Deciding which boating cooler to get for your next boating adventure? Here are some important pointers to remember purchasing one plus our top picks for the best coolers for boating that we highly recommend.
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What Are Boating Coolers?
Finding the right cooler for your pontoon boat depends on how you intend to use it. If you are planning to use your cooler for storing fish, you may need a rotomolded cooler, but if you just want a cooler to keep drinks cold and a few snacks, you may not wish to invest in such an expensive cooler. However, even if you only want to keep food in your cooler for boating, it’s important to find a cooler that will adequately withstand the heat.
Coolers for boating have similar qualities to that of the ones we use for hiking, camping, or RVing. These coolers are often called marine coolers and offer extra features that work best on marine set up.
What Is A Marine Grade Cooler?
Marine-grade coolers are built to withstand the extreme weather conditions that boating entails. Compared to standard coolers, marine-grade coolers offer added features that are perfect for any marine environment and different water activity. These features include rust resistance, UV protection, and non-slip feature.
Best Coolers For Boating Features
When it comes to coolers used for boating, there are extra features included that you won’t typically find on a regular cooler. Here are some features that make a marine cooler for boating different from the rest.
More insulation- Marine coolers usually offer thicker and better insulation to keep the contents cold for longer periods. And the greater the insulation means that you can also use them for freezing your fish until docking.
Comes in lighter shades– These coolers are often exposed under the heat of the sun. They are built with lighter colors which are better in reflecting the rays of the sun as well as the heat it produces.
Rust-resistant– Coolers are usually built with high-grade plastic but some parts of it can develop rust over time especially when exposed to saltwater. Most Marine coolers use rust-resistant components to keep your coolers in their best shape.
Non-Slip– The best Boating coolers are equipped with non-slip feet/ bottom to prevent it from sliding all over the floor when you finally start your boats and get going.
UV protection– With constant exposure to the sun’s UV rays your coolers can be damaged over time. To prevent this from happening, manufacturers also included UV protection features in making the best coolers for boating.
What Are The Best Coolers For Boating?
Although coolers for boating work just the same as any other cooler which is to store and keep the items inside cool, it has extra features that are perfectly fit for life on a boat. Make sure you keep an eye out for these features when choosing the best coolers for boating.
To narrow down your search, we’ve made a list of the best-selling and highly rated boating coolers on the market that every boating enthusiast raves about.
Yeti has been a household name when it comes to making the best coolers that are impressively versatile may it be on land or the water. One of the best-selling and highly rated coolers on the market is the Yeti Tundra 65. This all-around cooler offers excellent insulation and durability topping other high-performing coolers on the market.
It is perfect for keeping your food and drinks cool in the field and works great to keep your baits or fish cold as well. Featuring a 3-inch PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design, it is made to prevent ice from melting in a short time. The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra extremely durable to the core to withstand extreme and rugged conditions.
Next on the list is the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler which is packed with marine-grade features that work great for any boating trips and adventures. This fishing-ready cooler is extremely durable to withstand the harsh, wet environments that the boat life entails.
Igloo Marine coolers are built to keep your food and drinks chilled even on hot days with their excellent Ultratherm insulation in the body and lid. If you’ll notice, these coolers are designed to have round edges so you can carry them with ease without any sharp edges poking on your legs or damaging your rides. It has a UV protection feature that prevents any damages caused by the sun’s UV rays. It includes a rust-resistant stainless steel lid strap and screws that are made to withstand marine-life conditions.
Rust-resistant stainless-steel screws and lid strap
Non-slip, comfort-grip handles
Easy to carry and use
Insulation is a bit thinner than other premium coolers on the market
The Coleman Coastal Xtreme marine cooler is built to be a reliable companion on your boating or fishing trips. It can store and keep your items chilled for longer periods, and prevent ice from melting for up to 5 days at temperatures up to 90 °F. Life on the boat can be tough sometimes, but its convenient and efficient features make things a little less difficult.
Coastal Xtreme series coolers offer thicker insulated walls than the traditional Coleman coolers which makes them better in ice retention. Its durable and sturdy lid design allows it to double as a temporary step stool or as an extra seat when you run out of one on your trips.
This high-capacity cooler can fit 100 cans and offers plenty of space for your food and beverages as well as your prized catch of the day.
Leak-resistant channel drain
Comfort-grip no-crush handles
Stainless steel hardware
Built-In Cup Holders
Thick wall for better insulation and ide retention
The rotomolded hard coolers & Ice boxed by Engel are built to last with its patented technologies. And one perfect example is the Engel 65 hard cooler that is built with 2 inches of high-density closed-cell polyurethane insulation in the lid, sides, and bottom for better ice retention and cooling capacity for up to 10 days. It has consistently delivered high-quality performance and durability over time and is an IGBC Certified bear-resistant container.
One impressive and defining feature of the Engel 65 is its silicone airtight gasket that creates a near airtight seal that is tough and doesn’t lose its shape and form as compared to most of its competitors that use rubber gasket.
Yeti has produced a long list of high-quality and durable coolers practically suited for different types of indoor or outdoor activities. One of the best coolers for boating is the Tundra 35 that comes with a FatWall Design like any other Tundra. This feature allows for better ice retention and increased insulation so you can keep your food and drinks chilled while you’re out in the sun.
The Tundra 35 is very convenient for small to medium-sized boats and a carrying capacity of up to 20 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio. All Tundra coolers come with T-Rex lid latches made from heavy-duty rubber.
3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation
T-Rex Lid Latches
Great Ice retention
Easy to carry and use
Nonmarking rubber feet
A bit expensive for its size
Soft Side Coolers For Boating
For shorter and less demanding boat trips, there are some soft-sided coolers out there that can get the job done. Although the best boating coolers are typically the rotomolded coolers, here are two soft sided coolers that are also great as boating coolers.
The AO soft-sided cooler offers twice the insulation compared to most of its competitors and is guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree weather. It is perfect for boating, fishing, picnics, and other outdoor activities. It is made with durable, leak-proof soft canvas and high-quality TPU liner which is resilient to tear, abrasions, impacts, and more. It is very portable and easy to carry wherever adventure takes you.
High-quality TPU liner
Made of durable soft canvass
3/4 inch thick, high-density, closed-cell foam inner insulation
The Coleman soft-sided marine cooler bag is a reliable companion for your water activities. It keeps your food and drinks cool for up to 36 hours with its excellent insulation and a zippered main compartment also helps seal in the cold. It is perfect around marine environments since it's water-resistant so your food and drinks stay cool and not ruined by moisture and other external factors.
It also features an antimicrobial liner that prevents the formation of unpleasant odor, mold, mildew, and fungus on the items inside the cooler. You’ll also notice that it has D- rings which are great for tying and securing your cooler so it doesn't slide around the boat.
Zippered main compartment
Adjustable shoulder strap
Ice retention of up to 36 hours
Easy to use and access
Has antimicrobial liner
Extra storage features
Reinforced button for increased durability
Some customers had issues with leaking
How Do You Secure A Boat Cooler?
The best boat coolers on the market are usually equipped with a non-skid bottom preventing them from sliding from their place. But for those who want extra security for their coolers, here are some tips to keep your coolers safe in their place.
Use damp towels under your coolers to prevent them from moving
Placing rubber mats/shelf liners at the bottom of the cooler also works great in keeping them in place
Use cooler tie-down strap kits
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