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Tow your beverages on the water with the best floating coolers of the year

Float trips, river rafting, or multiday kayak expeditions — these floating coolers are ready for them all

Kayaker paddling an inflatable kayak with a floating cooler in tow and snowy mountains in the background.

A nice cold light beer (or seltzer or kombucha or whatever you’re into) makes a lazy day on the river infinitely more enjoyable. The problem is that even the world’s best coolers aren’t very portable and, worse yet, they don’t float. The solution? Well, the best backpack coolers sort of work in a pinch. The better solution? A floating cooler — the kind you can tow along wherever the water takes you. For serious float trips, these are the best floating coolers to shop in 2023.

Orange, 30 Quart CreekKooler floating cooler, isolated on a plain white background.

CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler

For our money, CreekKooler’s PuP Floating Cooler is the best floating cooler on the market. It’s purpose-built as a tow-along cooler for all manner of watersports adventures, including standup paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, canoeing, and anything else that involves floating. The smallest model holds 15 12-ounce cans, plus 10 pounds of ice, while the upgraded 30-quart model doubles that capacity. Coupled with foam insulation and a dual-wall blow-molded construction, it’s guaranteed to keep your favorite beverages chilled all day. It is the most expensive option on this list but, when it comes to floating coolers, you get what you pay for.

The Icemule Pro Large 23L

Icemule Pro Cooler

Icemule’s entire line has been a long-time favorite of ours here at The Manual. Its backpack coolers are second to none for durability, versatility, and ice retention. The combination of a Muleskin exterior with PolarLayer Insulation can maintain ice-like temperatures for up to two days. Watersports enthusiasts will also be happy to know that they’re buoyant enough to float. Strap it to your back, on your boat, or in your boat for the ride. The Icemule Pro, in particular, is available in a variety of sizes and coolers.

Yamaha Inflatable Can Cooler

Yamaha Inflatable Can Cooler

For more relaxed pursuits — in the pool or, say, for a quick tool around the pond in the kayak — there’s Yamaha’s Inflatable Can Cooler. The center section holds half a dozen 12-ounce cans, while the numbered rings around the outside hold six more. If you’re not planning on anything super-active like wakeboarding or jet-boating, this is an affordable, dead-simple floating cooler solution.

Intex Mega Chill Inflatable Floating Cooler

Intex Mega Chill Inflatable Floating Cooler

Intex’s Mega Chill Inflatable Floating Cooler is similar to Yamaha’s. But the oversized, 35-inch diameter makes it infinitely more stable for more active adventuring. In addition to the main center section, four cup holders and larger handles/pockets on the outside provide plenty of space for more drinks, hats, sunscreen, and whatever else you need for a day on the water. It’s a steal at around $20.

Bestway Hydro-Force Glacial Sport 9.43 Gallon Vinyl Inflatable Floating Cooler isolated on a plain white background.

Bestway Hydro-Force Glacial Sport Inflatable Floating Cooler

Bestway’s Hydro-Force Glacial Sport Inflatable Floating Cooler is an all-in-one cooler/raft/cupholder combo. At nearly three feet wide by 27 inches deep, it offers a generous 49-liter capacity. Durable handles and cupholders around the outside make it easy to pull alongside you and quickly grab an open beverage. Plus, a large air spigot allows for quick, painless inflation and deflation.

Ozark Trail Cooler Float isolated on a plain white background.
Ozark Trail

Ozark Trail Cooler Float

It’s not a “floating cooler,” but it’ll make your cooler float. Think of it as a pool raft for the cooler you already have. The simple design includes a tow rope lash and dual tow handles to make it easy to wrangle. Cupholders on opposite corners add easy access to your freshly opened beverage. The center section fits up to a 48-quart cooler, which is plenty for all but the largest river outings. Like most of the best floating coolers, this one also includes a patch kit, just in case. But the best part is the price. At around $25, it’s one of the cheapest cooler floats we’ve seen this year.

Solstice Super Chill River Raft

Solstice Super Chill Floating Cooler River Raft

Solstice’s Super Chill River Raft is a premium take on the Ozark Trail Cooler Float. It’s large enough for most full-sized coolers and boasts four sturdy vinyl handles for easy grabbing and towing alongside your kayak or SUP. Plus, the additional cupholders around the outside allow you to minimize the time spent opening the cooler (and letting all that chill out). At roughly $70, it’s pricey (especially considering you’ll need to add your own high-quality cooler to the mix), but the heavy-duty vinyl construction is designed to take anything you throw at it.

Bass Pro Shops The Big Bobber Floating Cooler
Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops The Big Bobber Floating Cooler

If you like your watersports with a side of kitsch, The Big Bobber Floating Cooler delivers. Shaped like a comically oversized fishing bobber, it’s like the Big Mouth Billy Bass of coolers. At just 14 inches wide, it’s the smallest on this list, and it’s definitely not made for hardcore adventuring. But, it’s roomy enough for a 12-pack of beer with ice and, at roughly $50, can you really complain?

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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