Review by Coy Starnes
I carry a cooler with me nearly ever time I go out for a day on the lake, whether for fishing, or just out enjoying the scenery and getting exercise. I normally use a small cooler generally referred to as a personal cooler. When I go for overnight trips I use a 20 qt. cooler. When on 2 night trips and more, I have wished for something with a little more capacity.
Enter the CreekKooler. First off, it has a 30 qt. capacity. But that’s only the beginning. This cooler is designed to be towed instead of carried inside the kayak or canoe. I have a canoe, a SOT and another kayak (Jackson Kilroy) that easily hold any cooler (within reason) I want to carry. But I also have a touring kayak and never was able to carry a cooler with me. However, even with my kayaks that have room for a cooler, having one onboard means less room for other things so I could see using it with those too.
So what exactly is the CreekKooler. Well, it is basically a cooler shaped like a mini-kayak. The online specs (which I verified) say it is 39.5 long, 21 in wide and 12 in high. I weighed it on my bathroom scale and it showed 16 lbs. The website says it has 1.5 inches of high quality foam-filled insulation in the deck and hull and will hold 30 12 oz cans along with 20 lbs of ice. Dry ice is safe to use. It can be used for dry storage since the lid is sealed with a rubber gasket. Speaking of the lid, the opening measures 10 inches across in any direction since it is a circle. They also say it is proudly made in the USA and shipping is free anywhere within the continental US. Sorry Alaska and Hawaii.
While the CreekKooler appears to be marketed for water use it can be used anywhere a cooler this size would work. However, with a rounded off bottom it won’t sit as securely in the bed of a truck or trunk/hatch of a car as a traditional flat bottom cooler would. But on the other hand, it will match the contours of a canoe bottom much better than a regular cooler. Besides hauling drinks or food, I see one other possible application. Many kayak fisherman use soft or hard sided coolers for keeping their catch fresh. Of course this would mean it needs a good cleaning after such use, fortunately, the CreekKooler can be washed very easily. Under care and maintenance the website recommends cleaning with mild dish detergent. For more industrial cleaning it can be cleaned with a car wash sprayer or using a water/bleach mixture (6:1 ratio).
The CreekKooler is available in red, white, blue and cream. The lid is white regardless of the color of the cooler but there are a couple of custom lids available. One is camo and the other choice is a pattern that uses many small American flags. Speaking of flags, the lid is secured to the cooler with a small rope that connects to the cooler at what can also serve as a flag holder. The only limitation being the flag shaft must be 3/16 ” or smaller. The lid is easy to remove with just a 1/8 turn and with a rope permanently attached it won’t get lost or float away in current. The CreekKooler features 4 drinking cup holders, a pair on either side of the lid (bow and stern). There are also rope carry handles at each end but they are covered with soft and generously sized foam. Holding the empty cooler was certainly easy but the padding will be more important as weigh is added. When full I’d imagine a 2 man carry would be better but the cooler can be easily dragged according to the website. The cooler comes with a 1 year warranty.
I haven’t had a chance to try out the CreekKooler but I do have a few concerns. I don’t think I’ll have any problem using it on the lake but I like to fish a small local river that has some rather strong currents. I’m not sure how towing the cooler will effect my limited kayaking ability. It’s hard enough paddling upstream and then I have to line up just right to make a few of the tight twist and turns coming back downstream. But that’s why we test gear, to find out how it performs in the real world.
I would like to thank 4alloutdoors and the manufacturer of the CreekKooler for this testing opportunity. Stay tuned for an update in about month from now.