Updated on: January 11, 2024
Nothing beats floating down the shoreline on your stand up paddle board with the sun shining bright, but don’t forget to stay hydrated and pack some drinks. A paddle board cooler can keep your beverages cold in the summer, but also keep your hot beverages warm as you SUP in cold weather.
We’ll review the best paddle board coolers to accessorize your paddle board for a great day on the water.
A paddle board cooler is used to carry your cold beverages on a hot day to maintain their temperature as long as possible, but it can also keep your hot chocolate warm when paddle boarding on a chilly morning. A paddle board cooler attaches to your paddle board via the bungee storage areas or by strapping it down to available D-rings.
Paddle board coolers can differ in their capacity for drinks and how well they maintain temperatures. They can come in hard or soft side versions, and we’ll review the pros and cons of each of our favorites.
The last thing you want to have to do when paddling with friends is paddle back to shore for a drink. A paddle board cooler allows you to bring your snacks and drinks with you onto the water without interrupting your SUP fun.
TOP 5 SOFT CASE COOLERS
|10 or 20 can size
|4.25" x 16.5" x 12.5"
|16, 30, or 48 can size
|12.7" x 7.6" x 10.2"
|13.5" x 14" x 11"
|15" x 9.5" x 9"
|14" x 12" x 3.5"
|TOP 5 HARD CASE COOLERS
|17.3" x 14.3" x 11.9"
|20.25" x 14.5" x 14.5"
|16.5" x 11.25" x 12.75"
|20.6" x 16.1" x14.8"
|19.58" x 15.69" x 13.24"
After an in-depth review of the various paddle board coolers, you should have a good idea which one works best for your needs, and your SUP.
The difference between a hard or soft sided paddle board cooler is the design and construction. A hard side cooler is more difficult to transport and will take up more space on your SUP. A soft cooler might even fit inside your backpack and it can easily store under your paddle board bungees.
A hard sided cooler typically has more capacity and can keep your beverages insulated better than a soft side cooler. If you have a large enough deck for storage on your paddle board, a hard sided cooler is a great option. If you plan to hike your inflatable SUP to a remote lake or you own a smaller paddle board, a soft side cooler is the best option.
Soft side coolers might not hold as much as the larger rotomolded hard coolers, but they are easy to carry and attach to your paddle board. Soft side coolers can be thrown over a shoulder or packed in a backpack. They can differ in their storage capacity and duration of ice retention.
GILI is in the business of paddle boarding, and knows how to create a paddle board cooler that’s perfect for your SUP. The lightweight soft side GIli Deck cooler bag comes in two sizes: 10 or 20 cans, and includes D-rings for easy attachment.
The Titan Arctic Zone Deep Freeze comes in 16, 30 or 45 can size options and is a lightweight soft sided cooler perfect for paddle boarding. Additional mesh and zippered pockets make it easy to carry along other necessary gear.
The Grizzly Drifter offers easy portability with a carry handle and padded shoulder strap, and it can keep your ice for twenty-four hours. It’s a lightweight paddle board cooler that is perfect to bungee onto your SUP for a full day on the water.
The AO Sup Cooler has a vinyl exterior that collapses easily for transport and storage. It’s able to keep ice for twenty-four hours and has attachment points to secure it to your SUP for a long day on the water.
The SUP Now paddle board cooler is a cooler bag that easily slides under your paddle board bungees and doesn’t take up much space. The cooler keeps drinks cold for hours and contains extra mesh pockets and an area for dry storage.
If you decide to opt for a hard side cooler - we’ve reviewed five of the best options out there. Hard side coolers are great if you value durability over portability.
Most are designed with a rotomolded process to keep beverages cold for longer duration, while still maintaining a lightweight and durable design. They attach to your paddle board in different ways but are usually affixed easily with bungee cords or their own attachment system.
Yeti is a trusted name in coolers and is notorious for keeping your cold drinks chilled for a long duration - even on the hottest days.This cooler is no exception;it can double as a seat on your paddle board and hold enough beverages for you and all of your friends.
The Grizzly 20 is another well-designed, rotomolded hard cooler that works well to load a ton of beverages for a long day in the sun. It has molded tie-down slots to make for easy attachment to your paddle board, and even includes a ruler to measure your catch when SUP fishing.
The Engel 19 is a hard side cooler that is much lighter weight than the Yeti or Grizzly. It has extra features including fishing rod holders to make it a great accessory on your SUP when paddle board fishing, has good ice retention and can even double as a dry box.
RTIC offers a less expensive rotomolded cooler that holds ice for up to ten days. It has easy to open rubber seals and an included lock on the side to keep contents secure. A locking handle makes it easy to carry, and it can double as an extra seat on your SUP.
The Igloo BMX SUP is another hard sided cooler that is perfect for a day of paddle boarding. Load it with drinks and you can plan for them to stay cold for days. A durable case and easy to carry handle make this hard cooler a nice option.
Finding the best overall paddle board cooler depends on your travel plans. If you’re planning for a relaxing float for a few hours, you might consider the GILI Deck Cooler Bag because it is lightweight with a twenty can capacity, yet it takes up little room on your paddle board.
If you’re planning to camp overnight or take a long-distance paddle board tour, then a hard side cooler will be more likely to keep your contents cold for a longer duration. If you’re a fisherman, the Engel 19 has added fishing rod holders, but if you’re a wine drinker, the Yeti 24 has room for your favorite vintage.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best paddle board cooler. Let’s take a look at some of these, so that you can make the best decision, and find a cooler that is right for your specific needs.
In order to choose, you must factor in the duration of your trip and ease of portability. Hard side coolers will take up more space on your paddle board but might be perfect for a long day (or days) on the water. Soft coolers might be the perfect size for a day trip with friends and easy to sling over your shoulder.
Consider the storage capacity of the cooler. Do you simply need a few drinks for your afternoon float, or are you hooking up with friends all day? Does the cooler have room to pack food and keep it dry? There is great variability in storage capacity when it comes to paddle board coolers, and they come in different shapes and sizes.
Some coolers will keep your drinks and snacks cold for a few hours of afternoon paddling, but if your trip will last for days, you want to find a SUP cooler with the capacity to hold ice for 24-48 hours. Hard coolers will typically be better able to keep ice frozen for a longer duration when compared to soft side options.
Some coolers have D-rings or suction cups to attach to your board and hard cases may have grooved slots to secure your bungees. Some coolers also have additional pockets and dry sections to keep your valuables such as keys and your cell phone dry.
Your paddle board cooler will be cinched down with bungees and be carried to many destinations, so you want one that is durable and can take a beating. Examine the cooler to see if it’s waterproof to prevent eating a soggy sandwich for your paddle board lunch.
Obviously, you don’t want your six-pack to tumble off of your paddle board and sink to the bottom of the lake, so your cooler needs to be secured. Most paddle boards include a bungee storage area that can hold small and low profile coolers. For larger coolers, bungees attach to available paddle board D-rings to secure your gear, or you can use adjustable straps to cinch the cooler down to available attachment points.
Don’t forget your paddle board cooler on your next SUP adventure. Hopefully you’ve got the tools needed to determine the best cooler to keep your drinks chilled and your body hydrated for a great day on the water.
Coolers differ in their ability to insulate their contents. A small soft sided cooler will typically retain ice for a few hours up to a full day, while large soft side varieties can last up to 24 hours. If you’re on a short journey or a few hours of floating, a soft side cooler is easier to carry and secure to your SUP.
Hard side coolers can keep ice cold for 2-7 days depending on the model. Determine how long you need your supplies chilled and find the cooler that best fits that plan. Hard side coolers typically have capacity for more supplies and can even double as a seat on your paddle board, but they are heavy and more difficult to transport.
The ideal size of a SUP cooler depends on your plans. If you are touring down the shoreline on your paddle board and plan to camp overnight for a few days, then you want a hard side, large capacity (at least 20 qt) cooler for enough storage and to keep your ice chilled for the duration.
If you’re enjoying SUP yoga for the afternoon, a small low profile SUP cooler is all you need. It is easy to carry and will secure easily under your paddle board bungees.
Large hard sided SUP coolers have molded side handles for you and a friend to haul your filled cooler to the water. Some coolers have top handles or even padded shoulder straps for ease of transport. If you’re loaded down with gear, consider a cart or wagon to roll your gear to the water’s edge.
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