Cooler Solutions

I'm planning on doing a several day kayak tour in pretty hot weather. I'm looking for suggestions on a super light and reliable cooler idea, and would like to hear how everyone else has kept their food nice and cold over an extended trip. Dry ice?

Polar Bear Coolers
I have three now and have several friends with them now, they’re the best soft cooler I’ve found. Also freeze a some bottles or a gallon or two of water for your cooler. That will make it last.

Polar Bear !
I will second that. I heard about them here, and have 5 different ones now. I always have one in each of my cars also for when shopping for fresh food at unexpected times.

They work GREAT and can be made to fit in odd spaces. There are several other coolers out there that look like Polar Bears, but the insulation in any I have seen does not compare in performance.

We got them as gifts for my girlfriends brothers who are on the road a lot for work, and they love them and still call and email to say thanks now and then a year later.

I simply could not find anything that would fit so I made my own.

i got an insulated bag from the store that would fit through my hatch,

then I took some bubble-wrap and tape and made a bubble-wrap bag that went inside the insulated bag.

toss a bottle or two of frozen water inside and it kept things cool for easily a weekend.

bought a Coleman Extreme
this year, and I’m real happy with it. 5 days and I still have ice with temps in the 80’s. I bought a pretty big one, and freeze some bottles with water. I was running out of drinking water because of the lack of melt.

Not worth the effort
frankly, seems to me it just isn’t worth the effort. You can eat very well without a cooler. Why not just use food that does not require refrigeration?

wildernesswebb had a great idea about freezing water bottles. I do that all the time, and my drinking water/ice together weigh no more than my drinking water.

Pizza bag
I bought one at Sam’s Club about three years ago for $9, insulated well enough to hold ice for a couple of days. If you freeze some blocks like a bread pan or the plastic box cast nets come in the ice will last much longer. The bag is flexible enough to conform easily to the inside of a hull. When empty it folds flat and doubles as a cushion.

Over on the…
… website, archived under Best How-To Threads (wish I could get the links to work for me), is Mike McCrea’s article/construct of a Drybag Cooler. It’s (if you can get the link to work) a fine “how to” explanation for creating yourself, using any size vinyl drybag and sheets of closed-cell foam, a highly effective cooler that is much easier to conform within the cramped spaces aboard a laden paddled vessel than most store bought models, especially the tight confines of many kayak hatch and cockpit compartments.

I have seen it in operation (mind you, it’s usually stuffed with either chilled cans or bottles of Ben Franklin’s favorite imbibement, and not a frozen pork roast or Turkey - but one can adapt) whilst paddling on wide, sunny, Maryland summertime rivers with temps into the 90’s, and it did a far better job of maintaining cold contents, without the condensation or bilge infiltration, than any of the “soft,” cloth-foil-foam sheet or gel coolers I had in use.

It’s worth a look.

everything is worth the effort
Can you imagine sipping a cold Mai Tai from a hammock hung from a palm tree, on your own island for the night? Well my clients do – I’m happy to serve them a cold drink when it’s 90 degrees in the shade.

Sounds smart
This idea has some legs, coupled with a few other recommendations here, I think we’re onto a makeshift cooler that works reasonably well. I’ll have to let you know what works, what doesn’t.

I’m more of a single malt scotch
type of guy - neat.

Nobody asked whether you prefer dry food, wet food, cold food, hot food, brandy or beer.

NRS sells a dry-bag cooler insert for $9

I bought one and it works as well as any of my other soft sided coolers.

When we get to camp, we “snuggle” all of our coolers next to each other in a shady spot, and put a small reflective tarp over them. Keeps everything cold for a few days.

I’ve found large blocks of ice last the longest - we try to buy them close to our destination or freeze them at home and carry them in our best “hard-sided” coolers until we get to the launch.

Was gonna suggest same
Except I figured OP would have to troll for Mike to respond.

Mike showed me that cooler while sitting around Jsaults site at Raystown. He said even he had been surprised by how long the bag holds cold. Served me up a drink to prove his point, and it was cold.

I’m not sure I have the skill and patience to make one, but it looked good, too. And it is soft, so can survive a bit of jostling for position in the gear bay of the canoe. I’m pretty sure it will float well, too.


Cooler and Canoe both start with C
I think for a kayak you need a koozie that will just keep one beer cold. I’m thinking of insulating my day hatch and making it into a kooler. I wonder if others have done that.

I’ve seen this done & I like the idea!!
I looked for the web page I saw it on, but it was a few years ago and I couldn’t find it. Someone turned their front hatch into a cooler.

Nothing like
A cold beer on a hot day.


it came from here:

“under Other custom options”

Insulation suppliers…
if you live near a large city, check out the phone book for mechanical insulation contractors or suppliers.

There is a flexible closed cell sheet insulation made by Armaflex, or Rubatex that can be cut and glued into most any shape. Or could be used to line a compartment. It comes in different thicknesses, but 3/4" is easy to use and insulates very well.

It’s best cut with a very sharp knife.

You’ll find a ton of other uses for the stuff as well.

Have fun,