My younger brother Dan is an eristic, and it always makes me mad when he wins debates with false arguments.
He’s also a paddling enthusiast, as I am and you can only imagine what our day-to-day life is like. We’re ever debating anything about the general stand up paddle boards, their best uses, accessories, and so much more.
But if there’s one thing that we both seem to agree on is the importance of a standup cooler or the SUP cooler.
I know it’s surprising, but who would hate an ice-cold drink, especially after a long, hot day on the water?
Sure, you could just tie a line to a six-pack of soda or beer, drop it in the water, and tow it behind your boat, but a paddle cooler is much safer and more effective.
Now, you might think you don’t need a cooler, but it doesn’t take long to realize its importance, especially on extended trips out on the water.
What starts as short little paddles out onto the water gradually turns out into longer journeys.
But as you go further, you’ll soon discover that you need some food and beverage while on the longer paddling sessions.
Pulling that hot, half-rotten sandwich from your dry bag and washing it with flaming hot bottle water gets old quickly.
On a SUP, you need the best paddle board cooler.
But with so many coolers, how do you select the best paddle board cooler for your needs?
I shall help you with the selection.
In the review guide below, I’ll share with you some of our favorite SUP coolers that we’ve both agreed with Dan are the best you can get on the market 😊
Table of Contents
The Best Paddle Board Coolers For The Money
#1 Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler - EDITOR'S CHOICE
In the world of coolers, Artic Zone could be considered one of the “originals.” The brand has been around for so long and continues to thrive.
But even then, established brands need to adapt and improve to survive in the market, and the Artic Zone has just done that with their new Titan Deep Freeze rollout.
The Artic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cover is my favorite when I go out paddle boarding.
Compared to other coolers in the market, the Artic Zone is inexpensive and generally aimed at the general population who just need a decent paddle board cooler for a picnic, day trip, or outdoor adventure.
Of course, it may not match the performance of the top-of-the-line Yeti coolers, but it has nice design features that make it a standout.
The first one is sturdiness.
Artic Zone is a tough cooler, no complaints. The TPE Ripstop material is hard-wearing and offers some form of weatherproofing.
It’s a nice and tough deck cooler, and for whatever purpose you plan to use in the Artic, it’ll stand up to rough use. The cooler even has a reinforced base for extra protection. It protects it from the wear and tear of being dropped on the ground or friction from the paddle boards.
However, the Artic may be susceptible to gouging, and while it works well for paddlers, it may not be a day-to-day cooler for truckers.
Artic Deep Freeze is also exactly as it sounds- not a catchphrase. It offers thick insulation like no other with its Deep Freeze feature.
Using a radiant heat barrier to reflect heat rather than absorb it, paddlers can use this paddle board cooler all day in the sun, opening several times per hour, and still have lots of ice still left.
The only problem we had with the ice retention is that it didn’t last for long. The manufacturer claims it can retain ice for 2 to 3 days, but it only lasted for a few hours from our testing. It’s not a big problem, though for paddlers who only spend a few hours in the water.
Artic’s storage capacity is, however, exactly as advertised. It’s among the largest coolers in the market, coming in at 16.50in by 11.00in by 12.75in.
Some users use the Artic as a lunch box, though it’s technically designed for cans. It can hold up to 30 cans, and this should be sufficient to keep you and your friends going in the water for hours.
Plus, it comes with a removable tray you can use to separate the drinks and the dry food. So, along with carrying your favorite drinks, you can also use the Artic to stash your burgers and sandwiches without worrying about them getting wet or soggy.
But the biggest benefit of the Titan Deep Freeze is how super practical it is.
The Artic goes against the traditional zipper closure system of a cooler deck bag.
Instead, it comes with a “zipperless,” flip-open, Velcro closed lid.
Want to know the benefit?
First, it’s effortless to open and close and won’t seize up and break as easily as zippers do.
Secondly, the system is really easy to open and close. More importantly, it stays closed when you need it to and still keeps your drinks cold.
#2 Engel 19-quart dry box/cooler - Best Paddle Board Cooler for Anglers
The Engle 19 cooler is a good middle-of-the-road cooler, better than a cheapo, but not an expensive high-end option.
I bought this paddle board cooler because it’s big enough for some beverages and some sandwiches. It also holds ice all day long and keeps my food and drinks cool, and that’s just about it. After all, that is what I desire anyway.
But anglers will find even more pleasure on the Engel Dry Box because it comes with nice fishing rod holders, allowing me to bring extra rod holders on my paddle board for fishing.
Like most high-end stand-up paddle board coolers, Engel utilizes rotomolding on all their hard-sided coolers, and the Engler 19 isn’t any different.
The 2-inch thickness on all sides is beneficial in several ways, but the biggest advantage is it gives significantly more insulation than you’ll find in your everyday, run-of-the-mill paddle board cooler.
The manufacturer claims this fishing cooler can retain ice for ten days, but that’s not true. Don’t expect it to keep ice for more than a week-maybe two or three days. Your drinks will remain cool for longer.
For me, at least, it’s overkill since I’m only SUP fishing for a few hours. Camping enthusiasts for a multi-day trip may find the Engel a great pick.
When it comes to the holding capacity, this soft cooler has tons of space to offer. It has a 19-quart capacity and can fit 30 cans. This should be more than enough for most paddlers.
Yet, the SUP cooler isn’t heavy or bulky. It’s a lightweight cooler, so even when I add ice, cold beverages, and food ice cold, I still find it convenient and manageable. I simply throw it over my shoulder with the supplied adjustable shoulder strap and take off.
And as much as I banged the paddle board cooler, it still retains its shape and integrity.
Sure, the design looks simple, but it’s surprisingly durable. This is the kind of paddle board cooler that can survive getting dropped, bouncing around in the box of your truck, and generally tossed as needed. Engel is pretty utilitarian in this sense.
Another unique thing with Engel plastic construction is the use of additives. The 100% UV-resistant coloring retains the color, and even when exposed to the hot sun all season, it doesn’t fade. It stays and looks new, no matter what nature throws at it.
Engel’s practicality is also on another level, and I love how the stainless-steel screws and latches are pretty firm to open and close. This is important for a premium ice cooler.
While it takes some effort, this pressure is critical. When combined with the airtight EVA gasket seal and a waterproof insert running around the edge of the SUP cooler, the Engel offers a tight air seal. Your food won’t be exposed to elements, and bears won’t even smell your food.
Overall, Engel is an amazing cooler, and it’s clear the manufacturer took the time to make this high-quality paddle board cooler.
#3 SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack - Most Portable Cooler
If you’ve ever had to carry all your gear a great distance to the shoreline, you’ll appreciate a SUP cooler that hangs off your back.
It’s exactly what Seehonor deck bag cooler offers and is one less trip back to your car to grab yet another item.
This highly rated cooler bag can also easily be used as a paddle boarding SUP cooler and can store everything a rider may need.
It looks nice and well-made, just like in the pictures. While we were skeptical about the price, our fears were put to rest once we put the deck cooler bag to the test.
Seehonor cooler bag is solid and durable. It’s something that I would highly recommend for day-to-day use as it holds up well even under rough use.
And with a generous interior dimension of 17.7’’ x 7.9’’ x 13.0’, this deck cooler bag will hold all your paddling essentials, including drinks, food, snacks, and leave space for more.
Seehonor Cooler Bag has a capacity of 30 liters, so an excellent option for holding up to 30 cans and leaving some room for your lunches after a hot and tiring day in the water.
This cooler bag also has a nice couple of features along with the main compartment, including lots of pockets and spaces to store your items. My wife loves the extra compartments for storing her paddle board accessories such as phones, car keys, and wallets.
Keep in mind the side pockets are not waterproof, so paddle boarders need to toss your phone in a Ziplock back first.
Did we mention the fact there’s even a bottle opener tucked into a mesh netting pocket on the removable shoulder strap? You never have to forget one or even struggle opening your bottles of beer on the go.
The cooler bag is also not only well insulated but sweat resistant too. If you prefer your food or drink cold, you don’t have to worry about the paddle board cooler turning your back into a wet mess.
Overall, the Seehonor Cooler Bag is an incredible option for those on a budget and need something portable and built with convenience in mind.
It’s lightweight, and the padded shoulder strap offers off-board carrying convenience and makes it a bliss to carry your drinks and food even when paddling in the water.
#4 AO Soft - Best Cooler for Keeping your Drinks Cold
Fourth on our list of the best SUP cooler is a canvas option, great for storing your drinks and food you may need on your stand-up paddling trip.
There’re plenty of things to love with this paddle board cooler, but one of the stand out features is the construction.
The heavy-duty canvas exterior seems quite rugged, and it never had a scratch when I took it on a sailing trip to the Bahamas.
It even holds up in light rains and will stand up against the water splashes. Your food is also kept safe from dust, wind, and other elements.
AO Soft’s capacity is also generous and is a bit bigger than it looks. With a dimension of 17 x 10 x 12 inches (LxWxH, the manufacturer claims it can hold 24 cans plus about 14 pounds of ice.
For me, at least, I can carry six bottles of wine standing up, a few bottles of water, a bunch of grapes, several packs of ice, and different snacks.
And despite the generous capacity, I love that it can be squeezed to where we’ve room.
Not only does this SUP cooler have enough room for keeping your cans cool, but it also comes with additional side pockets for storing the dry foods that you don’t need cold but still want to bring.
Portability is also one less thing to worry about as the AO Soft comes with an adjustable shoulder strap for easy transport. So, if you’re planning to paddle board while traveling, this SUP cooler has you covered.
What about the insulation?
As with any AO Coolers, it certainly insulates well, and the thick walls and ¾ inch high thick high-quality foam keep it protected. The cooler has good thermal protection insulation and will keep your food and drinks fresh and cool for several hours.
Plus, it’s built with a strong TPU liner, so when riding on the harsh waves, you can be confident that your items are perfectly safe.
AO Soft isn’t bulky either. Even at full capacity (12 cans and 5 lbs. of ice), it still feels lightweight and easily manageable.
AO coolers are also available in various color options, including blue, mossy oak, black and more, so you can always find an option suiting your tastes.
#5 YETI Hopper Flip - Versatile SUP Cooler
Our last pick on our SUP cooler reviews, the Yeti Hopper Flip, is expensive and one of the most versatile one-person SUP coolers in the market.
It comes in two sizes; the 8 or 12 quarts. I find the 8l option a bit small, even for paddlers, and it’s worth just going for the 12 quarts option.
But the performance of either mode is top-of-the-line and will impress you on your paddling expedition.
The Hopper Flip utilizes a DryHide Shell that is not only waterproof but can also resist abrasions, mildew, and punctures.
So, you can be confident using this cooler on the water, and you’ll also be assured that it lasts long, stays clean, and that no elements will penetrate, regardless of where your adventures take you.
Hopper’s insulation doesn’t disappoint either. The ColdCell thick Insulation, which is a closed-cell foam amazing insulation, is twice the insulation of other soft coolers out there.
According to the manufacturer, it can hold ice for up to 3 or 4 days, but we found that it retains ice for two to three days on real-life tests. It’s still an acceptable duration, and paddlers won’t even need all that.
Plus, it’s leak-proof, so when the ice eventually melts, all that cold water stays in the cooler and extends Hopper’s cooling capability.
I also find the Hopper quite practical to operate and functional, thanks to the 100% Leakproof HydroLok Zipper. It’s an incredible closure system that ensures your contents stay cold and that no water gets out once the ice block melts.
However, the zipper can be challenging to open, but this is exactly what gives this cooler the leak proof properties.
Overall, the Yeti Hopper is an amazing cooler, perfect for various uses starting from paddling, BBQing to camping.
Best Paddle Board Coolers Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best SUP Cooler
Even with a list of 5, it’s still challenging to find a cooler when you need just one paddle board cooler.
So, how do you narrow it down?
Here’s everything you need to know about selecting the best SUP cooler.
But first things first:
What is a SUP Cooler?
A paddle board cooler is an insulated box or bag that maintains the temperature of its contents.
It’s like a thermo-flask; it keeps cold stuff cold and warm stuff warm.
When paddling boarding on the hot summer days, you can bring cold drinks, and they’ll remain cool throughout the day. On the other hand, if you paddle boarding during cold weather, you can bring hot drinks in your cooler to keep them warm.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Paddle Board Coolers
Here’re some of the important elements to consider when choosing a SUP cooler for your needs.
Hard-Sided Cooler Vs. Soft-Sided Cooler
The name explains the difference.
A hard-sided cooler box is usually a box made from hard plastic, while a soft-sided cooler is a bag. The latter is also known as cooler deck bags.
Generally, the material is the difference between these two.
And each of them has its pros and cons.
The hard-sided coolers are likely to keep ice longer, with some keeping your drinks cool for a week.
Along with the cooling functionality, the hard-sided cooler boxes can also double up as a seat on your paddle board.
The only downside with the hard-sided coolers is portability. Some weigh up to as much as 18 pounds, and when carrying it alongside your SUP and other gear, it can get bulky and cumbersome.
Generally, the hard-sided options are perfect for long-distance paddler or multi-day trips.
On the other hand, the cooler bags are foldable and lightweight. While they’re easier to carry, the other soft-sided coolers can’t keep ice for multiple days. They’re suited for day trips.
Ice Retention of the Paddle Board Cooler
While most SUP coolers can keep your food and drinks warm, some can maintain ice for days, while others can keep it for a few hours.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to the ice retention rate.
Generally, the soft-sided cooler bags or cooler bags will only keep your food and snacks cold for a few hours, so they’re only ideal if your trips only last a day.
Keep in mind SUP coolers with higher ice retention rates are generally expensive. Most of them are expensive premium models.
Size and Storage Capacity
Big SUP coolers can fit more stuff but generally take up more space.
The smaller SUP coolers won’t take much of your space and are easy to carry but won’t allow you to bring many drinks with you.
Generally, the ideal size of your SUP cooler comes down to what you plan to bring and the duration of your trip.
Also, anglers can’t purchase a super small cooler.
Finally, consider that your choice of cooler can fit on your inflatable paddle boards.
Note: Just because a paddle board SUP looks big doesn’t necessarily mean it can fit many items. It’s good to check on the internal measurements. Some coolers have ultra-thick walls and thus smaller interiors.
The carrying method isn’t something you need to worry about with cooler deck bags since most of them can go under the bungee cord storage.
But it’s important to ensure they’ve a shoulder strap, hand grips, or even whether they can be used as a backpack.
For SUP cooler boxes, consider how easily you can attach the paddle board cooler to ensure it stays in place and does not fall in the water.
Remember, not every hard-sided cooling box has some great feature to attach it to your board, and some of the boxes don’t offer this option at all.
At the very least, pick a cooling box with shoulder strap holders on the side. This will allow you to attach it to your board’s D-rings. You may also want to choose a paddle board cooler with an anti-slip bottom.
Hard paddle board coolers are waterproof since most of them are made of plastic.
Some cooler bags are also waterproof, but others are water-resistant.
With the latter, you might run into issues if it’s submerged.
We would recommend you choose a waterproof pouch to store your valuables.
Best Paddle Board Coolers Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Is the Difference Between a SUP Cooler and a Regular Cooler?
A: SUP cooler is designed for paddle boarding, so it comes with some form of attachment for securing it on the board. It also sports a non-slip bottom to prevent it from sliding.
And if it has metallic parts, they’ll be rust-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about paddling in saltwater.
Traditional coolers will probably not come with these features.
Q: How Do I Clean My Paddle Board Cooler?
A: Most of the coolers are odor and stain-resistant, so you only need to clean them with water and a mild detergent.
If your cooler has tough stains, you can try using water and baking soda.
We recommend cleaning the storage after each use.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
We couldn’t help but choose the Artic Zone Deep Freeze as our winner of the best SUP coolers.
The Artic strikes a balance between cost and performance.
It fits within the budget of most users, yet it has an incredible performance, rivaling some of the high-end paddle board coolers.
Artic Freeze has awesome ice retention that keeps your food and beverages cold for your paddling day-outs. It also has a generous storage capacity, enough to hold drinks for you and your friends for the entire paddling session.
Finally, we love the overall quality of this cooler. It’s well-built, sturdy, and will stand up to rough use.