If you're a lover of fishing or outdoor activities, a marine cooler is a basic necessity that is going to come in very handy. Not only are they great for keeping your catch fresh, but they are also useful for keeping your drinks cool too.
Ideally, you want to invest in a cooler that is sturdy enough to withstand the harshness of a fishing environment with a spacious capacity and good ice retention too.
If you're yet to find the best marine cooler, we have done the hard work for you and reviewed five of our top picks below, along with our handy buyer's guide with our top tips for choosing the best product.
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Best Marine Cooler - Comparison Table
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For our top pick, we have selected the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler. Available in six different sizes, with the smallest starting at 30 quartz and the largest at 94 quartz, you are bound to find one with the storage capacity to suit your needs.
Constructed with UV inhibitors your cooler is going to be protected against any sun damage, ideal as this cooler is likely to be exposed to warm weather for considerable amounts of time.
The hinges are made from Riteflex resign which is a strong material that is flexible and chemical, and temperature resistant. It is also able to withstand impact too so it is unlikely to damage easily.
With a stainless steel lid strap and screws that are rust-resistant, this cooler is going to survive the harsh conditions that it is likely to come into contact with, in the marine environment when fishing.
This cooler is easy to transport, thanks to the non slip handles for improved comfort and ease when carrying this cooler in wet conditions.
The YETI Tundra 45 cooler is our next choice for you. This cooler has a spacious capacity that combines durability along with versatility, with the space to store around 26 cans at once.
The 3-inch permafrost insulation keeps ice in its shape for several days which ensures that it is going to keep the content cool and chilled for a considerable amount of time.
The extra thick FatWall design ensures that this cooler is bear-resistant too if you should happen to be confronted with one of these on your trips.
This is a very durable and sturdy product with a rotomolded construction helping it to stand up to the rigors and harshness of any journey or environment that you are faced with.
The T rex lid lathes are made of rubber which is heavy-duty and maintains its quality reducing the risk of the latches breaking easily. It also keeps the contents of your cooler secured too.
The front handle makes this cooler easy to transport in between your locations.
Next up we have chosen the Coleman Coastal Xtreme series marine cooler. Available in three sizes, 28, 70, and 120 quarts. The 28-quart size can hold up to 36 cans at once.
This stylishly designed cooler has a sturdy handle for easy portability. The lid of the cooler incorporates two molded cup holders for convenience to keep your drinks close.
Usefully this cooler has an A seat lid for those occasions where you find yourself needing to take a place to sit and rest.
The retextured top accounts for quick and easy cleaning after it has been used. Incorporating Xtreme 3 Technology, ice will remain cool for up to 3 days even when faced with temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is also an environmentally friendly option with Thermozone insulation that contains no CFCs, HFCs, or HCFCs which can negatively impact the ozone.
With the addition of a UV color additive, this protects the cooler from sun damage whilst preventing any yellowing occurring along with any weakening of the cooler case.
The RTIC ice chest hard cooler is our next choice for you. A great cooler for many occasions, not just fishing. Designed with Roto molded construction, heavy-duty T latches, and a freezer grade gasket, this is a great quality cooler that is going to store all of your necessities with ease.
The 3 inch insulated walls work to keep the ice cold for a number of days. The cool lift design incorporates molded side handles for easy portability and transport to your location.
These are also made from rope which makes them much more flexible to carry whilst remaining strong too. Also, two people can carry this cooler using these handles if needed.
As a cooler with 45-quart insulation, the food and contents are going to remain fresh for a prolonged length of time, particularly useful if you are likely to partake in long fishing expedition trips.
The latches of this cooler have been designed with UV protection so that they can maintain their quality even following exposure to consistent sunlight. It copes well in the sea saltwater environment too.
For our final choice, we have selected the Pelican Elite cooler. This 30-quart cooler has a large volume for storing all of your essentials.
With two inches of polyurethane insulation, this accounts for powerful insulation and the 360 degree freezer grade gasket delivers extreme ice retention to keep all of your contents cooler for longer.
The press and pull latches also allow you to open and close the cooler with ease.
The over-molded carry handle makes this cooler easy to transport on your expeditions. The locking latches and lockable hasp make this a sturdy product that can be closed securely.
The nonskid rubber feet keep this cooler in place preventing it from moving around which can be inconvenient.
Usefully the design of this cooler incorporates four self draining cup holders which are super convenient for holding your drinks whilst you fish.
Conveniently this cooler also features a built-in bottle opener which is handy if this is a feature that you are likely to get use out of..
Best Marine Cooler - Buyers Guide
Finding the best marine cooler can be a little difficult as there are so many different options available on the market. Before investing in your marine cooler, there are many features that you will want to consider to ensure that you're selecting the right one to suit your needs.
We have listed some criteria below that are worth considering before choosing your product.
The size and The Storage Capacity
It is worth considering the size of the cooler that you choose as this is going to be influenced by factors such as height and width. Ultimately the size is also going to affect how easy it is to transport this cooler between locations and also storing it in your car during the journey.
The storage capacity is important in regards to insulated and non insulated coolers and is dependent upon the amount of space that you need to store your fish or other necessities.
Some coolers come with chilled and unchilled partitions which are useful in serving as a dual-purpose product.
A cooler with a capacity of 50 quartz is going to provide you with lots of room whilst a cooler with a capacity of 6 quarts is going to be smaller.
Consider the items that you are already going to be carrying besides the fish that you catch, to evaluate the capacity of the cooler that you require.
Of course, a very important aspect is the insulation duration, some will be more effective than others. A worthy cooler will offer insulation that can store items keeping them cool or cold for a decent amount of time and definitely for the duration of your trip.
Some will last for a few hours after adding ice, bigger coolers, particularly those made from plastic are likely to last for around a day. Some cheaper coolers may be capable of lasting for around 2-3 days whilst those that are more expensive are more likely to last for around 4-6 days.
Of course, another important consideration is how easy the cooler is to transport. Effectively constructed handles whether this is side handles, lid handles, or straps, in the case of soft coolers, are going to make this task much easier, particularly if you have to transport this cooler for a distance before reaching your location.
If you have a large cooler or you to travel for a while on foot, then the addition of wheels is going to save you the task of carrying the weight and instead you can pull it behind you.
The Material Construction
Different brands construct coolers using different materials, one of the most common being plastic. Importantly it is lightweight and waterproof and durable against any bumps or damage. In the construction of marine coolers, metal is now a material that is commonly used.
Although it's not as common to find a cooler with a complete construction from metal, there will be different aspects that incorporate this material such as the handles, hardware, and zippers.
Fabric is a very popular option, particularly in the case of soft cased coolers, the types of fabric used can differ depending on the brand, and the quality of this fabric depends on the amount that you invest in it.
As a cooler is expected to be used for lengthy periods outdoors, then it is important to select one that is waterproof. This is going to prevent you from being confronted with a faulty cooler that leaks when you are caught in a downpour.
A waterproof cooler is going to hold out against the bad weather conditions effectively, without any deterioration in quality.
As with most purchases, marine coolers can vary in price. The more basic models are going to retail at cheaper prices, while the more advanced models are going to be a little more expensive. Other factors that are likely to influence the price of the cooler that you purchase are the size, the insulation level, and the material construction.
This is worth paying attention to if you have a particular budget in mind in regards to how much you want to spend on your cooler.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a marine cooler?
Marine coolers are constructed to withstand the extreme conditions that they are often confronted with during boating. They are rust-resistant, slip proof, and also UV protected which helps to maintain their quality regardless of the situation that they are used in.
As well as offering more insulation than a standard cooler, some may also incorporate a gasket in the lid which works to keep the heat out during the summer.
A marine cooler also comes in useful for other outdoor expeditions too aside from fishing, as their strong and robust design makes them much more durable and they are unlikely to become damaged easily.
What's the difference between a normal cooler and a marine cooler?
The main difference to note between a marine cooler and a regular cooler is that a marine cooler tends to have thicker insulation to keep the contents cooler for longer.
As they are exposed to the sun for longer periods than a standard cooler, the insulation can have a big effect on the ice retention of your cooler.
In regards to the products that we have mentioned, many of them appear to have a sturdier and more industrial design than a standard cooler.
This is because they are more likely to be confronted with harsher environments so they need to be durable and robust enough to withstand these settings without becoming damaged or deteriorating in quality.
Why do marine coolers tend to be white?
You will find that marine coolers tend to be white in color as this tends to deflect the most sun and heat helping to keep the contents cooler for longer.
As marine coolers tend to be used for longer periods they need this effective UV protection to maintain a decent amount of ice retention.