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