Having a fishing cooler nearby is always a good accessory to have whenever you’re heading out on a fishing trip or just heading down to your nearby lake to cast some lines.
These days they’re quite portable and they can easily be brought with you whether you’re heading out onto the boat, kayak, or if you’re just fishing off the pier.
With a fishing cooler you’re able to make sure that anything that you catch stays fresh until you’re able to get home, prepare it, and then toss it in the refrigerator or cook it up for a nice dinner.
You can also use the cooler for keeping cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks, and anything else you might want to eat throughout the day that you want kept cold and protected from the elements.
After catching a fish it’s not really a good idea to leave it out in the sun since UV light can have an impact on how it tastes and even the spray of salt water from the ocean around you can also impact the taste.
Not only that but keeping a fish that you just caught in a cooler will also help to protect it from any surrounding harmful bacteria as well as keep out any contaminants such as dirt, dust, or debris.
Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing or where you’re casting your line there are quite a few different colors to choose from and it’s possible to find one that’s very well suited to your needs.
Before going over my recommendations for the best fishing cooler I want to discuss some different things that you should consider before picking up a new one.
Fishing Coolers: What to Consider
It’s a good idea to be prepared for the type and size of the fish you’re going to catch and this means using a cooler that’s able to hold anything you catch with hopefully enough room to spare.
When you’re first getting started or you don’t plan on catching too many fish then you could just use a smaller cooler but if you’re heading out for a full day or multi-day fishing excursion then you might want to consider grabbing something bigger, especially if you’re going to be catching much bigger fish.
The size is important because you don’t want to run out of space and have to throw away a fish because you’re not able to transport it properly and you also don’t want something too big that you’re never going to take full advantage of.
Surprisingly enough there are quite a few different features and accessories that fishing coolers come equipped with these days.
I prefer the more basic ones but it’s possible to find coolers that have rod holders, dividers, and even cushions that you can use for sitting on while you’re fishing.
When it comes to the different accessories it really depends on what it is you’re looking for whether you want some insulators or you want to find one that has tie down kits, it really depends on what you need when you’re out on the water.
This is why I recommend taking a look at all of the different features and accessories that the different coolers have to offer and seeing whether or not they’re something that you’re able to take advantage of while you’re out fishing.
Like I mentioned, I like the more basic ones because they’re easier to deal with but it’s really up to you to decide on the different features and accessories that you want.
Another important factor to consider when you’re in the market for a new fishing cooler is the material that it’s made from as well as its overall design.
I recommend looking at ones that seem durable, sturdy, and is going to hold up to regular use.
Something small and flimsy likely isn’t a good idea if you’re doing a lot of fishing though you don’t need to go all out if you’re just fishing every few weeks.
I also recommend avoiding any coolers that use a lot of styrofoam because I really don’t like keeping fish inside these coolers for too long and I suggest keeping an eye out for ones made from sturdy, hard plastic materials, or even aluminum or metal if you want something really heavy duty.
Finally, you should set a budget that you’re comfortable with spending before picking up just any old cooler.
There are quite a few different options available for a wide range of different prices so after sitting down and deciding what the different features and accessories that you want are you should set a budget and then take a look at the different options available in that specific price range.
Again, this is just my opinion, but it’s better to spend more if you’re doing a lot of fishing on something heavier duty and that’s more durable and if you’re not doing too much fishing then you can go with a more affordable, reasonably priced option.
The Best Fishing Cooler
Now that I’ve gone over some of the different factors that you want to consider before picking up a new cooler let’s take a look at some of my recommendations.
When it comes to the best coolers for fishing these are just some of my recommendations that I’ve stumbled across during my own hunt for a suitable cooler to use and I believe that this is a great starting point if you’re searching for one to use on your own.
Engel USA Cooler
Depending on what you’re looking for the Engel USA Cooler is available in a few different colors and it’s possible to choose one that comes with rod holders or without.
Personally, I prefer the one that comes equipped with the 4 rod holders because I think that it’s great having these holders that are able to keep my rods upright without me having to prop them against the car or lay them down on the ground.
As for this cooler, it’s completely airtight and watertight so you don’t have to worry about any water or dirt or debris getting in once it’s closed and it’s made from a hard-plastic polypropylene material that keeps it lightweight, durable, and easy to transport.
There are 4 rod holders, 2 on each side of the cooler, and you can use these for sliding your rod in with the reel attached if you’re looking to do something hands-free without having to worry about your fishing rod.
Opening and closing the cooler is done with a pair of lashes that really help to keep the top shut once you latch it up and there’s a carrying handle on the top that makes it easier to maneuver around and carry.
On the interior is a hanging tray that you can use for storing anything that you want to quickly access without having to rifle through the contents of the cooler and to make it even easier to carry it comes with a shoulder strap that offers more support and control when you’re carrying it around.
Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler
The Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler is pretty nifty because it comes with a long handle and a set of wheels so you can just wheel it around instead of carrying the entire thing in your hands.
It also comes equipped with drink holders, two of which are molded directly into the lid, and 2 more that you can hook onto the corners of the exterior of the cooler.
This is the one that I stumbled onto when I was looking for the best fishing cooler with wheels and I think that it’s quite well-designed.
In the lid is an additional storage compartment that you can keep quick access items such as keys, your smartphone, or anything else you want to be able to quickly reach without having to go inside the cooler or into your car.
the cooler itself is made from a high density plastic material and the plastic even features UV inhibitors that help to protect against sun damage and direct UV rays.
I really like the telescoping handle along with the two wheels because I find that this makes it a lot easier to wheel around and I especially like the detachable fishing rod holders so that when I’m heading out to the dock or to the nearby lake I just have to pull the cooler rather than having to carry everything awkwardly.
For lifting it in and out of your car or picking it up off the ground there are side handles that are also moulded into the plastic material and depending on the size you need there are a few different sizes to choose from such as a 28 quart, 50 quart, and 60 quart size cooler.
AO Coolers Water-Resistant Vinyl Soft Cooler
The AO Coolers Water-Resistant Vinyl Soft Cooler is a soft cooler, unlike the hard sided coolers that I’ve mentioned already, and it’s quite portable as it’s designed somewhat like a duffle bag rather than an unwieldy and awkwardly shaped large box.
The exterior is made from a waterproof vinyl and for carrying it around it comes with a shoulder strap that can be removed as well as two normal hand straps that allow you to carry it in your hands.
As for storage, there are actually a few different sizes of this cooler available depending on how much size you need and it’s available in a 12 can, 24 can, 36 can, and even a 48 can size.
To help prevent it from leaking if any ice or liquid on the interior starts to build up there is a leak proof liner and the insulation is made from a high-density, closed cell foam that helps to keep everything inside cold, especially if you’re using ice.
As for dry storage, there is a side pocket that you can use for keeping any quick access items that you want to reach without having to go into the cooler such as keys, maps, wallets, or your smartphone.
When it comes to portability, this is definitely a cooler that I would recommend taking a look at because the soft side and duffle bag design makes it a lot more portable and easier to manage in my opinion compared to the heavier, hard shell coolers.
Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler
The Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler is huge, coming in at 120 quarts in size, and it’s possible to use it to keep the interior cool using ice for up to 6 days as long as the outdoor temperatures don’t exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
For keeping things cold for an extended period of time this is definitely a cooler that I would recommend checking out and it’s even designed using a material that helps to keep your cooler protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun while it’s left outdoors.
You can even use this one for sitting on while you’re fishing or relaxing because the lid is able to support up to 250 pounds in weight and it makes for a quick bench when you’re out in the wild trying to do some fishing comfortably.
Depending on how much you’re traveling with this one can hold quite a bit of cans and it also comes equipped with a channel drain that’s leak-resistant and makes it easier to drain the cooler without having to tilt it.
The handles fold up or down so that they’re not sticking out and in the way when you’re trying to transport it and they’re quite wide as well so there is much less likely of a chance of your hands getting pinched.
For even more enjoyment there are 4 cup holders molded into the lid so even when you’re sitting down you’ll have quick access to your drinks and the flat surface also gives you somewhere to prepare your fish or anything else without having to rely on the table or have to use the ground.
Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat with Insulated Cooler
The Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat with Insulated Cooler is pretty nifty and if you’re looking for a way to combine sitting down while your fishing and still be able to use an insulated cooler then this is one that I would recommend taking a look at.
This cooler actually comes with a chair built into the top and it’s able to support a weight limit of more than 350 pounds so that even if you’re a big guy you can still use this cooler to relax and get your fishing on.
Another interesting feature is that the bottom cooler part can actually be used as a cooler or you can just use it to keep anything stored that you want quick access to since there is a removable insulated foam piece that fits inside.
To make it even easier to carry there is a shoulder carry strap system that’s adjustable depending on your size and I find that this is a super versatile accessory, especially if you’re doing a lot of hunting or fishing and you don’t want to stand on your feet all day.
Not only are you able to sit down while you’re working on that lake or river beside you but you can also store your fish inside the cooler so that they’re ready for you to bring home and prepare for dinner that night or you can just store it with snacks and drinks – it’s really up to you.