Small Ice Chests?

This is a kayak question mostly. In a canoe you can just use a monster ice chest and a large volume of ice. In a kayak you have much less space available and what space you do have gets filled with hot air as you paddle along in the sun. Also the space doesn’t fit rectangular boxes well.

I’ve tried a few of the small ice chests to keep stuff cold with very limited success. Does anyone have an optimum solution for this? Maybe a custom contoured insulated box? I have wondered what type of foam would have the best R-value. Thanks.

seakayaker magazine
had an article on this a few issues ago.

These work.
Designed for the fishing crowd, there’ is no reason they cannot be used for food and beverages too. Not the most convenient to get into, but they have large volume.

day hatch…
If you have a day hatch, I’ve heard of folks converting those to iceboxs.

Not sure about insulation though I know you can buy insulating pipe wrap or those foam boards, their R values aren’t that great.


Have you tried a soft side cooler with dry ice wraped in paper? I use this kayak camping and the items in the cooler are still cold on the third day.

soft sided coolers are your freind

– Last Updated: Jul-17-07 11:07 AM EST –

I succesfully use regular soft sided coolers from Walmart.

Ive got a couple different ones i use depending on trip length.

ive had great luck with the 30 can size. I can fit enough beer/water for a 2 day trip. And i will still have ice at the end of it.

I pack mine on the deck rigging of my boat. stays there securely, and since I put it right behind me I can acess it without exiting the boat rather easily.

Ive flipped in pretty fast water and my cooler stayed put all through it, very secure.

I can fit this (smaller sizes are even easier) in front of my feet and off the deck if that what you prefer.

works very well for me.

dry ice is a big help for long trips, and another suggestion would be to freeze your water bottles and use those for cooling rather than regular ice. This way you can drink it as the ice melts, and it takes less space

Food storage for longer trips
Read my April 10 paddling blog entry titled:

Food issues for long distance, isolated paddle trips

Here is a snippet:

For food, fresh is always good, but cannot be relied on after the first few days. Eat fresh meals first. You can always freeze some foods for day 2 or 3, but after the 3rd day you run out of “cold” real quick. You may get buy with eggs or butter up to day 4. What I have done is to freeze bottled water and place in a softsided cooler. Then I add food that I have frozen for later consumption to that cooler and place that cooler inside another slightly larger softsided cooler. The larger cooler also gets “iced” water and other food that is either fresh or frozen and will be eaten first. If you do not open the smaller cooler, the “iced” water will still mostly be ice after 2-3 days. Quickly take out what you need and close it back up. At camp, put your coat or sleeping bag over the cooler to aid in insulation and in the boat, make sure it is low and in contact with the hull/cold water.

Dry Ice?
Where can dry ice typically be bought? I suspect that a cooler mounted on the deck would not heat up as much as one inside the kayak. Thanks for the ideas.

grocery stores
Lots of grocery stores will sell you a little if you ask or call first. Otherwise, look on the web–there are directories, but many of those suppliers want you to buy a lot of it.

Storing the soft-sided cooler in the hatches will keep it cooler, and will make rolling or other rescues easier.

alot of walmarts will carry dry ice, along with regular ice in the chests at the front of the store

might strike out at a few so call ahead and see which ones/if an in your area, carry it

My local sells it by the pound from a chest near the front door where the regular ice is located.

Omaha Steaks…
uses a 2" thick styro box to ship frozen beef in…I use one straped to the back deck sometimes, to keep regular ICE from melting…put the dry ice in on top of the regular ice, then bungee the top down…when the ice in the soft sided cooler goes, I transfer ice from the styro box to the cooler…(I can drink the icewater and use the ice in drinks…thats why I use two types of cold on trips…).

Use them also, can’t afford that fish
bag. I use one for my drinks, one for my bait if using frozen or bait that has to be kept cool, like fresh cut bait.

Pretty ignorant design for a cooler.
What were they thinking?

“Hmmmmn, let’s make a kayak designed COOLER bag that will keep things COOL and not HOT, but let’s make it look really sharp and make the thing BLACK. Black resists heat, right? DOH!”

Morons . . . .

It looks like
it would hold an AK-47.

The hatches on old town kayaks made from their polylink (foam-core) material make good coolers.

Take the steaks in the styrofoam
and I’ll make another trip to Bama