Canyon Cooler Prospector 103 – Best Rafting Cooler Ever?


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Touted as “A premium expedition-sized cooler for rafting & demanding adventures”.

A cooler built specifically for whitewater rafting.

What does that even mean, built specifically for whitewater rafting? That it can hold a ragtag assortment of different beers, all cans, keeping the coldest ones on top for easy access? That the cold cuts and iceberg lettuce you shopped for lunch for 25 people won’t sit in a puddle on the bottom, propped up by PBRs?

It means the Canyon Cooler company was serious when they built a “premium expedition sized cooler for rafting & demanding adventures” and that they had us rubber pushers in mind when designing the Prospector 103.

Canyon Cooler Prospector 103 resting on raft frame
The rafting specific design hangs the cooler off the raft frame.

Rafting Specific Cooler Features

Here’s a few things we do know it has for us oars people:

  • Built-in lips on the front and rear edges of the cooler let it rest right on top of a raft frame, keeping it off the floor and very secure. No more cam strap slings to try to keep even and figure out.
  • Rig to flip. The Prospector 103 makes rigging easy with 6 integrated tie down spots for cam straps.
  • Rounded corners and edges for reduced raft wear and tear.
  • Two drain plugs (one front and one on the side) to ensure one of them will be easy to reach when strapped in amongst your other river kit.
  • AirTight Seal – no giardia worries here.

Something to consider: While we love the design to have the cooler rest on top of the raft frame — it makes it so easy to load, secure, and open once rigged — it also changes how or at least where you can place the cooler. Because it’s resting on the frame’s cross bars you can’t put it under your captain’s chair or mount anything in the next bay that also needs to rest on top of the cross bars. If you do plan on placing the cooler where the captain needs to sit, Canyon Coolers has a seat cushion option.

Canyon Cooler Prospector 103

How does the Prospector 103 stack up as a cooler?

It’s great and all that Canyon Coolers had rafters in mind when designing the outer shell of the Prospector 103 but does it keep the food and river beer cold until it’s your raft’s turn to supply the group dinner on night five of a Utah desert river trip? We’re happy to report that is does indeed. The PL staff have used this cooler on multiple multi-day river trips over the past two seasons and have never been disappointed. Typically we still have cocktail ice leftover.

Pro Tip: prime your cooler before packing it for use. Throw a bag or block of ice in and fill the cooler with water the night before.  When you are ready to pack, drain the water and now the cooler pre-chilled and primed for best results.

Canyon Cooler Prospector 103 - tray view
The tray has two height settings.

Another thing we love about the Prospector 103 is the well-thought-out tray design.  Turning the tray 45 degrees changes the height at which it sits within the cooler. The prospector comes with one tray but will hold up to four.

Canyon Coolers have a few other additional options that you can add to the Prospector 103.

  • A divider
  • Additional baskets
  • Seat cushion

So is the Canyon Cooler Prospector 103 the Best Rafting Cooler Ever?

That’s hard to say. We can say this: Paddling Life paid full retail for our Prospector 103 and have found it to be worth every cent.


Canyon Cooler Prospector 103 open lid



Canyon Cooler Prospector 103 - in boat
The Canyon Coolers Prospector 103 was intended for whitewater rafts with it’s raft frame hugging design.

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