If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that you need a high-end cooler if you want to have ice, cold food, and cold drinks for days on end while you’re adventuring around. But do they have to be so expensive?
Yeti coolers are the benchmark for high-end coolers. They are rugged, durable, and are amazing at staying cold for a long time. But what are the YETI cooler alternatives?
In this article, we look at the top Yeti cooler alternatives to see how they stack up. Are they half the price? Just as useful and durable? Do they hold ice for the same period of time?
At A Glance: Our Top 3 YETI Alternatives
These are all the things we are about to find out so you can decide whether YETI coolers are the way to go or if you can save some of your cash and get one of the coolers like Yeti that are just as good.
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Best Tundra Alternative
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Best Hopper Alternative
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Best Flip Alternative
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The first one of the YETI cooler alternatives we are going to look at is made by Grizzly Coolers. The Grizzly 40 Cooler is Grizzly’s version of the YETI Tundra 45.
The Grizzly cooler and Yeti cooler are the same price, so if you’re looking for a deal, Grizzly is not the way to go.
In terms of durability, the coolers are pretty much the same. They are both bear safe and made with long-lasting components, and will handle any adventure you take them on.
There are a few things that are better with the Grizzly coolers than the Yeti cooler. The handles are more comfortable for carrying and the warranty is a lifetime with Grizzly and 5-years with the YETI cooler. The next thing is the lid gasket on the Grizzly seems to perform better.
The Grizzly cooler has shorter ice retention by a few days and it comes in sizes ranging from 20-75, which will do the job for any camping/outdoor adventures you may like to go on. But, the size range is a lot smaller than YETI’s size range of 35-350, so if you’re looking for a 210-quart cooler to fill with fish, then you’ll have to stick with YETI.
Overall, you’ll be paying the same price for shorter ice-retention but more comfortable handles and a longer warranty. These are one of the better coolers like Yeti for sure!
The RTIC 45 Cooler is another matchup for the YETI Tundra 45, but how does it stack up against one of the most popular YETI coolers?
The RTIC is exceptionally durable and bears safe like the YETI, and with a similar design.
It comes with better, heavy-duty rope handles and has a little bit more capacity than the YETI. So the RTIC wins in this respect.
On paper, the RTIC 45 is more expensive than the Yeti cooler by about $30 and holds ice for longer, by a few days.
When tested the RTIC 45 barely keeps ice for 5 days (advertised as 10) where the YETI Tundra frequently surpasses the 7-day mark (advertised as 5-7 days). The warranty is also 4 years shorter than YETI’s and you have fewer size options to choose from, so YETI wins here.
Overall you’ll be paying a little more for better handles and a tiny bit more capacity, but for a shorter warranty and shorter ice-retention. The YETI Tundra is the obvious choice here.
READ MORE: RTIC VS YETI
The next cooler brand up against YETI is Orca Coolers. The Orca 40 Quart Cooler is another set of coolers like the YETI Tundra 45.
It uses the same YETI-like construction to create a durable and long-lasting cooler that will survive just as long as the Tundra. The prices are similar, with the Orca coolers being only a tad cheaper than Yeti.
The Orca coolers do a few things better than the Yeti coolers. This one comes with a lifetime warranty compared to 5 years for the YETI, the lid gasket is better, it has a larger capacity, and there is a net attachment for storage that the YETI cooler doesn’t have.
The Orca is not bear safe like the YETI cooler, it holds ice for fewer days than the YETI and the lid gasket is too good that you might need a screwdriver to pop it open, so it’s less accessible than the YETI.
Overall, you’re paying the same price for a cooler with similar durability, a longer warranty, a larger capacity, and a handy storage area. But, you’re getting shorter ice retention, a cooler that is not bear safe and is tricky to pop open sometimes.
The next ice chest cooler brand we are is the OtterBox – one of the more interesting Yeti cooler alternatives, if you ask me.
The OtterBox 65 Venture Cooler is a direct comparison to the YETI Tundra 65 and here is how they stack up.
The ice chests match up in terms of durability, capacity, and cooling. They are both excellently made and will last you on hundred of adventures no matter how daring.
Otterbox make great coolers like Yeti but cheaper. The Otterbox also has a large range of add-on accessories like a cutting board, cup holders, separators, and all-terrain wheels that the YETI cooler doesn’t. It comes with anti-slide rubber feet where the YETI has no feet.
The hinge on the Otterbox wheeled cooler is not as durable, to be bear safe you have to buy a $100 locking kit, there are fewer sizes to choose from, the warranty is 4 years shorter, and the handles can make it awkward to store.
Overall you’ll save yourself $50 by going for the Otterbox and get a cooler that is pretty much just as good as the equivalent YETI. You’ll have to sacrifice the cooler to be bear safe though and be ok with a shorter warranty.
Now we begin to look at some YETI alternatives in the soft coolers world. Our first comparison is the RTIC Insulated Soft Cooler Bag with the YETI Hopper/Flip.
Both of the coolers have all the features we know, love, and want. They are both leakproof, waterproof, resist mildew, UV protected. They are also both excellent at standing up to abrasions and are puncture resistant.
The RTIC soft cooler is quite a bit less expensive than the YETI Flip or Yeti Hopper when you match them for size. The RTIC cooler also comes with a handy zip pocket, unlike the YETI. So, overall it’s a good Yeti cooler alternative.
The ice-retention on the YETI’s is better but by only a day, the RTIC cooler will hold ice for 2 days and the YETI cooler for 3. The zip on the YETI is longer lasting, it comes with MOLLE webbing, and you get a longer warranty with the YETI.
Overall, the cash saving on the RTIC makes it worthwhile as you’re only sacrificing warranty and a little bit of ice cooling for pretty much the same cooler in our eyes.
The next Yeti cooler alternative is the Pelican Elite Soft Cooler 24 which is again similar to the YETI Flip or Yeti Hopper.
The warranty on Pelican coolers are the same and both of the coolers are leakproof, waterproof, and super durable. They both have waterproof zippers that are rugged and durable plus the outer shells are designed to handle whatever you want to put them through.
Pelican coolers are like Yeti but cheaper, come with a zip pocket, bottle opener, and have a dual-access system. Rather than just having a zip, Pelican Elite coolers come with a buckle system too so you can avoid the tough zipper if you’re planning on getting things out of the cooler often.
The YETI cooler is better by 1 day for the ice, and on top of that, the Pelican doesn’t have any mildew or UV protection.
In our opinion, the saving is worth it for the Pelican as losing 1 day of ice retention out of 3 doesn’t make much difference when you’re looking at what is a day cooler. You’ll just have to make sure to clean the Pelican more often to ensure it stays fresh.
The final comparison is the Grizzly Drifter 20 Flip-top Soft Cooler with the YETI Flip.
These coolers stack up incredibly evenly with the same ability to keep ice, and similar build. Both are leakproof, waterproof, resist mildew, and are about as durable as each other.
The Grizzly Drifter 20 Flip-top Soft Cooler comes with a few handy pockets for storage, unlike the YETI Flip. It comes with a bottle opener and 3 separate pockets for taking any dry things along. It’s also quite a lot less expensive and you get a 20 quart capacity for $60 cheaper than a 12-quart capacity YETI.
The only feature the YETI cooler wins on here is that their warranty is a year longer and nothing else.
The Grizzly Drifter 20 Flip-top Soft Cooler is the clear winner here. It’s actually better than the YETI but much less expensive. The only thing you’re sacrificing is a year’s less warranty.
Having read the reviews above you’ll notice that there are only coolers like YETI Hopper, Flip, and Tundra in the line-up. No manufacturers can really compete with YETI in terms of the diversity and application of YETI’s range. That being said, the Hopper, Flip, and Tundra are the most useful and most needed coolers in YETI’s lineup, so the alternatives should have most of you covered.
When comparing the ability to keep ice of the cooler alternatives to YETI, most of them are quite similar but fall short by a little bit. This is not the end of the world as the differences are not that large and won’t make a huge impact on your experience of using the coolers.
The YETI alternatives either far surpass YETI’s 3 or 5-year warranty by giving you a lifetime warranty or are a few years short. The customer service of each alternative cooler brand is pretty good but it’s hard to tell if they can live up to YETI’s excellent reputation.
In terms of durability, all the coolers stack up to provide pretty much the same robustness as the YETI coolers. A lot of the Yeti cooler alternatives are bear safe and the soft cooler alternatives give you similar features as the Hopper and the Flip.
Not all the YETI alternatives are less expensive than YETI coolers, some are actually more expensive. But, there are, of course, some that will save you some of your hard-earned cash.
The best YETI alternative for the Tundra is the OtterBox 65 Venture Cooler. With the Otterbox you’re saving some money and getting the same cooling and durability as the YETI but with some extras. The Otterbox has all kinds of accessory add-ons you can purchase to tailor-make it to your needs. You will have to sacrifice the bear safe side and have a shorter warranty though.
A great YETI alternative for the Hopper is the RTIC Insulated Soft Cooler Bag. In this case, you are pretty much getting the same cooler from RTIC as the Hopper with similar capacity and for less money. The RTIC has all the same features as the YETI Hopper except for a shorter warranty and a little shorter ice retention. It’s well worth the saving.
The best Yeti alternative for the Flip is the Grizzly Drifter 20 Flip-top Soft Cooler. The Grizzly is less expensive than the YETI Flip with all the same features and with more to offer. It gives you dry storage options, a much larger capacity, with the same ability to keep ice and durability for less money.
Of course, we can’t cover every cooler brand in this article, but we want to mention a few other coolers that are worth checking out: RLC Coolers, Engel Coolers, Bison Coolers and Canyon Coolers. If we had more time, we would definitely add them to the list!