If you don’t want to worry about towing one of the best floating coolers in 2021 or making enough space on your kayak for the best kayak cooler bags, one of the best kayak cooler seats might be your best option.
There are several different designs for these cooler seats on the market, but they are all meant to save you space and make it easier to get to your cold beverages or perishable food items when you’re seated in your kayak.
For us, a quality kayak cooler is essential for long days on the water. This is especially true as the hot days of summer approach rapidly.
In this guide, we’ll review five of the best kayak cooler seats and suggest a specific type of kayaker (or two!) that each cooler would be best for.
We’ll also cover the most important features and specifications to pay attention to when you’re shopping for one of these cooler seats.
- Best Kayak Cooler Seats
- Who Can Use A Kayak Cooler Seat?
- Can You Build Your Own Kayak Cooler Seat?
- Buying Guide
- Kayak Cooler Seat Reviews
- Our Pick – Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler
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Best Kayak Cooler Seats
- Perception Kayaks Splash Seat Back Cooler
- Skywin Kayak Seat Cooler
- Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat With Insulated Cooler
- Perception Kayaks Saddle Bag
- Welugnal Kayak Seat with Bag
Who Can Use A Kayak Cooler Seat?
These seats and coolers are best for fishing kayakers. They provide cold storage for beverages and food without taking up the bow or stern tankwell of your kayak so that you can use it for other gear or supplies.
Some of them can also be great for giving yourself a more elevated vantage point if your kayak doesn’t come with an elevated seat.
This can help you turn a standard sit-on-top kayak into a useful fishing kayak.
Can You Build Your Own Kayak Cooler Seat?
The short answer is…yes!
The truth is that you can use any cooler that will fit into the cockpit of your kayak and then, simply, sit on it.
This will only require that your kayak has a flat-bottomed cockpit and you find a small enough cooler to fit inside of it.
With a little more motivation and ingenuity, you can even attach a traditional kayak seat to the top of the cooler.
This will give you a backrest for a more comfortable seat while paddling.
You can also just set an appropriately sized cooler into the seat well of your kayak if you want a slightly elevated vantage point.
This is a great way to turn a standard recreational kayak into a more functional fishing kayak.
If you’re interested in taking this route, you may also like to consider our article reviewing some of the best coolers for kayaking.
Before you really get into the reviews below, we have some really important information for anyone interested in buying one of these cooler seats.
These tips will help you narrow down your choices and, ultimately, decide if this style of cooler is right for your style of kayaking!
Your Kayak Type
The first thing you should consider is the type of kayak that you have. We’ll put it out there right now – most of these cooler seats are made for fishing kayaks.
There are a few, however, that are suited to recreational paddling as well.
If you have a fishing kayak, the cooler seat is a great choice because it gives you additional storage without taking up space in either of the tankwells on your kayak.
This is also true of the models on our list that are built for recreational paddling.
That being said, these cooler seats are best for folks with fishing kayaks that boast flat cockpit areas.
Ideally, your kayak also came with a lawn-chair style, aluminum-framed kayak seat that can be removed if you desire.
For those of you working with that type of kayak, you will find plenty of options below.
For recreational paddlers working with a more traditional sit-on-top kayak, we’ve also included at least one option that you can consider.
Unfortunately, none of these cooler seats are compatible with sit-inside or whitewater kayaks.
Most of these cooler seats utilize bungee ball attachments to secure them to your kayak, but some may require a bit more of a DIY approach.
If you want something that is going to be ready to go out-of-the-box, make sure you look for the bungee ball attachments on the backside of the cooler.
Additionally, consider how many extra attachment points you want for other accessories and gear.
Some of these models are perfect for attaching an additional mesh organizer or fishing rod holders to the outside of the cooler.
If this is of interest to you, look for a design that comes with plenty of webbing loops or D-ring attachments.
Not only will this allow you to attach additional accessories to the cooler, but it will also make it more versatile when it comes to securing it in non-traditional locations or in kayaks that aren’t necessarily perfectly compatible with the cooler.
You should also look at how much foam insulation the cooler seat utilizes to keep your beverages cold.
Unfortunately, not all of the cooler seats out there boast insulation at all, so make sure you get an insulated model if that’s a priority for you.
These days, closed-cell foam insulation is the industry standard for these kinds of cooler seats.
The more insulation your cooler includes, the longer it can keep your food and beverages cold on hot summer days.
Regular foam insulation is still a useful insulator, but it can’t quite match the performance of closed-cell foam.
You’ll get away with standard foam if you only need to keep beverages cool for a few hours.
If you are looking for something that can keep your beverages cold for a full day on the water, look for a design with a minimum of Â¾” of closed-cell foam.
These cooler seats are all fairly simple and they don’t include any really complicated mechanisms that you have to worry about breaking.
The one thing that they all do include (that can break) is at least one zipper.
Most of these cooler seats include a top lid with a water-resistant zipper to keep your food and beverages secure.
Unfortunately, the durability of the model you choose will largely depend on the quality of the zipper used in the manufacturing process.
For our money, YKK zippers are the market leader in terms of longevity and durability.
They simply hold up to the test better than any other zippers out there and that’s why you’ll find them on many pieces of high-end outdoor recreation gear.
So, if you want your cooler to last and you don’t want to worry about treating your zipper gingerly every time you open and close it, choose a design that includes YKK zippers.
Kayak Cooler Seat Reviews
The Perception Kayaks Splash Seat Back Cooler is compatible with aluminum-framed kayak seats.
These are also sometimes called lawn-chair style seats, and they have the kind of structure you will need for attaching this cooler.
This makes it great for fishing kayaks that are typically designed with these kinds of seats.
Plus, it boasts a slim design that doesn’t extend back far enough to get in the way of the rear tankwell on your kayak.
Kayak anglers often need to have space in their rear tankwell for a kayak tackle crate or a marine battery for a trolling motor.
So this kind of cooler works best for that kind of setup because you will still have cooler space without compromising tankwell storage.
The cooler uses a durable bungee cord system to attach to the back of your kayak seat and it is littered with strong webbing loops and D-rings that are super convenient for attaching other fishing tackle or kayak fishing accessories.
It also boasts a YKK, water-resistant zipper to keep splashing water and rain from entering the top of the cooler.
The entire cooler is manufactured with waterproof material and features RF welded internal seams to prevent water ingress.
The Perception Splash uses Â¾” of thick closed-cell foam to keep your food and beverages well-insulated on long paddle trips.
It also includes a carry handle on the top of the lid that makes it easy to transport.
The Skywin Kayak Cooler is another design that’s great for the best fishing kayaks, but it can be attached to any kayak with a lawn-chair style seat.
In essence, it’s very similar to the Perception Splash cooler, but it’s available at a slightly more affordable price.
This cooler also utilizes bungee ball straps to secure it to the aluminum frame of your kayak seat and it boasts a water-resistant zipper that secures the top lid.
On the top lid, there’s that carry handle for easy transportation.
The sides and front of the cooler feature numerous webbing loops and a couple of D-rings for attaching other kayaking supplies or fishing gear.
Plus, the outside includes a mesh organizer for your smaller items that can’t fit in your PFD or storage hatch.
Just like the Perception Splash, the narrow design of this kayak cooler seat doesn’t extend into the storage space in your kayak’s rear tankwell, so you’ll have cold beverage storage while still being able to utilize the entirety of your rear storage area.
Okay, this one is a little different and we are excited to include it.
The Wise Outdoors Super Sport Hunting Seat with Insulated Cooler is actually designed for duck hunting from a motorized vessel, but it is small and stable enough to work with kayaks that have flat cockpits.
It will also require that your kayak has a completely removable seat so that you can replace the seat with this option.
Most of the best kayaks for stand-up fishing would be compatible with this cooler these days.
So, if you have a kayak with a flat cockpit, the dimensions of this cooler seat measure 11 inches by 12 inches, and the seat sits at a height of 31 inches.
The seat boasts a full inch of thick foam padding for a comfortable seat and it’s covered with a weather-resistant polyester fabric.
The 10-gallon bucket underneath the seat is manufactured with heavy-duty plastic and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds.
Inside that bucket, there’s a removable foam cooler equipped with an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying.
One of the best parts about this model is that the seat swivels so that you can change your fishing angle with minimal effort.
It actually pivots a full 360 degrees so you can enjoy unlimited versatility as you try to bring in that record-breaking catch.
The Perception Kayaks Saddle Bag is a little different in that it is meant primarily for storing fishing tackle boxes.
But it can still be attached to a kayak seat using bungee loops at the bottom of the saddle bag.
There are bungee loops on the front and back of the bag, plus multiple webbing loops all the way around the center part of the bag that give you additional tie-down points.
If you want to anchor this kind of bag to a kayak that doesn’t have an aluminum-framed, lawn-chair style seat, these tie-down points will come in handy.
While this saddle bag is built to hold up to two 3600 Plano tackle boxes, it also has plenty of room for storing cold beverages or perishable foods.
It just may not keep them as cool for quite as long as the Perception Splash cooler.
So this might be a better choice for recreational kayakers that just need a slim storage solution for shorter paddles.
It’s also great for the more environmentally-friendly kayakers amongst us that don’t want to rely on buying ice.
If you plan to use ice packs with your kayak cooler seat, this is an appropriate choice.
That’s because it features drain holes at the bottom of the saddle bag that automatically allows water to drain.
That might not be the best for keeping drinks cold, but it will also make cleaning this saddle bag much easier at the end of your paddle.
If you are looking for a solution for your tandem kayak, we have one that would be a little bit more affordable than buying two separate Perception Splash cooler seats.
These are kayak seats that come with a storage bag attached to the backrest.
That storage bag can easily be removed or clipped into place, depending on your preferences for the day’s paddle.
That also makes it easier to load the bags at home or at your car before carrying them down to your kayak.
The only thing I don’t like about this option is that the bags themselves aren’t insulated.
So this really makes this selection operable for short, recreational paddles where you only want to bring one or two drinks with you.
That said, you could always get a little creative with putting a drink or two in another small, insulated bag before storing it inside this seat back bag.
Other than that, these cooler seats function in the same manner as some of the best kayak seats out there.
Our Pick – Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler
It really is hard to beat this one and there are several great reasons why it is our top pick for the best kayak cooler seat.
For starters, it’s perfectly designed to seamlessly attach to the aluminum frame of your kayak seat.
You won’t have to come up with a DIY security solution for attaching it to your seat like some others.
Plus, it features plenty of insulation and the additional compatibility with a number of useful kayak fishing accessories.
Perhaps most importantly, you can fit up to 12 cans inside this cooler, which is plenty for a full day out on the water.
That storage space also doesn’t eat up either your kayak’s bow or stern tankwell so that you can use them for other gear.
If you are looking for an easy and convenient option for your fishing kayak, you won’t go wrong with the Perception Splash Cooler!