Best Kayak Cooler For Your Next Fishing Trip

Kayaking is some of the most fun you can have, well anywhere. The feel of the wind on your face, the water spraying through your sun-soaked hair makes you feel alive. You can literally tackle any body of water in a kayak, even your backyard kiddie pool. The only problem with kayaks is that they don't have a build in cooler, which is why I went on a search for the best kayak cooler.

The kayak cooler is a cooler that will easily strap to your kayak without taking up too much space or needing to be readjusted with every other stroke. You should be able to access them easily and the best of the best should be formed to fit the shape of your kayak. So, using my research skills and kayak experience I have put together this list of the best kayak coolers that will let you bring along a lunch and a few drinks on all your future aquatic adventures.

10 Best Kayak Cooler Comparisons

Best Kayak Cooler - Reviews 

Seattle Sports Kayak Catch Cooler 20

The Seattle Catch Cooler is shaped specifically to match the curves and angles of your kayak and includes the straps you need to secure it to the top of your yak while cruising the waterways of the world. It is called a catch cooler because it is designed to keep your fish cool and fresh as you return home from a day out angling.

The outside is made from reflective materials that deflect the heat-inducing rays of the sun. This helps keep the bag from getting too toasty while out for the afternoon. The interior of the cooler is insulated with closed cell foam to keep the cool in.

Even if you aren't a fisherman, the Seattle catch cooler is an excellent choice for almost any kayaker out on the water. The perfect shape of the cooler and the ability to keep things cool for a nice long while will let you carry around a few drinks and more than a few protein bars for the long return to shore. 

What we liked

  • Great cooler for fishing or lunching
  • Good size for holding caught fish
  • Fits well with most kayaks

What we didn't like

  • The shape isn't rigid and changes if strapped too tight
  • Zippers aren’t waterproof, so it will leak if filled with fluids
IceMule Coolers Pro Catch Coolers

IceMule doesn't just make a quality backpack cooler, they also make a darn good catch cooler that is molded and designed to fit comfortably on the bow of your kayak without taking up unnecessary space. The cool power of the IceMule Catch cooler is a surprising 24 hours. That means that even if you are just hauling Gatorade and a sub along the way you can cruise all morning and afternoon without your lunch getting spoiled from the heat.

Multiple tie downs make sure everything is secure, even if you hit the rough waters of a river or unexpected winds add some fun to your day. The cooler is 100% designed specifically for paddle sports and even has a bungee net on top that will strap down your paddle while you rest to eat lunch or wrestle a pesky fish.

The total length is 42" long with a 24" opening that is more than large enough to stuff whatever you want right in the mouth of the cooler. This Mule closes using a watertight roll-top closure that latches down on the sides to make sure that nothing gets in or out of this bag that you don't want.

What we liked

  • Easy to carry and transport
  • Fits kayak shape well
  • Strong outer layer

What we didn't like

  • Inner lining comes apart easily
  • Can be hard to clean inside
Precision-Pak 42" Deluxe Yakcatch cooler

What caught my attention with the Precision Yakcatch cooler was that there are two ways to access the interior of the bag. Initially, you might think that that would be more areas for leaks, but this bag is secure. The top-mounted zipper lets you get your goods inside the cooler without having to do the crouch and peak technique that is common with similar coolers. The faster access is nice for grabbing and storing your water bottle on those warm days of summer lake fun.

The Precision cooler also includes a PEVA dry tube that is great for stowing ice without it getting the rest of the bag wet, or you can use it stow things you don't want to worry about getting wet.

The body of this kayak cooler is made from 600 deniers PU water-resistant polyester, so it is thick enough to withstand harsh treatment and keeps water out when you are hit by the occasional wave or rain storm. It isn't 100% waterproof, so I wouldn't recommend dunking it in the water.

Across the top are 6 heavy-duty hooks that are just about perfect for strapping down other gear, like a tackle box, or your paddle when not in use. On either side of the cooler are padded carry handles that make carrying this puppy around a breeze.

What we liked

  • The shape fits kayak very well
  • Does a good job keeping cool
  • Top zipper is great for easy access

What we didn't like

  • The Velcro/zipper hatch combo on the front is a little annoying
CreekKooler Outdoor Insulated Floating Cooler

Sometimes you just want a cooler that you can tow along without actually having to hold on to it. The CreekKooler is like the perfect little puppy following behind you that carries all the little goods you love while on a trip but doesn’t leave little presents on the carpet.

The CreekKooler has ice retention of 48-hours and can hold up to 20-pounds of that ice or a slick 30 pack of 12-ounce cans. Two inches of foam and a dual wall design keep the cool in and the heat out. The cooler leashes up behind your kayak as you float through the water. This saves you space in your kayak for fun stuff like fishing gear or a puppy.

The thick dual wall design and three skid resistance runners on the bottom of the CreekKooler are tough enough to withstand being dragged across the ground from your car to the water. To make this little cooler even more awesome, the top has 4 cup holders. This sucker is like your own personal waterborne waiter carrying drinks to you everywhere you go. 

What we liked

  • Can fit 30 12-ounce cans, plus ice
  • Seriously tough and rugged
  • Lid screws shut for a watertight seal

What we didn't like

  • The lid can be tough to properly screw in place
  • Doesn’t stay as cool as other coolers
Thurso Surf Sup Deck Bag Cooler

The 14-inch by 12-inch Thurso deck bag cooler is a slim and light cooler to take along with you on the water. Though it may not be that large it can still easily hold an amount equivalent to about 10 12-ounce cans, more than enough space for a few drinks and lunch while out on the water.

Thurso brands it as a SUP or surfboard cooler, but the effective tie down design of this bag works very well to tie die to a kayak. This cooler uses four anchor points, one at each corner, to practically paste the bottom of the bag to your kayak. You won't have to worry about waves or rapids dislodging this cooler. Plus the bottom anchors reduce the chance of anything getting caught up under the cooler.

It doesn’t have the shaping of some of the others we have reviewed, but it is a quality bad that doesn't take up a whole lot of space on your kayak. The rectangular shape does make is readily securable to either the bow or stern of almost any kayak.

The body of the Thurso cooler is made from thick insulation and water-resistant materials that will make sure that splashing around won't spoil your lunch. Plus, the cooler comes included with a waterproof pouch that is perfect for keys, phones, and wallets.

What we liked

  • Great size is a mix of compact and capacity
  • Good at keeping drinks and food cold
  • Secures to kayak easily

What we didn't like

  • No built-in carry strap
  • Comes packaged in a vacuum seal, a little annoying to expand
Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler for Kayaks

The Wilderness Systems Catch Cooler is a great choice for the kayaker looking for an all-around, dependable cooler for kayaking. This cooler was built to be multi-use so you can have a space to store your fish while angling, and still, have a place to put your drinks and food without it mingling with your catch of the day. This catch cooler features two separate compartments with individual access to keep everything exactly where you need it.

Wilderness Systems designed the interior with rip-stop nylon to prevent the lining from being torn up by fish scales and has been purposely planned out to make it simple to clean out. The bottom of the kayak cooler is elevated with thick beams to allow water to flow out from underneath the bag while it is strapped down to the bow of your kayak.

Speaking of strapping down, the Wilderness Systems Catch Cooler has rings along each side of its length to make sure you have plenty of option to secure this puppy down.

What we liked

  • Multiple Compartments
  • 6 loops tie down the cooler well
  • Durable and sturdy

What we didn't like

  • Shaped for Wilderness Systems Kayaks, may not fit as well with other brands
AIRE Kayak Cooler

The Aire Kayak Cooler is shaped to sit on the stern of your kayak and is molded to fit perfectly into the rear well of a sit on top body design. It is still well shaped to sit on the bow, but from what I have seen, sitting right behind your seat is the best spot for strapping this cooler in for the ride.

On the sides of the cooler are 4 D-rings for securing the Aire Kayak Cooler to the body of your yak. The 4 rings are a nice feature that helps make sure that you don't lose your bad in the event of a tip over.

The yellow and grey coloration is highly visible and makes your gear easy to distinguish from other kayakers. The body of the cooler is 650g denier nylon with sewn seams for increased durability. The top carry handle is molded rubber that makes packing this cooler from car to boat and back quick and easy.

What we liked

  • Has good ice retention
  • Comfortable top carry handle
  • Lightweight

What we didn't like

  • Smaller than other options
ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart

Engel USA's cooler/dry box is a 19-quart water beast that is a great accessory for your kayak adventures. The Box is made from a tough yet light polypropylene that is one of the go-to plastics for building a lot of the durable things you use everyday. This same plastic that makes your car bumper and protects soldiers in combat is used to build this tough cooler.

Even though Engle's cooler isn't designed to sit in a molded section of your kayak, it makes the list because it combines both the features of a cooler and a dry box. The lid closes to the body with an EVA foam gasket that forms an airtight seal. Airtight means watertight. Not only will this help to keep your snacks cool longer, it will also let you store the goods you want to keep dry.

The included accessory tray will keep your wallet, keys, and other goods away from the ice or other liquids you carry along for the ride.

Stainless steel latches hold the lid shut to prevent the seal from jostling loose or the lid from popping open unexpectedly. What I love about this cooler, it that it has four built-in rod holders. This is a sweet feature for the angler who likes to fish from a kayak.

What we liked

  • Watertight latch seal
  • Keeps food and drink nice and cool
  • Comes with shoulder strap for carrying
  • Small enough to strap to a kayak, but still has good capacity

What we didn't like

  • Is heavy when full of ice and goodies
  • Ice retention isn’t great, but still keeps everything cool
IceMule Coolers Classic Coolers

The IceMule Classic cooler is a light bag cooler that is sturdy enough to take the punishment of an active kayaker. The pack is designed to be comfortably carried on your back or strapped to the seat of the kayak.
At only 16-inches long and 12-inches in diameter, you can easily strap this pack to the bow or stern of your favorite kayak without having to worry about taking up too much room. The bag-shaped cooler rolls closed to create a seal that is airtight and leak proof.

The combination of tight seal and thick outer and inner layer that wrap PolarLayer insulation that keeps everything cool for up to 24 hours. The 20-liter capacity of the IceMule Classic can hold up to 18 12-ounce cans plus the ice to keep them plenty chilled. Even if you don't use the IceMule for drinks and sandwiches, you can use it as a dry pouch.

What makes the IceMule a great adventure accessory is that when you are packing it up to move from lake to river, the cooler rolls up into a nice tight ball that you can pack away to save space while traveling.

What we liked

  • Great cooler for the adventure kayaker
  • Keeps ice for a day trip
  • Has enough space for food, drinks, and fish

What we didn't like

  • Only has a single carry strap
Intex Mega Chill II Float Cooler

For the guy out there who is on a tight budget, but still wants to keep his goods cool while out on the lake, I present the Intex Mega Chill II. Like the CreekKooler, this kayak cooler is meant to be towed beside or behind your kayak or paddleboard. Using the installed, welded grommets, you can easily run a line from the Mega Chill to the rear of your kayak.

The center ice chest is removable so you can tow it to where you want to get out of the water and easily take the ice chest out to refill with ice or make it the center of your beach party. This cooler can hold up to 72 12-ounce cans, plus the ice you need to keep it cool.

One of my favorite features of this budget kayak cooler is the built-in 6 cup holders. This is excellent for having water bottles or a chilled beer while out on the water. This floating cooler saves you space in your kayak for other gear, or if you are like me it saves leg room.

What we liked

  • Large capacity cooler
  • The cooler can be used a backup flotation
  • You can place a different cooler in the middle for better ice retention

What we didn't like

  • Not great ice retention
  • Cooler lid is only secured with Velcro

No reason to be thirsty

With these awesome options for a cooler for your kayak, you will have no excuse for not packing along enough food and drink to keep you fed and hydrated for a day out on the lake. Many of the coolers serve dual purposes that will allow you to take your adventure to the next level and even bring back a souvenir or two.

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David Valle

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!