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30-Quart Kayak Fish Cooler

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Project by DustyMark posted 05-11-2019 04:54 PM 961 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Overview

This is a plywood cooler designed to fit on the back of my fishing kayak to keep my catch cold and fresh. I like to fish northern pike and the longer shape of the cooler lends itself to storing several of these longer-shaped fish. At 30” usable length, a 36” pike should fit inside…with some bending. It came in at 30 quarts volume and weighs 19.2 pounds. Look for my blog, on this site, for a more detailed description of the construction process.

Construction

I used a modified plywood stitch-and-glue construction method commonly used to build sea kayaks. 1” pink styrofoam provides an R5 level of insulation. The outer case is 1/4” Baltic birch plywood. The inner case is 1/8” Baltic birch plywood coated in 4-ounce fiberglass cloth that was soaked in epoxy resin. 1/2” thick white pine joins the plywood layers.

An extra layer of plywood is added behind handles and strap locations. This provides something for the screws to bit into.

Floor installed and fitting the ends and sides.

Side foam fitted.

End foam fitted.

Sides, ends, and top caps are installed simultaneously. This is a complicated glue-up.

Bead of epoxy eases seam transitions for easier fiberglassing.

Interior glassed.

Trimming green-cured fiberglass.

Lid frame.

Hinge supports glued in.

Final glue-ip of lid.

I used 5/16” thick weather stripping, with hollow channels in it, that compressed down to 3/16”.

Fitting the lid.

Achieved a 3/16” gap all the way around.

Two coats of marine enamel protects the epoxy from UV light damage.

Paint application tools.

Roll it on.

Tip it off.

Final Thoughts

This was a significant project made mostly from scraps. It turned out better than I thought it would. Finding that it also fit well in my Grumman Sport Boat was an added bonus! I may sew up a Reflectix liner to improve the performance of the cooler.

-- Mark, Minnesota





12 comments so far

View oldrivers's profile

oldrivers

2134 posts in 2298 days


#1 posted 05-11-2019 05:30 PM

Looks really nice, may you enjoy using it. You did a great job.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7074 posts in 2935 days


#2 posted 05-11-2019 07:23 PM

Well done good hunting, the rest is now in the blog!

-- Regards Rob

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5549 posts in 1305 days


#3 posted 05-11-2019 08:46 PM

Nice box. Wondering if you have done a calculation, of what 30 quarts of fluid weighs in pounds

It gave me 62.5905 pounds. Plus 19.2 for the cooler itself. Not sure what you weigh, but most fishers I am familiar with top out around 300# if you add anything for water motion, paddling, etc. How much of a load is that kayak gonna be good for? Plus adding any NP, Muskie, or even Walleye your gonna be doing a wheelie in a boat.

Just bringing that up, make you sure you don’t do the blub blub blub dance.

-- Think safe, be safe

View LittleBlackDuck's profile (online now)

LittleBlackDuck

4441 posts in 1552 days


#4 posted 05-12-2019 12:38 AM

Hell D’M’, I thought I was looking at a build of a kayak (or a kayak if you spell it backwards)...

Then I realised it was a cooler that can be enjoyed by any land-lubber…

Cool post and I appreciate that some people make the effort to document the effort they made.

Thanks for the post… The next beer is on….......... you!.....

and if you store fish in the cooler… you’re fishing way too hard!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

382 posts in 2801 days


#5 posted 05-12-2019 03:52 AM

Thanks everyone! Used the cooler today in my Grumman Sport Boat and caught two northern pike with my fly rod. One was 20 1/2” which is a legal keeper and one was 23 1/2” which had to go back because of our 22-26” protected slot limit.

This little “snake” northern kept nice and fresh for about 8 hours in the cooler prior to filleting it!

Regarding the weight, I use 6-8 pounds of blue ice for a day trip and I doubt I’ll ever get over 20 pounds of fish in there for a total of 45-47 pounds. The deck will handle the weight and the kayak is super stable. This boat is rated for 400 pounds payload. Those are good cautions though!

-- Mark, Minnesota

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5549 posts in 1305 days


#6 posted 05-13-2019 03:49 AM

Sorry I was thinking more “live fish box” than cooler, even though you said cooler. Reading comprehension whatsthat?

Glad it worked out. Where abouts are you fishing, and shooting waterfowl in a layout? Darned if the duck part doesn’t sound like Michigan, not sure if the NP’s are in Erie though. Lake Michigan sounds kinda deep, so maybe Wis, Minn?

-- Think safe, be safe

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

382 posts in 2801 days


#7 posted 05-14-2019 03:03 AM

No worries. My stomping grounds are northern Minnesota, west of the Duluth area. Kayak fished with the new cooler for the first time today and stability is fine…yes! Paddled across a little lake and then carted the boat for 1/2 mile to fish one of our favorite duck hunting lakes. I had one northern follow the streamer fly to the boat and it didn’t fall for the figure-eight trick. That’s the first time I’ve fished the lake and was surprised I didn’t see much action.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View UdyRegan's profile

UdyRegan

22 posts in 2070 days


#8 posted 05-25-2019 02:04 PM

Isn’t it amazing to be able to customise things to exactly how you need it! That’s a great addition to your canoe!

-- Udy Reagan, director at http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/facilities/perth/storage-north-perth/

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

382 posts in 2801 days


#9 posted 05-25-2019 05:48 PM

You nailed it, I love making custom items for my outdoor activities. The final product is perfectly suited to the task.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View AJ1104's profile

AJ1104

1078 posts in 2391 days


#10 posted 05-28-2019 01:08 PM

Mark. Great custom cooler. I love the epoxy detail along the corners is a great tip for anyone who is planning a similar build. I looked back over your other builds and had to leave you a comment on your tear-drop camper project as well. Thanks for sharing the photos and details of these great projects. AJ

-- AJ

View AJ1104's profile

AJ1104

1078 posts in 2391 days


#11 posted 05-28-2019 01:08 PM

Mark. Great custom cooler. You give Yeti a run for its money! I love the epoxy detail along the corners. It is a great tip for anyone who is planning a similar build.

I looked back over your other projects and had to leave you a comment on your tear-drop camper as well. It is amazing how you fit all of that functionality into the space you had to work with. Thanks for sharing the photos and details of these great projects. AJ

- AJ1104

-- AJ

View DustyMark's profile

DustyMark

382 posts in 2801 days


#12 posted 06-01-2019 02:49 AM

AJ,
Thanks, I’ve used the cooler a fair bit now and am happy with it. I filled it with a lower layer of blue ice and four half-gallon containers to fill more space and those are only half thawed at 60 hours with our temps in the mid seventies. I caught a small 20” northern yesterday and today, while out in the Sport Boat and just squeezed them between all the containers until I got back to camp!
Mark

-- Mark, Minnesota

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