The 5 Best Kayak Coolers Of 2022

Kayaking is a lot of fun if you have your replenishments with you. Being able to settle on the shore or the riverside to munch your favorite delicacies is undoubtedly among the pleasures that only kayaking can offer. But can you have such experience without the help of the best kayak cooler?


I don't think so.

You see, these coolers may appear unnecessary. However, they are the only reliable storage options for goods that can quickly perish. Unless you are bringing a freeze dried food, you are required to have these coolers keep your food items. Otherwise, your consumables will just be spoiled.

Lucky for you, a plethora of coolers for kayaking is widely available in the market today. In this guide, I will showcase some of them. Let's get started!

Product Name



Our Rating

1. YETI Hopper Flip 12 - Editor's Pick

YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler


RTIC Soft Pack 20, Black


3. AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler - Budget-Friendly Cooler

AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation


4. Seavilis Cooler - High-End Option

Seavilis Cooler (Milee)


ICEMULE Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag - Hands-free, Highly-Portable, Collapsible, Waterproof and Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack for Hiking, the Beach, Picnics, Camping, Fishing


YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

Of all the coolers that I have tried for kayaking, the YETI Hopper Flip 12 is the one that really impressed me. Both of its construction and ergonomics are genuinely exceptional, making it an excellent choice for various outdoor adventures.

This cooler is constructed from the patented DryHide Shell. It is a waterproof material that shows impeccable resistance to punctures, abrasions, mildew, and other types of physical damages. Moreover, it comes with a leakproof HydroLok Zipper. Even if you flip this upside down, residues and leakages will never take place. Meanwhile, it has a large opening for better accessibility.

Notably, this cooler features the ColdCell Insulation. It is a closed-cell foam that has an exceptional insulation capacity. It can hold its internal coldness for extended periods, which is great for touring purposes.


  • Can fit up to twelve cans
  • Can withstand severe outdoor conditions
  • Outstanding insulation for coldness retention
  • Comes with an ergonomic and comfortable carry strap
  • Lightweight and leak-proof cooler.


  • No known issues.
RTIC Soft Pack 20, Black

The quality of the RTIC Soft Pack 20 is also worth checking out. This outdoor-worthy cooler can hold up to twenty cans plus ice. While on its full capacity, you can guarantee that its temperature-retention capability is not compromised. Accordingly, the cooler is capable of keeping the ice for up to five days. That's more than decent already.

Meanwhile, the durability of this cooler is admirable as well. It is really built to survive harsh climates and conditions. The exterior shell is rugged and can resist physical deterioration. Furthermore, I can attest that this cooler is lightweight by default. It is very convenient to carry. Thanks to its padded strap, lifting it would never be a problem.

The RTIC Soft Pack 20 is not susceptible to leakages. A zipper lock on its opening ensures that water and other residues won't escape from it. There is also an external pocket where you can store some small items.


  • Large storage capacity
  • Durable enough to last long
  • Great internal temperature retention
  • Leak-proof construction
  • Lightweight and simple design for easier usage.


  • In some cases, the ice doesn't stay as long as five days.
AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation

Fortunately, not all coolers are downright expensive. Some are made to be affordable so that frugal paddlers can buy them. The Original Soft Cooler from AO Coolers is one of them. This cooler is tailored from a heavy-duty canvas that is rugged and durable. It can resist most physical damages, but certainly, it is not as tough as other kayaking coolers that I have mentioned here. Still, this is a decent choice.

This cooler is not meant for extended adventures. After all, it can only hold the ice for up to 24 hours only. Therefore, it is only great for short excursions and nothing else. Because of its simple construction, this item is known to be lightweight and portable. It can hold up to 36 cans, too.

I can guarantee that this cooler has a leak proof construction. All the seams are locked well so that water and ice won't escape. Meanwhile, there are side pockets on this cooler that can be used for storing some dry items.


  • Comes in different sizes
  • Features external pockets for additional storage
  • Strap is removable
  • Lightweight and convenient to carry
  • Fairly rugged.


  • Does not have enough insulation.
Seavilis Cooler (Milee)

If you want a hard cooler that is tough and ergonomic at the same time, the Seavilis Cooler is right for you. The cooler is made through rotomolded construction, which makes it exceptionally rugged. The exterior shell is truly sturdy while the interior possesses sufficient insulation for optimized heat retention. This is the gear that you should get if you are planning to have extended kayaking trips.

You will not get afraid to expose this cooler to extreme heat. It has a surface that has an absurd UV protection so that your goods will remain cool and fresh inside! Meanwhile, the bottom has non-slip molded feet. You can place it anywhere without having any fear that it will get toppled accidentally.

The latching system of this cooler is also admirable. It can be accessed easily, but at the same time, it can also provide a secure hold. Because of this, the Seavilis Cooler can prevent leakages that can harm all of its contents. There is also heavy-duty nylon rope handle for more comfortable transportation.


  • Ultra-rugged kayak cooler
  • Features UV protection
  • Impressive temperature retention
  • Fully sealed to prevent any leakages
  • Comes with a no-leak drain plug.


  • No known issues.
ICEMULE Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag - Hands-free, Highly-Portable, Collapsible, Waterproof and Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack for Hiking, the Beach, Picnics, Camping, Fishing

Today, we have seen the advent of innovative coolers. One of the most notable ones is these backpack coolers such as the ICEMULE Pro. This is a perfect option for kayakers who want to extra convenience while they are kayaking. Because this cooler can be worn on the back, paddlers can easily bring it on their trips. It doesn't consume kayak space either because you are loading it on your body.

But of course, this cooler has sufficient insulation. It might have the size of your standard dry bag, but still, it can carry all your necessities for a day-long trip. It can maintain the ice solid overnight, which is pretty decent already. Meanwhile, the padded straps of this cooler backpack ensure that your back and shoulders will not get sore from carrying it!


  • Backpack design allows hands-free usage
  • Can minimize storage consumption
  • Can hold the ice for a whole day
  • Features decent durability
  • Waterproof construction.


  • Not ideal for extended trips.

How To Buy The Best Kayak Cooler?

How To Buy The Best Kayak Cooler?

In the past, buying a cooler is pretty simple. You go to your nearest outdoor store and just pick whatever cooler you want. After that, you pay the cooler at the cashier and you are good to go! I miss those simple times.

However, just like outdoor and kayaking accessories, coolers got revamped as well. Gone are the days where one cooler does not really differ from the other. The innovation took place when some coolers were introduced to have the capacity of keeping the ice solid for extended periods.

Of course, at first, not all people believed on this pitch. But after a while, they have realized that these coolers do really walk the talk. Many are into outdoor adventures and picnic. Having coolers that are ergonomically designed to keep things fresh and cool for several days are definitely heaven-sent.

Now, I am pretty sure that some of the kayak coolers that I have introduced in this guide were able to convince you already. However, I am quite adamant to still show you the basics of selecting coolers for kayaking and other outdoor activities. In this way, you will be able to choose one for yourself if the need arises.

Here are the basics of an outdoor cooler.

The Type Of Cooler

Just like I have said, the outdoor industry has been struck with innovation already. Coolers have been redesigned to cater to various needs and preferences.

Right now, we have two types of coolers that you can choose: the soft cooler and the hard cooler. Each of these has its respective advantages and features. You better check out which one of them suits your needs.

Soft Cooler

A soft cooler can be taken into the literal interpretation. Specifically, these are the coolers that have soft walls that have the construction that is similar to conventional bags. They are made from a combination of synthetic materials that are capable of preserving their internal temperatures.

Soft coolers are the best choice for kayaking if you are looking for portability. After all, they are not as bulky as those hard coolers. They can be available in multiple carrying options such as hand-carry, sling-type, and even backpack. Of course, these coolers are smaller but is capable of keeping up to four people replenished.

Compared to hard coolers, their insulating capability is not that great. For that reason, you only have to use them for short expeditions. Other than that, they won't be able to sustain your demands and preferences.

Hard Cooler

Meanwhile, the hard cooler is something that all of us have imagined for a cooler. They are the traditional type of coolers that we are accustomed to. These coolers are great for your touring kayaks because of their natural insulating capacity. They can keep the chunks of ice solid for a couple of days.

I also consider them versatile because they are available in different models, features, and sizes. Their prices vary, too. One thing that you have to know about these hard coolers is their portability. Specifically, they are not as portable as soft coolers. But this compromise is rewarded by their capacity to retain internal temperatures.

Fortunately, some coolers have wheels attached to them. With these wheels, you will able to drag the cooler easier to your desired destination. But still, that doesn't mean that the cooler will be lighter. Despite that, the carrying capacity of hard coolers is still one of the reasons why many outdoor enthusiasts love it. There are other ergonomics present on them too, such as cup holders.

The Size Of A Cooler

Naturally, it is necessary for a kayaking geek to identify the size of the cooler that he/ she will bring on the trip. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all when it comes to coolers. You have to decide the dimensions of the cooler because it will affect the overall convenience of your trip.

The capacity of coolers is typically gauged in quarts. This measurement system also determines its size. Right now, most commercial coolers have sizes that range from 20 quarts to 400 quarts and above.

Now, let me give you an idea of how big a quart is when it comes to coolers. One quart is equivalent to a 0.75 can. Therefore, a 20-quart cooler can hold up to 20 cans, but it still has some space remaining.

However, the real determiner here is your needs. For solo and short trips, you don't need a bulky kayak cooler. A small, portable one can already be sufficient. For extended and group trips, you need a large cooler. This time, you need a vehicle to haul the large cooler. Furthermore, you have to make sure that the cooler can fit in the kayak if you wish to bring the latter.


The traditional construction of coolers usually involves the use of polystyrene foam. However, these options are barely acceptable for outdoor applications, especially in kayaking. What you need is something that is rugged and provides guaranteed insulation to your food and beverages.

The combination of plastic and foam through rotational molding is the recommended built of outdoor coolers. Usually, the plastic is heated so that they will be soft enough to be attached to an industrial grade foam. This type of procedure improves the durability of the cooler and the latter's capability to retain its internal temperature.

Bottom Line

Overall, you can say that these coolers are an essential aspect of your paddling session. If you are planning to have an extended trip, you need to include these coolers on your kayaking checklist. To have the most exceptional experience, you might need to invest in the best kayak cooler right from the get-go. They can give value, not only to your money but to your entire kayaking adventure.

That's it for now. Did you learn from this guide? If you have any questions related to kayaking, kindly drop them in the comment section below.

5/5 - (20 votes)


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