11 Best Paddle Board Coolers (2022)

paddle board coolers

You want to have a perfect paddleboarding experience with loved ones. And do you know what makes everything better? Snacks and a cold drink on a hot day. But your beverages will be warm and undrinkable by midday– unless you get a SUP cooler.

While shopping around, it’s easy to get confused because there are so many options. Each brand claims to have the best cooler which makes it even harder. This may seem like a small problem but it can be overwhelming and frustrating. Besides, you can end up with a cooler that’s not even right for a paddle board!

But the decision doesn’t have to be a difficult one to make. Let me help you find the best SUP cooler for your adventures. Here, I recommend my top 11 coolers for stand up paddlers. I also include a detailed buyer’s guide so you can pick the SUP cooler that’s perfect for your needs.

Out of all the paddle board coolers I tested, the iRocker 25L hardshell cooler is my favorite one. I’ll explain why below and also tell you all about the other amazing coolers. 

Best Paddle Board Coolers Compared

Best Cooler

iRocker 25L Hardshell Cooler

iRocker 25L Hardshell Cooler

The Best SUP Cooler out There!

The 25-liter iRocker cooler can easily fit 24 cans plus ice. It’s ideal for short and longer SUP adventures. It is tough and will hold up well even in extreme adventures.

Capacity25 L

Best Dry Bag Cooler

iRocker Backpack Cooler

iRocker Backpack Cooler

Efficient Cooler Dry Bag with Comfortable Straps

The iRocker cooler backpack has thick insulation and can keep ice for over 12 hours, so your drinks will stay cold and padded straps for extra comfort.

Capacity30 L/24 cans

Best Soft Cooler

Gili Cooler Deck Bag

Gili Cooler Deck Bag

Soft-Sided Cooler Deck Bag That Comes in Two Sizes

The Gili cooler is available in two sizes so you can choose the one that best suits you. It comes with clips for you to attach to your paddle board’s D-rings too.

Capacity10 cans, 20 cans

Best Budget

iRocker Cooler Deck Bag

iRocker Cooler Deck Bag

Small and Compact Cooler with Side Pocket

The iRocker cooler is small and ideal for shorter paddling trips. It can fit about six cans. It doesn’t take up a lot of space on the deck, plus there’s a side zipped pocket for your smaller items.

Capacity6 cans

Best Cooler Seat

Bote Kula

Bote Kula

Premium Cooler Seat with Outstanding Ice Retention

The Bote Kula cooler is super tough and durable and has a padded lid that doubles as a comfortable seat. It has amazing ice retention and can hold ice for days.

Capacity5 GAL

 

iRocker 45L Rotomolded Cooler

iRocker 45L Rotomolded Cooler

Large Rotomolded Cooler for Groups or Families

This iRocker cooler has a 45-liter capacity and is ideal for groups or families who paddle together. It has handlebars that make it easy for two people to carry.

Capacity45 L

 

Engel Cooler 19 Qt

Engel Cooler 19 Qt

Fantastic SUP Fishing Cooler with Rod Holders

The Engel cooler features rod holders, making it a perfect option for SUP anglers. I love that it comes with a hanging tray where you can store your dry items.

Capacity19 qt/30 cans

 

Arctic Zone Titan

Arctic Zone Titan

Stylish Paddle Board Cooler with Multiple Outer Pockets

The Arctic Zone cooler looks amazing and is available in seven colors. It has multiple outer pockets, (both mesh and zipped) for quick and easy access.

Capacity30 cans

 

Grizzly 20 Quart

Grizzly 20 Quart

Super Durable Cooler Available in Many Colors

The Grizzly paddle board cooler is extremely durable and it can handle pretty much anything. It comes in 10 beautiful colors for you to choose from.

Capacity20 qt

 

SUP-Now Cooler

SUP-Now Cooler

Lightweight Soft Cooler with Waterproof Phone Pouch

The SUP-Now cooler is a lightweight but high-quality soft-sided cooler that’s designed to last. It comes with a free waterproof pouch for your phone.

Capacity6 cans

 

SBBC iSUP Cooler

SBBC iSUP Cooler

Water-Resistant Cooler Designed for SUPs

The SBBC cooler has adjustable straps and steel rings for you to easily attach it to your paddle board–solid or inflatable.

Capacity10 cans

RELATED: Read Our List of the Best Stand Up Paddle Board Accessories For More SUP Fun

SUP Cooler Reviews

Read on for my reviews:

1. iRocker 25L Hardshell Cooler – Best Paddle Board Cooler

irocker paddle board cooler 25L
irocker 25l cooler

This is a hardshell cooler from iRocker, who happens to be one of my favorite inflatable paddle board brands. Not surprising, then, that it takes the top spot for best paddle board cooler on my list. 

One thing I particularly love about the iRocker cooler is its size. The 25-liter capacity is practical – as it’s big enough for most paddle boarding trips, both short and long ones. It also works well for everyday use. 

The iRocker is built using heavy-duty roto-molded construction. It feels sturdy and I have no doubt about its durability–regardless of where or how you use it. The tough hardshell body is nice, not just for durability, but because you can also use the cooler as a SUP seat!

I also like that the iRocker 25L hardshell is easy to carry, thanks to the stainless steel handle which locks in the upright position. It’s also padded for comfort even when heavy. It does feel a little heavier than the most similarly comparable cooler on this list (which is the Bote Kula – which I have reviewed below), but the iRocker is also a bit larger. 

The little bit of extra weight is well worth it for the extra capacity, in my opinion.

The iRocker 25L is a very well-designed cooler, with useful features (such as the aforementioned padded handle). There’s also a water release valve close to the bottom for the cooler – which means it’s easy to reach and you don’t have to lift the cooler to drain any water away. 

The lid has rubber closures which I really appreciated when I had to open the lid with my slippery hands after applying sunscreen. Again, this is a simple but very useful design feature that makes a big difference. 

As far as its core functionality goes, the iRocker does its job well. The lid is sealed and the cooler does a good job of keeping drinks cold for hours. It comes with a cup holder, which is nice because you won’t have to buy one separately – but I would have liked a bottle opener too.

Attaching the iRocker 25-liter hardshell cooler to your SUP is quick and easy. It has molded tie-down slots that you can use to attach to your paddle board’s D-rings. It also features non-slip feet to ensure that it stays in place. 

This stand up paddle board cooler is ideal for a paddler looking for an efficient, everyday use cooler. 

What I Like
  • Water release valve: I love that it’s close to the bottom and you don’t have to open the lid or take out your drinks to drain water. Simply open the valve and tilt the cooler if needed – you don’t even have to pick it up.
  • Quality construction: This hard-sided cooler is tough and can take whatever you throw at it so you can use it for extreme SUP activities if you like (and you can sit on it too)
  • Molded tie-down slots and anti-slip feet: It only takes a couple of minutes to attach the iRocker cooler to your SUP and the feet keep it in place. It won’t be sliding all over the deck.
  • Great size: This cooler is neither too big nor too small–it’s just the right size for most paddle boarding adventures and ideal for daily use. 
What I Don’t Like
  • A little heavy: The iRocker cooler is on the heavier side but it’s a small price to pay for the remarkable construction quality. 

Check Price of the iRocker 25L cooler

2. iRocker Backpack Cooler – Best Cooler Dry Bag

irocker backpack cooler
irocker backpack cooler

The number two spot on this list of best paddle board coolers is also by iRocker. The iRocker Backpack Cooler is a dry bag that you can use as a backpack or deck cooler bag – and I definitely recommend it.  

If you’re going on a camping trip and you don’t have much deck space, or if your SUP didn’t come with D-rings, you can simply carry this backpack cooler on your back. It doesn’t come with clips to attach it to the paddle board, but you can store it under the bungee (most paddle boards come with one or two bungee storage areas). 

The iRocker backpack cooler has thick insulation and will easily keep ice for over 12 hours, so your drinks will be ice-cold all day long.  

What I love most about this cooler backpack is its versatility. You can use it as a SUP cooler to keep your refreshments cool or as a dry bag to keep clothes dry or wet clothes separate. This makes it ideal for all kinds of paddle boarding activities, including SUP fishing, camping, and touring. 

There are two side mesh pockets that you can use for quick-access items that you don’t mind getting wet (such as a water bottle, sunscreen or your floating sunglasses). The bag also has a front pocket with a sealed zipper for additional storage. 

The iRocker backpack has padded shoulder straps, back support, chest strap, and waist strap. You can carry it comfortably on your back for hours, even while paddle boarding. 

What I Like
  • Versatile design: I love the versatile design – as it allows you to use the cooler in the ways that suit you. Use it as a cooler bag and it’ll keep your ice solid for hours, or you could use it as a dry bag to keep your wet clothes in after an adventurous SUP trip. 
  • Keeps ice for hours: This is probably the most important function of a paddle board cooler. While this may not be a hardshell cooler, it has thick insulation and it can keep ice for up to 72 hours, which is impressive. 
  • Padded straps: It’s amazing how comfortable the iRocker backpack cooler feels on your back, even when filled with stuff. You can carry it while paddling.
  • Decent capacity: This 30-liter bag can hold 24 cans so it’s ideal for most SUP adventure – plenty of room for lots of drinks, and food too! 
What I Don’t Like
  • No clips: I wish it had clips so you can attach it to SUP D-rings in case you want to use your SUP bungee storage for something else.

Check Price of the iRocker Backpack Cooler

3. Gili Cooler Deck Bag – Best Soft-Sided Cooler

gili deck bag cooler
gili deck bag cooler

The Gili cooler deck bag comes in two sizes measured by how many cans each can hold; there’s a 10-can and a 20-can version. The smaller bag is ideal for shorter trips and is great if you don’t want a larger bag taking up too much deck space. The bigger bag will work well for longer trips, or whenever you need that extra bit of capacity. 

This soft-sided cooler features a three-layer construction with an inner lining made using high-quality insulation cloth. You won’t have to worry about warm drinks on your day trips because they will stay cool. 

I love that Gili included both a top handle and padded shoulder strap. I had no trouble carrying the bag (even the 20-can) along with my board too. I imagine it would be very easy for most people to manage, and even bring along some other accessories too.

There are multiple pockets to make it easier for you to organize your gear. I particularly like the top pocket because it’s waterproof and offers perfect storage for your phone, and the zippers are sealed to make the whole thing more watertight. 

The Gili cooler is designed specifically for paddlers. It comes with clips so you can easily attach it to your SUP’s D-rings. 

What I Like
  • Two convenient sizes: Both sizes make perfect sense for different needs – I personally like the 20–can version because it’s a good option for people with famiIies. I love that you can choose the size that best suits your needs depending on the nature of your paddle boarding trips.
  • Waterproof pocket: The waterproof pocket is quite a nice feature because it gives you a place to keep your phone and valuables with quick and easy access (all while being protected from getting wet). 
  • Comes with clips for easy attachment: Most inflatable paddle boards come with many D-rings so you can attach your Gili SUP cooler anywhere on the deck. I like how Gili includes these clips so you have everything you need to secure your bag right off the bat. 
  • Padded shoulder strap: This may seem like a simple feature, but it’s definitely a beneficial one. The strap comes in handy when you have to carry the deck bag to the water, along with your SUP and other accessories. 
What I Don’t Like
  • Water-resistant zippers: The zippers are water-resistant which means that you’ll have water leaking through them. This extra bit of protection gives me confidence that my valuables won’t be damaged by getting drenched!.

Check Price of the Gili Deck Bag Cooler

4. iRocker Cooler Bag – Best Budget Soft Cooler

irocker deckback cooler
irocker cooler deck bag

This iRocker cooler is small and affordable–a good option if your budget is a little tight. Paddle board coolers can be expensive. 

The SUP deck bag measures 13” x 12” x 6”. It’s much smaller compared to the other coolers here. The size makes it a good option for one or two people going on a short paddle board trip as it can fit about six cans. 

You don’t have to worry about how you’ll securely attach this cooler to your paddle board. It features a bungee cord at the bottom with four clips. As long as your SUP board has D-rings you can secure your iRocker bag in seconds. 

I expected this cooler bag to have a removable shoulder strap like the Gili cooler bag, but it doesn’t. But it’s small and it has a carry handle so it’s not that big of a deal. 

There’s a side pocket that gives you quick access to small items like phones. 

What I Like
  • Small and compact: This iRocker cooler bag doesn’t take up much deck space but it’s big enough to fit a few drinks and snacks for short paddle boarding trips.
  • Affordable: This deck bag isn’t quite as expensive as many of the other coolers here, but it’s still well-made and will keep your refreshments cool. For what it is, I think it’s very affordable.
  • Useful side pocket: The addition of a side pocket makes this deck bag even more useful. You don’t have to put items like phones in the same compartment with your drinks and food. 
What I Don’t Like
  • Not waterproof: It’s disappointing that the bag isn’t fully waterproof. If submerged (i.e. if it falls overboard) the bag will let in water.

Check Price of the iRocker Cooler Bag

5. Bote Kula – Best Paddle Board Cooler Seat

bote kula paddle board cooler seat
bote kula cooler

Now, this SUP cooler is a little pricey but, in my opinion, it’s worth it. 

The Bote Kula is robust and tough. It’s a cooler that can take all the use and abuse you throw at it and it’s perfect for adventurous paddlers. This would be great for SUP fishing, camping trips in remote places, multi-day touring trips, and more. Wherever you go, it will still be in one piece at the end of your SUP trip. 

I love how the handle bar locks in place and the fact that it’s padded. It may seem like an insignificant feature but it makes it so much easier to carry the cooler, especially when it’s heavy. 

One of my favorite features is the padded lid – which doubles as a seat! It’s so comfortable and the lid closures are made of rubber so it’s easy to open with wet or slippery hands. 

Another thing to note about the Bote Kula cooler is that it has outstanding ice retention. You’ll still be able to enjoy an ice-cold drink even on the third day of your multi-day paddling trip. It also comes with a bottle opener so you don’t need to carry one. 

It has an amazing attachment system so you won’t have trouble attaching it to your SUP. The water release valve is at the bottom, so you have to lift the cooler to let water out.

What I Like
  • Remarkable construction: You won’t believe how tough the Bote Kula is–I’m impressed, to be honest. If you want a cooler that can withstand anything, I recommend it. 
  • Impeccable ice retention: This paddle board cooler will keep your drinks and snacks cool and fresh for days. 
  • Padded seat: I love that you don’t have to buy a SUP kayak seat separately because this cooler makes a nice seat. It’s raised and comfortable (due to the padding); anglers will love it. 
What I Don’t Like
  • Expensive: This is one of the best SUP hard coolers you can get but you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets.

Check Price of the Bote Kula Cooler

6. iRocker 45L Rotomolded Cooler

irocker 45L hardshell paddle board cooler
irocker 45l cooler

This iRocker rotomolded cooler is large, with a 45-liter capacity. It’s a good choice if you take outings with the whole family or larger groups, as it’s best suited for this due to it’s large size. So, if you like to go paddling as a big family and you don’t want to buy multiple coolers, this would definitely be suitable for you. It can hold 40 cans plus ice so you know it will be enough for a group! 

Like the iRocker 25L cooler, this one also has a water release valve close to the bottom. I love that you don’t have to lift the cooler or open the lid to drain water. It comes with a cup holder too so there’s no need to buy one separately. 

This cooler is large and weighs 23 pounds. As you can imagine, carrying it can be challenging, especially for one person. But it has handlebars and two people will be able to carry it without a problem. 

And finally, I love the rubber lid closures because they’re easy to open even when my hands are wet, or slippery with sunscreen. 

What I Like
  • Large capacity for all the family: The 45L rotomolded hard cooler is big and can fit about 40 cans plus ice – meaning it’s perfect for families! 
  • Water release valve near the bottom: The location of the valve is great because you don’t have to open the lid or lift the cooler to drain water. 
  • Comes with a cup holder: You’ll have a convenient and easy-to-access place for your drink, without having to spend extra money. 
  • High-quality construction: The iRocker cooler features rotomolded construction. It’s super durable so you likely won’t have to worry about replacing it for a long time. 
What I Don’t Like
  • Not easy to carry: Having to carry the iRocker 45L cooler alone is not fun but it’s easier with a friend, thanks to the handlebars.

Check Price of the iRocker 45L Cooler

7. ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box with 4 Rod Holders 19 Qt

engel sup fishing cooler

Paddle board accessories make SUP fishing a lot more comfortable. This ENGEL cooler serves as a dry box and comes with rod holders for convenience. See other exciting features below.

Design

The ENGEL cooler has an adjustable shoulder strap and a carry handle on the lid for carrying it. Your dry essentials will have a nice place, thanks to the hanging tray. Don’t forget the rod holders for your fishing rods.

This cooler has self-stopping rear hinges, stainless-steel latches and stainless-steel screws. Its insulation is made from high-grade molded polystyrene foam.

Capacity

Unlike the first SUP cooler, this one is bigger. It has a 19-quart capacity and can fit 30 cans. That’s enough for most paddlers.

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

All surfaces are non-absorbent and water can’t get in. There is a waterproof seal around the lid to prevent moisture or even dust from getting it.

Ice Retention

The airtight EVA gasket makes ice retention outstanding. Don’t expect it to keep ice for a week—maybe a day or two. But your drinks will remain cool for longer.

Features and Specifications

  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Carry handle on lid
  • Hanging tray for dry goods
  • Includes four removable rod holders
  • Six colors available
  • Self-stopping rear hinges
  • Stainless-steel screws and latches
  • Non-absorbent surfaces
  • Waterproof seal
  • Airtight EVA gasket
  • Capacity: 19 qt/30 cans
  • External dimensions: 16.5” x 11.25” x 12.75”
  • Internal dimensions: 11.75” x 8” x 10”
  • Weighs 6.75 lbs
What I Like
  • Comes with rod holders
  • Stain- and odor-resistant
  • Water- and dust-proof
What I Don’t Like
  • Won’t keep ice for long

Customer Feedback

SUP fishing enthusiasts love the rod holders—as expected. The cooler is lightweight and easy to carry, even with contents. You may also be happy to hear that it is heavy-duty and can handle rough situations. The ENGEL retains ice for a day or two, which is not bad. Some customers are disappointed but most of them don’t mind.

Discover the 20 best paddle board fishing accessories for your next SUP fishing trip.

Check Price of the Engel SUP Fishing Cooler

8. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Paddle Board Cooler

The Titan Deep Freeze has such a stylish design, you can’t stop staring. Other than, it comes with tons of cool features, as you will see below.

Design

It has a zipperless lid that allows you to access your food and drinks quickly. The shoulder strap is adjustable and padded for comfort. This cooler also comes with side handles and elasticized gear straps.

You can get the Titan Deep Freeze in seven colors; blue, citrus, blue lagoon, moss, process blue, pine and sharkskin gray. All of them are gorgeous.

Capacity

You can fit 30 cans in this cooler. There are two more models; a 9-can and a 48-can. This 30-can cooler is neither too small nor too big and is probably the best for most people.

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

The exterior material is water-resistant. The interior has a hard body and is, obviously, waterproof. There is an Ultra Safe leak-proof design that keeps moisture out.

Ice Retention

According to the manufacturer, the Titan Deep Freeze can maintain still ice for three days. It has a radiant heat barrier and Deep Freeze high-performance insulation.

Features and Specifications

  • Quick access zipperless lid
  • Adjustable and padded shoulder strap
  • Side handles
  • Elasticized gear straps
  • Available in three colors
  • Water-resistant interior
  • Ultra Safe leak-proof construction
  • Radiant heat barrier
  • Insulated front pocket
  • Has a smart shelf
  • Coldblock base
  • Capacity: 30 cans
  • Interior measurements: 14.20” x 9” x 10.25”
  • Weighs 3.4 lbs
What I Like
  • Comfortable shoulder strap
  • Stain-resistant, easy to clean
  • Great design
What I Don’t Like
  • No top handle

Customer Feedback

Users are impressed by the Arctic Titan Deep Freeze. They love the design as well as its performance. For many of them, it kept ice for over a day. The cooler is durable and they expect it to last a while. There are a few complaints about the lack of a lid handle.

Check Price of the Arctic Titan

9. Grizzly 20 Quart Rotomolded Cooler

Grizzly SUP Cooler

The one thing you can be confident about when you buy this cooler is its durability. Besides that, the Grizzly comes with so many features for your convenience.

Design

If you love options, you’ll be happy to know that you have 10 colors to choose from.

The cooler is made using rotomolded construction and the insulation is environment-friendly. It is long-lasting and backed by a lifetime warranty.

It has a plastic tray for dry goods and a 2-inch drain plug. In addition to that, there is a bear claw latch system that maintains a secure grip without extra hardware.

Capacity

This is a 20-quart cooler—as you can tell from the heading. It can hold about 24 cans.

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

This being a hard-body cooler, you don’t have to worry about water getting in. It cannot absorb water or retain stains.

Ice Retention

The Grizzly has an amazing ice retention level. It can keep ice for four days or even more. The trick is keeping the water drained.

Features and Specifications

  • 10 colors available
  • Rotomolded construction
  • Environment-friendly insulation
  • Super durable
  • Plastic tray for dry goods
  • 2-inch drain plug
  • Bear claw latch system
  • Capacity: 20-qt
  • External dimensions: 20.25” x 14.5” x 14.25”
  • Weighs 16 lbs
What I Like
  • Rugged
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Impeccable ice retention level
What I Don’t Like
  • A little heavy

Customer Feedback

All users agree that the Grizzly has an outstanding ice retention level. They say that it keeps ice for days. This is your perfect companion for those long paddling adventures. Its construction is awesome—no wonder it comes with a lifetime warranty. Some people think it is a little too heavy, but they don’t mind.

Check Price of the Grizzly Cooler

10. SUP-Now Paddleboard Cooler & Mesh Bag

sup now cooler deck bag

Unlike the others above, this one is a bag and not a hard-body cooler. But this doesn’t mean that it is substandard.

Design

The SUP-Now is meant specifically for paddlers. It comes with four suction cups and sticks on your hardboard. This design doesn’t work on iSUPs but you can use the bungee system.

The cooler comes with a carry handle and three storage compartments. One compartment is for dry goods, the other one for cool snacks and the third one for ice and cold food/drinks.

Capacity

The SUP-Now is small and compact. It can only fit six cans but you will have room for extra essentials such as your phone and protein bars.

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

Given the material, this cooler bag cannot be considered waterproof. It is splash-resistant but if you submerge it your stuff may get soaked in water.

It includes a waterproof insert for your phone though.

Ice Retention

This cooler bag is suitable for a few hours of paddling because that is how long it will keep your drinks cold.

Features and Specifications

  • Four suction cups for installation
  • Carry handle
  • Three storage compartments
  • Splash-proof
  • Waterproof pouch included
  • Large-tab zipper
  • Capacity: 6 cans
  • Weighs 9 ounces
What I Like
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Amazing construction
  • Waterproof pouch
What I Don’t Like
  • Faulty suction cups

Customer Feedback

Paddlers love the size and design of the SUP-Now. It is small, compact and looks great—according to them. There are a lot of comments about the customer service. Users say that the manufacturer takes their concerns seriously. The cooler keeps drinks and food cold for a few hours. Many SUPers tried using the suction cups on their iSUPs and that didn’t work.

Check Price of the SUP Now Cooler

11. SBBC iSUP Cooler

sbbc cooler

The SBBC comes with features that would make any paddler happy. This is one of those purchases that you will never regret. Check the details.

Design

There are four clips and telcos straps for attaching the cooler to your board. Unlike the SUP-Now, this feature works with iSUPs.

It has a mesh netting pocket for personal items.

Capacity

The SBBC can hold ten cans and you will still have space for ice. You can bring enough drinks and snacks for a short trip.

Waterproof/Water-Resistant

This cooler is not water-proof but it is water-resistant. The materials used and the zipper will keep water from getting to your stuff.

Ice Retention

The thick insulation on the SBBC ensures maximum coldness. It will keep everything cool for several hours.

Features and Specifications

  • Four clips and telcos straps
  • Mesh netting pocket
  • Water-resistant
  • Thick insulation
  • Compatible with most paddleboards
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Capacity: 10 cans
  • Dimensions: 14” x 12” x 4”
  • Weighs 14 ounces
What I Like
  • Keeps water out
  • Perfect size
  • Easy to strap down
What I Don’t Like
  • Won’t keep ice for long

Customer Feedback

Paddlers say that the SBBC is the best. It fits perfectly on their boards and installation is easy. Some have had clothes in the cooler bag and they remained bone-dry. It also keeps drinks nice and cold. The zipper is great and so is the Velcro.

Check Price of the SBBC iSUP Cooler

How to Choose a SUP Cooler

As a paddler, a cooler is one of those things that you just need to have. It does more than keep your beverages cold.

SUP coolers make great seats. Long paddleboarding sessions are awesome, but they can wear you out. Sitting down occasionally helps you go for longer, hence better experiences. Tired SUPers are not the only ones who would appreciate a seat. Beginners will love the extra stability and so will anglers. Not to mention that a cooler can be convenient for attaching fishing equipment.

Just like with every other SUP equipment, choosing a cooler should be taken seriously. So how do you pick the perfect one?

Here is how.

Consider These Factors in Choosing a Paddle Board Cooler

a. Size Depending on the Nature of Your Paddling Trips

This is an obvious one. First, you don’t have all the room on your paddleboard. Having a huge cooler has its advantages but it may be a nuisance. SUP boards come in different sizes, and so do coolers. The width of the board is the main determinant here.

What you plan on putting in the cooler influences the size you should pick too. For SUP touring and fishing, you may need a bigger size for storing your catch, in addition to drinks and snacks. If all you do is go leisure paddling for a few hours then a small one will work just fine.

b.  Is It Waterproof or Water-resistant?

You cannot stop water from splashing all over. But you can stop it from getting to your stuff by buying a waterproof cooler. This may not be a problem with hard-body coolers.

However, it’s a different story with cooler bags. The materials used to make them are not necessarily waterproof. At the very least, ensure that it is water-resistant. Unless the whole paddleboard capsizes, you won’t have an issue.

If you decide to buy a water-resistant bag, you will have to find some sort of a waterproof pouch or bag. Things like your phone need to stay dry. (Most cooler bags offer a bonus waterproof pouch).

c. What Is the Actual Capacity of the Cooler?

This has been discussed briefly above. It is easy to focus so much on the size and forget the capacity. Just because a cooler looks big doesn’t mean it will hold much. The thickness of its insulation affects the capacity.

If the insulation is thick, expect a smaller capacity.

Oftentimes, manufacturers tell you how many cans a cooler can hold to help you estimate its capacity. Those on the smaller side hold ten cans or less. Others are big enough to hold almost 50 cans.

d. Design and Other Extra Features

It’s just a cooler box; how is the design important? This is a simple accessory—no argument—but there are small aspects that can make your experience better.

For instance, how easy is it to install on your SUP board? Check whether it comes with clips, Velcro straps, suction cups or anything that will help you set it up on the deck.

You may also enjoy having a cooler with different compartments. You don’t want some snacks exposed to the sun but you also don’t want them in the ice. A section that keeps them cool would be nice.

e. Is It Durable?

What is the cooler made of? Buy something cheap and it will come apart after three months of use.

There are many affordable, high-quality SUP coolers. Some even offer a lifetime warranty. Other than that, pay attention to parts such as screws and hinges. They should be made of non-corrosive materials. Some of these small parts tend to rust after a while.

f. Ice Retention: For How Long Does It Keep Ice?

The main reason for buying a cooler is to keep your drinks and food cold—and many of them can do that. The question is, for how long?

When on an extended SUP trip, you will require a higher level of ice retention. Some of the fancier cooler boxes can maintain ice for days. They have a few inches of insulation, heat barriers, super tight lids, and leak-proof qualities. If you can afford one of these, go for it.

Cooler bags aren’t too bad. They won’t keep ice for days but they will do for shorter trips. Be sure to factor in the weather. On extremely hot days, they may not maintain ice for over 24 hours.

Can’t You Just Buy a Regular Cooler?

Sure, you can; but it is not a good idea.

A regular cooler may work for things like road trips and afternoons at the beach but it won’t be great for SUP.

SUP coolers, unlike regular ones, are designed to be used on a paddleboard. The former will come with features that allow you to install it on the deck without issues. Most of them are non-slip and sit securely on the board.

Regular coolers are not typically meant for the water. They may not have corrosion-resistant parts. If you always paddle in salty water you can’t afford to take this lightly.

Lastly, SUP coolers will do a better job when it comes to conserving fish for anglers. They can keep your catch frozen so you don’t have to cut your trip short.

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Conclusion

Hopefully my guide has helped you figure out which paddle board cooler is best for you. 

All of the paddle board coolers I’ve reviewed are well-made and worth considering. Each of them does its job well, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend every one of them.

That said, the iRocker 25L is my top pick for 2022 because of the size and the outstanding quality. It’s neither too big nor too small, so most paddlers will find that it works well for both long and short SUP trips. 

The iRocker backpack cooler is the best option if you want a dry bag that also doubles as a cooler. You can secure it using your SUP’s bungee system or carry it on your back. The straps are padded and super comfortable. 

If you’re looking for a soft-sided cooler, consider the Gili deck bag. It comes in two sizes so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. 

So, which paddle board cooler are you picking?

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