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Marine Coolers buying guide

Love to spend time outdoors? Never miss out on your eating supplies with the marine coolers. These coolers cater to all your necessities and keep your supplies safe.

Your hunt for the best marine cooler can be very tiresome. You will have to browse through endless webpages and refer to various reviews. What if we help you make it a little bit easier?

Just refer to this guide. You will find all the crucial aspects explained briefly for your easy understanding. Read them once, and you will feel the difference.

Without wasting any time, let’s look at a quick introduction of the product and then move further with the guide.

What are Marine Coolers, and why should you opt for them?

Whether you are an officer on a navy or sailing in the vast waters for fishing or embracing the beauty of nature, having a marine cooler next to you is the best feeling ever.

A cooler helps to keep your supplies cold for long hours. It also helps preserve your freshly caught fish. Coolers are the perfect companions on your trip to store all the essentials cool and fresh.

While you are sailing out in the unknown waters, unexpected events may show up. To be prepared for the worst is the best solution. Using marine coolers eases your task. It helps you store essential supplies like food, water, etc.

These are designed to keep your supplies cold for days altogether. Whenever you open the lid, you will always find them fresh.

Besides, if you are fishing, these coolers help to keep your baits and catches. The freshly caught fish stays protected and does not become stale.

Types of Marine Coolers

Before you conclude anything, it is better to know about the different kinds of marine coolers. To enjoy your trip without any trouble, get hold of the appropriate marine cooler. These coolers feature two significant types:

  1. Hard-sided coolers

These coolers are made using the roto-molding technique. In this technique, molten plastic is poured into a mold to build one thick piece of plastic. Because of the thick piece of plastic, these coolers are durable and sturdy.

  1. Soft-sided coolers

Made using nylon, these coolers are light in weight and waterproof. Nylon also helps in making these coolers damage-resistant. Waterproofing is the most significant advantage that these coolers have.

Apart from these basic features, hard-sided and soft-sided coolers are very much different from each other if other features are considered. Let’s compare both of them to have a clear understanding.

Hard-sided vs. Soft-sided

  1. Durability and ice retention

Hard-sided coolers are more durable than the soft-sided ones. The plastic used in them enhances durability. It also helps in providing more insulation.

When insulation is considered, soft-sided coolers fail. Hard-sided coolers have a 2-3 inches thick coating of polyurethane.

This coating prevents heat transfer. Due to the negligible transfer of heat, hard-sided coolers retain ice for a longer period.

  1. Portability

Nylon made soft-sided coolers are very light in weight than hard-sided coolers. Therefore, their lightweight feature makes these soft-sided coolers more easily portable.

Polyethylene adds weight to the hard-sided coolers. Due to this, they fail the test of portability.

  1. Carrying options

With the availability of shoulder or backpack straps, soft-sided coolers stand apart from the hard-sided coolers. These straps make it easier to carry them with your hands-free.

Hard-sided coolers have two handles that engage both your hands to lift them and carry. It becomes tiresome for you to carry them during activities like hiking.

  1. Price

Hard-sided coolers are more affordable than soft-sided coolers. The material that goes into making the soft-sided coolers makes them more expensive.

Regular vs. Marine Coolers

All the coolers are meant to serve the primary purpose, to cool your supplies. This doesn’t mean that they all fall under the same category. Regular coolers and marine coolers are poles apart from each other.

Want to know what makes this huge difference? Refer to the headings explained below to find the answers to all your questions.

  1. Strength

Marine coolers are used when you are sailing in the sea or any other water body. While being used on your vessel, they are exposed to the harmful elements of the water. They must be strong enough to endure all the adversities.

This is why coolers used for marine trips are more robust than the regular coolers. Regular coolers are meant to be used at home or any casual outdoor gathering. These cannot withstand the harsh conditions like a marine cooler.

  1. Insulation

Regular coolers keep the ‘already frozen’ items cold. They do not further freeze them. Marine coolers are just the opposite. These coolers freeze your supplies.

Freezing helps your supplies stay fresh for a longer duration. This is possible only because of insulation.

A marine cooler provides more amount of insulation than any regular cooler. This enhanced insulation aids in retaining the ice inside for an extended period. This is lacking in the regular ones.

  1. Colour

Regular coolers come in various colors, but a marine cooler does not. Since a marine cooler stays outside, sun rays directly fall on it.

Using dark colors can impact the ice retention of a cooler because these colors absorb heat. Hence, coolers that are used explicitly in ships feature lighter shades.

Lighter shades reflect the light falling on the cooler. Thus, enabling the ice inside to stay intact and not melt.

  1. Anti-rust property

A marine cooler has anti-rust properties in it. These fight against the corroding elements of the sea like salt and other minerals. Rusted coolers do not work. Therefore, your marine cooler has anti-rust properties.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Marine Coolers


A cooler features a typical box-like structure. This shape is convenient for storing supplies and transportation.

The measuring unit of the space inside the box is not in liters. Instead, space is calculated in terms of ‘quarts.’ A quarter of a gallon is called a quart that is a little bit more than 1 liter.

While searching for marine coolers, shortlist the variants that have more quarts. Ideally, a soft-sided cooler is known to have more quarts. Nevertheless, search for different types of coolers that suit your requirements and match the location you are visiting.


Materials used play a significant role in making your cooler durable and damage-resistant. It is always better to opt for marine coolers that are made using top quality material. Your cooler is made of the following materials.

  1. Plastic

Plastic is the basic material used in manufacturing a marine cooler. The advantage of using plastic is that it is lightweight, durable, waterproof, affordable, and offers adequate insulation.

But you should remember that not all plastic made coolers are the same. Some feature various plastic lining in the walls while others have only one layer.

  1. Metal

Only a few marine coolers are built with metal. Since there are chances of them getting corroded, not many manufacturers use this material. But metals are very commonly used in hinges, handles, and zippers.

Coolers made using metal are more expensive than those made of plastic. These have high visual appeal and a longer lifespan.

  1. Fabric

Soft-sided coolers are generally made out of fabrics. This makes them lightweight and waterproof. Nylon is extremely durable and not prone to wear and tear. Hence, opt for a cooler that is not made out of a low-quality fabric.

  1. Rubber

Rubber is a sturdy material and excellent to prevent heat transfer. This is mainly used in the lid of the cooler or even as drain plugs.

Ice retention

Ice retention entirely depends on the amount of insulation offered by your cooler. Higher ice retention makes sure that your supplies are protected for a long time.

Hard-sided marine coolers are great options when ice retention is considered. These coolers have thick layers of insulation. The insulating material used is polyurethane. This material helps in retaining ice for a maximum of 14 days.

To enhance the amount of insulation further, you can make use of a rubber gasket. This gasket is secured on the lid of your cooler. The rubber eliminates heat transfer, if any. This aids a lot to prevent the ice from melting away soon.

Also, as suggested earlier, look for coolers that have a lighter shade of color to decrease the absorption of heat and increase ice retention.

Strong Handles

Coolers have a heavyweight that becomes even more when loaded with items and ice. To make them easy to carry, the handles used have to be reliable.

Marine coolers make use of rubber or plastic handles that are strong and durable. These aid in lifting the heavy box and carry it to the destination. Rubber and plastic also help in a comfortable grip, and your cooler does not slip off.

These materials can also withstand rugged use and harsh conditions. These do not rust and last long.

Low Maintenance

Marine coolers are not only used for storing drinks and food supplies but also used to store your freshly caught fishes. Their large storing capacity enables you to store a large amount of fish.

Since these coolers are used while surrounded by water, they tend to get dirty and prone to damage over time.

To make things easier for you, these coolers are manufactured by using roto-molded plastic or steel. These materials are very easy to clean and require low maintenance.

What can be better than a cooler that demands low maintenance? You get ample time to enjoy yourself with your buddies out there without worrying about your cooler.

Besides, they are waterproof and damage-resistant, so you do not have to think about your cooler getting corroded. These coolers with their durable material last long, and you do not need to repair or replace them regularly.

Ease of Transportation

As you know that coolers that are made using the roto-molded technique have bulky construction. Storing your supplies adds more weight to your cooler.

This makes it challenging for you to carry it, especially when you have to walk some distance to catch your boat.

For the ease of transportation, marine coolers feature wheels and sturdy handles. These make your task easier and your cooler more portable. But remember that operating wheels is difficult when you are moving in rough terrain.

If you want a cooler that can be fixed inside your car or your boat, you need not worry about the weight. Though lightweight variants like the soft-sided bags do come, it entirely depends on your preference and the location you are going to.


Latches and hinges are used to secure the lid of your cooler in the right manner. If there is a small opening, airflow will take place, and the cold ambient inside your cooler will no longer remain intact.

To ensure that your cooler’s lid is correctly placed, search for marine coolers that feature durable latches and hinges. These make a ‘click’ sound when the lid sits on its designated place.

This is the appropriate way to ensure that your items stay protected inside your cooler and the cold environment inside is maintained.

High-Quality Lids

If you use an electrical cooler, then you don’t need to worry about the temperature inside. It will always be maintained at the same temperature that you set.

This feature is not available in marine coolers because these do not use any external power supply. Hence, to maintain the same cold environment inside, these have high-quality insulated lids.

These insulated lids cut off the heat transfer and maintain the same temperature that is ideal for keeping your supplies fresh for days.

You can also search for different types that have a rubber gasket by default. If not, you can invest in a gasket to enhance the insulating ability of your cooler’s lid.

Quick Access Hatch

If you lift the lid of your cooler regularly, more warm air from the surrounding will find its way inside your cooler. This leads to the melting of ice sooner.

To avoid this, you can always rely on a marine cooler. The best cooler features quick access hatches. These are very useful when many people are accessing the cooler. You cannot always warn them against removing the lid.

This is where these hatches come into play. These can be used to grab your stuff from the cooler without opening the lid. These are small openings and thus allow less amount of air to enter inside your cooler.

This way, your supplies will stay protected, and the compartment’s temperature will be stably maintained.

Huge Storage Space

It is always smarter to stay prepared for the worst situation. This demands for more storage. If you are traveling with your group, it becomes extremely crucial to have a cooler with extra space to accommodate everyone’s supplies.

This feature is possible only in a marine cooler. No matter how large your group is, you will always find enough room to store every individual’s stuff.

You can also opt for coolers that can hold a large number of supplies and still weigh less. Also, consider if they are easy to carry.


Irrespective of how large your water vessel is, you will have a limited space to accommodate everything.

Marine coolers being large take a lot of space. To make things work, you should search for sturdy coolers.

Sturdy coolers can endure your weight and can be used as a chair, table, or a bench. This will help you save the space that would be needed for these items otherwise. This place can then be exchanged for accommodating your cooler.


Since a cooler harbors ice, it must have some sort of drainage facility. This will enable you to drain the water accumulated inside the cooler in a hassle-free manner.

Draining water regularly after every trip becomes essential. Not only does it help you in maintaining your cooler properly, but it also eliminates the chances of bad odor to get trapped inside. Besides, the stagnant water does not become a breeding place for insect larvae.

To ensure that you get access to a fresh cooler every time you plan a trip, search for cooler options that have at least one or two drainage options.

Slip-Resistant Feet

Sea will be calm at one moment and the other, it may show its ruthless behavior. Due to high tides, strong currents, and long waves, your boat is likely to roll from one side to the other.

In this situation, your cooler may shift from its place, and there are chances that it may fall in the water. To avoid this, opt for marine coolers that have slip-resistant feet.

This will ensure that your cooler stays in place no matter how high the tide is. It will also ensure that your supplies stay safe and do not fall in the water.


A trip is meant to be enjoyed. This is the only time that you get to spend quality time with your family and friends amidst nature.

Who wants to loiter around to check if their cooler is safe? Is it damaged? Has the ice melted? And so on.

A cooler has to be user-friendly. It should give you comfort while using it and keep you at bay from the unnecessary hustle.

Invest in a cooler that has less weight, is portable, and comes with wheels and handles for easy transportation. Also, check the quality of your cooler and its accessories. And they should be damage-resistant also.

Keeping these subtle aspects in mind, opt for the coolers that serve all your requirements and are easy to access. This way, you can get more time to devote to your loved ones.

Insulation Ability

An ideal cooler is the one that offers an adequate amount of insulation to keep your supplies cold and protected for long. Listed below are some points that you should consider while deciding the insulation ability of your cooler.

  1. Few hours

Check if your cooler can provide insulation for a few hours before it requires more ice to be added in. This will help you in deciding how much ice you should initially put in the cooler and how long it will last.

  1. SIngle day

If you are planning for a one day trip, search for coolers that are quite big and made of plastic. These offer enough insulation for the ice to last for the whole day.

  1. 2 to 3 days

You can look for high-end soft-sided coolers. These will keep your supplies protected for 2-3 days.

  1. 4 to 5 days

You can opt for hard-sided coolers that have robust construction. These retain ice for 4 to 5 days, and your supplies stay protected and cold.

  1. 6 days

A few brands that manufacture coolers that have bigger sizes compared to others can only give adequate insulation to retain your ice for a longer period, like six days. These coolers are quite expensive.

Carrying Method

The most important of all are the methods to carry your marine cooler. When loaded, they become extremely heavy, and it becomes tough to carry them. Thanks to marine coolers. These feature various methods that aid in carrying your cooler easily.

  1. Side handles

This is the most basic design that you will find on any marine cooler. These handles are situated on either side of your cooler. This can be used by either one or two people.

  1. Lid handles

As the name suggests, this handle is found on the lid. It consists of a single handle. This carrying is ideal when you are in walking mode. This handle is not durable and is only found on small coolers.

  1. Shoulder strap

Usually found on soft-sided coolers, this is a very convenient method to carry your cooler. Your hands remain free, and you don’t feel the weight of your cooler.

  1. Wheels

Usually found on hard-sided coolers, this carrying method offers you effortless mobility. However, if you are walking on rough terrains, wheels are not the ideal option.


1. How to clean a marine cooler?

First, you need to drain out all the liquid from the cooler. Then, you just need to use three things, sanitizing spray, soap, and baking soda to wipe out all the dirt and foul smell. Then, leave it dry for some time.

2. How to select the right sized marine cooler?

An ideal-sized marine cooler is the one that covers all your needs and provides the essential ice retention. Moreover, marine coolers with a great space are the ultimate sized coolers to go.

3. What are the potential risks to a cooler?

The cooler may be exposed to scrapes, corrosive seawater, UV light, and bangs. Therefore, you should opt for a cooler that is resistant to all these risks and keeps your things safe.

Summing Up

Marine coolers present a simple yet effective way to carry your perishable supplies. All you need is to select the best cooler from the different options available in the market.

Go through this comprehensive buying guide and funnel down the best option. You will find the pointers very useful in this process. Invest your money in the right product and enjoy your outdoor expedition. / - © Copyright 2020