Whatever type of paddling you do, a cooler makes a very handy addition to your watersports kit. A cooler will keep your drinks and food cold, and also protect them from water. Some coolers even double as watertight storage areas for all those things you need to take on a paddling trip but cannot afford to get wet, such as your cellphone, GPS, emergency flares, or camping kit.
You can get soft-shell coolers that are basically insulated bags to hard plastic boxes with hinged lids. Coolers are available a range for sizes, from compact to family sized.
Compact coolers are ideal for solo days out, while bigger coolers are perfect for a group of paddlers and overnight camping trips.
If coolers have a drawback, it is that they usually take up a lot of space. That’s not such a problem if you have an open kayak or stand up paddleboard. You can just sit and secure them on your deck with bungees. But, if you have a sit-in kayak, you don’t really have much space for a cooler. Also, some larger capacity cool boxes are too big to fit on anything but a large-capacity canoe.
If you are struggling to accommodate a cool box on your kayak or paddleboard, there is another option to consider – a floating cooler.
What is a floating cooler?
As the name suggests, floating coolers are designed to float in the water and tow behind you. As well as being insulated, which helps keep their contents cool, they are partially submerged in water, which helps keep them even cooler. Most floating coolers look something like mini-kayaks and are streamlined so that, despite their weight, they don’t slow you down and won’t tire you out.
There are a few different types of floating coolers available, but the 30-quart CreekKooler model is by far and away our favorite.
The Best Floating Cooler – CreekKooler Review
This floating cooler looks a lot like the waterproof hold featured on many sit-in and sit-on kayaks. The lid twists on and off for easy access to what is a surprisingly spacious insulated storage area. As well as keeping the contents cold, this cooler is also watertight, so you could also use it for storing other items, such as food, clothing, or even a small tent or camping stove.
In simple terms, it adds a lot of storage space to your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard without the inconvenience of having a cooler on board with you.
- 30-quart capacity
- Foam insulation
- Threaded, watertight lid
- Large opening for easy access
- Four built-in cup holders
- Twin padded carry handles
- Flag holder for increased visibility
- Towing points at either end
- Available in five colors
- 5 inches long x 21 inches wide x 12 inches deep
In many ways, when it comes to transporting food, drinks, or extra kit, this product is a much better option than on-deck cooler boxes. It takes up no extra space, pulls along nicely behind you without affecting speed or handling, and dramatically increases the amount of kit you can take on a paddling trip. It’s also universal so that you can use it with your kayak or paddleboard – no need for a different set-up for different watercraft. Just attach it to an appropriate anchor point using a nylon rope and carabiner, and you are all set.
- Built to last
- Easy to use
- Light and easy to transport
- You can match the color to your kayak or paddleboard
- Should stay colder for longer than a deck-top cooler box
- The tow rope may not be visible to other water users
- It could capsize in heavy weather
The CreekKooler is an innovative piece of kit. It makes transporting and keeping food and drink cold a breeze. It won’t leave you cramped on your paddleboard or in your kayak, and it provides more space than most compact-sized cool bags and boxes.
If there is a downside, it is that the rope connecting the cool box to your watercraft could be hard to see.
Other users could conceivably travel over the rope and get tangled in it. This problem is easily remedied by using a short towline and fitting the float with a warning flag, both of which we highly recommend.
A floating cooler is an excellent alternative to a more traditional deck-top cool bag or box. Because you don’t have it on or on your boat with you, it won’t take up valuable space. Once you have loaded it, secured the towline to the back of your kayak or paddleboard, and set off, you can pretty much forget it’s there until you need it. The cup holders are a nice touch, too, so you can use it as a floating table whenever you want to take a break from paddling.
All in all, we love this floating cooler and think that, in many ways, prefer it to regular cool boxes or bags.