Most articles you’ll read about marine coolers focus on vessels you would take deep sea fishing. That’s all well and good, but there are lots of other boats, too, each with unique purposes and unique features of their own. Here’s a look at the best ice chests for each type of boat.



The best cooler for ski boats (any boat used to tow water sports enthusiasts)

Because of the nature of watersports, ski boats usually start and stop abruptly causing items to shift and slide inside the boat. Sliding coolers can beat up your boat’s interior and bruise unsuspecting passengers. Ski boats need a cooler that will stay put. All of Bison’s hard coolers have anti-slip rubber feet to give them more traction on any surface.

You don’t want a cooler that takes up all of the walking space on the boat, but you want one big enough to hold a picnic lunch or enough drinks for everyone on board. A Bison 25-quart rotomolded cooler works if you just want to keep drinks cold on the water. If you want to pack a picnic or have more than four people on the boat for an entire day, the 50-quart rotomolded cooler will probably work better for you… provided you have a good spot to store it. May we be so bold as to recommend at the bow of the boat between the bench seats? It makes a great platform/footrest and the no-skid feet keep it from sliding to the back when the person behind the boat says, “Hit it!”



The best ice chest for boating in pairs or as an individual (kayak, canoe, small sailboat, personal watercraft, etc.)

Smaller vessels, by definition, have less room to store a cooler but no less need for cold drinks on the water. The best bet for boaters who sail alone or in pairs is a Bison 12-can SoftPak. It’s more compact and easier to store on more intimate outings. The shoulder strap makes it easy to latch onto the deck of a sailboat. Tear resistant vinyl and UV protection mean it’s durable enough to withstand the sun and waves. With the capacity for 12-cans plus five pounds of ice, there’s plenty of room to keep drinks cold all the way down the river or across the bay.



The best cooler for fishing boats

Whether it’s a tiny outboard dinghy or a large offshore fishing boat, a marine cooler is as essential to have onboard as a life preserver. Fishermen use coolers to carry cold drinks out on the water, to sit on while they cast and reel, and to bring back fresh fish on ice. However, given the varied sizes of fishing vessels, one size does not fit all. Ideally the cooler will have the following features:

  • Rust proof material that can handle salty and freshwater
  • Latches that stay closed regardless of how choppy the water may be
  • Great ice retention
  • No-skid feet to keep the cooler from sliding overboard (or into your shins)
  • A built-in measuring tool to help you know if that catch is a keeper or needs to be thrown back

The size you choose depends on how long you’ll be at sea, the size of your boat, and what size fish you need to bring back with you. Bison has all of the recommended features in each of the four rotomolded cooler sizes.

Bison has a cooler for every kind of boat. They’re backed with a 5-year warranty, keep ice up to five days, and are made in America. Sail on, friends. We’ll see you on the water.