5 Best Fishing Coolers [2021 Reviews]

There is quite a bit of work that goes into preparing for a fishing trip and making efforts to actually catch fish, but some anglers don’t consider everything they’ll need once they have their catch. It’s highly important that any avid angler has a good fishing cooler since this will help you keep your fish cold and preserved while you’re on the water—even when the temperatures outside might be extremely hot.

If you’re a seasoned angler and have been fishing for a number of years, you’re already aware that there are numerous brands that produce fishing coolers. Some of these companies have a higher reputation than others and it’s often hard to sift through all of the different makes and models to figure out just what type of fishing cooler you really need. 

We’ve done most of the research for you and compiled a list of the best 5 fishing coolers you’ll find on the market today. You can also use the buyer’s guide in this article as you search for the cooler that best fits your needs. 

Quick Summary – Best Fishing Cooler

ON SALE $137.02 OFF
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler Desert Tan
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so...

Why Do I Need a Fishing Cooler?

Most anglers can simply use a livewell in their boat to store their catch while they’re out on the water, but eventually, if you want to keep any of the fish you’ve caught, you’ll have to bring along a good fishing cooler. It’s also a necessity that you bring along a cooler for your food and drinks since most fishing trips will require you to spend several hours at a time out on a lake, river, or the open ocean. 

Whether you’re using the cooler for food and drinks, or to store your catch, it’s always good to have a cooler that will keep the interior contents cold, no matter how hot it gets outside. Most of the best times to fish in any part of the world will be during the spring or summer months when it’s especially hot outside. A cooler is, by far, the best means to preserve your fish from the heat and other elements, and make sure that it remains fresh until you bring it to shore. 

If you are looking for a fishing cooler for your kayak then have a look at this article.

Fishing Cooler Buyer’s Guide 

There are some very important tips you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to shopping for a good fishing cooler. Among all the many brands and models that are available online or in large retail stores, a few specific areas of importance will help you determine which coolers are better than others. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and get a cooler that’s a bit more budget-friendly, you can pick out the specific areas of importance and look for coolers that deliver on those areas while still being priced at an affordable rate. 

Insulation 

When it comes to purchasing any fishing cooler, the most important thing you’ll want to look at will be the insulation capability. This is basically the cooler’s ability to keep the contents cold and preserved, despite what the outside temperature might be. Several new brands have emerged in the last decade and many of them are geared toward offering premium-quality coolers that have outstanding insulation. 

Brands like Yeti, Rtic, Pelican, and others have quickly established a reputation among anglers in the fishing industry for producing top-notch coolers that are able to keep ice for more than a week in some cases. These coolers are able to do this thanks to thicker, more dense insulation material that has been scientifically developed over the last few decades. You can usually equate the level of thickness of the cooler’s insulation to the quality of its insulation and ability to keep ice. 

Some brands do produce a more lightweight material that is not quite as thick as others, but still somehow able to keep its interior contents ice-cold. These models are typically made by companies that create products which are much more expensive than your average fishing cooler. 

Capacity 

Some anglers require a larger cooler while others can usually get by with a medium or smaller size. The size difference is usually dictated by the size of the fish you plan to catch. If you’re an avid offshore angler who routinely goes after massive fish like wahoo, tuna, snapper and others, You should choose a cooler based on the amount of items you plan to keep inside, or ice you’ll need to adequately store your fish. 

If you’re a kayak angler or if you plan to go on a short morning or afternoon fishing trip, you won’t need an overly large cooler with lots of capacity. If you’re fishing on a boat and plan to be on the water all day, you’ll need a cooler that can keep a good amount of ice, which should be at least 45 quarts of capacity or more. 

Size 

The size of a fishing cooler and its capacity go hand-in-hand, but it’s important to note that you should be aware of the specific size cooler you need if you’re limited on space in your boat or kayak. You should consider the size of your boat and think about whether or not a cooler is capable of fitting on board comfortably, or if it might take up too much space and be hard to store. Another important aspect of fishing coolers that you need to pay close attention to is the overall weight, especially when it’s fully loaded with ice or anything else. 

Ice Retention 

Among the best fishing coolers and the most popular brands on the market today, you’ll usually find that companies advertise that their coolers are capable of keeping ice for a specific amount of days at a time. Some of the premium-quality cooler brands are well-known for being able to keep ice for up to a week or more at a time, but others might not fully deliver on the timeframe they claim that their cooler model is able to store ice without melting. 

It’s important to read through as much information about the specific cooler you’re looking to purchase. By checking the reviews and reading what other real customers have to say about a cooler, you’ll have a much better grasp of just how long it can really keep ice. This is especially important if you’re fishing in a very hot environment with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Most premium coolers are designed to hold ice no matter what the outside temperature is, but others that are not as well-made might be more susceptible to experiencing faster melt times in extreme heat. 

Durability 

In most cases, you won’t need a fishing cooler that is built like a tank, but some anglers who venture into the deep wilderness might actually require a cooler that’s predator-proof. Some of Yeti’s newest models are actually made to withstand a curious bear’s attempts to get into the cooler and find out what’s inside. If you are going to be traveling through more rugged areas with rivers and predators, it’s a good idea to invest in a cooler that has better overall durability. 

As for the average angler, you still need to pay close attention to the durability level of the cooler you’re considering. Some brands have a better reputation than others when it comes to toughness and this more or less comes down to the components and materials used to make the cooler. 

Portability 

Most anglers are content with lugging their cooler onto the boat and fishing all day. For some, it’s more important to have less difficulty in moving their coolers from one location to another. This is especially important if you’re fishing solo and have a fully-loaded cooler that might weigh more than 100 pounds. Getting a cooler with wheels, or one that can be worn as a backpack is a smart move depending on where and how you plan to fish. Some coolers are built to be easily moved while others might be more difficult to carry and unload. It’s a good idea to consider the overall portability of a cooler before purchasing. 

Best 5 Fishing Coolers 

1. YETI Tundra 45 Fishing Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler Desert Tan

There’s little dispute among most anglers that Yeti is the premier brand in the outdoor industry when it comes to producing the best fishing coolers. Their products are made to a much higher standard than most others and their coolers outperform most other brands by a large margin when it comes to the length of time they’re capable of storing ice. The YETI Tundra 45 Fishing Cooler is easily our No. 1 pick when it comes to the top fishing coolers for a number of reasons. 

While there are some brands that are slightly more expensive than Yeti and might offer a few more appealing features, the overall package of the Yeti Tundra 45 Fishing Cooler is a better deal. The Tundra series comes in a wide variety of different sizes with the 45 being the most popular because it holds a decent amount of ice while being able to be carried by a single person if needed. 

It’s made to be one of the most durable fishing coolers on the market and is actually considered to be bear-proof as well. The cooler is made with a 3-inch thick insulation that’s made of polyurethane foam which is formed through a pressure-injection molding process. The Yeti Tundra 45 is a solid option for virtually any type of fishing and is capable of holding ice for up to a week or more in the right conditions. 

The Tundra 45’s capacity is enough to hold up to 26 cans and the cooler even features a small dry goods basket that helps you store certain items in your cooler without letting them contact the ice. Yeti coolers are known for their superior durability compared to other brands, so if it’s ruggedness that you’re looking for, there are few other companies that can match the toughness of a Tundra 45. 

The cooler is also relatively lightweight at just 23 pounds. This weight is due to the thick composition of the Roto-molded material that the Tundra 45 is made of. It’s understandable that most anglers simply can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a fishing cooler, but for serious fishing enthusiasts who require the best out of their gear and equipment, it makes sense to invest a little extra to purchase a product like the Yeti Tundra 45. 

ON SALE $137.02 OFFBestseller No. 1
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler Desert Tan
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so...

2. Igloo 25 Qt BMX Cooler

Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler with Cool Riser Technology, Fish Ruler, and Tie-Down Points - 11.29 Pounds...

Igloo is one of the most well-recognized brands in the fishing industry. Their products have been used to store ice and fish for decades and the company has taken steps in recent years to compete with the faction of super-premium fishing cooler brands while still offering products that the average angler can afford. The Igloo 25 Qt BMX Cooler is an option that we very well could place in our top spot, but we believe it deserves to be No. 2 for a few good reasons. 

First, if you’re looking for a relatively compact cooler that you can easily take on a kayak, canoe, or other small fishing vessel, this is an ideal model. The Igloo 25 Qt BMX is also small and compact enough so that one person can carry it without too much trouble as it only weighs 11 lbs. This cooler is made to have much of the same durability you might find with a Yeti or other premium brand, but without the hefty price tag. 

The Igloo 25 BMX is made of heavy-duty blow-molded material and is reinforced to withstand impacts or pressure while keeping the contents of your cooler well-protected and ice-cold. It features the new style of rubber latches, as well as the capability to hold ice for as much as 4 days in extreme heat. If you’re seeking a more affordable option compared to the Yeti Tundra, the Igloo 25 Qt BMX is a solid alternative. 

ON SALE $9.99 OFFBestseller No. 1
Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler with Cool Riser Technology, White
  • STURDY LATCHES & ERGONOMIC HANDLE: The BMX cooler comes with a unique t-grip latch system. The...
  • HEAVY-DUTY CONSTRUCTION: This insulated cooler was blow-molded for added durability. Coupled with...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & KEEPS ICE FROZEN: Externally, the cooler measures 19. 59" L x 13. 25" W x 15. 70" H....

3. Coleman Marine 150 Cooler 

Coleman 3000001526 150Qt Marine Cooler, White

The most skilled anglers rarely find the need for a cooler with a sleek, ergonomic look. What a true fisherman typically looks for is performance over anything and Coleman is a brand that produces some of the best fishing coolers for the price. The Coleman Marine 150 Cooler is a model that’s designed for anglers who require plenty of capacity and has enough room to fit a cooler of this size on board their boat. 

This cooler is very popular with offshore anglers who usually have to store large-size saltwater species, but it is also used by fishing guides that like to load down their cooler with a client’s limit of crappie or other type of fish. The Coleman Marine 150 Cooler is incredibly lightweight compared to other premium models when you factor in its size. At just 18 pounds, this cooler is very easy to handle when empty or when you need to clean it. Coleman also equipped this one with a leak-resistant drain, which also helps to get rid of excess water when you need to throw more ice on your catch. 

It’s 150-quart capacity is big enough to hold up to 223 cans and there’s almost no limit to the types of fish you’re able to fit inside the Coleman Marine 150. The price is also one that most anglers can afford and is a great bargain if you’re in the market for a cooler that offers more space than anything else. 

ON SALE $38.67 OFFBestseller No. 1
Coleman 3000001526 150Qt Marine Cooler, White
  • Insulated cooler keeps items cold for up to 5 days at temperatures up to 90 degrees F
  • Xtreme technology with extra wall insulation for long-lasting ice retention
  • 150-quart capacity holds 252 cans and offers room for the day’s catch

4. Calcutta Renegade Hard Cooler 35 Liter

Calcutta Renegade Hard Cooler 35 Liter

Calcutta is a new brand that recently hit the market and is one of the few that’s actually capable of keeping up with the likes of Yeti, Pelican, Rtic and other premium cooler companies. This one is similar to the Yeti Tundra, but offers a few bells and whistles that make it more appealing to some anglers in comparison. The Calcutta Renegade Hard Cooler 35 Liter is another option that we could place in our top spot, but it is offered at a price that beginner or novice anglers will usually not be willing to pay. 

The Calcutta Renegade series comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors that lets you select the one that’s just right for your needs. The cooler is made to hold ice for up to 5 days in some circumstances, but the coolest feature, by far, is the interior lighting system. The Calcutta Renegade is designed to eliminate the need for shining a flashlight into your cooler to grab a drink, or throw another fish inside. The lighted drain plug operates with 100 lumens and is ideal for night fishing scenarios. 

This cooler is also made with extreme durability as the roto-molded material is similar to what you’ll find with other premium brands. The insulation is not quite as good as most Yeti models, but it is close to being as effective when it comes to storing ice for many days at a time. Best of all, the Calcutta Renegade comes with a 5-year warranty. 

Bestseller No. 1
Calcutta Renegade Hard Cooler 35 Liter
  • HARD COOLER: Calcutta’s Renegade high-performance cooler is roto-molded for the toughest...
  • ICE RETENTION: The roto-molded construction keeps it freezing cold inside, and dry outside. Keep...
  • FLOODLIGHT: The oversized drain plug features a built-in 100 lumen LED light. No more fumbling...

5. Arctic Zone Titan Guide Series Cooler

Arctic Zone Titan Guide Series 30 Can Backpack Cooler, Blue

There are a number of different backpack cooler models on the market today, but few are as well-made as the Arctic Zone Titan Guide Series Cooler. This model is perfect for kayak anglers and anyone else who needs to have the ability to pack a cooler with them many miles into the wilderness with ease. The Arctic Zone Titan Guide Series keeps your hands free to allow you to carry other gear and is surprisingly effective when it comes to keeping your cooler’s contents ice-cold for many days. 

It is made with a leak-proof lining that features Microban material, which is designed to eliminate the potential for bacteria and odors to develop inside the cooler over time. The cooler is very comfortable and offers plenty of compartments for you to store a variety of food, drinks and almost anything else you need to have on the water or for a hiking and camping trip deep into the wilderness. 

The price of the Arctic Zone Titan Guide Series is obviously a bit more than most backpack style cooler bags, but it’s well worth the investment for those who are serious outdoor enthusiasts. 

Bestseller No. 1
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless Cooler, Blue
  • Deep Freeze high performance insulation with radiant heat barrier reflects heat rather than...
  • Patented, "flip open" Zipperless lid allows for quick access to food and drinks; Features FDA...
  • Features an Ultra Safe leak proof, easy clean interior lining; Includes insulated front pocket

Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Donny Karr
 

Donny Karr is an avid outdoorsman and writer whose work has been featured in magazines and websites for nearly a decade. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the southeastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, The Outdoor Trip, Man Can Outdoors, Global Fishing Reports, and Bassmaster.