooler is beneficial for many sides. That’s why it’s essential to know the basic features of a kayak cooler before buying one so you can select the most suitable kayak cooler.

Types of Coolers for Kayaks

There are a variety of kayak coolers. From soft-sided to hard-sided to a dry and roll-top bag, available are unique types of coolers for kayaks. Each type of cooler has unique characteristics and benefits.

Kayak Cooler with Hard Case

These are typical coolers from the time at camps. These coolers have various shapes and sizes. However, ice lasts for a longer time in the hard-case coolers, so it’s better for multi-day kayaking tours. There are special hard-case kayak coolers with tie-down straps.

Kayak Cooler with Soft Case

Soft-case kayak coolers are bigger and a little sturdier; these look like lunch bags. Softer fabric materials are one of the principal elements of these coolers. These coolers can squish into narrow spaces and hence work efficiently. These coolers often have straps to carry on the back.

Dry Bag Kayak Cooler

If you need not keep anything cold, a dry bag cooler is also a great option. You can use a dry bag cooler as a snack or food holder or for other purposes. Dry bags don’t have insulation levels and the typical kayak coolers. However, you can use cold freezer packs with a need for cold containment.

Important Features of The Best Kayak Coolers

While choosing the most suitable kayak cooler for you for purposes like exploring, fishing, or anything else, you need to consider some crucial factors. You have to select one which will be a worthy companion for your kayak.

The features of the best kayak coolers vary according to the requirements of the individuals. It’s because someone may need a cooler for short day tours, someone may need a cooler for multi-day tours, someone may need to store a few items, someone may need to store numerous items.

We will discuss the initial considerations while buying a kayak cooler.

Size and Purpose of Use

The overall dimension and size of the cooler are the first things to consider before buying. The cooler should have the dimension to properly fit the kayak and the capacity to hold all the items for the kayaking tour.

You can choose a large cooler if you want to store many items, such as food, clothes, or fishes while going on fishing. There are also small coolers with compact features for keeping a few items like a few sandwiches and drinks.


You will be in motion with the cooler while kayaking, so the cooler should be lightweight with portable features. Some cooler models are comfortable to transport from the water as these have attached towing gear or handles. Kayak coolers with padded handles are the most suitable coolers if you prioritize carrying comfort.

Cooler Material

Cooler materials determine the insulation of the cooler. Cooler materials influence the time of keeping food and drinks cold, which is more important on a scorching summer day.

Some materials are heat resistant, ensuring heavy-duty insulation; you can keep your food and catch fresh for a long time. The cooler material should be strong and durable; otherwise, it can get punctured because of a snag on something sharp.

The cleaning option is also important. Coolers made of polypropylene are convenient to clean.

Easy Access

If you want to take your foods and beverages easily from the cooler, then the kayak cooler should have easy access features allowing you to grab whatever you want to reach. Some coolers have zipper-type pockets on the outer side of the coolers, so you can grab anything you want without opening up the full cooler. Cup holders are a great option to hold cans while kayaking.


You may store various items in the cooler. For example, while fishing, you will keep your catch, food, snacks, and drinks in the cooler. In such a case, it’s better to have a cooler with separate compartments. Keeping food items with other items in the same cooler compartment may cause contaminating your food.

Drainage Plugs

Drainage plugs are so important, especially for bigger coolers, to drain the excess water. Whether your cooler is large or small, having drainage support is always helpful.

Hull Skids

When you have a lot of food, drinks, or fish, the cooler becomes heavy. So, you face trouble carrying it with no help. Some coolers have hull skids on the bottom side, allowing you to drag it easily or tow it along. It’s useful when you are taking the cooler to the kayak.

Compatibility or Attachment

The cooler you buy has to be compatible with your kayak. Some coolers have an easy attachment method to attach them to most of the kayaks easily. Some coolers have a complicated attachment method; these may not get attached to most of the kayaks easily. Consider the attachment method or process before buying a cooler.


Whether you are going on a multi-day kayaking tour or a single-day tour for fishing, exploring, or other purposes, the most important thing is keeping your necessities like food, drinks, etc. That’s why having a suitable kayak cooler is essential for a kayaking tour.

A cooler protects your food and beverages from getting spoiled because of the exposure to the outer environment. We hope the discussions have helped you find the best and most suitable kayak coolers while purchasing. A good kayak cooler will enhance your comfort during a kayaking tour to a vast extent.

SEEHONOR Insulated Leakproof Lightweight Backpack Cooler 

If you are looking for a cooler that you can use for all your adventures such as fishing, hiking, camping, and picnic on the beach, this multipurpose cooler is ideal for you. It offers plenty of capacity and is roomy enough for you to pack your lunch, snacks, drinks, and all other essential items. You can easily pack up to 25 cans in it.

The thick foam of the inner insulation, along with the PEVA liner of the cooler backpack, keeps the items inside it hot or cold for hours. It is also very lightweight, so even with all your essential things inside it, you can easily carry it anywhere with you.

The exciting design of this cooler makes it very spacious as it contains 1 large cooler storage compartment, a large zipper pocket in the front with a divider where you can keep utensils, a beer can opener, 2 mesh pockets on the side and 2 D-shaped hooks for attachment.

The shoulder straps of this backpack cooler have thick padding that reduces the painful pokes and pinches that are caused due to the thin fabric when used for a long time. It even offers hand-free portability for extra ease whenever your hands are occupied with other things.

The nylon exterior of this backpack cooler makes it water-resistant and scratch-proof so everything you put in it will be safe and secure. The interior is also leakproof, so even if anything spills, it won’t get on the outside of the cooler.


  • Highly durable
  • Contains exteriors pockets
  • Easy to carry and maintain
  • Good value for money
  • Multipurpose


  • Doesn’t have a hip belt
  • Slippery shoulder straps
SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack Leakproof Soft Cooler Bag...
  • Large capacity: 25 Cans/25L, measures 13.3” x 8.6” x 14.9”, roomy enough to pack meals, beers, tall beverages, snacks and all your other necessities. Perfect insulated cooler backpack for lunch, work, hiking, camping, beach, road trip, outdoors etc.
  • Leakproof & cold / hot: The inner insulation thicken foam and leakproof PEVA liner of the cooler backpack work together to keep things cold or hot for hours and make sure anti-leaking.
  • Durable & scratch-proof: The backpack cooler is made of heavy duty nylon which will not rip, tear or scratch, but lightweight to carry. Padded and fully adjustable shoulders straps offer the maximum comfort and support. 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • Versatile: Besides used as excellent soft cooler bag, it is also a perfect lightweight gear for lunch backpack, hiking backpack, camping backpack, fishing backpack, travel backpack, hunting, trail, cycling, overnight stay and other outdoor activities. Suitable for both men and women.
  • The stylish backpack with cooler contains 1 large cooler storage compartment, 2 side mesh pockets, 1 large front zipper pocket with divider to keep utensils, 1 inside mesh pocket on the lid for extra storage, 1 beer opener and extra 2 D-shape hooks for attachment.

Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler

This Perception Splash cooler is the best slim seat back kayak cooler built to be compliant with many aluminum kayak fishing seats.

You don’t have to decide between a cooler and a fishing gear anymore because it is compatible with clip-in rod holders and pocket organizers and includes sturdy webbing loops and D-rings for various lash options and for adding extra gear.

It can also be attached to the back of the lawn chair style kayak seats through a powerful bungee ball system.

The top of this cooler has a zippered opening which allows you to easily access the items inside the cooler while you are sitting.

Moreover, the YKK water-resistant zipper, RF welded internal seams the and water-proof material of this cooler keep the food safe from water splash, and the 0.75-inch thick closed-cell foam keeps your food and drinks cold all day.

Because of the ergonomic grab handle which allows power grip you can easily carry this cooler no matter how heavy it is.

This cooler is spacious and has a capacity of 12 cans assuming a 1:1 ratio of ice. The height and width of this cooler are built in such a way that it will not restrict your access to the gear inside the tank well.


  • Compatible with kayak fishing seats
  • Water-resistant
  • Durable
  • Can be attached to lawn chairs
  • Comes with bungee ball system


  • Not for storing fish
  • Pocket organizers are not included
Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler - for Kayaks with lawn-chair style...
  • The ultimate slim seat-back kayak cooler
  • Designed to fit any kayak with lawn chair style seating systems this cooler also works great with the Perception Pilot the Pescador Pro 10/12 and all Perception Tribe models with the Lawn Chair seating
  • Attaches to the back of a lawn chair style kayak seats via strong bungee ball system (included)
  • A zippered opening on top provides the ultimate convenience when accessing drinks and food while in the seated position
  • Strong webbing loops and D-rings for additional lash down options or for attaching additional gear

CreekKooler - Outdoor Insulated Floating Cooler 

If you take short kayaking trips or like to lounge around the dock, this cooler is ideal for you as it floats behind your kayak and gives you plenty of space to enjoy in your kayak.

This CreekKooler Pup 30-quart Floating Towable Cooler has a lot of space in it and can easily hold (30) 12-oz cans and 20lbs of ice. It also has 4 drink holders on its deck.

It has the best insulated design as the dual wall construction of this cooler keeps the food and drink cold so you can easily enjoy your kayaking activities even in the summer.

Due to the smart design of this cooler, you can easily tow it, carry it or transport it anywhere. There are two points on it from where you can attach it to the kayak and you can easily reach the food and drinks in it at arm’s length.

This kayak cooler is very versatile due to the watertight lid design you can it as a dry storage bag when you are not using it for kayaking.

This cooler is extremely practical and you can tow it across the water, dry land, or sand easily by attaching it to your boat or kayak.


  • High-quality insulation
  • Multipurpose
  • Spacious
  • Easily towable
  • Smart design


  • Not easy to set up
  • The top is hard to secure
CreekKooler Pup 15 quart Floating Towable Cooler, Orange
  • Crafted from the highest quality material
  • Perfect for outdoor and even indoor use
  • Made in United States

Camco Pop-Up Cooler 

This Camco cooler is very lightweight and easy to use as it pops open when you store items in it and collapses flat when not in use so you can easily store it.

The interior of this cooler is water-resistant, so if your food or drinks spill inside it, it will not let them leak out. It also prevents condensation and spillage.

The hatch of this cooler is insulated, so when you open it to take out your food or drinks, there will be a minimum cold loss, and your beverages and food will remain frozen for a long time.

It has a zippered lid, carry handles, and it also features a bottle opener so you can easily enjoy your favorite drinks while kayaking. Moreover, there are buckle straps on it to keep it flat when it's not in use.

This cooler has a lot of storage space in it, and you can store up to 12-pack of bottled or canned drinks. It is a multipurpose cooler as you can use it for a picnic at the beach, pool, travel, tailgating, camping, and even your grocery runs. It is designed with a universal fit so you can use it with any kayak.

When it is expanded, the diameter of this cooler is 13” and the height is 10.5” and when it is flat for storage, it measures 3” in height.


  • Easy to carry
  • Durable
  • Multipurpose
  • Insulated hatch
  • Spacious and lightweight


  • Doesn’t have a shoulder strap
  • Not the whole cooler is insulated
Camco Pop-Up Cooler - Lightweight, Waterproof and Insulated Pops Open...
  • Lightweight, convenient cooler pops open for use and collapses flat for storage
  • Water resistant interior prevents leaks, spills and condensation
  • Insulated access hatch allows you to retrieve food and beverages while minimizing cold loss
  • Features a zippered lid, carry handles, and buckle strap to keep flat when not in use and bottle opener also included
  • Measures 13 inches in diameter by 10.5 inches tall when expanded and 3 inches high when collapsed for storage

Reliable Fishing Products Insulated Kayak Bag

As the name suggests, this cooler is ideal for you if you like catching big fish such as halibut or rockfish, etc and along with that, you can also keep your food and drinks in it.

This high-quality cooler is made YKK zipper which prevents corrosion and gives you easy access to the interior.

Moreover, it is easy to carry because of the three handles attached to it so you can transport the cooler to and from the kayak without any worry. Three D-rings on every side let you attach the cooler to the kayak easily.

This reliable Fishing Products kayak bag is highly durable because it is made of heavy-duty vinyl and YKK zipper.

It is also insulated with thick closed-cell foam keeps the item inside it fresh and cool. The insulation also keeps it safe from ultraviolet rays, rust, and heat so you can use it for a long time.

The bag measures 36" L x 8" T and the width ranges from 10” to 20” which means it is quite spacious and allows a storage capacity of 70 quarts while holding ice for days.


  • Easy to clean
  • Can store ice for days
  • Durable
  • Zippers are non-corrosive
  • Easy to handle


  • Can have leakage issues
  • Size is too big
Reliable Fishing Products Insulated Kayak Bag 20" x 36" -takes up less...
  • KEEP YOUR CATCH FRESH- Our insulated fish bags are UV and mildew resistant
  • EASY TO CLEAN- Washable, Mildew, and UV resistant
  • HANDLES - Approximately equivalent to 70 quart Ice Chest
  • SECURE -3 Carrying Handles
  • SPECS - Dimensions: 36" L x 8" T and tapers from 10" W to 20"W

AO Coolers Stow-N-Go Cooler

This stow-n-go cooler is made of black vinyl, which makes it tough long-lasting. It is a perfect choice for ski boats, fishing boats, and RV’s.

The soft sides of this cooler enable it to fit in tight places such as under the seats, and lockers, etc. The soft exterior will also prevent the cooler from scratching the upholstery and the gel coat of the kayak.

This cooler is insulated with 3/4-inch thick, dense, closed-cell foam, which makes it water-resistant and keeps the food and drinks in it cool.

This cooler is proved to hold the ice for 24 hours in 120-degree weather so you can easily enjoy your kayak adventures during summer.

It offers plenty of room with the dimensions of  23 by 15 by 8.5 inches and lets you store 38-can and 14 pounds of ice.

You can easily place your food and beverages inside it without any worry as all AO Coolers are leakproof.


  • Has a top pocket for dry storage
  • Long-lasting
  • Leakproof
  • Guaranteed to hold ice for a day
  • Can easily fit in tight spaces


  • Doesn’t have a shoulder strap
  • Takes quite some time to dry when it comes in contact with water
AO Coolers Stow-N-Go Cooler, Carbon Silver , 38-Can
  • Soft-sided cooler designed to fit in tight places; ideal for ski boats, fishing boats, off-road vehicles, and RVs
  • Guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in 120 degree weather; 38-can capacity plus 14 pounds of ice
  • 3/4-inch thick, high-density, closed cell foam inner insulation
  • Soft exterior won’t scratch gel coat or tear up upholstery
  • Measures 23 by 15 by 8.5 inches

Other Questions

How do you attach a cooler to a kayak?

Enjoying an icy drink while kayaking is great and certainly rewarding after an intense paddling session. Having a cooler is a must when you’re out in the water. If you are using an ice chest cooler (a standard one like you have at home) you can strap it onto your kayak by running it through both the cooler and the kayak’s pad eye and making a knot, or simply attaching it if you are using a buckle.

What is the best size of coolers for a kayak?

On the water, you’re dealing with minimal space but equal (if not more) necessities to keep things cold in an environment with high sun exposure.

If you have a narrow sea kayak, you probably won’t be able to fit an ice chest cooler, so you will be using a softshell cooler bag. These are great to fit under your seat but have in mind that you should only put hard drinks in it. Putting in lunch will eventually get it crushed as soon as you hop into your kayak. However, if you use a recreational kayak that has a lot of space,  getting an ice chest cooler is the best option, as they usually have extra space in the back.

Which cooler keeps ice frozen the longest?

You should follow the 2:1 ratio of ice to contents. This way of cooling will help to keep all your stuff at an optimal temperature. Some manufacturers state that their coolers will preserve ice for up to 5 days, they have not proven this, but every cooler should keep your goods cold for at least 24 hours. Yeti’s coolers have proven to be dependable, and they also use closed-cell foam technology.


If you require more information, please check these references

How to Canoe and Kayak Like a Pro , article, "", retrieved on, Mon 13-July-2020

Our oceans are turning into plastic... are we? , article, "", retrieved on, Mon 13-July-2020

Kayak , article, "", retrieved on, Mon 13-July-2020

Author: Nick

is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Mainly using Microsoft products I have produced systems for several blue chip companies including The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.

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