June 05, 2021 11 min read

Finding the Perfect Paddle Board Coolers/Ice Chests

GILI black paddle board deck cooler bag for saleNothing 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.

What is a Paddle Board Cooler?

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. 

Why You Should Buy a Paddle Board Cooler

GILI deck cooler bag with drinks

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

Weight Capacity Dimensions Price

1. GILI Deck Cooler Bag

GILI paddle board deck cooler bag for sale
10 or 20 can size 4.25" x 16.5" x 12.5" Check Price

2. Titan Artic Zone Deep Freeze 30

Artic zone titan deep freeze zipperless hardbody cooler for sale
3.4 lbs 16, 30, or 48 can size 12.7" x 7.6" x 10.2" Check Price

3. Grizzly Drifter 20

Grizzly drifter 20 soft cooler bag for sale
6 lbs 20 qt 13.5" x 14" x 11" Check Price

4. AO SUP Cooler

AO cooler vinyl SUP soft cooler for sale
1 lb 15 cans 15" x 9.5" x 9" Check Price

5. SUP Now Cooler

SUP Now paddleboard accessories cooler deck bag for sale
<1 lb 10 cans 14" x 12" x 3.5" Check Price
TOP 5 HARD CASE COOLERS Weight Capacity Dimensions Price

1. YETI Roadie 24

YETI roadie 24 hard cooler for sale
15 lbs 20 qt 17.3" x 14.3" x 11.9" Check Price

2. Grizzly 20

Grizzly 20qt hard cooler for sale
16 lbs 20 qt 20.25" x 14.5" x 14.5" Check Price

3. Engel 19

Engel 19qt hard cooler leak proof with rod holder for sale
6.75 lbs 19 qt 16.5" x 11.25" x 12.75" Check Price

4. Rtic 20

Rtic 20qt Hard Cooler for sale
20.6 lbs 20 qt 20.6" x 16.1" x14.8" Check Price

5. Igloo BMX SUP

Igloo BMX hard cooler for sale
11 lbs 25 qt 19.58" x 15.69" x 13.24" Check Price

SUP Cooler Reviews

GILI deck cooler bag attached on iSUP

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. 

What’s Better - A Hard Side or Soft Side SUP Cooler?

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. 

Best Soft Side Coolers for 2021

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. 

1. GILI Deck Cooler Bag

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.

GILI paddle board deck cooler bag for sale

Where to buy:

  • GILI (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Light weight
  • Two available sizes
  • Shoulder strap and top handle to carry
  • Waterproof pocket to keep cell phone and keys dry
  • Three layer construction
  • Water resistant zipper
  • Adjustable strap adapts to fit any paddle board

What we love:

  • Easy to carry 
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Great for a day of paddle boarding
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Low profile and aerodynamic on your SUP

What we don't love:

  • Does not keep contents cold as long as some other soft sided options - but perfect for a day trip

2. Titan Artic Zone Deep Freeze 30

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.

Artic zone titan deep freeze zipperless hardbody cooler for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Radiant heat barrier reflects light to keep cool
  • Hard body removable liner with shelf
  • Flip open zipperless lid
  • Insulated front pocket
  • Shoulder strap with pad for comfortable carrying
  • Elastic gear straps
  • Water-resistant

What we love:

  • Inexpensive
  • Keeps ice up to 3 days
  • Detachable bottle opener
  • Durable

What we don't love:

  • No top handle

3. Grizzly Drifter 20

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.

Grizzly drifter 20 soft cooler bag for sale

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Flip top design with molded lid
  • Durable ballistic polyester shell
  • Waterproof
  • Padded shoulder strap
  • Integrated bottle opener
  • Multiple pockets and can store water bottle on the side
  • Neoprene gear band to store jacket or loose gear

What we love:

  • Holds ice for 24 hours
  • Many storage pockets for gear
  • Mesh internal pocket to keep things dry
  • Bottle opener
  • Perfect for a full day on the water

What we don't love:

  • More expensive than comparable soft side coolers

4. AO SUP Cooler

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.

AO cooler vinyl SUP soft cooler for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Waterproof vinyl exterior
  • Holds ice for 24 hours in 120 degree heat
  • Four eye hooks and two suction cups to easily attach to paddle board
  • Does not sweat
  • Leak proof liner
  • Guaranteed for life

What we love:

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Attachment points to secure to paddle board
  • Inexpensive
  • Keeps ice cold all day

What we don't love:

  • Less durable than other materials

5. SUP Now Cooler

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.

SUP Now paddleboard accessories cooler deck bag for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Waterproof insert to keep valuables dry
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Can attach with four clips and bungee, suction cups, or small enough to slide under your SUP bungees
  • Free waterproof cell phone case
  • Large tab zippers
  • Two storage compartments

What we love:

  • Low profile and aerodynamic when paddling
  • Extra storage compartments
  • Easy to attach
  • 100% money back guarantee

What we don't love:

  • Suction cups cannot be used to attach to inflatable paddle boards
  • Only good for a few hours of paddling - would not work for long SUP tours

The Best Hard Side Coolers for 2021

 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.

1. YETI Roadie 24

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.

YETI roadie 24 hard cooler for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Tall enough for a bottle of wine
  • Comes with tie-down kit
  • Rotomold construction makes it lighter
  • Permafrost insulation can keep ice cold for many days
  • Quick latch for easy access

What we love:

  • 5 year warranty
  • Keeps things cold for days
  • Tall design for bottles of wine
  • Can double as a paddle board seat
  • Many color options and can even be personalized

What we don't love:

  • No drain plug
  • Takes up a fair amount of space on the board
  • Heavier than alternatives
  • Pricey

2. Grizzly 20

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.

Grizzly 20qt hard cooler for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Constructed with rotomolded plastic
  • Seals with rubber gasket to keep ice longer
  • Certified Grizzly bear resistant!
  • Oversize drainage hole to empty quickly
  • Interlocking integrated hinge for tight seal
  • Air injected with polyurethane foam for lightweight insulation
  • Two inch tie-down slots make it easy to attach to SUP
  • Built in fish measurement ruler

What we love:

  • Lifetime warranty!
  • Comfortable carry handle
  • Keeps contents cold for long duration
  • Fish ruler built into the cooler
  • Convenient tie-down slots for attachment
  • Can double as a seat

What we don't love:

  • Pricey
  • Heavy

3. Engel 19

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.

Engel 19qt hard cooler leak proof with rod holder for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Hanging tray inside for dry goods
  • Carry handle as well as shoulder strap
  • Insulated with polystyrene foam
  • Self-stopping rear hinges
  • Stainless steel latches and screws
  • Four removable fishing rod holders
  • Can hold 30 cans
  • Waterproof and odor-resistant
  • Keeps ice for 1-2 days

What we love:

  • Lightweight with good capacity
  • Carry handle and shoulder strap
  • Fishing rod holders

What we don't love:

  • Does not keep ice for as many days as other rotomolded coolers

4. Rtic 20

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.

Rtic 20qt Hard Cooler for sale

Where to buy:

  • RTIC (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Stainless steel handle that locks upright
  • Keeps ice up to 10 days
  • Rotomolded exterior
  • Bear resistant
  • Molded tie-down slots for easy attachment to SUP
  • Rapid V-drain system
  • Heavy-duty rubber T latches
  • Lock on the side to keep contents safe
  • 1 year warranty

What we love:

  • Easy to carry - locking handle
  • Drainage system
  • Keeps ice many days
  • Can lock the cooler to keep things safe
  • No sweat exterior

What we don't love:

  • Heavy
  • Others have a longer warranty

5. Igloo BMX 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.

Igloo BMX hard cooler for sale

Where to buy:

  • Amazon (ships worldwide, best price)

Features & Specs:

  • Blow-molded construction with reinforced base
  • 4-5 day ice retention
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable grip handle to carry
  • Built in tie-down loops to attach to SUP
  • Rubberized T grip closure

What we love:

  • Cheaper than competitors
  • Ruler on the lid to measure your fish
  • Tie-down loops for attachment
  • Good capacity at less overall weight

What we don't love:

  • No drainage plug

Best Overall SUP Cooler

Best overall SUP cooler - GILI soft deck cooler bag for sale

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.

What is Important When Choosing a SUP Cooler?

convertible GILI paddle board deck cooler bag

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.  

Hard or Soft Side

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. 

Storage capacity

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.  

Ice Retention

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.

How Does The Cooler Attach to Your Board?

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.

Materials

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.

How to Attach a Cooler to a SUP

GILI black paddle board deck cooler bag on SUP

 

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.

Summary

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. 

FAQ’S

🏆 How long can a SUP cooler insulate contents?

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.


👍 What size SUP cooler is best?

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. 


🏝️ How do you carry a SUP cooler?

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.

Pat McCaw
Pat McCaw

Author, physician, mom and lover of all things outdoors. If there’s water or a hiking trail nearby, that's her happy place. Throw in family and a couple of dogs and it's paradise!


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