how to carry a cooler on a kayak


Carrying a cooler on a kayak is a common need, especially for longer trips or fishing excursions. Here are steps to help you safely and effectively carry a cooler on your kayak:

Materials Needed:

  • Kayak with storage space (hatch or deck)
  • Cooler with secure lid and tie-down points
  • Bungee cords or straps
  • Dry bags (optional)
  • Paddle leash (optional)


  1. Select the Right Cooler: Choose a cooler that fits the storage space on your kayak and has secure tie-down points or handles. Soft-sided coolers or rotomolded coolers with built-in tie-down features are often a good choice for kayaking.
  2. Prepare Your Kayak: Make sure your kayak is stable and properly loaded before attempting to secure the cooler. Ensure that you have enough storage space, either in hatches or on the deck.
  3. Pack the Cooler: Load your cooler with the items you want to keep cool. Use ice packs or frozen gel packs to keep your contents cold, as loose ice can create a mess in a kayak.
  4. Secure the Cooler: Place the cooler on the kayak in a location that won’t interfere with your paddling or your ability to get in and out of the kayak. Position it within reach for easy access.
  5. Use Bungee Cords or Straps: Use bungee cords, straps, or kayak-specific cooler tie-down systems to secure the cooler to the kayak. Make sure the cooler is snug and won’t shift during your paddle.
  6. Secure the Lid: Ensure that the cooler lid is tightly closed and latched. If your cooler has a removable lid, secure it separately to prevent it from getting lost.
  7. Additional Security (Optional): For added peace of mind, you can place the cooler inside a dry bag or use dry bags to store your contents within the cooler. This provides an extra layer of protection against water.
  8. Consider a Paddle Leash: If you’re concerned about losing your paddle while reaching for items in the cooler, consider attaching a paddle leash to your paddle and kayak. This will keep your paddle nearby if it accidentally falls into the water.
  9. Test Stability: Before you hit the water, carefully test the stability of your kayak with the cooler in place. Make sure the kayak doesn’t feel unbalanced, and that you can paddle comfortably.
  10. Monitor While Paddling: Keep an eye on the cooler while you’re paddling. If you notice any shifting or loosening of the tie-downs, pull over to the side and readjust as needed.
  11. Secure Loose Items: Make sure any loose items in the kayak, like water bottles, fishing gear, or personal items, are also securely stowed to prevent them from falling into the water.
  12. Enjoy Your Paddle: With your cooler securely attached, you’re ready to enjoy your kayak adventure while having easy access to cold drinks or snacks.

Remember to follow safety guidelines while kayaking, including wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and being aware of weather conditions and water currents. Properly securing your cooler will help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip on the water.

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