Best Kayak Cooler Bag – The Complete Guide

By Tim Fox | Fishing

Apr 20
Best Kayak Cooler Bag

Kayaking is a great sport to enjoy with your friends and family. You can go around the sea for a trip, or you can go fishing for a relaxing day out. However, for any of the mentioned activities, you will need to have your food and drinks with you to keep you energized throughout the trip. You can carry all your items in the best kayak cooler bag.

Our value section will help you find the right features to have in the product and refuse all other queries that you might have.

​Product Name





AO Canvas Soft Cooler - Best Kayak Cooler Bag



ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box



K2 Coolers Summit 20 



Ice Mule Pro Coolers


​ICEMULE’s waterproof ‘skin

Seattle Sports Kayak Catch Cooler 20


​Vinyl-coated nylon/foam

Product Review

AO Canvas Soft Cooler - Best Kayak Cooler Bag

AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler

The AO coolers are a colorful collection of coolers made in various sizes. The brand claims to provide more insulation than other brands of coolers. The lightweight material allows users to have a much better experience in carrying the product around.

Main Features

The AO are filled with features that make them the best kayak cooler bag. A few of the features of this bag are discussed below in brief details.

The bag is perfect to keep or cool things in it without any problems. The insulation keeps the item inside the bag at the desired temperature. The material is soft and lightweight which makes it easy to carry and even stylish with the many different colors that are available. There are many different sizes available according to pack in this cooler.

The bag has a TPU Eco-friendly liner which ensures that you are not proving a burden to the environment by using harmful products. The liner allows you to hold on to the ice for up to 24 hours and with temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The additionally allows twice as much insulation as you will find in the regular cooler. The different layers allow you to keep your ice frozen and to keep the bag without any leaks.

For easy portability, you can latch onto the shoulder strap of this bag and carry it anywhere you like to keep your food items fresh and on the temperature you desire.  All these features make this the best kayak fishing cooler bag.

Customer reviews

This bag is awesome. It has no leaks, it keeps the food cool, and the ice lasts very long. I highly recommend it. I was looking for a softer cooler for a long time. Thought this would work and it did, I love to carry it now.

I love this bag, but the shoulder strap is too short which makes it a little inconvenient

Things We Liked

  • ​5 Layers to provide strong insulation
  • The bag material is soft and leaks proof
  • You can attach a shoulder strap
  • Allows the ice to be kept frozen for 24 hours

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The shoulder strap is too small
  • The zip is not leak proof


This  bag is a great purchase for kayaking and storing your food items. Various sizes to choose from and the increase in insulation makes the bag our top pick.

ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box

ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box

The Engel cool and dry box is great to carry around on your kayaking trip. It keeps all your food at the desired temperature, and you can choose between many different sizes. You can also find it in various sizes which are a convenient option.

Main features

The Engel is not a cooling bag, but a dry box. However, with the many different features, it will prove to be as perfect as any other cooler. The following are a few features to help you get familiar with the product.

This kayak cooler is a 19 QT with space for rods which makes it exceptionally easy for the kayak paddlers to manage their rods along with enjoying a drink out of the box. Since many boxes do not have this feature, fishers get tangled in between their rods and having a drink.

Contrary to popular belief, this box does not have a plastic smell on it which lasts no matter what you do with it. You can also keep the box fresh without any stains that are likely to last on the body.

The inner insulation is courtesy of the high grade molded polystyrene foam which keeps the food and drinks at your desired temperature. You can keep about 32 cans in this along with 25 lbs. of ice without any problems.

There are carrying handles and a strap on the side to ensure portability of the product. All the fittings are tight and packed with stainless steel screws, and the hinges are self-stopping, so the lid does not keep falling.

Customer reviews

I took it with me on our kayaking trip. I added Tupperware of sandwiches, drinks, and water. We did not have much room for ice, but the food inside stayed at the perfect temperature throughout the trip. I got this for my husband who takes lunch on the construction site. It works perfectly, and he is very satisfied with the results.

I adore the results of this lunch box, but the hinges seem very fragile once the box is full

Things We Liked

  • ​Does not keep stains and odor intact
  • High-grade polystyrene Insulation foam maintains the temperature
  • The seal is airtight EVA
  • The box has hinges and straps

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The hinges are loose
  • The box can get quite bulky


This kayak box is a great purchase for people that want to spend a day wishing in their kayak. Features like the high graded insulation and the airtight lid allowed the temperature to be maintained inside the box.

K2 Coolers Summit 20

K2 Coolers Summit 20 Cooler

K2 coolers are a box type cooler which can be used in kayaking as well. These coolers are available in a few different colors which makes them stylish. A warranty of seven years has been given by the company which makes these coolers a great purchase along with security.

Main features

The K2 Coolers’ Summit 20 cooler is a box type cooler which can be used for various purposes. There are many different features you can find in this cooler. A few of them are mentioned below in slight details.

The material used for creating this cooler is polyethylene, and the style is roto-molded. It is made in one piece, so it becomes more durable than any other cooler you have seen.

The insulation of this cooler is made extra thick, so the ice and the temperature are retained in the box for a very long time. The design is made to be high graded which will make the product more durable and worthwhile. You can also use it as a fishing cooler.  

Additional features in this cooler box include a padded strap which makes the portability intact of this cooler. The Positrac lid latches ensure the lid is tight and intact, so the temperature does not leave the box. For easy usage, the hinges are an integrated system.

Topped with a warranty of seven years, this cooler is one of the greatest in the market and the most useful. The best part is you can also use it as a fishing cooler box.

Customer Reviews

This product has fascinated me, it’s tough, and it keeps ice for a very long time. I have it for about 3 years now and find no faults in the cooler.

I am amazed to see the portability of this cooler. The shoulder strap makes it much better than the bigger brands in the market.

The performance is great, but it is a little too bulky and heavy.

Things We Liked

  • ​Well insulated
  • The lid is airtight
  • A strap to help carry it around
  • Warranty of 7 years

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Very heavy and bulky
  • Tends to leak


The K2 cooler is an excellent addition to your picnic or kayaking trip. Features like the airtight lid which makes it very useful. With the great warranty, 

Ice Mule Pro Coolers

Ice Mule Coolers Pro Coolers

The Ice Mule coolers are soft cooler bags which are high capacity and easy to carry anywhere. It has some features help it in being more mobile. For added style, you can enjoy the different colors in the bag.

Main Features

The Ice Mule Pro coolers are a great addition to your kayaking trip. There are many features the company offers which make this bag the best kayak cooler bag on the market.  A few of the best features of this cooler are mentioned below briefly.

The first and probably the unique thing about this ice bag for kayak cooler is the design. The backpack shape allows users to carry it regardless of its weight easily. The padded straps reduce the chances of strain on the bag and make it easy to be mobile.

The TriFold DriTop systems allow it to maintain the seal which keeps the temperature inside the bag. You will also find a MuleSkinEV technology which keeps the inner and outer layers tough and insulated. These also provide thickness up to 2 times more than the other soft coolers.

For insulation, the company uses their PolarLayer insulation technology which allows which helps keep the bag cool for up to 24 hours. To wrap up the bag, you can quickly deflate the lines and roll it up for easy storage.

You can easily store up to 18 cans in this bag or 20 liters of water with additional room for ice. 

Customer Reviews

This thing is amazing. It holds a bunch of stuff and remains flat for storage! It also keeps stuff cold for a very long time. I spent my summers with this and taken it to the beach, pool, and picnics. I love how I can easily carry it with my little weight.

My friend told me about this catch bag since I was looking for an efficient soft cooler. I was looking at the major brands but was not sure about them. However, I chose to buy this one, and I am very impressed by the results of it.

The straps seem very loose. I am kind of afraid to exert much weight on them

Things We Liked

  • ​The trifold and DriTop system maintains the temperature
  • MuleSkinEV keep all the layers insulated
  • Easily deflate for storage
  • The portability of backpack style

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Straps are slightly loose
  • Does not double as a dry bag


The Ice Mule backpack style cooler is a great option for you to take on your kayaking trip. The various featured technologies allow the bag to remain cool for a long time

Seattle Sports Kayak Catch Cooler 20

Seattle Sports Kayak Catch Cooler 20

The Seattle sports kayak cooler is specially designed for people that love to go on kayaking trips with their friends and family. It is perfect for storing food or even for fishing and putting your catch as it remains cool and does not allow your catch to go bad.

Main features

The Seattle sports kayak catch cooler is a fishing bag made especially for kayaking and fishing day outs. A few of the features mentioned below will make this a best kayak cooler bag.

The cooler is a design made for the deck so that it can be stored easily while you are enjoying your fishing. You can store your catch in this bag to keep it fresh all day on the water.

The exterior of this bag is a thermally efficient design. The material is made to reflect the heat which does not allow absorption and hence, keeps the bag cool for a long time. The closed cell foam insulation increases the insulation in the bag and keeps the bag much more maintained in temperature.

The bag is specially made to be cleaned easily so you can reuse it and store it without having the previous smell of the fish illuminating from the bag all the time.

Customer reviews

I’ve used it several times since I bought it and it fits perfectly in my kayak. I love how easy it is to clean, and it does not leave any fish smell behind. I use it as a food container, and it works just as well. It is easy to open and close and stores a lot.

The zipper had greatly disappointed me. Over time, it keeps getting stiffer until it eventually broke.

Things We Liked

  • ​Heat reflective body
  • Closed-cell foam
  • Easy to clean
  • Convenient for storage

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The inner liner gets punctured
  • The zipper is little tough


 This kayak soft cooler bag is especially for people that love to go for fishing on their kayaks. The technologies like being thermal resistance make the bag a great purchase.

Buying guide

Since there are a large number of coolers available in the market, all that claim to be the best, it can get pretty hard to pick the best kayak cooler bag. Learn here how to choose the best one.

Choose Between a Box and a Soft Cooler

Coolers are typically available as a ice box or as a cooler bag. The first decision you have to make is the kind you want. Boxes are usually not very easy to store in small kayaks; they are also heavy which creates inconvenience.

However, cooler bags are not always a great option too. They are usually much more fragile and cannot carry may food items. They are loved by people because they can cause less damage to the boat like scratches.

Choose Your Storage Size

One of the most important things you will need to consider is the size of the box. The size of the box will be determined according to your use. If you use it frequently with just a couple of people sharing it, then you might need something that will accommodate all the users’ preference in the box.

If you like to use it for sole purposes, then a small one would be fine for you. However, if you are using it as fishing cooler, then you will need to go for the size that fits your catch. Large or medium sizes seem perfect for this job.

Size also should include the amount of weight your cooler can hold. Make sure to check the specifications to find out the weight you can carry in it. The weight of coolers is usually measured in liters of liquid, or in some cans that you can store in the cooler. 

Choose the Material 

Coolers come in many different materials, each of these materials is good and bad in their way. A few material options are given to you in short details below.

  • Plastic: Plastic is one of the most common materials used for coolers. They are hard, tough, and even lightweight. They are also waterproof which helps them be perfect for water purposes. However, the bad part about plastic is that it can be found at cheap levels too which makes the product less durable.
  • Fabrics: Almost every ice box has an outer layer of fabrics that help in the insulation and even the style. Fabric can be waterproof and leak proof. It additionally helps in insulating the cooler. Again, the fabric is hard to determine as good or bad quality, and companies will use cheaper quality.
  • Rubber: Many companies use a part of rubber in the cooler as well. The rubber helps keep them more airtight and reduce the exit of cold air that the cooler has created. Rubber also is used in the handles and the hinges sometimes to make it easy to carry. Rubber is considered a side material, but it turns out to be very important. 

Choose the Insulation carefully 

The most important factor that will determine the use of the cooler is its ability of insulation. There are many features like latest technologies which help keep the insulation to various levels. You need to look at the measures the brand is willing to take to make sure that the insulation is high.

Furthermore, you need to look at your needs to determine the period of the cooling. You can go from a few hours of cooling to up to 6 weeks of cooling without a problem.

Choose the Handle Type 

Of course, you need it to be very portable so you can take it anywhere you like. Hence, choosing the handle type is more important than we think. You can choose between side handles, straps, or even lid handles. Some coolers can have various handle styles which makes them more versatile and a better option.

Make sure to look into the handles and check them thoroughly because some companies have great features but their handles are very fragile which ruins the purpose of portability entirely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Customers tend to have many different queries while they buy the best kayak cooler bag or even boxes. We have noted the most popular questions and have answered them to the best of our knowledge to make it a better buying experience for buyers.

Q1. Are bags better or boxes for kayaks?

Cooler bags and cooler boxes both tend to work equally as well in performance if chosen the right ones. Hence, we will have to see the other factors to consider. The first thing is the portability. Bags tend to have better portability than boxes which makes them a better option.

They are also soft which reduces the chances of scratches your boat or lagging them through. Bags are easy to store on the decks as well, and they tend to have better insulation. Conclusively, there are best kayak cooler bags more than cooler boxes.

However, while buying the right bag, make sure to check the material and the insulation thoroughly, so the bag does not deceive you during your day out.  Heat reflective material can be a great way to keep the heat out and keep the food and drinks fresh and edible.

Q2. Can cooler bags keep food warm?

Of course, they can keep food warm as well. You can put ice in them or keep them in the fridge to keep them cool and add drinks in the bag. You can also maintain the temperature by keeping food warm in them and have the lasting freshness.

These bags are not coolers literally; they are more like insulators which help in keeping the temperature you set more regulated than regular bags or tricks will do.

 Q3. Are the ones with the rod holders any good?

Many cooler bags and boxes help rod holder on their sides to help you balance the rods on the side. These can prove to be very useful for fishermen who want to enjoy a drink. However, they usually fail if the cooler is not weighted correctly or the holder is small. The lack of balance can cause the rod to tip in the water which is an inconvenience that you might have to face.

Q4. Can I put ice packs instead of ice in the coolers?

Gel ice packs are a great replacement for the regular ice that can be added to the cooler bags. They are equally as useful, and they are also environmentally friendly. As the ice melts, you will not have your bag flooding with water because of the ice if you use ice packs. Ice is also alright, but considering the circumstances, you will find packs worth it.

Q5. Are there different fish and food coolers?

There is not much of a difference between fish coolers and food cooler except maybe in the size and design. They tend to work in the same way, and for the performance, you will have to take a look at the same features. However, the size will differ to accommodate your catch.

These coolers are also much easy to clean and odor resistant. With this feature, the smell of the fish goes away easily. The inner layers are also much stronger so that in case a sharp object touches them; they cannot easily be torn down.


After looking at the article, you may have learned enough to know the best features in the best kayak cooler bag. You may have finally have had an idea with our value section, and we hope a few of your queries are cleared.

Keeping in mind all the factors the value section has described and the product reviews, we have deduced a winner.

For us, the winner hands down is the AO cooler. These coolers have the biggest advantage in being highly portable with their good style and design. The portability checks off perfectly on these coolers.

These coolers also have the potential to hold much weight without a problem. Though they may have their flaws, we understand no product is perfect, but these coolers come pretty close to perfection and mark themselves as the best kayak cooler bag according to our research.