A Cool Solution Why Kayak Coolers are the Way to Go

A Cool Solution: Why Kayak Coolers are the Way to Go

Nothing beats taking a break on glittering waters after a challenging paddling session and taking a long pull from a cool beverage in the warm sun. But maybe you prefer a refreshing drink while lazing on the sand after battling some rapids. As different as these situations are, they both require one thing – a cool drink. Well, maybe two things. You’ll need a cooler for those drinks (and any perishable snacks, too). 

But do you need a kayak cooler, or will just a regular cooler do? It’s a pressing question, but relax. We’ll take you through the pros and cons of each so we can help you answer this important decision.

Do they Make Coolers Specifically for Kayaks? 

Yes, yes they do. Kayak coolers are exactly what they sound like a cooler specially designed to be tucked into your kayak. Kayak coolers are (for obvious reasons) smaller and more compact than traditional coolers, but this just makes them more portable. They’re easy to carry and paddle around. Most kayak coolers are made from hard plastic or molded foam to withstand your paddling adventures. 

The Classic: Traditional Coolers 

Sometimes you just can’t beat the classic choice. A traditional cooler is the larger, box-shaped cooler you probably pictured when we mentioned coolers. Their added size means traditional coolers hold a significant amount of food and drinks, often enough for several days of camping.  These coolers are typically made of hard plastic or metal. They’re also designed to keep food and drinks cold for longer periods. Traditional coolers come in a wide range of sizes, from small to large, and an even bigger assortment of shapes and colors.

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Advantages of Kayak Coolers

Compact and Portable

One of the biggest advantages a kayak cooler has over its traditional counterpart is its compact size and portability. Since they’re designed to fit perfectly in a kayak, and not sink it, they’re exceptionally lightweight. This makes them pretty easy to carry around on land, too.


Kayak coolers are designed to withstand the elements. They are made of hard plastic or molded foam that can withstand the rigors of kayaking, including rough handling or sudden impacts. Your snack and beverages will remain safe. Many kayak coolers are also scratch resistant, so you don’t have to worry about wear and tear too much.


Kayak coolers keep food and drinks cool for a shorter time period but are still well suited to a day trip. Most will keep your food and drinks cool for up to 24 hours despite using less ice than a traditional cooler. That’s less to shop for, pack, and carry, making them score major points for efficiency.


Although they are made for your kayak, these coolers aren’t limited to just kayaking. They’ll come in handy for all sorts of outdoor excursions, including picnics, hiking, camping, or even a day at the beach. They easily fit in the trunk of your car and are easy to carry. 

Advantages of Traditional Coolers


One of the most obvious advantages of traditional coolers is their capacity. They come in sizes that range from small to extra large, but even a smaller traditional cooler will hold more than what fits inside your kayak. These are the coolers you bring on longer trips, camping, or even to keep guests refreshed at backyard parties.


Traditional coolers are easy to find and buy. They’re available at most stores or online. You’ll be able to choose from a dizzying array of shapes, colors, sizes, and materials, right down to a traditional cooler styled after your favorite sports team. Whatever your specific desires, it will be hard not to find a traditional that checks every item on your list. 


Traditional coolers are more affordable than kayak coolers, which are specialized pieces of sporting gear. These coolers, on the other hand, are available at nearly every price point, making them accessible to everyone. If you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll still be able to find a decent traditional cooler that does the job. 


Traditional coolers are highly customizable and can easily have accessories added to them. There are wheels, handles, and even cup holders to make them more convenient than they already are. The previously mentioned endless choice of colors and designs make a traditional cooler an easy choice for those who want to express their style. 

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Choosing the Right Cooler for You 

Ultimately, the right cooler for you will come down to three main factors: your personal preference, budget, and purpose. A day-long kayaking trip or short picnic makes a kayak cooler a no-brainer choice. But if you’re planning a long camping trip or a backyard party, a traditional cooler is likely the better option.


Before choosing between a kayak cooler and a traditional cooler, consider why you need a cooler in the first place. Picture yourself in the future scenario using each kind of cooler first. Are you planning a day trip or a long camping trip that will last several nights? Does the cooler need to be easy to carry and more portable? Do you even have enough space to store a larger cooler at? 


Consider your budget when choosing a cooler. As a specialty item, kayak coolers are generally more expensive than traditional coolers. So if budget is a major factor in your decision, it’s probably best to start with traditional coolers. 

Personal Preference

A cooler isn’t all utility. It can also reflect who you are and your individual tastes. Maybe you prefer a compact and portable cooler. Or maybe your priority is the ability to store as much food and drinks as possible. Do you want something customized and unique, or do you just want it to be easy to use?

Both kayak coolers and traditional coolers have advantages and disadvantages. The portability, durability, and efficiency of a kayak cooler is a convincing argument against the traditional cooler’s bulk and heft. On the other hand, traditional coolers have more capacity, and are widely available, generally affordable, and highly customizable. Ultimately, it’s your choice and it needs to be based on your individual purpose and budget. 

FAQS ABOUT A Cool Solution: Why Kayak Coolers are the Way to Go

Are kayak coolers more expensive than traditional coolers?

Yes, as a general rule kayak coolers are more expensive than traditional coolers. Their unique design and focus on compactness and durability mean more specialized materials and manufacturing techniques are needed to make them. 

How long can a kayak cooler keep food and drinks cool?

Kayak coolers usually keep food and drink cool for up to 24 hours. However, that can easily vary depending on factors like the outside temperature, how much ice is used, and what, exactly, is being stored in the cooler.

Are traditional coolers heavy and difficult to carry around?

Traditional coolers can be heavy, especially when fully loaded with food, drinks, and ice. But most traditional coolers come with handles or wheels to make them easier to move around and they usually only need to be put in one spot one time.

Can I use a kayak cooler for camping or backyard parties?

Yes, you can use a kayak cooler for camping or backyard parties. Depending on how many guests you have, however, you may need to add a larger cooler or pack additional ice as well.  

Can I add accessories to a traditional cooler to make it more convenient?

Yes, you can add accessories to a traditional cooler to make it more convenient. Many traditional coolers come with accessories such as wheels, handles, and cup holders. Additionally, you can purchase accessories separately, such as dividers or trays, to help organize your food and drinks inside the cooler.


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