Nowadays there’s a cooler for everything. You’ve got your giant, sturdy YETIs to keep the picnics and tailgates going all day and you’ve got IceMule backpack coolers for the hike to your favorite watering hole.
But what are your best options for kayak fishing specifically?
On the water, you’re working with minimal space but equal (if not more) necessities to keep things cold in an environment with little shade. Whether you’re looking to keep live bait fresh or a 12-pack cold, the main factors you want to take into consideration when choosing a good kayak cooler is size and shape. That simply means you’re looking for a smaller cooler that’ll fit on your kayak comfortably.
Here are five kayak cooler options we carry, in no particular order:
A versatile kayak cooler option, the Engel 13 is the perfect size for a day out on the water used as a cooler or a dry box – you decide.
ACK Customer Review: “I bought this for use mainly in my kayak and it works great.. I only do day trips and everything stays very cold..Very solid and appears to seal very tightly.” – James S.
A soft, portable cooler, the IceMule can be molded to fit snugly in the back of your kayak for easy access and has a capacity for 12 cans plus room for ice. It also comes in two other sizes (a small IceMule Classic is 10L and a large IceMule Classic is 20L).
ACK Customer Review: “Terrific product. Keeps items cold, easy to carry and store, and it floats. Wish it were my idea.” – Richard R.
Perhaps this is the exception to taking the minimal space on your kayak into consideration, because this cooler is designed to float next to your yak! This floating cooler is perfect for fishing trips or recreational paddles on calm water where you know you’ll be posted up for the majority of the day in one spot. It can hold up to 30 cans and 20 lbs of ice, or be used for dry storage. Other features include four cup holders on the deck, as well as a flag holder!
ACK Customer Review: “This cooler held up pretty good after a day on the creek with my grand kids. Wasn’t completely full of ice, put in about 15 pounds, but a very reasonable amount of ice left when we got home. All the kids juice packs and sodas were ice cold. Didn’t have any beer that day but looks like it would hold quite a bit. Would recommend this cooler for not only keeping stuff cold but because it’s easy to use and drag to the water. It floated nicely behind our canoe and worked way better than I thought it would. Great product.” – Bill M.
“It floated nicely behind our canoe and worked way better than I thought it would.”ACK Customer Bill M.
The Yeti Hopper Two 20 is flawlessly insulated, as Yeti coolers tend to be, and a good size for most tank wells. The new positioning of the (waterproof!) zipper grants easier access, and it can hold up to 4.6 gallons of food, ice and beverages. No leakage, guaranteed.
ACK Customer Review:“Great cooler. I have both sizes of Hoppers. I use the 20 most often. Easier to carry and less bulky for my use.” – Arthur G.
If you’re looking for a more heavy-duty cooler capable of longer overnight trips, this is your best bet. It may or may not fit behind your seat depending on your kayak, but it’s EVA pad on the lid makes it double as a seat. It can hold 56 cans plus ice; other features include a front-mounted bottle opener and comfort carry handles.
ACK Customer Review:“I was needing a larger cooler to fit behind my Jackson big rig. My yeti 35 wasn’t quite big enough for a weekend overnight trip. Looked at a yeti 45 but the dimensions wouldn’t work for my real tankwell. I have to say this cooler is the sweet spot for capacity and fitting my kayak. The cooler’s overall quality and performance went beyond for it’s price point. I would recommend this cooler to anybody out there looking for larger cooler capacity without sacrificing room in your tankwell.” – James H.
“I would recommend this cooler to anybody out there looking for larger cooler capacity without sacrificing room in your tankwell.”ACK Customer James H.
The cube design and wide-open mouth of the Yeti Flip 12 Cooler makes it the ideal accessory for your kayak. It’s a bit on the small side (capacity is a 12-pack) compared to the other coolers, but that’s really all you need for a day trip.
See something you like but not sure if it’ll fit in your kayak or looking for something else entirely?