Being out and about doesn’t have to mean you can’t take your own food and drink with you. These days the fantastic range of coolers available means you can take any perishables with you, as long as they fit into your choice of product.

If you are a keen sailor, a good quality cooler on your boat is essential. Without one, you really are in the middle of nowhere with nothing fresh to eat or cool to drink. Imagine a hot summer’s day, laying back on the deck and reaching for a warm beer. Not quite the same, is it?

The biggest factors to consider when choosing a cooler are size, drainage, insulation and gasketing.


The bigger your cooler, the more you can fit in. Sounds straight forward! However, you will also need to fill it with more ice. If it is not completely full, you will also need to cool all the air in the empty space, therefore wasting thermal energy. Make sure you choose one that is big enough for your needs only.


A cooler with a removable plug is ideal, so that you can drain it when done but hold onto chilled excess water while it is still useful. After all, thanks to the power of physics we know that cold water is more efficient at cooling your drinks than cold air.

Insulation and Gasketing

The more insulation your cooler has, the better. Simple. A thick gasket will prevent air from escaping from your cooler and melting the ice. So make sure you consider these 2 important factors carefully and use some foam tape if your cooler doesn’t have sufficient insulation and gasketing.



So bearing all this in mind, here are some of the best coolers currently in the market.

Yeti Tundra Cooler

This functional cooler is extremely durable, manufactured from roto-molded polyethylene. YETI’s PermaFrost insulation is pressure-injected, giving incredible thermal resistance for wonderful ice retention. The T-Rex lid latches have been made with patent-pending technology, so as well as having a pretty cool name, they also keep the lid securely closed and are very durable.

The YETI Coolers ColdLock Gasket ensures that heat is locked out and cold is sealed in, just want you need from a cooler. It is also UV resistant, making it ideal for summer trips, and the handles are made from marine-grade nylon rope.

This cooler is built to be grizzly proof, so this is a must for anyone staying overnight in bear country.


ORCA Cooler



This top quality cooler has much to offer and is 100% manufactured in the USA. It has a lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured that this product won’t let you down.

It features integrated insulation for maximum cold temperature retention and will keep your food and drink fresh for up to 10 days. Perfect for those sailing holidays with friends. The lid gasket ensures a perfect seal, so you won’t need to worry about air escaping. It even has flex grip handles to make it easy to transport.

This is the 58-Quart version in tan but it comes in a variety of sizes and colors, making it easy to find one to suit your needs and style.

Pelican Elite Cooler

This has extreme ice retention due to a 2” polyurethane insulation, with a 360 degree freezer-grade gasket that retains ice for up to 10 days. It also features a leak-proof drain plug, non-skid rubber feet and 4 self-draining cup holders.

The molded handles and tie-down slots make it easy to move between destinations and there is an integrated measuring board on the lid in both centimeters and inches. They really have thought of everything, for it even has a stainless steel bottle opener.

This product is manufactured in the USA and you can be sure of its fantastic quality and durability. It has Pelican’s legendary lifetime guarantee, so even if you break it, they will replace it for you. However, you would be hard pressed to do that!


Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler

This cooler comes in ten different sizes, meaning there is one to suit everyone. The liner is stain and odor-resistant and there is a threaded drain plug for a hose hook-up. It has an Ultratherm insulated body and lid, so you can rest assured your food will stay cool and fresh.

This fantastic cooler even has UV inhibitors to protect against sun damage, making it ideal for long, lazy summer days. You won’t need to worry about finding shade to keep it in and it makes it a much more durable product.
It has reinforced comfort grip handles to make it easy to carry, so you won’t need to worry about getting it from the truck to the boat. Igloo really have thought about everything, adding an integrated fish measuring ruler to the lid!


Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler

This good sized cooler comes in a variety of colors and holds a total of 85 cans at once, making it perfect for group gatherings and trips out on the sea. It features stainless-steel handles, with rubber grip for easy transportation. The solid steel latch seals content securely, for up to 10lbs of force.

Drainage won’t be an issue for you with this cooler, as it has a leak-resistant channel drain for no-tilt draining. This means you don’t have to break your back trying to get rid of the water once finished! It is also rustproof, making it ideal for the deck of a boat. It is easy to clean, so you can keep the lovely bright color looking vibrant and eliminate any germs left behind from open food.

This beautiful retro design is reminiscent of the classic design developed in 1954 and the Have-A-Seat lid allows you to sit and relax wherever you are. Perfect.



Whichever cooler you choose, be sure to get the right size to suit your needs and remember to clean it out thoroughly in between uses. Look after your cooler and it will look after you, for years and years to come.

featured image from flickr – Zachary Collier