Best Coolers for Boat 2019 – Reviews and Top Picks

Until quite recently, the niche of specialized marine coolers has been poorly represented with only several soft-sided collapsible models holding no more than 18-20 cans. While soft-sided iceboxes have certain advantages, they simply cannot withstand severe weather conditions of fishing and boating. Luckily, the well-known manufacturers, such as Yeti and Coleman, have noticed the obviously increased public interest in active lifestyle and responded with an increased collection of heavy-duty roto-molded coolers with increased capacity and new ergonomic design features.

Naturally, while heavy-duty coolers are superior in almost all aspects in comparison with old iceboxes, each model has unique features, which does not ease the choosing process. Selecting a cooler that would never let you down is not so simple but choosing a marine cooler is even more difficult task – you have not only to find the best set of characteristics but also to make sure that the chosen model is compatible with your boat!

We’d like to propose our help, so here are the coolers for boat we consider the best among all available ones at the market.

  • Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler
  • Rating:
  • Ice retention: 7-10 days
  • Composition: Roto-molded plastic
  • Storage capacity: 65 quarts
  • Warranty: 5-Year
  • Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler
  • Rating:
  • Ice retention: 7-8 days
  • Composition: Roto-molded plastic
  • Storage capacity: 94 quarts
  • Warranty: 5-Year
Name
Ice retention:
Composition:
Storage capacity:
Warranty:
Price
Name
Ice retention:
Composition:
Storage capacity:
Warranty:
Price
№1
7-10 days
Roto-molded plastic
65 quarts
5-Year
№2
7-8 days
Roto-molded plastic
94 quarts
5-Year
№4
10 days
Roto-molded plastic
70 quarts
Lifetime
№5
7 days
Roto-molded plastic
35 quarts
10-Year

The Yeti Tundra 65 cooler is made from roto-molded reinforced plastic. The cooler weights less than stainless steel models but provides equivalent protection. The model features adjustable latches made from heavy-duty rubber and never-fail hinges. Despite armored core and toughened walls, this ice chest has a great capacity, holding up to 65 quarts. Fat-wall design and PermaFrost insulation guarantee its high retention time (approximately 7-10 days with sufficient ice supply) and excellent protection against all types of mechanical damage. A vortex drain system provides extra-fast cleaning and accurate draining. The cooler is perfect for regular use but its reinforced construction and durable materials clearly suggest that it shines under pressure.

Ice retention:
7-10 days
Composition:
Roto-molded plastic
Storage capacity:
65 quarts
Warranty:
5-Year
PROS

Heavy-duty model

Thick 3-inches walls

Easy-to-drain

Excellent ice-retention capacity

Additional mechanical protection

Easy to carry thanks to LipGrip handles

Extra-durable hinges

Rubber feet for better stability

Cons

High price

The Igloo Marine Cooler offers a balanced compromise between stability and comfort. Made of durable polyethylene, reinforced with stainless steel corrosion-resistant screws and additional liners, the cooler is capable to provide reliable protection of its contents. Innovated Ultratherm technology allows it to keep low temperatures for up to a week. The cooler provides 94 quarts of free space. Additional odor-resistant lining permits using it for increased time, avoiding tedious obligatory cleanings. The protective shell also has mildew-resistant properties. This model is equipped with non-slip handles for better transportability. This cooler comes with UV-resistant coating and an integrated fish keeper. Overall, this icebox may be great for large companies and long picnics.

Ice retention:
7-8 days
Composition:
Roto-molded plastic
Storage capacity:
94 quarts
Warranty:
5-Year
PROS

UV-protected surfaces

Thick reinforced walls

High-quality design

Great capacity

Ultratherm insulation

Highly portable

Very affordable

Comfortable grip handles

Odor-resistant shell

Cons

Rather brittle plastic hinges

The Coleman Coastal Xtreme marine cooler is an ideal cooler for long fishing adventures. Constructed from stainless steel, capable of holding 204 cans, and designed for extremely harsh use, this marine cooler might find its rightful place at any boat. The cooler is UV-resistant and equipped with EZ-Clean lid – thanks to its extra-smooth texture cleaning takes less time and efforts. Handlers with no-pinch-fingers effect provide comfortable transportation. Four built-in cup holders obviously imply that the cooler has been designed for big parties and fun; however, its quality materials allow using it for active fishing under severe weather conditions.

Ice retention:
6 days
Composition:
Stainless steel
Storage capacity:
120 quarts
Warranty:
1-Year
PROS

Stainless steel construction

Optimal ice retention

Remarkable capacity

Comes in various sizes

All-purpose tool

Four cup holders

Tight drain plug

Balanced price

Cons

A little bit heavy for its size

Short warranty (1-Year)

The Pelican Elite Cooler is all about superb ice retention. The cooler offers up to 10 days of guaranteed freezing regardless of the air temperature. It features 2-inch polyurethane insulation that is thick enough to ensure reliable protection from the most severe weather conditions. The lifetime warranty covers not only rust-resistant hinges but also an opening mechanism. The dual molded-in hinges are very comfortable and stand for easy transportation. The icebox comes with an impressive number of built-in accessories, including bottle openers, and cup holders. The handy and easy-to-access draining system makes it possible to clean the cooler within a few minutes.

Ice retention:
10 days
Composition:
Roto-molded plastic
Storage capacity:
70 quarts
Warranty:
Lifetime
PROS

Prolonged ice retention

Mechanical latches made of aluminum

A durable press-and-pull opening mechanism

Lifetime warranty

Built-in bottle opener

Molded-in tie-down slots

360-degree freezer grade gasket

Rubber feet

4 self-draining cup holders

Cons

Increased weight

High price

This high-performance heavy-duty model represents all the best features that are required from a great cooler for boating. It features thick walls with additional 2-inch insulation for prolonged ice-retention time and better freezing even under high ambient temperatures. The trademark super-thick ArcticVault gasket makes it possible to close the box air-tightly, which creates excellent conditions for super-fast freezing and provides sufficient protection against bacteria and mold. A non-skid lid reinforced with additional lid-inserts makes it possible to use the cooler for years without losing its airtight properties. The cooler comes with non-skid feet that stand for improved comfort and prolonged ice-retention since the cooler may be placed so that it has no direct contact with a warm floor.

Ice retention:
7 days
Composition:
Roto-molded plastic
Storage capacity:
35 quarts
Warranty:
10-Year
PROS

Hard-sided construction

2-inch polyurethane insulation

Scratch-resistant shell

Air-tight silicon gasket

Self-stopping hinges

One-twist opening drain plug

Non-marking rubber feet

10-Year warranty

Cons

Limited capacity

Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Cooler for Boat

How to Choose the Best Cooler for Boat

A great cooler for boating trips has to satisfy a number of conditions in order to be worthy of your choice. It must be durable, stable but not too heavy, compact and simultaneously roomy, portable, yet weather-resistant. Of course, since many of the desired features tend to cancel each other, it is obvious that an ideal cooler for boat has to represent some compromise between the desired aesthetics and actual properties. Hence, what factors should be considered first? What features stand for nothing more than a marketing trick? What special features distinguish marine coolers from ordinary iceboxes? How to make sure your cooler meets all the requirements?

Primarily, you have to inspect your interest in such a purchase and determine what you are going to do after you get it. The set of features necessary for offshore boating significantly differs from the one implied by small picnics for two. Once your goal is clear, start with the main factors moving from the most important to the least necessary.

What factors to consider when purchasing the best cooler for boat?

Size of Your Cooler

The size of your cooler depends on the amount of food and drinks you wish to preserve cold. A 35-65 quart cooler will do for short picnics and small companies. Long trips demand big ice chests even with a capacity of 100-120 quarts. However, make sure you are not underestimating the weight of your cooler. The biggest coolers that can store food for a week are made of metal or roto-molded plastic. Thus, a balance between satisfying capacity and manageable weight should be maintained. Of course, it is also necessary to make sure your cooler will fit into your boat.
Size of cooler for boat

Active Operating Time

The product warranty is always important – naturally, when buying a cooler we expect it to work for years. Factors to consider include armored walls, heavy-duty construction, additional rust-resistant coatings, UV-resistant and reinforced hinges, thick and durable lids, protected cup holders, and weather-resistant accessories. Usually, stainless steel and roto-molded coolers make the best choice in the context of this factor.
Active Operating Time of a marine cooler

Stability

Your cooler should be not only durable and sturdy but also stable in every weather. Surely, you do not want to see a heavy loose ice-chest sliding on your deck at the mercy of tides. Models with a non-slip effect may provide the necessary stability and protect your crew from possible damage.
Stability of a boat coolers

Ice Retention

Ice retention is an integral parameter that determines how long your cooler can keep the intended temperature. High ice retention means that the cooler can preserve its content for at least a week regardless of the temperature of the surrounding air. This parameter is crucial regardless of your other choices and should not be neglected. Even if you plan to use the cooler no longer than a day or two, higher ice retention means better protection even during hot summer days along with increased versatility.
Ice Retention of a cooler for boat

Naturally, when it comes to offshore fishing with its unpredictable weather conditions, a cooler with the best ice retention is an absolute must.

Durable materials

The tougher the better – this recipe works for all marine coolers. Your ice-chest has to be able to withstand UV-radiation, corrosion, harsh weather, rains, strong currents, and heavy tides, protecting your food and drinks from heat, humidity, decay, contamination, rodents, and insects. In general, roto-molded iceboxes do not underperform in comparison with stainless-steel marine coolers, while the saving in weight is more than appealing. However, reinforced layers and stainless-steel hinges in addition to protective shells are strongly recommended. Composite materials allow you to obtain the same capacity and ice retention with enhanced core and better durability.
Durable materials of marine cooler

Special Features of Marine Coolers

Special Features of Marine Coolers

Naturally, every detail is crucial when fishing in the open sea. Therefore, additional accessories, such as cup-holders and integrated fish keeper tools may be indispensable. Heavy-duty marine coolers with stable feet compatible with cooler seats also make a nice touch. Of course, extra features cannot compensate for decreased ice retention, so these options should be considered at the end of the line.

Conclusion

Fishing is an enjoyable hobby only when boating with comfort and the above listed marine coolers are capable of providing such comfort when selected correctly. A great marine cooler is more than a simple fishing requisite; it is rather a versatile tool with a great number of multi-purpose features. Marine coolers are characterized by increased ice retention, generally enhanced durability, preferably airtight seals, leak-resistant plugs, and reinforced latches. Of course, some standard coolers, such as Yeti or Coleman, may also have some of these features; however, marine coolers represent a specialized complex of these characteristics that cannot be found among standard soft-sided ice-chests. Consideration in choosing the most suitable cooler for boating should start with the features that are crucial for you, such as size and portability, and yet the bottom line should always involve the crucial options, which are ice retention and durability.

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By Chris Hayes
    about author

    My name is Chris and I am a hunter, outdoorsman, survivalist of 36 years old from Bosie, Idaho. Being a participant of Ihea-USA, I like big game hunting most of all, especially hunting white-tailed deer. Except hunting, I’m also keen on fishing and gaining new knowledge how to survive in the wild nature.As a professional hunter, I do not stop improving upon own hunting skills and testing new gear, equipment, hardware and weapons.I write articles to share my experience and knowledge with the readers who motivate me for more. For any additional information contact me at [email protected]

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