Best Soft Cooler for Kayaking

There is nothing more relaxing and relieving than spending your time outdoors, away in the water and knowing you can reach for a cool drink or snack anytime you wish to. Or knowing that any fish you catch put there as an adventurer or fisherman will still be fresh at the end of the day. This is where a soft cooler comes in handy. 

One of our greatest investments when it comes to on water activities is a soft cooler. As an outdoor person, we feel you should have one. In this article, we will give you features to look out for when buying a soft cooler, as well as our top three soft coolers you can go for. 

​Buying Guide for a Soft Cooler

Just like any items, there are features that you may need to pay good attention to so as to get the best soft cooler- one that fits your needs and fits in your boat.

Size

The size you will settle for depends on the size of your kayak, and what you are bringing along with you. Measure the storage compartment size of your kayak first before embarking on shopping spree. With this, it will be easy for you to buy the right size of a cooler. Once you have settled on the right size of the cooler, you can estimate the amount to stuff you carry in it.

Maybe you are looking for a cooler that can hold a number of items for multiple day kayaking. Or a cooler that support your catch as a fisherman as fresh as possible. Or maybe a one day out in the waters relaxing and you need a couple of drinks and bites. Whatever your needs, they will help you choose the right size.

Material

Some coolers are made of soft material whereas others will be made of hard materials. This is actually one of the biggest distinctions when it comes to the material of a cooler. As usual, each material has its pros and cons.

Soft coolers are made of laminated and insulated cloth material. The good thing about this material is that it is flexible, lightweight, and can be fitted into any space. On the negative side, this material is less durable compared to hard coolers.

Hard coolers, on the other hand, are made of rubber or firm plastic material. If you are more durable and watertight.

Waterproof

Most soft coolers are waterproof, and some will be air tight and leak proof. A waterproof soft cooler is ideal in case you find yourself in a wet situation. This will protect anything inside the soft cooler.

If you will be fishing when out there, or you are a fisherman looking for a soft cooler, consider buying one with a drain plug. It is also very important to ensure that the gaskets and O rings of the soft cooler are intact when you are buying a soft cooler or when maintaining it.   

Color

Dark colors absorb heat, if you remember your elementary school education really well. It is not ideal to have your snacks, catches or drinks warming up in a cooler while still on the water. Buy a soft coolers that is light in color or white. Grey or light grey is used in most coolers because it resists stains compared to white, and does not absorb heat.

Our Best Soft Coolers for Kayaking Picks


​IceMule Classic Coolers 10L

Outdoor Veteran Rating: Great


Bottom Line: If you are looking for a soft cooler that is waterproof, easy to carry and passes as a backpack then the IceMule cooler is the right choice for you. 


The Lowdown

​Size

​Measures 8” * 16” and can 4 bottles of wine plus ice or fit 6-8 cans and ice. 

Material

​Made of MuleskinEV that makes its inner and outer layer durable and tough to withstand any condition.

​Waterproof

​Has welded seams and no zippers that helps in keeping it waterproof.

​Insulation

​Has a polar layer that keeps contents cold for up to 24 hours.  

Pros  

  • Has IM Air-valve that allows air to flow freely in the insulation layer.
  • It is small in size making it light in weight.
  • Easily portable and van be carried as a backpack.

  Cons

  • It is a small size if you are looking to carry more than 8 cans or 4 bottles with you.

​IceMule Classic Coolers 10L Review:

​One of the things we love most about the IceMule is its ability to rollup. This makes it easy to fit it in any storage compartment of a kayak. Additionally, its padded back-strap make it easy for one to carry it on their back- as a back pack.  

It is made of MuleSkineEV material, which is 2 timers thicker than that of most coolers. The good thing about this material is that it provides the polar layer with more protection. It is also very tough and can withstand tough conditions. This also makes it very durable.

When it comes to insulation, you can be assured that your drinks and snacks will be kept cool for up to 24 hours. This is good especially if you will be out there all day. Its polar layer has an IM Air-valve that allows air to circulate. This enhances insulation, to help keep contents cool.

The Ice Mule is an ideal soft cooler for one looking for an easy to carry soft cooler. 

See it in Action


​AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler 36

Outdoor Veteran Rating: Great


Bottom Line: ​This is a perfect soft cooler for multiple day outdoor activities, with a guarantee to keep contents cool for 24 hours in 120 degrees weather conditions, and is durable.


The Lowdown

​Size

​Measures 14”*7”*12” and can hold up to 36 cans.

​Material

​Made of canvas on the outside and TPU liner on the inside making it durable.     

​Waterproof

​It is waterproof and has a leak proof liner.

​Insulation

​The inner cell of the cooler is made of 3/4” thick material, with high-density for excellent insulation.

Pros  

  • Guaranteed to keep contents cool for 24 hours in 120 degrees weather conditions.
  • Has an adjustable shoulder strap that is also removable.
  • It is approved for airplane carry-on requirements.

  Cons

  • This size is a bit big in size compared to the others.

​AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler 36 Review:

This is a perfect cooler if you are looking for one to be using when out there on the water- whether relaxing or fishing. It is also good for other activities such as picnics, sporting events or hunting. We also love the fact that it meets airplane carry-on requirements. In case you are flying out to a lake side for a day you can count on it.

It has a removable shoulder strap that you can remove in case you do not want to carry it on your shoulder. The side pocket on the cooler can be used to store your dry items.  

The AO Cooler is fitted with high quality TPU liner, which guarantees no leakages. This also helps with the breathability of the cooler. Additionally, the material is resistant to tears, abrasions, and impacts.  

The inner insulation of this cooler is ¾” thick and of high density. This combinations makes it possible for the cooler to store contents cool for 24 hours in weather conditions of up to 120 degrees.  

See it in Action


​Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Line

Outdoor Veteran Rating: Great


Bottom Line: ​This is a cooler that can keep your ice for 24+ in a 100 degrees environment, with a nylon material designed to not rip, and can be custom embroidered and personalized for you.


The Lowdown

​Size

​Can carry up to 24 cans plus ice or 8 bottles plus 5lbs of ice and measures 16”*8”*10” on the inside.  

​Material

​Outer shell is made of Nylon with double hemmed seams and anti-microbial FDA Food-Grade TPU double coated nylon on the inner shell. 

​Waterproof

​The outer material of the cooler is made of nylon making it waterproof.


​Insulation

​Has a 1” thick insulation foam that can keep ice for 24 hours in 100+ degree environment.

Pros  

  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Has an adjustable shoulder padded strap.
  • Can be personalized and customized to your liking.

  Cons

  • A bit pricey compared to others but worth it.

​Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Line Review:

​The material used to make both the inner and the outer shell of this cooler are nothing but excellency. The outer shell is made of 1000-denier luggage grade nylon with double hemmed seams. This makes it durable and hard for it to rip off. The inner shell is made of FDA approved anti-microbial TPU double coated nylon material. The inner shell makes the cooler safe for perishable consumables.

For insulation, the inside of the Polar Bear cooler is made of 1” thick 10 gauge high-density foam, which helps it keeps ice cool for 24 hours in a 100+ degrees.

The bottom saddle of the cooler is made to provide excellent support and durability, making it easy to conform sturdiness once you have packed your items.

For comfort when carrying it, the shoulder strap is padded and you can adjust to your liking. The cooler also has heavy duty ykk buckles on the side, zippers and 4 tie downs.

See it in Action

Final Note

Nothing can beat a cold drink out there on the waters on a hot, sunny afternoon. What better way to preserve your snacks and drinks as cool as possible as with a perfect soft cooler? What you need to keep in mind is getting a soft cooler that will fit in your kayak, and one that is easy to carry. A soft cooler also needs to be waterproof so as to keep your stuff dry. We have recommended three soft coolers because we know with them, you will not be disappointed. Each has its own pros and cons, but they are guaranteed to serve you and make your day an amazing one when out there.  

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