Gear

Cooler Talk

I just bought a brand-new center console and, as you might imagine, I’m looking to save as much money as I possibly can in my efforts to outfit my new vessel effectively. However, I don’t want to cut corners and adorn my new baby with inferior equipment. The time has some for me to purchase a new cooler for the boat, and I was wondering if these more expensive coolers that seem to rule the industry are really worth the dough. What say you guys? -Julian Chandler.

Among the many components necessary to a successful fishing trip, coolers are some of the most important, yet overlooked. The cold hard truth is that quality coolers are expensive. As a result, many anglers fishing on strict budgets opt for inexpensive options that are meant for nothing more than a backyard barbecue. In reality, these coolers don’t belong on serious fishing boats unless you’re going for a sunset cruise. A true fishing cooler needs to have the durability to withstand the rigors of harsh saltwater environments while also capable of long-term ice retention.

So, to answer your question, yes – we recommend spending the extra money on a quality cooler. Cheaping out on a cooler means not only that you’re going to have to replace it more often than you’d like, but you’ll also have to deal with an inferior cooler. Your cooler choice also depends on whether your boat has a fishbox in it; but whether you plan on keeping fish in the cooler you intend on purchasing or not, opt for the quality. The advantages of a cooler meant for hardcore anglers and outdoorsmen speak for themselves, as you’ll never have to worry about durability or keeping ice for extended periods of time. Another advantage is that, if you’re anything like us and enjoy traveling to head boats or fishing from shore, you’ll need a strong cooler.

When it comes to brands, there are many to choose from that range in pricing. The truth is that while the most inexpensive roto-molded fishing coolers still cost more than your average picnic cooler, they will outperform it as well. Once you decide that you’re going with a true outdoor cooler, you’ll have a range of brands and prices to choose from. While you’ll get solid performance out of a more inexpensive roto-molded cooler, that’s not always necessarily the best way to go.

We understand that you and many others reading this piece are probably on a tight budget, but we highly recommend splurging for one of the industry leaders. Many of you are surely aware of YETI, whose prices often warrant raised eyebrows. However, you certainly get what you pay for, and we have nothing bad to say about them. However, there are more inexpensive options that bear many similarities to YETI, particularly in performance. RTIC is one such brand. While they haven’t garnered the same iconic reputation as YETI, you’ll pay a lot less and still get great results.

There are many more companies making quality coolers out there that are well-suited for serious angling, but here at Florida Sport Fishing, our top recommendation is and always will be Frigid Rigid (frigidrigid.com). With a massive selection of coolers, ice chests, coffin boxes and more, not to mention a variety of sizes to fit your boat and overall outdoor lifestyle, you can’t go wrong with this iconic brand. We’ve been using Frigid Rigid coolers for over a decade now, and they still work like they’re brand new.

What makes every Frigid Rigid cooler so impressive is its construction. Quality components and durable fiberglass set the foundation for these coolers, and it only gets better from there. Industrial grade rubber gaskets, stainless steel hinges with backing plates, incredibly strong rope handles and more add to the durability and long-term performance of these coolers.

The fiberglass construction is key here. While this makes for a very heavy cooler, the toughness and ability to hold ice for multiple days in the blistering Florida heat makes it worthwhile. Frigid Rigid is unique in its choice to build their products out of fiberglass, but the toughness it yields is truly unbeatable. To this day, Frigid Rigid is the only brand in the United States that produces fiberglass coolers.

While the fiberglass keeps the cooler intact from the outside and protects it from the elements, the superior insulation on the inside is what delivers the ability to keep ice for so long. Designed for heavy commercial use in a range of pursuits and unforgiving environments, these coolers feature airtight seals that lock in the cold like no other. In fact, Frigid Rigid products are made to be kept in the outdoors, designed specifically to stand up to the effects of sun and salt. Another cool feature that is very convenient is the set-back lid on these ice chests. This allows users to completely open the lid of their cooler without having to move it away from the wall or whatever is behind it.

With so many coolers out there, choosing the right one for you can be tough. Regardless of what we say, there are still plenty of outdoorsmen out there who are going to go with the cheap stuff and deal with frequent replacement and poor performance. Even those who purchase roto-molded coolers on the lower end in pricing will have to deal with wear and tear eventually. That’s why we’re here to tell you that although they’re pricey, we swear by Frigid Rigid coolers. Once you buy one, you’ll never have to worry about it again.