11 Best Fishing Coolers
Marine and fishing coolers are ignored once in a while, yet they are an essential facet of your experience whenever you are cruising and fishing in the open waters. These coolers are enormous, and they give sufficient extra room to your provisions like drinks, snacks, catch, etc., during an ocean journey. Besides, the coolers' low maintenance makes them ideal for putting away your catch of the day, and their enormous structures will be able to contain even large fish species with no issues.
With this kind of responsibility, getting yourself a high-quality and long-lasting cooler can make your life easier. When it comes to good coolers, its temperature control mechanism should always be the top of your priorities and criteria. Factors like size, style, ergonomic design, and miscellaneous factors should also come into play.
One thing that sets marine and fishing coolers apart from ordinary coolers we use during barbecues and picnics is that they keep the cold longer. The best marine coolers can keep your provisions in a low-temperature environment for up to 10 – 12 days if you pack enough ice and keep them out of the sun. This is the reason why investing in good coolers can be very rewarding in the long run.
Here, I will be reviewing five of the best coolers I found in the market. Each of the coolers listed below has its own strengths and weaknesses, and I will be discussing them in-depth. So if you are looking for the best of the best of coolers, this one's for you.
11 Best Fishing Coolers
1. YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
2. Elkton Outdoors Ice Chest
4. RTIC Cooler
5. Thermik High Performance Roto-Molded Cooler
6. Igloo Polar Cooler
7. Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler
8. ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box with 4 Rod Holders - 19 Qt - White
9. Columbia PFG Skiff Guide Zipperless Hardbody Thermal Cooler Pack
10. ENGEL Live Bait Cooler with 2 speed Aerator Pump
11. Pelican Elite Coolers with Wheels
12. EchoSmile Rotomolded Cooler, 35QT White Cooler with Built-in Cup Holders, Bottle Openers, and Fish Ruler, Suit for Camping, Picnic, BBQ and Other Outdoor Activities
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio. It is fitted with up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design, which makes it Bear-Resistant. The cooler's main compartment is manufactured with Rotomolded Construction, which gives it a sturdy and high-quality finish. It also features T-Rex Lid Latches constructed of heavy-duty rubber and made with patented technology.
- Keep contents cool for a very long time
- One of the most expensive coolers in the market
Ever since I was young, YETI has been a staple name when it comes to coolers and other plastic ware. This is the reason why I think the word YETI is now synonymous with high-quality. Unlike any other fishing coolers, the YETI Tundra 45 has been manufactured through a patented technology to ensure that it can keep your stuff cold for a very long time.
The Tundra 45 dimensions are 25 1/2 in long x 16 in wide x 15 ½ in high with an empty weight of 22 pounds, which means that it has good enough capacity for whatever you need to pack inside the cooler. It is also not heavy, unlike other coolers in the market. The fact that without contents, the cooler is lightweight, means that it can be easily carried around with contents in it. This is particularly important because fishing is a very mobile activity that requires you to move from one place to another.
However, amidst the fact that it is lightweight, the cooler itself is made with thick walls. That means that it can keep the ice frozen for as long as possible. Some even say that ice can remain frozen until four days inside this cooler if the lid was closed correctly. This, my friends, is value for money.
And speaking of money, this cooler is on the expensive side of the spectrum. However, if you consider the features and the quality that the Tundra cooler offers, you would say that the price is justified.
Furthermore, checking online reviews, this is one of the most suggested coolers out there. With it, you can be sure that your $300+ will not go to waste.
Elkton Outdoors Ice Chest
The Elkton Outdoors 45 Quart Ice Chest is built with virtually indestructible Rotomolded Thermoplastic and has a dual cap drain plug system that is designed to prevent any forms of leakage. This army green cooler has up to 30 inches of Commercial Grade Insulation that keeps your food and drinks frigid cold for 7-10 days. It features GorillaGrip non-slip feet, which prevent sliding while being moved around in the boat or in the car and a ThermalLock Freeze Style Gasket, which eliminates unwanted air exchange, locking out heat while sealing in the cold.
- High durability
- Can keep ice frigid for 7 to 10 days
- Mid-range in terms of price
- Very heavy even when empty
If you are looking for the cooler of all the coolers, the Elkton Outdoors 45 Quart Ice Chest is an excellent contender. Amidst the jargon that you might read online about the product, the only reason why this cooler hangs in the hall of fame is because of its quality.
When it comes to what makes or breaks a cooler, an essential thing that it should possess is its ability to retain the cold for an extended time. And this cooler does that. Aside from having been made with high-quality temperature resistant plastic, its gasket has also been fitted with a thermal lock freeze technology that allows the cold to be locked in and the heat to be locked out. This means that its cold retention capability is better than most coolers that you can buy from the market.
Aside from its military-grade temperature control, this cooler has several excellent miscellaneous features that make it one of the best. It has Military-grade nylon rope handles, GorillaGrip Non-Slip Rubber Feet, Molded Tie-Down Slots with Lock Plates, Recessed No-Leak Drain Plug, Pressure Release Valve, 2 Built-In Bottle Openers, among others.
My only critique of this cooler, however, is that it is heavier than it looks. This cooler weighs approximately 28.9 pounds when empty, so you can imagine how heavy it would be if you have ice inside it. Plus, the food and drinks you need to store in it!
However, the most impressive thing about it, which compensates its extra weight, is its price. This one is in the mid-range section of coolers, and with less than $200 price tag, this cooler is a great buy!
The RTIC cooler is designed with resistance, durability, and long-lasting ice retention in mind. It has Roto-Molded Construction, Heavy Duty T-Latches, Freezer Grade Gasket, and Molded Tie Down Slots that make sure that the cooler cab serves its purpose. Additionally, it is fitted with up to 3" of Insulated Walls, a Non-Slip Feet, an Integrated Locking System, and is Bear Resistant. This midsize cooler makes a perfect multi-purpose cooler and comes with four different colors: Blue, Pink, White, and Tan.
- It cost cheaper than most coolers
- It is midsize and can be carried by one person
- Good enough durability considering its price point
- Limited warranty
- Made with low-quality plastic
Having a cooler or ice chest that has gigantic storage capacity is one thing, being able to carry it alone is another. If you are a solo fisher or you prefer your adventures to be alone, then the RTIC cooler is for you.
Similar to other ice chests in this list, this product has all they offer: Roto-Molded Construction, Heavy Duty T-Latches, Freezer Grade Gasket, Molded Tie Down Slots, up to 3" of Insulated Walls, a Non-Slip Feet, an Integrated Locking System, and is Bear Resistant. What this cooler offers that others don't, however, is its manageable size.
For five ⅞ inches, this cooler is a midsize one that is perfect for someone who goes out on their fishing trip alone. Its manageable size makes it convenient for one person to carry it with two hands, and without the need of another person's help. This is particularly important for me as I go fishing alone most of the time. If you are too, then there is no question that this cooler is the perfect one for you.
But you may ask, will the size compromise its ability to keep ice frozen in the duration of the trip? The answer is no. Amidst its size, this cooler will still be able to perform at par as other bigger coolers out there. With minimal exterior heat, this ice chest can keep the ice frozen and cold inside for more than ten days.
However, this one is made with plastic, so sitting on it is not a good idea. It also doesn't have an extended warranty period, but that should not be an issue if you are careful when you use it. It also costs less than half of the expensive coolers, so I think the price justifies the quality. That being said, this cooler is still one of the best out there, especially if you are on a budget!
Thermik High Performance Roto-Molded Cooler
The Thermik High-Performance Roto-molded Cooler is made with rugged one-piece rotationally molded construction with textured top lid and soft damage proof latches. For its compartment, it is also fitted with thick urethane insulation that keeps the ice cool for more than five days and freezer grade lid seal with the vacuum release button to prevent stuck lids. It also features a durable hinge, rubber feet, and ties down holes. The package includes a cutting board separator, dry keeper basket, and drink holder and a five-year warranty.
- Not as expensive as Yeti and other high end coolers
- Has an efficient draining system
- Has a vacuum control button to regulate the pressure inside as the ice melts
- The lid can be opened beyond 90 degrees and there is no mechanism to stop it.
Have you ever experienced a strong and powerful vacuum that makes it hard for your cooler to be opened as the ice melts inside? If so, this one is specifically designed to prevent that from happening. When ice melts, the volume inside the cooler decreases, causing a vacuum to pull on the one-way freezer style gasket. In other coolers, this results in the lid sticking shut after hours in the sun and having to be wrestled open. Now with the press of a button, you can equalize pressure in your cooler, freeing the lid instantly.
But that's not the only thing that the Thermik High-Performance Roto-Molded Cooler has to offer. If draining is another issue for you with your current cooler and ice chest, then this one has a rugged two-stage drain that fits a standard garden hose for remote draining. This is important because draining takes a very long time, and sometimes you need to flip the cooler upside down. With this draining system, all you need to do is to connect a hose and drain away!
Furthermore, the insulation was consistent across the body of the coolers, which means that the cooler can keep the cold intact more efficiently. The full-length hinge also allows the top to be opened to 90 degrees. However, it does not have any means that would prevent overextension past the 90 degrees stop. Nonetheless, that's just a minor inconvenience.
The front corners of the main body have stainless steel attached for securing the lid with a locking device, making sure that the shackle is 1.5 inches above the closed lock body for sufficient clearance, and extended shackle lock isn't needed. The security corners also double as bottle openers, which is convenient.
Important thing: I have used this cooler numerous times, and the ice doesn’t melt for days on end. Amazing!
Igloo Polar Cooler
The Igloo Polar Cooler is designed for long-haul outdoor activities. Its ultratherm insulated body and lid enable the ice to last as long as five days at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The material used to produce it is highly durable because it is really built for situations that require a lot of moving and transportation like camping, fishing, going to the beach, and other activities. For easy draining, it has a drain plug that one can easily pull out. This drain can also serve as a hose hook up for water filling. For just $61, this cooler will make the outdoors liveable for those who dare to try.
- Lid and body are very durable
- Good insulation
- Locks and handles fall off first
The price of Igloo coolers is very considerable as compared to other brands. Insulation is also very well maintained, although I have not tried to put to the test the claim that it could store ice up to 5 days. It drains pretty conveniently and also hooks up the hose in place. However, one major problem I have with this cooler is that the handles and locks are not as durable as its other components. This leads them to usually fall off first, which could cause an inconvenience on my part when I am transporting it. For fishing activities, it can be reasonable to use, but it is not the most ideal. Because some parts can fall off, it might give you inconvenience in the middle of your outdoor activity. However, Igloo is quite responsive when it comes to warranty claims. As long as you are still covered, it will send you reparations.
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler
The Coleman Cooler has a new, stylish appearance in its outer casing. Its Xtreme 3 technology can keep ice up to 3 days even when placed in temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Its lid has two molded cup holders on each end, which could act as a table when the cooler is not being opened for use. The lid can also hold up to 250 lbs that serve as a place to sit and rest when needed be. Thirty-six cans can be stored at a time in this cooler, and its price ranges from $$42.79 - $112.43. Health is also important for Coleman, that is why this cooler contains no CFCs, HFCs or HCFCs.
- Very durable overall
- No hazardous chemicals
- Good insulation
- Relatively expensive
The cooler is well built, and its hardware is easy to replace if ever they do get broken. The claim that it can hold ice for as long as three days is actually surprisingly true. Its multi-purpose lid is also a good additional benefit because outdoor situations usually require a lot of making the most of the resources you have. The absence of harmful substances in the insulation properties of this cooler is ideal for fishing activities since raw meat absorbs chemicals that are around it. The screws and the metal hinges in this Coleman cooler are durable as compared to other materials in other coolers. I would highly recommend this cooler, even if you have to pay a little more. The sturdiness it offers makes it worth the price. It is an investment, but your returns are going to exceed the costs that you had to pay for this one.
ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box with 4 Rod Holders - 19 Qt - White
The Engel Cooler and Drybox stands out from the crowd because of how different it looks. Unlike a traditional cooler, this one comes with four rod holders, one in each of its corners. Beyond that, it assures users of a leak-proof feature, which is ideal for outdoor activities. Coolers will always contain water, and leaking is a huge contributor to messy setups. It also has a removable hanging tray to store dry goods, a feature most coolers do not have. The fittings are secured with stainless steel screws. Another feature that adds to this cooler’s convenience is the self-stopping steel hinges because it is easier for one to close it down afterward.
- Very portable
- Has compartmentalizations
- Not good with insulations lasts shorter relatively
This type of cooler offers portability over insulation. It cannot store ice as long as the other brands, but it is very easy to transport from one place to another. The leak-proof feature is very beneficial for fishing activities because it minimizes contamination, and it also stops the fluids from spilling around while it is being transported. I would say that this is perfect for fishing activities because one does not intend to keep one’s catches for longer than a day. Usually, coolers are used to temporarily keep the fishes in a cool place as the folks are going home. It also comes with a shoulder strap for easy lifting, but I would suggest they make the straps padded so it will not be painful on the person who will carry the cooler. Overall, this is the ideal one for fishing activities. However, it is quite hard to find around.
Columbia PFG Skiff Guide Zipperless Hardbody Thermal Cooler Pack
This cooler offers a light-weight option for people who want to enjoy the outdoors while packing light. Its locks are zipperless “flip-open” flaps, something that has been patented by this company. This easy-open lock allows easy access to drinks and foods that are stored inside the cooler. Fifty-eight cans of soda can be stored inside at a time. The compartments are expandable, insulated, and leak-proof. The cooler includes an adjustable shoulder strap which is padded, putting premium to the portability feature of this product. This costs around $60, a price that is on par with other coolers.
- Easy-open feature
- Not sturdy
If you are a light traveler who is not fond of bringing bulky things, this cooler is for you. The leak-proof feature also makes this cooler an ideal one, especially when it comes to portability. The cooler is small but compact. For its size, it maximizes storage in its compartments. This is convenient for frequent, everyday use. It can function as a lunchbox, or merely storage for drinks you would like to bring with you for the day.
Actually, it resembles a bag more than it resembles a traditional cooler. Fast and easy-open features are useful for settings that involve many people accessing food and drinks. This could be used for fishing activities, but it is not the most ideal. Although it can keep coolness, it is not as sturdy as other hardbound coolers, which may affect the soft meat inside because of the movement in transportation.
ENGEL Live Bait Cooler with 2 speed Aerator Pump
This Engel cooler has a special feature to cater to the special demand of fishers. It is built to keep the bait alive as it is being transported to the intended destination. The main difference is that this cooler has features to keep the airflow moving from the outside to the inside of the cooler. The 2-speed pump that it has maximizes aeration and battery life, thus giving you more time to keep the bait alive. More than that, it is also leak-proof, so the vehicle will not be messy during the drive. It can also function just like a regular cooler by removing the pump and the hose. This cooler costs $74.99 - $133.00.
- Effective in keeping live bait
This cooler is very effective and useful for people who would like to keep live bait.
More than its effective aeration system, the pump also does not make so much noise as you would normally expect from a pump. Making it leak-proof is a valuable feature because having leaks in the car doubles the job you have. It is also very easy to transform this into a traditional cooler by simply removing the compartments that are needed to keep bait alive. Simply put, you can use it as an aquarium for live bait in the morning and then use it as a traditional cooler on your way home after the catch. The price is significantly higher than other coolers, but it is a price I am willing to pay for the multi-purpose it offers. I recommend this to people who are very fond of fishing.
Pelican Elite Coolers with Wheels
This Pelican Elite Cooler comes with wheels and is made of polyethylene plastic. This cooler is built for long-haul activities. Its extreme ice retention could last up to 10 days. This is made possible by the polyurethane insulation that is 2 inches thick with a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket. Its drain plug is leak-proof, its lid can function as a measuring board with metric measurements, and its rubber feet are non-skid. An additional feature that is also very helpful is the built-in stainless steel bottle opener. The best part is the lifetime service warranty for repairs. The company motto is “you break it; we replace it...Forever.” This costs $362.83.
- Very Good insulation
- Very durable
- Very heavy
It works very well, and it actually should for its price. This is one of the high-end coolers in the market, and I expect much from it because it has to deliver to its promises. The insulation system is top-tier since products will really not ferment or rot in days inside this cooler. The latches also function very well. However, a downside to this is the weight of the cooler as a whole. It is not bound for portability. Wheels may help, but it is unpreventable to carry this cooler in outdoor situations. It must be something you have to plan if you want to have this cooler around. For fishing activities, this cooler is not optimal. You do not need insulation for long, and you also do not need storage that big. Generally, this cooler is recommendable if you are really big on needing spacious insulation boxes. The lifetime warranty is a good model for customer service, which explains why this cooler is significantly more expensive than everything else.
EchoSmile Rotomolded Cooler, 35QT White Cooler with Built-in Cup Holders, Bottle Openers, and Fish Ruler, Suit for Camping, Picnic, BBQ and Other Outdoor Activities
This EchoSmile cooler is a good balance between sturdiness and portability. Its material enables it to take on tough adventures and transportation routines, but it also has well-designed handles that make carrying easier. Ice will remain frozen in this cooler for 5 to 7 days if the temperature is below 77 degrees Fahrenheit while it can last around three days at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. About 40 cans of sodas can be stored at a time. The lid is multi-purpose, functioning as a tabletop or bottle holders when it is closed. Even one person can carry this cooler when 20 cans are inside.
- Good insulation
- Good size for a day out
The size of this cooler is perfect for a day worth of activities, and it also fits well in most family vehicles. The ice can really be sustained within three days, which is already impressive for a cooler this small. Its portability is worth noting because it is specifically designed for it. Other coolers this big lack the features for them to be easily transported. Another good thing about this cooler is the easy drain feature it has. Draining and cleaning is not hard work to do. This can work well for fishing activities because the size is not too big, but its insulation is still enough to keep the catch fresh. The price varies, but you really get what you pay for. However, it is quite hard to look for this product in online stores, and the delivery service is not always available. Overall, I highly recommend this to everyone who wants to invest in a reasonable cooler.