A successful fishing trip often involves more than catch and release. For serious anglers who want to keep their catch and enjoy the rewards of their efforts later as a meal, it’s important that they have the right cooler to preserve their fish.
Thanks to recent innovations over the last few years, many brands in the outdoor industry have started producing coolers that far outperform those that were used by fishermen or women just a few decades ago.
With so many new brands and cooler options, it can be hard to understand if it’s really worth it to spend hundreds of dollars on something as simple as a cooler.
Knowing whether a particular type of insulation material is actually worth the cost and also whether all of the features many premium coolers offer can be a tough call for most anglers.
In this article, we will explore some of the best fishing coolers that are currently on the market, as well as some of the characteristics and performance capabilities you should look for when it comes to purchasing your next cooler.
Best Fishing Coolers
It’s hard to find a cooler that offers premium quality cold capability along with all of the features that serious fishing enthusiasts demand.
Many brands are known for producing these super premium cooler models, but sometimes the price can be just too much for what you’re actually getting out of the product.
The Seavilis Roto Molded Cooler with Wheels is a model that is arguably the best fishing cooler for the money that’s currently on the market. They are sold in three sizes that include a 45, 50 and 70 quart model.
The Seavilis Roto Molded Cooler is made of the toughest material you’ll find and it’s actually able to float if it does happen to go into the water. This means you’ll be able to bring this cooler along when you float down the river, or if you’re going on a multi-day offshore fishing adventure.
Every angler knows that carrying a fully-loaded cooler is never fun, but this model features wheels that actually make it easy to maneuver on the dirt, or the boat dock. Each of the components are made with high quality materials, from the stainless steel handle to the military-grade handles.
You’ll also find that this cooler is capable of holding ice for up to a week or even longer in cooler temperatures. It’s easy to see why this one is at the top of our list and if you’re looking for the absolute best cooler in the outdoor industry, this is one that deserves consideration.
There are plenty of brands in the outdoor industry that offer coolers at a premium price.
In many cases, these coolers are slightly more expensive than they probably should be, but there are a select few that produce solid products that are actually worth investing a few hundred bucks into if you’re a serious angler.
The Landworks Rotomolded ENHANCED Ice Cooler is one of those coolers that’s worth the cost as this one is easily among the best coolers you’ll find today.
The cooler offers a simple, practical design that’s made with rotomolded material, which is extremely durable and able to block out external heat to keep your cooler’s interior freezing-cold. The walls of the cooler are 3 inches thick and the top closes with a commercial-grade freezer gasket that works to trap the cold inside and make sure it doesn’t seep out.
Landworks designed this cooler with virtually everything an avid angler needs on the water. It has a drain plug, ergonomic handles, a built-in bottle opener, leak-proof lock and many other things that appeal to anglers. The best thing about the Landworks Rotomolded cooler is that it’s not over-priced and is actually worth the money you’ll invest.
It’s no secret that Yeti makes some of the top coolers in the outdoor industry and has been producing exceptional models for several years now.
The YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler is easily one of the best coolers you’ll find today, but we have chosen to place this cooler at our No. 3 spot simply because its price is likely to be outside of what most anglers are willing to pay for a fishing cooler.
However, if you’re going to invest in a solid product that will serve you well on long fishing trips in extreme environments, this might be the one for you.
It’s capable of holding 55 pounds of ice when fully-loaded; it is known to hold that ice without melting for at least seven days or more in 90 degree heat. This is Yeti’s very first cooler with wheels and it certainly lives up to the hype that’s been built up around it.
The wheels, like the rest of the cooler, are incredibly well-made and durable enough that you won’t have to worry about one popping off when you’re wheeling your cooler onto the boat deck or offloading with a full load of keepers.
The handle is made so that one or two people can pull it together, making it a breeze to move from one location to another. The Yeti Haul is the perfect blend of toughness and performance that serious anglers are looking for in a cooler.
Engel might be among the lesser-known cooler brands in the outdoor industry, but their products are quickly gaining a reputation for being made of premium quality materials and able to perform when you need them to.
The aptly-named Engel 65 High Performance Hard Cooler is another solid addition to our list and one that is made for fishing.
The company boasts that this cooler is able to hold ice for as many as 10 days at a time, which has been proven by anglers who have used it in various locations.
This kind of ice-retention capability makes it possible for you to go on a fishing trip that’s more than a week-long and still have cold food and drinks or a place to store your catch. Rugged durability is what the Engel 65 High Performance is all about as this one is also bear-resistant.
RTIC is a brand that has emerged in recent years as real competition for the likes of Yeti and other premium cooler companies.
The RTIC Hard Cooler is a worthy addition to our list of the best coolers for fishing and is packed with outstanding features and great quality that combine to make this one arguably the best value for the price.
It offers heavy roto-molded construction and similar rubber latches that have become popular on the top brands and models of fishing coolers. It’s advertised to hold ice for as many as 7 days at a time, but the cooler’s seal is not quite as solid as other top models.
This cooler offers many of the features you’ll look for in a great fishing cooler, but some of the components like the handles, drain plug, and other features are not quite as well-made as other brands.
Nevertheless, it’s a great choice for anglers who want durability and a moderately lightweight cooler that they can take anywhere.
The Engel Cooler/Dry Box is an option that doubles as a capable cooler that you can take on fishing trips or any other outdoor adventure, or use as a means to keep your most valuable equipment and belongings totally dry during your exploits.
This model is a bit smaller, but it’s perfectly-made for kayak anglers who are looking for a more compact cooler that also offers rod storage and enough durability to handle anything they encounter on the water.
The plastic material this cooler/dry box is made of is not quite as thick and won’t hold ice for as long as some of the models we’ve already mentioned, but it will serve as a cooler that can hold up to 45 pounds of ice and four built-in rod holders.
It features the old-school style stainless steel latches that are more prevalent on toolboxes, but the Engel Cooler/Dry Box offers a solid gasket seal that will keep the heat out and the cold air intact without leakage.
The majority of anglers will likely be looking for a more budget-friendly model than some of the ones we’ve already mentioned on our list.
The Igloo Outdoor Sportsman Series is easily one of our top picks when it comes to fishing coolers that deliver quality without the hefty price tag.
This cooler has all the same features you typically need for a serious fishing, but is made with slightly lesser quality components and materials than the top brands’ products.
The cooler is made with a thick polyethylene material and features UV inhibitors that help block the sun’s rays from penetrating the cooler’s interior and making your ice melt.
It offers a threaded drain plug that allows you to connect a garden hose to for easy drainage and cleaning, as well as an extendable carrying handle that folds in to let you make use of as much space as possible.
The Igloo Outdoor Sportsman Series cooler is capable of holding ice for as much as 5 days, which is plenty for most anglers. You’ll probably find that this cooler gives you everything you need for a price that’s much more appealing than most premium options.