On every adventure, whether it’s camping, sailing, or fishing, there are two things you always need; cold drinks and well-preserved food. The only way you’re going to get these is by having a cooler that can keep up with your style of adventure, and YETI Coolers do just that.
YETI is an American company that came out of nowhere and took over the high-quality cooler market around seven or eight years ago. They got the model right by designing a cooler for adventurers that did two things; kept things cold better than any others and, was durable as hell.
They are also committed to conservation and though their marketing creates an excellent connection between their customers, nature, and of course YETI themselves.
Today, there is a whole range of YETI coolers that still live by their original standards, coldest for the longest, and as durable as possible.
There is a cooler for every occasion from catching and cooling fish on board and picnic coolers, to soft coolers perfect for a sunset hike. They really have made them all.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the Best YETI Coolers, from soft to hard to backpacks and bucket coolers, so you can decide which is for you if you don’t want them all.
Best For Adventures
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Best For Day Trips
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Best For Picnics
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The Tundra is pretty much indestructible. It’s is built to be armored to the core and is labeled as bear safe, so even if you leave it out in the woods, a bear has no chance of getting in and destroying it.
So if a bear cant make mincemeat of it, it’s going to handle and adventure you take it on, whether you’re crossing the Atlantic or going hunting for a week.
The cooler is insulated with three inches of PermaFrost Insulation and will keep ice for up to a whole week. This means that if you pack your food and drinks correctly, you’ll be able to still eat some fresh produce and have a cold beer, way into your trip.
These coolers are heavy and expensive but they have to be. The durability and insulation require heaviness and no cost is spared in creating them. You should watch your back carrying them, especially when full.
The latches do tend to go but only after a year or so of being used every day in a saltwater environment. So the likely hood of yours going are minimal unless you’re a Florida flats guide or run a charter boat. The latches are also replaceable, so you won’t be left hanging.
The YETI Hopper Flip is one of the most versatile one-man day trip coolers around. It comes in two sizes, either the 8 or the 12 quarts which we will talk about here. The 8L is a little bit too small and it’s worth just going for the 12 quarts.
The cooler is made with a DryHide Shell that is not only waterproof but also resists mildew, punctures, and abrasions. You can rest assured knowing it’s going to last a long time, stay clean and nothing is going to get in there no matter where you’re adventuring.
It uses ColdCell Insulation which is a closed-cell foam that gives the cooler amazing insulation that far surpasses any other soft coolers out there. It will hold ice for up to 3-4 days and it is also leak-proof, so when the ice eventually melts, all that cold water is going to stay in there and keep your things cool.
It comes with a 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper that makes sure your contents stay cold and that no water or ice gets out. The zipper is tough to open sometimes but this is what gives the Flip its leakproof properties.
Overall, this is one of the most useful YETI coolers for one-man day trips, sunset drinks, and taking some cold ones to a BBQ.
The YETI Hopper M30 is an evolved and larger version of the Flip. It has been improved from its original design on customer requests to make it easier to access and open.
YETI did away with the zips and put powerful magnets there instead while retaining the coolers Hydroshield Closure. This makes the cooler much easier to open and gives it a much wider opening for you to access all your cold food and drinks.
It comes with dual, quick-release buckles to ensure nothing spills if the cooler falls over unexpectedly and a leak-proof liner that also resists the build-up of mildew. So you’re cold ice, water and goodies aren’t going anywhere once they are inside the Hopper M30.
The outside is waterproof is incredibly durable. It’ll resist punctures, abrasions, and damage from UV rays. The Hopper uses the same insulation technology as the Flip and will keep ice and things cold for 3-4 days. Quite amazing for a soft cooler.
The YETI Hopper M30 is the ideal family-sized YETI and is great for picnics, days out fishing, or when you want a load of cold drinks in the backyard.
YETI took the Hopper and turned it into a backpack cooler called the YETI Hopper Backflip 24. It’s the best choice for anyone who needs to get cold drinks and food to a tough spot.
If you love camping off the beaten track but have always struggled to get your supplies there because carrying a hard cooler was paid, then the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 is what you have been waiting for.
It has all the standard YETI soft-cooler properties we love in a backpack. Fill it up with your food and drinks and start your hike to your favorite camping spot. It comes with padded shoulder straps, a hip belt, and a sternum belt, as is comfy to carry even when fully loaded.
Like all the soft YEI coolers it’s waterproof, leakproof, durable, resists mildew and UV damages, and of course, is excellent at keeping things cold.
This cooler only comes in one size and will fit up to 20 cans in it with a 2:1 ice ratio. It’ll carry supplies for 2-3 people for a few days of camping or for a whole gang on a day trip. There is also MOLLE webbing on the sides and back for you to add any extras that don’t need to be cold.
The YETI Roadie 24 is made for a life on the road. It’s been specifically designed to sit behind the passenger seat and you can open it with one hand, so there is no need to leave the front seat to get into it.
You can leave the Roadie in your car and keeping using it day after day for up to 4 days or more, depending on the temperature. This means there is no need to be hauling your cooler to and from the car, just leave it in there and top it up each day with the food and drinks you need.
It’s been designed to hold a bottle of wine or a 2-liter bottle vertically, no need to store them sideways and suffer any leaky bottle caps anymore. It can hold up to 18 cans with a 2:1 ice ratio or 24 lbs of just ice, so it’s large enough for most road trips.
It’s still a little heavy but the weight has been dropped by 10% while the capacity and ice retention increased, so YETI did a stellar job there. It has all the YETI properties you’d expect; durability, ice retention, and more. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have a drainage plug.
Remember when we said YETI thought of everything, well their YETI Tank Bucket Cooler is a testament to that.
Gone are the days of having buckets filled with ice and water to cool your drinks, or throwing ice in the fish holder of the boat in the hope of keeping your catch cold. The YETI Tank Bucket Cooler knocks these methods out of the park.
It comes in two sizes, 45 and 85 Litres, more than enough for a tailgate, BBQ, or small event. The 85 is especially useful for fishermen and will hold 51 blue crabs, 24 mullet, or 2 bushels of oysters and keep them cold for up to 3 days if you have the lid.
The YETI Tank Bucket is built similarly to the Tundra with Permafrost Insulation and an incredibly durable build. It also features DoubleHaul Handles and a Vortex Drain System to make loading, unloading, cleaning, and draining it a piece of cake.
It is quite a heavy cooler but you wouldn’t get the durability or cooling properties without it. The one annoying thing is it doesn’t come with the lid and you’ll have to buy it separately.
The YETI Tank 85 Bucket Cooler Lid is $50, UV resistant, marine-grade, and adds a whole other dimension. It can be used as a seat with a bucket, a cutting board and will make your ice last longer.
The YETI Silo is made for adventure guides who don’t have access to freshwater while they take their guests out for the day. This could be on a hunt, a day floating the yellow stone river, or a day cruising the flats looking for tarpon.
It comes with all the YETI features you’d expect: durability, Permafrost Insulation, ergonomic handles, and more. It holds 6 gallons of water and keeps it fresh and icy cold for days. One awesome thing about this water cooler is the ColdLock Gasket that not only keeps the water cold but stops it from spilling if the Yeti took a tumble.
The SurePour Spigot is excellent at delivering good water pressure to reduce filling time and the steady steel handle next to it makes it easy to move and keep your balance when hydrating on a moving vessel.
Overall an awesome water cooler that will last you years to come. Great for anyone in the guide business or who hosts outdoor/wilderness lunches often.
YETI coolers are by far the most durable coolers around and have the best ice retention too. They will last for a hell of a long time and retain all their awesome features while doing so. Yes, they are expensive but you are investing in a cooler for life that will open up the outdoor world for you. You won’t have to worry about how cold everything is, or if the cooler can handle the adventure you’re on, YETI has got you covered
As you can see from the YETI coolers in the review, there is literally one for every occasion. Whether it’s sunset drinks, a wedding, a day out on a boat, a picnic, a packed lunch, a place to keep your catch or kill cold, there is a cooler that matches every need you might think of.
It’s tempting to own them all, very tempting in fact, but the pricing makes that plan a little redundant. If you want a great cooler for casual use then pick a YETI Hopper or Flip. If you’re looking for something more robust then the Tundra series is the way to go and if you live out of your car a lot, well, the only choice is the Roadie.
YETI coolers provide up to 4 days of ice retention in the soft coolers and the Roadie and up to 7 days in their Tundra coolers. That is a ridiculous amount of time and it beats all other manufacturers’ hands down. This is how YETI made its name, and even after 7 years, remains the market leader.
Buying a YETI cooler is an investment but one that is well worth it. To ease the strain on the expense, each cooler comes with a 3 or 5-year warranty that YETI stands by. So if anything isn’t working as it should be, or a bear rips your Tundra to shreds (doubtful), YETI will be there to sort it out. Their customer service is excellent.
YETI pride themselves in making coolers that last. The Tundra is almost indestructible (and bear-proof) while the soft coolers are waterproof, leakproof, and exceptionally tough to puncture or damage in any way, to be honest. They will last longer than any cooler you have ever owned, and are especially useful if your work requires you to use a cooler every day.
As always, there are some negatives but YETI’s are minimal, and here is the shortlist.
The best YETI cooler for any adventure is the YETI Tundra 45 Cooler or 65L cooler. The Tundras are made to be indestructible along with pretty much the best ice retention of any coolers on the market. You can keep ice for up to 7 days, and not even a bear can get into this, so your adventures will barely leave a mark.
The best YETI cooler for day-tripping with is the YETI Hopper Flip. It’s a soft, light cooler that is 100% waterproof, leakproof, and resists the build-up of dirt or mold. It will keep ice for 24 hours, has the capacity for holding your lunch plus some drinks, or 12 bottles for an evening sundowner. It’s the most useful YETI out there in our opinion.
The best YETI cooler for picnics and group days out is the YETI Hopper M30. The Hopper M30 is the perfect size to pack lunch for 4 or more plus some cold drinks. It’ll hold ice and keep your things cold for more than 24 hours and sometimes days. It’s light, portable, leakproof, waterproof, durable, and features magnets instead of zipping to make accessibility even easier.
Header image courtesy of Tony Webster