Best Kayak Coolers 2023 – Guide & Reviews

You may wonder, “Why would I need a kayak cooler?” Well, let me explain why kayak coolers are essential for those of us who love being out on the water. Whether spending just a few hours or embarking on an all-day paddle, having a reliable cooler on your kayak can significantly enhance your trip. Let’s delve into the wonderful world of kayak coolers and discover what they offer.

So, what can you expect from this blog post? We will provide a comprehensive breakdown of everything you should know about kayak coolers, including the available types and key features to consider. Furthermore, we’ll share our top recommendations for the best kayak coolers. Additionally, we’ll provide some valuable tips on how to use and maintain your cooler like a pro. You’ll be well prepared for your next kayaking adventure by sticking with us.

Before we delve into the finer details of kayak coolers, let me paint a picture for you. Imagine gliding through calm waters with the sun gently warming your skin while having your trusty kayak cooler beside you. Keeping your drinks refreshingly cold and snacks deliciously fresh. Sounds like paradise. In this post, we will help turn that paradise into reality right. Let’s get ready to embark on an exciting journey into the realm of top-notch kayak coolers! So, grab your paddle, and let’s dive in together!

Top Picks: Best Kayak Coolers & Reviews

After delving into the ins and outs of kayak cooler types and features, it’s time to showcase the cream of the crop. These coolers aren’t just good; they’re great. We’ve scoured the kayaking world, consulted experts, and analyzed user reviews to bring you a list of kayaker-approved coolers that will keep your provisions cold and your adventures unforgettable.

1. Engel USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart

Engel USA Cooler – Review

Tough and Reliable Kayak Coolers

  • I’ve had the pleasure of using the Engel USA Cooler/Dry Box on my kayaking adventures, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. This versatile cooler has proven itself as the ultimate kayak companion, excelling in various outdoor activities like fishing, paddleboarding, and, of course, kayaking.


  • Unbeatable Durability: This cooler is as tough as they come. It can withstand the rigors of outdoor life, from bumps and knocks to splashes and waves, thanks to its rugged design.
  • Leak-Proof and Insulated: The Engel cooler lives up to its promise of keeping things cold. It’s leak-proof, ensuring that your gear stays dry, and it boasts excellent insulation that keeps your food and drinks frosty for longer.
  • Airtight Seal: The heavy-duty stainless steel latches and airtight EVA gasket seal ensure that the elements stay out, even when you’re on the water. No more worrying about waterlogged sandwiches or soggy snacks.
  • Easy to Clean: The non-absorbent, stain, and odor-resistant plastic make clean-up a breeze. After a day of adventure, a quick rinse and wipe-down have it looking like new.
  • Impressive Capacity: Despite its compact size, this cooler can hold an impressive 32 cans, 19 quarts, or 25 pounds of ice. It’s surprisingly spacious for its dimensions, making it perfect for a day on the water.


  • Pricey: Quality comes at a cost, and the Engel cooler is not the most budget-friendly option on the market. However, the investment is well worth it if you’re a serious kayaker or outdoor enthusiast.

2. Seattle Sports Kayak Catch Cooler

Seattle Sports Catch Cooler – Review

Ultimate Fishing Companion

  • When it comes to keeping your catch fresh and your provisions cool, the Seattle Sports Catch Cooler is the real deal. This cooler is not just designed for kayakers; it’s tailor-made to make your fishing trips a breeze. Here’s why it’s our top pick for “The Ultimate Fishing Companion.”


  • Catch Freshness Guaranteed: The deck top cooler feature is a game-changer for anglers. It allows you to keep your prized catch fresh throughout your day on the water. No more worrying about your fish going bad in the heat.
  • Effortless Cleaning: The removable internal liner is a lifesaver when it comes to clean-up. Just pop it out, rinse it off, and you’re good to go. It’s that simple.
  • Versatility: While it’s a fishing enthusiast’s dream, the Seattle Sports Catch Cooler is versatile. When you’re not using it for fish, it works great for storing food items, making it an excellent addition to your outdoor adventures.


  • Size Limitation: While the size is great for most needs, if you’re planning an extended trip or need to carry a substantial amount of provisions, you might find it a bit limiting.

3. IceMule Backpack Cooler

IceMule Backpack Cooler – Review

Best Cooler For Adventures

  • If you’re all about adventure and keeping things cool while on the move, then the IceMule Backpack Cooler is your perfect companion. This rugged and versatile cooler is not just about keeping your drinks chilled; it’s about adding convenience and freedom to your outdoor escapades.


  • Built for Adventure: IceMule’s proprietary MuleSkin fabrics, IM AirValve, and welded seams make this cooler tough enough to handle anything from beach days to picnics. It’s your go-to gear for outdoor fun.
  • Ice-Cold for 24+ Hours: The Ultra-tough Muleskin Exterior and Interior, along with PolarLayer Insulation, guarantee ice-cold temperatures for over 24 hours.
  • Waterproof and Buoyant: Welded seams and a zipper-less closure make this cooler completely waterproof and even buoyant. The IM AirValve allows you to add air to the insulation layer, so it can float right alongside your kayak, even when fully loaded.


  • Limited Capacity: With a capacity for 6 cans plus ice (9 Liters), it’s not the largest cooler out there. It’s designed more for day trips and adventures, so it might not suit extended journeys.

4. CreekKooler Floating Cooler

CreekKooler Floating Cooler – Review

Best Floating Water Cooler

  • I’ve had the pleasure of using the CreekKooler Floating Cooler, and it’s become an essential part of my water adventures. Whether I’m kayaking, paddleboarding, or just floating along, having my refreshments right there with me adds a whole new level of convenience. The cooler’s durability and impressive cooling capabilities make it a fantastic companion, even though it comes with a higher price tag. If you’re serious about water-based fun, this cooler is worth every penny.


  • On-Water Companion: Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, or rafting, the CreekKooler is your perfect water companion. It ensures your drinks and snacks are always within arm’s reach without adding extra weight to your vessel.
  • Convenient Features: The CreekKooler is designed with adventure in mind. It boasts 4 koozie cup holders on top, so your drinks are always secure, even when the waters get choppy. The screw-on sealed lid ensures that spills are a thing of the past.
  • Long-Lasting Cooling: Thanks to its foamed insulation, this cooler keeps ice cold for up to an impressive 48 hours. Whether you’re on a day-long excursion or simply lounging in the water, your drinks stay refreshingly cold.


  • Higher Cost: While the CreekKooler offers an exceptional on-water experience, it comes at a premium price. It’s important to consider your budget, as there are more affordable options available for those who are cost-conscious.

5. OZA Inflatable Floating Cooler

OZA Inflatable Floating Cooler – Review

Best Affordable Cooler

  • Who says cooling off has to be boring? The OZA Inflatable Floating Cooler proves that keeping your drinks chilled can be an absolute blast. I recently gave this unique cooler a whirl, and it’s perfect for those who want to add a playful twist to their pool, lake, or beach outings.


  • Endless Fun: This inflatable cooler comes with a POZA Gold Floating Drink Holder filled with sparkling gold confetti. It’s like a party within a party! The 8 holders can accommodate everything from drinks and ice to books, speakers, phones, and tablets.
  • Great Value: It’s not just fun; it’s also budget-friendly. If you’re looking for an affordable way to amp up your aquatic adventures, this cooler won’t break the bank.


  • Limited Capacity: While it’s perfect for drinks and essentials, it’s not designed for storing a large quantity of items. It’s all about adding a fun and practical touch to your poolside experience.

Types of Kayak Coolers

When it comes to kayaking, it’s important to stay refreshed and well prepared for a great adventure. Having a reliable companion like a kayak cooler is essential for keeping your drinks and snacks cold while you’re out on the water. There are two main types of kayak coolers to choose from; soft sided and hard sided. Let’s take a closer look at these types so that you can decide which one suits your needs best.

Friends sitting in front of a camp fire on a beach. Their backs against a rock and kayaks at the side.

Soft Sided Kayak Coolers

Soft sided kayak coolers are popular among kayakers due to their flexibility and lightweight design. Here’s a detailed exploration of their advantages and disadvantages;


Portability; Soft sided coolers are easy to carry, making them ideal for kayakers who value mobility. You can either sling them over your shoulder or secure them to your kayak using straps.

Flexibility; These coolers are pliable, allowing them to fit snugly into tight spaces in your kayak, maximizing storage efficiency.

Affordability; Soft sided coolers generally come at a more budget friendly price compared to their hard sided counterparts, providing an economical cooling solution.

Quiet Operation; Soft sided coolers produce less noise when being moved or accessed, which can be advantageous if you prefer maintaining a peaceful atmosphere on the water.


Limited Durability; Soft sided coolers might not be as sturdy as their hard sided counterparts, which could result in more wear and tear over time.

Lower Insulation; Although soft sided coolers still offer decent insulation, they generally have slightly lower insulation capabilities compared to hard sided ones.

Storage Space; The flexible nature of soft sided coolers may limit their capacity in comparison to hard sided coolers, potentially resulting in less storage room.

Hard Sided Kayak Coolers

Hard sided kayak coolers are designed to withstand challenging conditions and possess the following key advantages;


Durability; Hard sided coolers are built tough, capable of handling rough treatment during demanding kayaking trips.

Excellent Insulation; They provide superior insulation properties, effectively keeping your items cold for extended periods, even in hot weather.

Secure Storage; Many hard sided coolers come equipped with lockable lids, offering added security for your supplies.

Longevity; With proper maintenance and care, hard sided coolers can last for many years, making them a worthwhile long term investment.


Weight; Hard sided coolers tend to be heavier than their soft sided counterparts, potentially impacting the balance and maneuverability of your kayak.

When it comes to kayaking, you might encounter a couple of factors to consider before deciding between a soft sided or hard sided cooler. One aspect to keep in mind is the bulkiness of hard sided coolers which might restrict your storage options, especially if you have a smaller kayak. Additionally, it’s worth noting that hard sided coolers generally come with a higher price tag compared to their soft sided counterparts.

To make the best decision for your needs and preferences, think about the type of kayaking you enjoy, the duration of your trips and your budget. Regardless of whether you opt for a soft or hard cooler, having a reliable one on hand will ensure that you can stay refreshed and energized during all your kayaking adventures.


Sure, I can help you with that. Here’s the paraphrased version;

  1. Why is it important to have a cooler for your kayak?

Having a kayak cooler is vital to keep your drinks and snacks cold and refreshing while you’re out on your kayaking adventures. It ensures that you stay hydrated and energized, especially during hot days or longer trips.

  1. What are the differences between soft sided and hard sided kayak coolers?

Soft sided coolers are flexible, lightweight and easy to carry around. They work well for day trips when you need mobility. On the other hand, hard sided coolers are sturdy, provide better insulation and are suitable for extended outings or heavy duty use.

  1. How can I prevent my kayak cooler from tipping over?

To avoid your cooler from tipping over, make sure it’s securely fastened within your kayak. You can use straps or bungee cords to secure it onto the deck or seat of your kayak. Balancing the weight inside the cooler can also help maintain stability.

  1. How long will my items stay cold in a kayak cooler?

The duration of cooling depends on factors such as the insulation quality of the cooler, ambient temperature and type of ice or ice packs used.
Soft sided coolers typically maintain temperatures for up to 24 hours, whereas high quality hard sided coolers have the ability to keep items cold for multiple days.

  1. Can I put dry ice in my cooler designed for kayaks?

Yes, you can safely use dry ice in certain coolers specifically made for kayaking. However, it’s important to handle dry ice with caution and ensure proper ventilation as it produces carbon dioxide gas when it melts.

  1. Are kayak coolers resistant to water?

Many kayak coolers come equipped with water resistant or waterproof features that protect your belongings from splashes or rain. However, it’s crucial to verify the cooler’s specifications for its waterproof rating as they may not be completely submersible.

  1. Can I utilize my kayak cooler for storing items other than food and beverages?

Absolutely! Kayak coolers offer versatility and can also serve as storage options for delicate equipment like cameras, phones or electronic devices while keeping them dry and safeguarded.

  1. How should I clean and maintain my kayak cooler?

To clean your cooler, simply wipe it down using mild soap and water after each use. Ensure thorough rinsing and allow it to air dry completely. To prevent any unpleasant odors, periodic disinfection of the interior using a mixture of water and white vinegar is recommended.

Final Thoughts

As we come to the end of this guide, let’s take a moment to appreciate the wonderful world of kayak coolers. These reliable companions have got your back as you navigate the waters, ensuring your beverages remain cool and your snacks stay fresh, all while you soak in the beauty of nature.

We’ve explored both soft sided and hard sided coolers, each offering their own unique benefits. Soft sided coolers are like the backpacks of the cooler realm. They’re flexible, easy to carry around and won’t break your budget. On the other hand, hard sided coolers are robust and straightforward options that can keep your items icy cold for days. Your choice ultimately depends on your kayaking style and personal preferences.

Remember, properly securing your cooler is akin to fastening yourself in for an exhilarating rollercoaster ride. It ensures everything stays safe and stable. Whether you’re gliding through serene lakes or riding ocean waves, a securely attached cooler becomes your trusty companion for a well balanced kayak adventure.

Once you’ve concluded your escapades, don’t forget to give some TLC (tender loving care) to your cooler. A quick rinse and wipe down will maintain its excellent condition for your next thrilling expedition.

And here’s the exciting part; these coolers aren’t just limited to kayaking. They’re versatile companions for camping, picnics, hiking and any outdoor gathering where keeping things cold and dry is essential.

So, as you venture into the distance on your kayak, we hope this guide has provided you with all the necessary information about kayak coolers and assisted you in selecting the ideal one for your adventures. May your drinks remain refreshingly cold, your snacks remain delightfully crisp and may your kayaking excursions be filled with enjoyment and a sense of freshness. Here’s to an exhilarating and enjoyable time on the water!

About the author

My name is Brock Browning. I’m the founder of I have a passion, for kayaking that runs through my veins. It has driven me to create a central hub where everything related to kayaking comes to life.

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