The Ultimate Guide to Paddle Board Coolers

Stay Refreshed on Your SUP Adventure

When it comes to stand-up paddle boarding, there’s nothing quite like gliding down the shoreline, with the sun shining and the water sparkling. But, as you embark on your SUP adventure, it’s important to stay hydrated and pack some refreshing drinks. That’s where a paddle board cooler comes in. Not only can it keep your beverages cold in the summer, but it can also keep your hot drinks warm during chilly mornings on the water. So, let’s dive into the world of paddle board coolers and explore the best options for accessorizing your paddle board and ensuring a great day on the water.

What is a Paddle Board Cooler?

A paddle board cooler is a must-have accessory for carrying your cold beverages on a hot day. Its purpose is to maintain the temperature of your drinks for as long as possible. These coolers can attach to your paddle board in various ways, such as using the bungee storage areas or strapping them down to available D-rings. Paddle board coolers come in different sizes, both in terms of drink capacity and dimensions. They can be either hard-sided or soft-sided, each with its own pros and cons.

Why You Should Buy a Paddle Board Cooler

Imagine paddling with your friends, enjoying the serenity of the water, only to realize that you have to paddle back to shore for a drink. That can really interrupt the fun! With a paddle board cooler, you can bring your snacks and drinks with you, keeping them easily accessible without having to leave the water. It’s all about convenience and keeping the good times rolling.

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Soft Side vs. Hard Side SUP Cooler: Which is Better?

When choosing a paddle board cooler, you’ll come across two main options: soft side and hard side coolers. Let’s explore the differences between the two, so you can make an informed decision.

A hard side cooler is typically larger and more substantial, taking up more space on your paddle board. It offers greater capacity and better insulation for your drinks. If you have a spacious deck and need to store a significant amount of food and drinks, a hard side cooler might be the way to go.

On the other hand, a soft side cooler is more portable and easier to carry. It can fit inside your backpack or be secured under your paddle board’s bungees. Soft side coolers are perfect for smaller paddle boards or when you’re planning a short trip with friends.

Top Soft Side Coolers for 2023

If you opt for a soft side cooler, here are some of the best options available:

1. GILI Deck Cooler Bag

The GILI Deck Cooler Bag, created by the paddle boarding experts themselves, comes in two sizes: 10 or 20 cans. With its lightweight design and D-rings for easy attachment, it’s the ideal companion for your SUP adventure.

2. Titan Artic Zone Deep Freeze 30

The Titan Arctic Zone Deep Freeze offers versatility with its options for 16, 30, or 45 cans. It’s a lightweight cooler that includes additional mesh and zippered pockets, allowing you to carry other necessary gear alongside your drinks.

3. Grizzly Drifter 20

The Grizzly Drifter offers easy portability with its carry handle and padded shoulder strap. It can keep your ice frozen for a full day on the water. Its lightweight design makes it a perfect choice for attaching to your SUP using bungee cords.

4. AO SUP Cooler

The AO SUP Cooler features a collapsible vinyl exterior, making it easy to transport and store. It can keep ice frozen for up to 24 hours and has attachment points for securing it to your paddle board.

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5. SUP Now Cooler

The SUP Now cooler is a compact cooler bag that slides effortlessly under your paddle board’s bungees, taking up minimal space. It keeps your drinks cold for hours and includes additional mesh pockets for dry storage.

Top Hard Side Coolers for 2023

If you’re looking for a durable and long-lasting cooler, a hard side cooler might be the better option. Here are some top choices:

1. YETI Roadie 24

YETI is a trusted name in coolers, known for keeping your drinks chilled even on the hottest days. The YETI Roadie 24 is no exception. It’s sturdy enough to be used as a seat on your paddle board and has enough room for you and your friends’ beverages.

2. Grizzly 20

The Grizzly 20 is a well-designed, rotomolded hard cooler that can hold a significant amount of drinks for a long day under the sun. It includes molded tie-down slots for easy attachment to your paddle board and even features a ruler for measuring your catch when paddle board fishing.

3. Engel 19

The Engel 19 is a lightweight hard side cooler that offers additional features like fishing rod holders, making it an excellent accessory for paddle board fishing. It provides good ice retention and can even serve as a dry box.

4. Rtic 20

RTIC offers a cost-effective yet high-quality rotomolded cooler that can keep ice frozen for up to ten days. It’s equipped with rubber seals for easy opening and a lock for secure closure. The Rtic 20 also doubles as an extra seat on your paddle board.

5. Igloo BMX SUP

The Igloo BMX SUP is a durable hard sided cooler perfect for a day of paddle boarding. Load it with drinks, and they will stay cold for days. With its sturdy case and convenient handle, it’s a reliable option for any SUP enthusiast.

Best Overall SUP Cooler

Finding the best overall paddle board cooler depends on your specific needs and travel plans. If you’re planning a short float for a few hours, the GILI Deck Cooler Bag might be the perfect choice. It’s lightweight, has a capacity of up to twenty cans, and takes up minimal space on your paddle board. However, if you’re planning an overnight camping trip or a long-distance paddle board tour, a hard side cooler will likely offer better insulation and ensure your contents stay cold for an extended period.

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What to Consider When Choosing a SUP Cooler

When selecting a paddle board cooler, various factors should be taken into account:

Hard or Soft Sided

Consider the duration of your trip and the ease of portability. Hard side coolers are bulkier but offer greater capacity and insulation. Soft coolers are more portable and can be easily carried over your shoulder.

Storage Capacity

Think about how much you need to pack. Is it just a few drinks for a short excursion, or will you be spending the entire day with friends? Consider the size and shape of the cooler to ensure it meets your needs.

Ice Retention

For longer trips, look for a cooler that can keep ice frozen for 24-48 hours. Hard coolers typically excel in this aspect compared to soft side coolers.

Attachment Mechanism

Check how the cooler attaches to your paddle board. Some have D-rings or suction cups, while others utilize bungee cords or their own attachment systems. Also, consider additional pockets and dry sections for keeping your valuables safe and dry.


Since your paddle board cooler will be exposed to various elements, make sure it’s durable and waterproof. It should be able to withstand the bumps and jolts of your adventures.

How to Attach a Cooler to a SUP

Ensuring your cooler is securely attached to your paddle board is crucial. Most paddle boards have bungee storage areas that can accommodate small and low-profile coolers. For larger coolers, you can use bungee cords to attach them to available D-rings on your paddle board. Adjustable straps are also an option for cinching down the cooler to various attachment points.

In Conclusion

Don’t forget to bring a paddle board cooler on your next SUP adventure. By now, you should have a good understanding of which cooler suits your needs. Whether it’s a soft side cooler for a casual day on the water or a hard side cooler for long trips and durability, the choice is yours. So, keep your drinks chilled, stay hydrated, and enjoy a fantastic day on your paddle board!


Where can I find the best paddle board coolers?

For a wide selection of paddle board coolers, check out East Coast Paddle Sports. They offer a variety of options to suit every paddler’s needs.

How long can a paddle board cooler keep ice frozen?

The ice retention of a paddle board cooler depends on factors such as insulation and external temperature. High-quality coolers can keep ice frozen for up to 48 hours or more.

Can I use a paddle board cooler for other activities?

Absolutely! Paddle board coolers are versatile and can be used for various outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and picnics. They’re designed to keep your drinks and food cool in any situation.

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