5 Best Fishing Coolers [Buyer’s Guide and Reviews]

Coolers are convenient ways of keeping things cold without using any power. The best marine coolers are built to withstand harsh elements, while standard coolers wouldn’t last very long on a boat. So, even if you don’t own a boat, if you want a cooler that’s going to work well and be reliable, you can’t go wrong with a marine-grade cooler.

The best marine cooler is the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler. We love this cooler for its rugged design, large capacity, and heavy duty polyurethane foam insulation. The RTIC Cooler is an excellent option if you want something like the YETI, but at a lower price. ENGEL’s multifunction Cooler/Dry Box is a perfect fit if you are low on space and it has built-in rod holders. The best compact marine cooler is the ORCA Cooler. At just 20 Quarts, you can fit it just about anywhere. For those with portability in mind, the spacious Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler is the way to go.

In this article, we will cover the top 5 marine coolers available today. We will discuss the main features of each model, and go over the best use-case for each one.

How To Pick The Best Marine Cooler

 Not every marine cooler is made equally. So, if you want to find the best marine cooler, it’s helpful to understand the most important aspects of them. One of the most important properties of a marine cooler is its ice retention capability.

Remember, a cooler is a passive device. So, its goal is to keep the cold air in and the hot air out. So, it’s best to use a cooler made using a high-quality construction process and well-insulated components.

Capacity is obviously another huge factor. It’s important that your marine cooler has enough space for all your food and drinks when you are out boating, camping, fishing, or just in your backyard. A 54-quart cooler is usually large enough for most situations.

It’s important to note that the cooler’s design will affect how effective its storage space can be used.

Marine Cooler Brand Price Storage Capacity
YETI Tundra 65 Cooler $349.98 52 quarts
RTIC Cooler 45 qt $219.99 45 quarts
ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box With 4 Rod Holders – 30 Qt $74.99 30 quarts
ORCA Cooler 20-quart $189.99 20 quarts
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler $78.18 70 quarts

Top Fishing Coolers Of 2022

1.YETI Tundra 65 Cooler – 52 Qt – Best Marine Cooler Overall

YETI is an icon that has been around since 2006. The company makes coolers, clothes, drinkware and more.

This model is built using rotomolding technology, which is how kayaks are built. The YETI Tundra 65 has 3-inches of polyurethane foam insulation in its lid and in the walls. This ensures that your fish, drinks, and food stay colder for longer. You may be wondering, ‘how long can a cooler keep drinks cold?’

Keeps Food Cool For Up To 7 Days

This cooler can keep its contents cold for up to seven days, depending on the ambient temperature as long as you pre-chill the items you put inside.

Another great thing about this Yeti marine cooler is the fact that it’s equipped with a full-frame gasket around the lid. The gasket is made of rubber, which provides an excellent seal.

Generally, when a cooler is exposed to the sun all day, this will cause the plastic to warp and become brittle and discolored. That simply does not happen with this YETI marine cooler. That’s because it comes with full UV protection, which ensures that the plastic does not warp or discolor.

Believe it or not, this cooler is certified as bear-resistant. So, if this thing can hold up to a bear, you will more than likely not have any problems with it in normal conditions. YETI is able to make this claim because this cooler features heavy-duty, stainless steel latches.

This cooler has recessed handles, and that minimises the coolers footprint.

Also, this Yeti marine cooler includes slip-resistant rubber grip feet to help keep it in place on rough seas. Because this thing is so well built, and has a textured non-slip surface, it’s excellent to use as a footstool, table, or bench.

When empty, the YETI Tundra 65 weighs 29 lbs. So, as you would expect, this cooler can be quite heavy when it is full of ice and food. It does, however, have handles and supports the adding of wheels to make it more portable.

This cooler may not be the lowest cost, but it’s worth every penny in my opinion. If you are looking for a more budget friendly cooler, though, all you have to do is keep reading!

Features

  • Large, 30.5 by 17 by 16 inch capacity
  • Includes dry goods basket
  • Holds about 14.3 gallons
  • Includes free bottle opener

2.RTIC Cooler – 45 QtBest Marine Cooler For The Money

The RTIC 45 is one of the best roto-moulded coolers you can get. This cooler’s features and build quality are on-par with those of the YETI, while having a lower cost.

It has heavy-duty hinges and 3 inch insulated walls. Also, it’s got a lid gasket that makes certain that your food and drinks can stay cold for up to 10 days (depending on the ambient temperature). Even in extremely hot conditions, this cooler can keep its contents cool for around 4 days.

This is another bear resistant cooler, so as you would expect, it has an extremely solid construction and an integrated locking system. Because of this, it can also be used as a step stool, bench, or table just like the YETI.

Like the YETI, this cooler also has non-slip rubber feet. It’s essential for a marine cooler to have rubber feet and good stabilization characteristics so they can be used on boats in rough seas.

This cooler has convenient drainage outlets on all sides.

Features

  • 25.25 x 13.75 x 16 inches
  • Excellent drainage
  • High-grip lid
  • Can hold 36 cans
  • Can fit 40 lbs of ice
  • 4 colors choices

3.ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box With 4 Rod Holders – 30 Qt – Best Multi-Function Marine Cooler

Multifunction devices are always preferable to one-hit-wonders, especially when space is tight! So, if you are out on your boat and want to keep your rods organized while keeping your food and drinks cold, then the ENGEL combination Cooler and Dry box is perfect for you. This ENGEL cooler is a compact and lightweight model that features 4-rod holders.

This cooler can keep your bait, food, and drinks cool for up to 4 days if you pre-chill it.

This cooler can also be used as a sealed dry box that you can use to keep dust and moisture away for expensive electronics such as smartphones or cameras.

This ENGEL marine cooler features an airtight gasket and uses high-quality polystyrene foam that ensures that the contents stay not only cold, but fully protected. It has self-stopping hinges and is built with stainless steel screws.

It has a recessed center carry handle that makes this cooler easy to carry and move around. It also has an integrated and adjustable shoulder strap.

Features

  • Tray is 10 by 6 by 2.5 inches
  • Included strap system
  • Available in 4 sizes and 6 colors
  • 5-year warranty
  • Stain and odor resistant
  • Easy to clean

4.ORCA Cooler – 20 QtBest Compact Marine Cooler

ORCA coolers are known for their durable and functional roto-molded coolers that have some of the best ice retention characteristics on the market.

This cooler has a lifetime warranty, so if you need a rugged cooler for your outdoor adventures, ORCA is an excellent choice because they are made to last.

Like other top marine coolers, this model uses rotationally molded polyethylene walls which provide for maximum retention of cold air. It also has a lid gasket and strong latches to keep a strong, waterproof seal.

This cooler is not bear-proof on its own, but you can easily make it bear proof with the addition of the ORCA master lock set. It has a flex-grip handle made of stainless steel, and it’s easy to be used by one person.

As you would expect on this list of best marine coolers, this one also includes rubber feet. Having sturdy rubber feet is essential to keep a cooler in place when it’s on a boat or in the back of a truck.

One drawback of this cooler is the fact that it’s a bit bulky. This bulk, however, comes from it being fully armored, so that is to be expected.

Features

  • 19 by 13.75 by 15 inches
  • Excellent drainage spout
  • Available in 6 colors
  • 17 lbs

5.Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler – 70 Qt- Best Portable Marine Cooler

When it comes to camping and just about anything else outdoors, Coleman is one of the most popular and well-recognized brands in the world.

Like other coolers on this list, the Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler has the ability to keep ice frozen for up to 4 days.

This cooler uses a proprietary molded plastic that features ThermOZONE insulation technology. So, this makes the lid strong enough to be used as a seat that can support up to 250 pounds! Also, the cooler has 4 convenient built-in cup holders.

As you would expect, the handles make for easy transportation. It’s important to note, however, that the handles on this cooler are not very high quality. The hinges, on the other hand, are made of metal while and its draining system quick and simple to use. Also, this model’s 70-quart capacity has plenty of room for all your food, drinks, and bait.

Features

  • External Dimensions are 28.4 by 5.8 by 17.5 inches
  • Weighs just 13.4lbs.
  • Can hold 100 cans

Finding The Best Marine Cooler – Buying Guide

So, what makes the best marine coolers so good? Well, while there are many aspects to consider, it’s crucial to think about your specific needs. For example, if you are limited on space, a large cooler might be great in every way other than its size.

So, here are some important things to consider when looking for the best marine cooler for you:

Ice Retention

 This is one of, if not the most important aspects of a marine cooler. Ice retention is the measure of how long a given cooler can keep ice frozen. This is, of course, very important if you want to keep the fish you catch fresh and your drinks and food cold.

So, for this reason, it’s crucial to pick a marine cooler that was made using a roto-molding. Roto-molding makes for a heavy-duty construction and excellent insulation characteristics. Only roto-molded marine coolers can retain ice for up to 10 days.

Insulation and excellent construction can only go so far, though. You also need a full-frame rubber gasket around the lid to keep the cold air inside and the hot air out.

Also, color matters. Lighter objects reflect more light and heat. That is why they appear lighter to our eyes. So, having a lighter colored (preferably white) cooler will help keep the contents colder for longer.

Size

 While a cooler with the latest bells and whistles might sound great, it won’t be very useful if it’s not big enough to store everything you need. It’s even worse if it can fit everything you need but the cooler itself cannot fit in the space you have. So, make sure to consider the size of your boat, truck or other vehicle that you plan putting your cooler in. Also, take into consideration how much food, drinks, and fishing bait that you plan on storing in it.

Storage Capacity

 Which brings me to my next point. Storage capacity is important for obvious reasons. You need to get a marine cooler large enough to store your things, but even if you don’t have a lot of stuff you want to put in there, you should get the largest cooler you can. This is because generally speaking, larger marine coolers retain more ice for longer than a smaller one can.

Build Quality, Construction, and Durability

It’s important for the best marine coolers to have stainless steel hinges and latches so they are rust and corrosion resistant. That makes them more durable than any plastic latches you could find. Heavy-duty latches are often an overlooked component on marine coolers. So, make sure your cooler has strong latches that are built to last.

Portability

 Although it’s a much better way to produce a cooler, roto-molded coolers are generally heavier on account of their naturally more robust construction. Don’t let that scare you off. Conventional marine coolers are quite heavy as it is.

For this reason, many marine cooler manufacturers add wheels (or support for adding your own wheels) to their products. The best marine coolers also come with strong handles that make transportation a breeze. So, if mobility is an issue for you, or your plan on moving your new marine cooler a lot, then you are going to want to get one that places an emphasis on portability.

UV Resistance

As you have probably noticed, there is not much shade on a boat. So, this is why low-end cooler lids are known to warp and distort. Also, heavy exposure to UV radiation causes cheap plastics to become brittle and lose their color (or gain new ones). So, it’s important that the best marine coolers have a lid (and preferably walls) that have full UV protection.

 Warranty

 When a company offers a lifetime warranty on their products, that says a lot about how confident they are in their product. Think about it. It’s in a company’s best interest to not have to fulfil a warranty. So, manufacturers usually breathe a sigh of relief once your warranty period ends. That’s why the best marine cooler brands offer a lifetime warranty on their products. Because they know their products are so good, they don’t really have to honor the warranties much at all.

Conclusion

Finding the best marine cooler for you can be tough if you are unfamiliar with all the terms involved. So, we made this list to help anyone who is looking for a new marine cooler.

 When it comes down to it, the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler is the best marine cooler. It’s the strongest-built model in the list and it has a large capacity with excellent insulation. If you want something like the YETI, but cheaper, the RTIC Cooler is the best marine cooler for you. For fans of multi-function devices, ENGEL’s Cooler/Dry Box is perfect because it has 4 built-in rod holders. The ORCA Cooler is the best compact marine cooler, at just 20 Quarts. The Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler is the best large portable marine cooler.

 We hope this article helped you find the best marine cooler for your needs. Thanks for reading!

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