Best Floating Cooler for Kayak: Top Picks for Insulated Convenience on the Water


Kayaking is a great outdoor water activity that allows you to explore and enjoy nature on the water, whether it's a calm lake or a rocky river. It's important to stay safe and comfortable while kayaking, which includes staying hydrated and well-fed. One essential item to bring on your kayaking trip is a floating cooler. A floating cooler not only keeps your drinks and snacks cool but also safe from getting wet or lost in the water.

In this post, we'll discuss the best floating coolers for kayaks, including tips on how to choose the right one for your needs. We'll also mention some alternatives to floating coolers that you may find appliable for your kayaking trip. Let's dive in!

Tips on Choosing the Best Floating Cooler for a Kayak

  • Size and Capacity: Consider the size and capacity of the cooler, depending on how long you plan to be on the water and how many people are going with you. It's best to choose a cooler that can hold enough drinks and snacks for everyone without taking up too much space in your kayak.
  • Durability and Material: Look for a floating cooler made of durable materials that can withstand being exposed to water and sun. You want a cooler that can hold up to the rough and tumble of kayaking and not easily punctured or ripped.
  • Insulation: Choose a floating cooler that provides good insulation to keep your drinks and snacks cool for an extended period. Insulation will help to keep your items cool than when stored in a regular bag.
  • Design and Ease of Use: Look for a floating cooler that is easy to use, with features such as a zippered top or lid that can prevent items from slipping or falling out. Choose a design that fits comfortably in your kayak and allows you to access your drinks and snacks quickly without disrupting your balance.

Best Floating Coolers for Kayak

Here are some of the best floating coolers for kayaking:

  1. YETI Hopper BackFlip 24: This backpack-style cooler has a 24 can capacity, is made of waterproof materials, and has excellent insulation. Its ergonomic design makes it easy to carry around, and it fits snugly in a kayak.
  2. ENGEL HD30 Waterproof Soft-Sided Cooler Bag: With a capacity of 32 cans, this cooler is made of durable and waterproof fabric, making it perfect for kayaking. It also features a leak-proof zipper and an adjustable shoulder strap for easy transportation.
  3. CreekKooler Pup Floating Insulated Cooler: This floating cooler has a unique design that enables it to go anywhere with you on the water. It looks like a miniature kayak and can hold up to 15 cans, plus ice. It's made of high-grade material (over twice the thickness of a standard kayak) that will keep your items cold for several hours.
  4. HydroFlask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack: This backpack-style cooler has a capacity of 22 liters, is waterproof and made of durable materials. It has excellent insulation that can keep drinks and food cool for up to two days. It's easy to carry, and the multiple pockets help to organize the items.
  5. IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler: This backpack-style cooler is made of tough and durable materials, has a capacity of 18 cans plus ice, and can hold ice for up to 24 hours. Its sleek design enables it to fit snugly in a kayak, and the backpack straps make it easy to carry around.


If you're looking for alternatives to floating coolers for kayaking, here are a couple of options:

  • Dry Bags with Built-in Cooler Compartments: These are dry bags that come with insulated compartments to store your drinks and snacks. They come in different sizes, and some are waterproof or water-resistant to keep your items dry, and they offer extra protection against water and moisture.
  • DIY Floating Cooler using a Dry Bag and Pool Noodle: With some creativity, you can make a floating cooler by wrapping your cooler bag with a pool noodle or any other floating device, making it ideal for kayaking. This alternative is a cheaper option that can be used to keep small drinks and snacks cool while on a kayak.

Related: Finding a Kayak Fishing Buddy Made Easy: Tips and Alternatives!


What is a floating cooler for kayaks?

A floating cooler for kayaks is an insulated bag or container designed to float on water while keeping your food and drinks cool during your kayaking trip.

What size should I choose for my floating cooler?

The size you should choose depends on your kayaking trip's duration, the number of people, and the amount of food and drinks you plan to carry. Consider a cooler that can fit in your kayak without taking up all of your gear space.

What materials are best for a floating cooler for kayaks?

Look for materials that are durable, waterproof, and tear-resistant. A durable floating cooler can handle small bumps and bruises during your kayaking trip.

How much insulation do I need in a floating cooler for kayaks?

The amount of insulation you require depends on how long your kayaking trip will last, the outdoor temperature, and how long you want your food and drinks to stay cold. Consider thick, quality insulation that will last longer.

How do I secure my floating cooler in my kayak?

Look for a cooler that has straps, hooks, or clips that you can attach to your kayak. You can also use bungee cords to keep the cooler from moving around.

Can I use a dry bag as a floating cooler?

Yes, you can use a dry bag with an integrated cooler compartment as a floating cooler for your kayak.

Can I clean my floating cooler after a kayaking trip?

Yes, most floating coolers can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or washed with soap and water.

How many days can I keep food and drinks cool in a floating cooler?

The number of days depends on factors like thickness of insulation, outdoor temperature, and the type of food and drinks you're storing. A high-quality floating cooler can keep ice frozen for up to five days.

What is the difference between a soft cooler and a hard cooler for kayaking?

Soft coolers are lighter and more flexible, while hard coolers are more durable and ideal for heavy-duty use.

What should I do if my floating cooler tips over while kayaking?

If your floating cooler tips over while kayaking, quickly retrieve it and place it on your kayak. Ensure that everything inside the cooler is still secure and no items have spilled.

Real experience

Jenny had been looking forward to her kayaking trip with her best friends for weeks. She'd spent countless hours packing and double-checking that she had everything she needed. She'd even made a detailed checklist to ensure that she didn't forget anything.

As they started paddling across the calm lake, Jenny reached into her cooler to grab a bottle of water. But to her dismay, the water was warm. She realized that the ice had melted, and her food and drinks were sitting in a pool of lukewarm water.

Disappointed and frustrated, Jenny knew she had to do something. She started researching the best floating coolers for kayaks, looking for one that would keep her food and drinks cold for the whole trip.

After much research, she found the perfect floating cooler- one that was durable, lightweight and had sufficient insulation to keep ice frozen for several days. Excited to test it out, Jenny packed her new floating cooler with ice, bottled drinks and her favorite snacks.

As she and her friends made their way down the lake, Jenny couldn't help but smile as she reached into her cooler and pulled out a perfectly chilled drink. Her friends were impressed with the cooler, and they all loved how it floated effortlessly beside them while they paddled.

It was the perfect accessory to their kayaking trip, and it made the whole experience even more enjoyable. Thanks to her new floating cooler, Jenny was able to relax and take in the beautiful scenery around her, all while enjoying her favorite snacks and drinks in perfect condition.

From that day on, Jenny never went kayaking without her trusty floating cooler, and the memories and experiences she shared with her friends on the water were all the better because of it.

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Kayaking is an enjoyable outdoor activity that requires you to stay hydrated and well-fed, and having a floating cooler is crucial to keep your drinks and snacks cool and safe from the water. When choosing the right floating cooler for kayaking, consider its size and capacity, durability, insulation, and ease of use. Some of the best floating coolers for kayaking include YETI Hopper BackFlip 24, ENGEL HD30 Waterproof Soft-Sided Cooler Bag, CreekKooler Pup Floating Insulated Cooler, HydroFlask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack, and IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler.

If you're looking for alternatives to floating coolers, consider dry bags with built-in cooler compartments or making a DIY floating cooler using a dry bag and pool noodle.

In conclusion, having a good cooler is essential when embarking on a kayaking trip. Consider your needs and preferences when choosing the right one and enjoy your kayaking adventure with all the cold drinks and snacks you want.