The 10 Best Marine Coolers

Updated May 03, 2017 by Sam Kraft

10 Best Marine Coolers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Given the wide variety of high-performing marine coolers available today, the old one that’s been sitting in the garage for ten years just won’t cut it anymore. Choose from our selection to find a model that will significantly enhance your next fishing or camping expedition, allowing you to keep your food and beverages cold for up to a week, and even put some of your catch on ice. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best marine cooler on Amazon.

10. Rubbermaid 150-Quart

The extra-large Rubbermaid 150-Quart features wide, rugged handles that make it easy for one person to lift it with both hands. It does have drawbacks, as its plastic hinges are rather flimsy, and it probably won’t keep ice for a full week.
  • cupholders for 20-ounce bottles
  • liner is odor-resistant
  • plastic bottom is quite thin
Brand Rubbermaid
Model FG2B8001TRWHT
Weight 29.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Pelican ProGear Elite

The solid and effective Pelican ProGear Elite can retain ice for an impressive 10 days, thanks to its thick two-inch polyurethane insulation. This model is fully guaranteed for life, so you'll never have to go out and buy another one.
  • watertight freezer-grade gasket
  • latches keep it firmly closed
  • very heavy even when empty
Brand Pelican
Model 32-45Q-OC-TAN
Weight 41.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Camco White Caribou

The Camco White Caribou is a smart choice if you’ll be on the water for multiple days in a row. Its sealing gasket keeps cold air inside and prevents hot air from getting in, and its convenient tie-down locators ensure its stability when you’re fishing or hunting.
  • reversible feet for versatility
  • rubber latches will not rot or crack
  • ramped drain for easy water flow
Brand Camco
Model 51870
Weight 32.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Coleman Esky

The Coleman Esky is packed with useful features, like a scratch-resistant exterior that will easily absorb the abuse that typically accompanies a wilderness adventure. Thanks to its airflow barrier and 2.5-inch insulation, this model will retain ice for more than a week.
  • comfortable rope handles
  • dual drains for fast water removal
  • features a fish ruler
Brand Coleman
Model 3000002625
Weight 62.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

6. Igloo Marine Breeze

Ideal for small boats or day outings at the beach, the Igloo Marine Breeze features a locking telescoping handle with a push button to easily adjust its height. Its strategically placed rear wheels make it possible for adults and kids alike to roll this one with ease.
  • slots for mounting cupholders
  • molded side-scoop handles
  • available in 3 sizes
Brand Igloo
Model 45106-PARENT
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

5. Igloo Glide Pro

Despite its extensive 110-quart capacity, the Igloo Glide Pro is easy to maneuver and transport by utilizing the leverage its slide-and-lock telescoping handle creates. It’s relatively lightweight and versatile given its rock-solid build and zinc-plated hinges.
  • durable oversized rally wheels
  • built-in fish scale
  • water-resistant exterior
Brand Igloo
Model 45184
Weight 31 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

4. Yeti Hopper Flip

Just because it isn’t the full-sized version, don’t let that deter you from the Yeti Hopper Flip. Designed specifically to accommodate 12 cans with ice, this option’s closed-cell foam insulation and leakproof zipper will keep your brews ice-cold all day long.
  • resistant to mold and mildew
  • wide opening for easy access
  • detachable shoulder strap
Brand YETI
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. NorChill BoatBag

Anglers, kayakers and beach-goers can all agree on one thing – the NorChill BoatBag is easy to use and highly effective. It comes with a two-year warranty, won’t break the bank and should last for years with a tear-resistant nylon outer.
  • shell is uv-resistant
  • heavy-duty ykk zipper
  • fabric is toxin- and lead-free
Brand NorChill
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Coleman Coastal Xtreme

Designed with innovative technology to protect it from the sun’s rays, the Coleman Coastal Xtreme features extra insulation to keep the interior ice-cold for the better part of a week. If used as a chair, it can support up to 250 pounds.
  • holds more than 200 cans
  • lid includes cupholders
  • smooth surface easily wipes clean
Brand Coleman
Model 3000002458
Weight 21.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Yeti Tundra

When you think of the wilderness, what comes to mind? Grizzly bears, the northern lights and the Yeti Tundra would all qualify as correct answers. Heavily armored with three inches of advanced insulation, nothing’s getting into this model unless you allow it.
  • comes with dry goods basket
  • durable interlocking hinge design
  • rubber feet prevent sliding
Brand YETI
Model 65W
Weight 33.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Why Marine Coolers Need To Be Different Than Standard Coolers

Are marine coolers truly any different than standard coolers? This is a common question from people shopping for a new boating cooler. After all, marine coolers can be anywhere from 50% to 100% more expensive than a similar sized standard cooler and it is natural to want to save money. While there may not be a noticeable difference at first glance, there are indeed many differences between the two that make marine coolers better suited to boating.

First consider the conditions a marine cooler is often subjected to as opposed to a standard cooler. This will help one better understand why a marine cooler needs to be built differently. Marine coolers are exposed regularly to water, sometimes fresh water, sometimes saltwater, but either way they are wet a good amount of the time. They are also generally left in direct sunlight for days at a time and subjected to hard impacts consistently as a boat plows through the waves. They are also kept on a surface that is rolling and pitching, which could result in them sliding all over the place.

On the other hand, standard camping coolers are often left in shady spot under a tree or in a tent. They rarely get wet, and if they do, they dry off quickly. They also aren't knocked around all day long, instead sitting firmly in one location, often on soft ground. Since standard coolers may need to be carried for a long period of time in order to get them to the camp location, they will need to be lighter than their marine counterparts or include wheels to make transportation easier.

Features Of Marine Coolers

Marine coolers are designed and built to withstand harsher conditions. Many make use of a denser plastic or roto-molding, which is more durable. This allows them to be knocked around on a boat as it crashes through the waves, with less chance of the bottom corners cracking. They also make soft sided marine coolers, which won't hold ice as long, but can be better for smaller boats where space can be an issue.

Marine coolers are also made with stainless steel hardware so they won't rust when exposed to saltwater day after day. If a standard cooler is used in a saltwater environment, the hinges will often rust and break after a relatively short period of time. Even if used in fresh water applications, it is not uncommon for the hinges on standard coolers to rust out after just a few months.

Marine coolers are also built for extended ice retention and have better insulation. They have the ability to keep ice frozen and fish cold for five days, and in some cases even longer. Some of the best marine coolers are capable of retaining ice for seven to ten days.

Generally, marine coolers are all white. This is because they are intended to be left in the sun all day long and white does the best job of reflecting the sun's heat. Reflecting light and heat can make a big difference in how long a cooler is able to retain ice. In addition, nearly every marine cooler has built-in UV protection. This helps them retain their bright white color and reduce the chance of the plastic cracking from brittleness with extended sun exposure.

Many marine coolers are also built with some kind of non-slip footing to reduce the chance of them sliding off the boat or crashing into a wall as you hit a big wave. In addition to non-slip footing, the better marine coolers will also have tie-down holes. This allows them to be securely tied down while still keeping the contents accessible.

Other features one might expect to find in a marine cooler include a cushioned top, which is ideal for center console boats that have limited seating areas, and measurements integrated into the top, so one can quickly measure their catch.

Choosing The Right Marine Cooler

The ideal cooler for your needs will depend on the type of boat and the application. If you have limited space on your boat or often crowd it full of people, a soft sided cooler might be a good choice. They can be squeezed to fit into nooks and crannies where hard coolers won't fit, plus as the contents are used, they can be further compacted to open up more space for passengers to lounge. If you are going on a multi-day trip, a soft sided cooler may not be ideal as they generally only hold ice for one or two days.

If you often go out on rough days with heaving seas, consider a roto-molded cooler. These can withstand serious impacts without cracking. They also have super durable, rust-resistant hardware and T-latches that keep the tops firmly closed in all conditions. The majority also feature self-stopping lid hinges, which prevent the lids from falling backwards, as well as non-skid feet and tie down holes.

Roto-molded marine coolers are also ideal for multi-day trips as they can hold ice anywhere from five to ten days. If you don't need the most durable cooler on the market, the cost associated with a roto-molded marine cooler may not be worth it.

There are also a number of other non roto-molded marine coolers that can hold ice for five days and are built to withstand a good amount of impact, but cost considerably less. These can be ideal for sailboats as they won't require the same level of durability, but will still need to retain ice.



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Last updated on May 03, 2017 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.


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