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Coolers - need suggestions for my needs


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I'm done with my current cooler situation, which is an old Igloo soft-side that has zero insulation, isn't quite big enough and worn out, with a secondary small leaky freebie cooler.  I need capacity and insulation.

I've already decided on the main cooler; AO 48-pack.  It should squeeze between the two dashes in the walkway, right up to the wind block (when it is in).  Will be tight but should fit.  Question is should I go canvas, vinyl, or carbon?  We don't take rollers often but do from time to time due to bad driving.  Bottom may get damp on the regular, however.

I need a second cooler that I want underneath the front bow filler cushion.  This will be used for keeping food cool and extra drinks.  This is the tough one.  Though I can go up to 30" long, I have 9" max height and 14" width tapering down to 11" by the time you get to 24".  That's at the floor - up top it is slightly wider.  I need a cooler that fits in that area and there isn't much to choose from.

I found a couple of Kayak fish coolers that would fit, but the ratings for all of them are awful - and I'd hate to spend $90 on something that performs like crap and rips.  I love the idea of the AO Stow-N-Go, but I don't know if it is flexible enough to shove into that space.  I won't have it totally full.

I know where the Stow-N-Go is meant to go, but can't because the two places it fits are in use - port side seat has an integrated ballast bag under there; observer seat is by far the worst seat to have a cooler under and a tight squeeze with my batteries that are under there if it would fit at all.  I could fit a monster cooler on my starboard side behind the driver's seat, as '01's don't have a seat/table there.  BUT I like that place for entry/exit, keep my daughter's portable potty there and like having that space.  My two cooler spots are my only options.  I also don't want stuff on top of the bow seats and don't want to go without the bow filler cushion.  Picky, I know.

Any other ideas?  I've looked quite a bit and haven't found many good options.

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One of my coolers is an AO carbon fiber backpack. Its about 7 or 8 yrs old, gets used year round & holds a 1/2 case plus ice pretty easily. The carbon fiber is tough, doesn't fade & cleans up easily. 

I have a buddy who has a canvas AO soft cooler. It was blue, but has faded to a dirty grayish. It has a very similar liner as mine. Based on this, I'd say get the CF.

Pretty sure the Stow-n-go will fit under the bow cushion if it's not stuffed full.

Good luck.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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I have the 12/24/48 in grey vinyl. The exterior has held up great, but I don't have kids, am ocd in most everything I do, don't loan them out and they only get used on the boat. I can t remember the price difference between the vinyl and cf, but I want to say it was more than I was willing to part with at the time. My only complaint is the interior seams keep holing out in the seams which is in a really weird unaccessable place which can't be attributable to anything but the vinyl. Bottom line is if price is an issue, the exterior vinyl has worked great for me!

Edited by wdr
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I just rock my $16 Igloo with a Yeti sticker mod. The beauty (one of the few) of a direct drive is a perfect place for 2 coolers behind the drivers seat, and thats surf side so I tell everyone it helps the wake.. :rockon: 

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I have a 2015 VLX and am using the AO coolers, purchased the 3 sizes at a discount.  Also have a marine hard cooler to place at the walk thru to the bow.  Most of the new hard coolers have a very thick lid which making them hard to open when at the walk thru. Here is the trick!!!   Remove the hinges and catch, move them to 90 degrees to the ends.  Now the lid opens towards the bow with out rubbing against the walk thru.   Nitrous Bird, caution when reaching for a beer and you grab a  Snickers by mistake!!!    Another thing we do is stop by the local Mexican market and get tamales for lunch, they pack them in a foil tin, we store them under the rear seat and have a hot lunch when needed. 

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