Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler
Large portable cooler ideal for boating and fishing trips.
120-quart capacity holds up to 204 cans
Insulated lid and walls provide 6 full days of ice retention at temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler
Ultratherm insulated body and lid
Stain and odor resistant liner
UV Inhibitors to protect against sun damage
Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler
The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
Will keep your ice… well ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is certified Bear-Resistant
The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so wherever you decide to take it

Best marine coolers

If you are in the market for a marine cooler, you have come to the right place. They may seem like basic items, and I am sure that you are expecting them to be cheap, but in reality, things are a bit more complicated than that. It was a surprise to learn that myself. Who thought that a marine cooler is so much different than a regular cooler?

Why is a marine cooler different?

You would think that a cooler is just a cooler. Of course, you have the option of choosing between hard-sided coolers and soft coolers, but marine coolers distinguish themselves from the rest by having more features that are essential when you are at sea. It seems that the harsh conditions they may be exposed to are a huge factor in their manufacture. You may have no clue what I am talking about, so I am just going to underline the differences between a conventional cooler and one that you need to take on a boat.

  • More efficient ice retention – when you buy a regular cooler, you need the ice inside to last for a day or two so that you can keep your food fresh and your beverages cold when you go to a picnic or camping. However, trips at sea may last longer than that, which is why marine coolers need to have better ice retention. You need the cooler to maintain a low temperature for days. Some models can keep the ice for 10 days, which is by far different than a regular cooler. Also, people who go on fishing trips need a cold place to keep their bait, so a regular cooler cannot handle the job.
  • More insulation – it is kind of self-explanatory that a cooler that is able to keep ice for days has better insulation, right? In fact, marine coolers are designed with thicker insulation than you have ever seen before. That may make them bulky, but that is the only way of keeping the ice inside for that long. Moreover, people who go on fishing trips need such thick insulation because it gives them the opportunity to freeze the fish they catch. That would not be possible otherwise.
  • No colors for marine coolers – if you browse a bit through marine coolers online, you will notice that most of them are all white. Why do you think that is? Because white does not attract sunlight like colored coolers. The white reflects most of the sunlight, and since marine coolers sit in the sun most of the time, the fact that they are white help with the ice retention.
  • They have UV protection – if you keep a regular fridge outside, what do you think it will happen to its color? It will go yellow in a while, will it not? Marine coolers do not, however. They have special UV protection coating that protects them against UVs. They will maintain their white color for very long.
  • Their components that do not rust – as you may very well know, at sea, the air is humid, and since the water is salty, it is dangerous for all components on board, not only to the coolers. That is why marine equipment, even electronics, are specially designed to withstand the salty water. Marine coolers are no different, and they have stainless steel components so that they do not rust. Of course, you can probably see that a marine cooler is mainly made of plastic and insulation, but latches and hinges can rust, and nobody likes that.
  • Non-slip features – a boat is not the most stable environment, which is why it is important for a marine cooler to have a non-slip mechanism. Manufacturers use different ways to achieve that. The cooler either comes with non-slip feet or they are designed to fit into mounting hardware and tied down.

How to choose the best marine cooler

Once you get to the purchasing part, you need to pay attention to a few things so that you can make the right decision. There are a few factors that you need to consider, and they are as follows:

  • Size – not all boats are created equal, which means that the size of your marine cooler depends on the size of your boat. Just look at the measurements and see if the product you like fits where you want to put it. If you have a bigger boat, that should not be an issue, but you still need to decide on the size of the marine cooler you want to purchase.
  • Ice retention – manufacturers usually let you know how long the marine cooler will keep your ice intact. While you may want to get the marine cooler with the most extended ice retention, you should know that there is no point in buying one that keeps the ice for 10 days when your fishing trips last only 2 or 3. After all, the longer the ice retention, the higher the price.
  • Durability – as you can imagine, a marine cooler will go through some circumstances that require it to last. The elements at sea are not the most forgiving. However, they are usually built to last. Some models come with a lifetime warranty, and they are ‘bear proof.’ Not that you will meet too many bears at sea. The point is that the more durable the marine cooler is, the longer you will be able to enjoy. After all, that is the goal here.
  • Non-slip options – as I mentioned somewhere above, marine coolers can either be mounted, or they come with non-slip feet. The point is that you absolutely need such a feature. Otherwise, your cooler will go from one side to the other everytime the boat is rocking. The non-slip feet may seem a little bit easier to handle because mounting requires a mounting kit, which is usually sold separately. However, the mounted marine cooler will be better secured in place.
  • Additional features – when looking for extra features, make sure that you get something that you can actually use, not gimmicks. For example, you can look for a model that allows the placement of a cushion on the lid. On a small boat, that comes in handy because there is some extra space where you or your friends can sit. Also, some marine coolers have a measurement market on the lid. That will let you measure your catch right after you catch it. You can find it in centimeters or inches.

What are the best marine coolers?

If you are looking for the best marine cooler, all you have to do is use the information provided above. Reading some marine coolers reviews online could also help because that way you can make sure that people who have already bought a particular product are satisfied with it. If none of that is to your liking, you can choose one of the three marine coolers below.

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler

Click here to buy it on Amazon

Coleman is a significant cooler manufacturer that produces a wide range of such products. Anything from soft coolers to marine coolers can be found in their catalogs and the best thing about it that the products are high-quality but not very expensive. This particular product is a large portable cooler that is ideal for any boat. It has a capacity of 120 quarts, which is supposed to hold about 200 cans.

The Coleman Coastal is very efficient when it comes to ice retention. The insulated lid, as well as the walls of the cooler,  can keep your food or drinks on ice for up to 6 days. Of course, as long as the temperature outside does not exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If that happens, the ice retention period will shorten a bit. As for durability, I do not think you have to worry about it. The hardware is made of stainless steel, and the exterior of the cooler is protected by UVGuard. As a result, the marine cooler from Coleman will maintain its integrity for years.

As for other features, I am sure you will find all of them highly useful. The threaded drain is leak-resistant, and you do not have to tilt the cooler. The manufacturer added an antimicrobial additive that keeps bacteria at bay inside as well as outside. You can move the cooler on its wheels, and the two side-handles will help you achieve that with ease. Also, as a bonus, you have a tray and cutting board included for when you want to prepare your catch. I would say that for the money you spend, you get both quality and functionality.

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler

Click here to buy it on Amazon

I always thought that naming a marine cooler ‘Igloo’ is very suiting, and this product stands up to the name it was given. You can choose from a variety of sizes, depending on what you are looking for. The smallest is a 28-quart marine cooler, and the largest has a capacity of 128 quarts. As you can imagine, the color is white.

As for the ice retention capabilities, this marine cooler will keep the ice intact for 3 days in average temperatures. After those three days, the ice will start to melt, but you should be fine for another couple of days. The liner is designed to be odor-resistant, and the coating will not allow stains to stick around. The UV protection will protect the cooler against yellowing so that it remains as good as new for years. The cooler also features a threaded drain plug so you can hook up a hose.

The screws, hinges, and latches of the Igloo marine cooler are all made of stainless steel so that they do not rust because of the salty marine environment. On the larger models, you will find velcros on the lid so that you can install a cushion. As a bonus, the manufacturer added a cutting board and a food tray to the cooler for easy food preparation.

Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler

Click here to buy it on Amazon

I saved this for last because I wanted to build-up to it, so to speak. The Tundra might as well be one of the best marine coolers ever built. Of course, as you could have expected, the price is not quite low, but you will get a top-shelf product that you will be able to enjoy for many years to come.

Thanks to the PermaFrost insulation, you will be able to enjoy ice cold drinks even after four days. The cooler has an extra thick FatWall design. The temperature exchange is difficult to achieve. As for durability, you can check all online resources to make sure, but this marine cooler is bear proof. It is virtually indestructible thanks to the Rotomolded construction. You basically have an armored marine cooler that can withstand anything.

The Tundra cooler features a T-Rex lid latches. They are made of heavy-duty rubber, and the manufacturer owns a patent over the technology just so you know. The latches on the Tundra will never break, and that is a guarantee. Inside, you will find a dry goods basket, and the non-slip feet will keep the marine cooler in one place. I am sure you will like it.

My recommendation

When it comes to making a choice, I find it easy this time. It comes as no surprise that my favorite marine cooler is the Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler. It is an outstanding product that is highly efficient and durable. It is one of the few models that have colors other than white, which I understand the purpose for. However, this marine cooler is so well insulated that its color does not bear much weight. It is that good. I think it is one of the best marine coolers on the market.

Conclusion

Keeping your beverages cold and your fish on ice while you are sea it is just as important as keeping your food in the fridge at home. That is why you need to invest in the best marine cooler you can afford. I am sure that one of the models above will do just fine. Click here to buy on Amazon

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