Last Updated: June 7, 2021

Yeti Hopper Vs. Roadie: What’s The Best Cooler?

PRODUCT COMPARISON

Yeti Hopper (Flip 12)

Yeti Hopper is a lightweight softshell cooler. It is available in several different sizes and models, including an option you can wear just like a backpack.
  • Dimensions: 10” x 11.5” x 15.6”
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs
  • Capacity: 13 cans of beer/16 lbs of ice
  • Material: DryHide Shell; HydroLok Zipper
  • Insulation: Closed-cell rubber foam
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Yeti Roadie 24

Yeti Roadie is a classic hardshell cooler with a generous capacity, sturdy exterior and premium insulation. Some Roadie models even claim to be bear resistant!
  • Dimensions: 17.5” x 16.5” x 15.25”
  • Weight: 12.8 lbs
  • Capacity: 18 cans of beer/24 lbs of ice
  • Material: UV-resistant polyethylene
  • Insulation: Permafrost Insulation
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Can’t decide between the Roadie and the Hopper portable coolers from Yeti? Then you’re definitely in the right place! This detailed comparison examines all the features of these two coolers and points out the good, the bad and the ugly about both of them. 

Yeti coolers are very popular coolers and for good reasons – they offer excellent performance at a reasonable price point. When you put your beer in a Yeti cooler, you can have peace of mind knowing it will stay cool for hours, and in some cases for days. But should you pick up the lightweight Hopper or the incredibly tough Roadie? That’s what we’ll help you figure out below!

Hardshell vs. Softshell Construction

The most obvious difference between these two Yeti coolers is the construction. One if a sturdy hardshell cooler while the other is a lightweight softshell cooler. There’s pros and cons to both types of coolers, and that’s what I will cover in this section.

The Hopper is a waterproof cooler, available in a few different sizes and styles. There’s even an option with a backpanel and shoulder straps, allowing you to wear it like a backpack. This is a great feature for people who usually carry the cooler on hikes, since it allows for better load distribution, ultimately making the cooler lighter. And generally – the difference in the weight of these coolers is nearly 10 lbs, which is mostly impacted by the plastic vs fabric exterior. The insulation also impacts the weight, since these coolers each have their own type of insulation inside, but more on that later.

The hardshell Roadie cooler is heavier and bulkier, but offers slightly better insulation. It’s able to keep your food and drinks cold for longer, at the cost carrying convenience.

So, which is better for you?

If you want a cooler for camping trips, fishing trips or just generally adventures that last a while, I would recommend the Roadie. Especially if you don’t have to spend too much time with the cooler in your hand. The longer insulation time is a huge plus in those situations, and if you don’t actually have to carry the heavy hardshell cooler in your hands for a long time, the weight doesn’t matter that much.

But if you want a cooler for hikes, the Hopper is definitely the more convenient option for you. It’s much lighter, and version with backpack straps just screams ultimate convenience. Also, the waterproof construction of the Hopper makes it the better option for any adventure including water, whether it’s a fishing trip or a day on the beach.

Durability

All Yeti coolers are insanely durable, which is one of the main reasons why they are so popular. People don’t mind the higher price tags that much because they know they’re getting a cooler they’ll be able to use for years, if not a decade. But there is a significant difference between the materials used in these coolers and that’s something we have to talk about.

The softshell Hopper is resistant to weather, UV rays, punctures, abrasions and mildew. On the other hand, the Roadie 20 proudly claims to be bear resistant, and that’s not something that can be said about many other options. Even the newer Roadie 24 doesn’t describe itself as resistant to bear attacks, so it’s a feature worth considering.

In case you often go hunting or you actually spend time in the proximity of bears, it might not be a bad idea to get a cooler that’s bear-resistant. The tight seal on the lid guarantees that wild animals in the area aren’t able to smell the food in your cooler, while the exceptional durability and strength of their exterior promises that not even a grizzly could steel your ice cold beer.

Yeti Hopper (Flip 12)
Yeti Roadie 24

Total Capacity

How much food and drink do you need to fit in the cooler? Are we talking about lunch for two or enough food and drinks to last you the entire weekend?

The Roadie has a larger capacity, so it’s the better cooler for people who usually carry a lot of food and drinks. It is available in two options – one that can fit 14 cans of beer, and another that can fit 18 cans. For the smaller cooler that’s about 20 lbs of ice or 24 lbs for the larger cooler.

The Hopper is also available in a few different sizes, but they’re generally smaller – the versions of Hopper Flip can fit either 12 or 16 cans plus ice, while the Hopper Backflip fits up to 20 cans. But it’s worth noting that the Backflip is bigger, bulkier and heavier than the standard Hopper Flip.

On top of that, the softside Hopper coolers have external attachment points. You can use a carabiner to attach literally anything to the exterior of the cooler, which is super convenient for longer adventures. Yes it means additional weight and bulk, but if you have no other way of carrying your other hiking gear, this is super convenient.

The Roadie cooler, on the other hand, has a different advantage. The newer and larger version has an internal height of 13”, which means you can fit large soda bottles and even wine bottles upright.

Insulation

The Hopper coolers feature ColdCell insulation in the form of closed-cell rubber foam. This is superior to insulation seen in standard softshell coolers since it performs better in high heats. Also, the exterior of the cooler is resistant to punctures, UV rays and weather, making it suitable for use all year round. The HydroLok zipper is the final features that seals in the cold inside the Hopper coolers – it is waterproof from the outside and leakproof from the inside.

The Roadie 24, which is the newest version of the popular hardshell cooler, features Permafrost insulation. This type of insulation is capable of  keeping ice frozen for days, so it’s definitely superior to the insulation found in their soft coolers. The lid creates a good seal when the cooler is closed, and the Neverfail hinge system makes it almost impossible that the latches will break or snap.

Don’t underestimate the importance of sturdy hinges – without them, the seal can’t be created at the top and the external temperature can easily get inside the cooler. It’s great that the Roadie has such tough and durable latches, since it virtually guarantees that you won’t be left with a useless cooler in case of a hinge malfunction. Unless you do your best to snap them on purpose, that shouldn’t ever be an issue.

Yeti Hopper (Flip 12)
Yeti Roadie 24

Portability And Ease Of Use

The softshell Hopper coolers are the more portable option, there’s no doubt about that. The largest version of the Hopper Backflip, which can fit 20 cans, weighs just 5.3 lbs. And the smaller Hopper that fits about 12-13 cans weighs only 3.1 lbs, which is absolutely amazing for people who need a lightweight option. If you’re more worried about the weight of the cooler than its capacity, the Hopper 12 is easily the best option for you.

The larger size and capacity of the hardside Roadie coolers mean more weight. The Roadie 24, which is the largest cooler currently available in this collection, weighs 12.8 lbs. And that’s when it’s fully empty – put about 24 lbs of ice in the cooler, and you see how there’s no chance you could carry something that heavy in your arm for more than just a few minutes at a time.

The Roadie 20 is even heavier than that, despite the smaller capacity. It weighs about 15 lbs when empty and it can fit about 20 lbs of ice – if you fill it to capacity, it’s technically lighter than the bigger cooler, but only because you can fit less inside it. But overall, we’re talking about weights of 30+ lbs – a pound here or there doesn’t really make a massive difference.

The Roadie 24 is actually better than its predecessor in every sense – it’s 10% lighter, it has 20% larger capacity and thermal performance is increased by 30%. Even the handle is more comfortable – the newer Roadie boasts a long softshell strap with thick padding, whereas the older version of the cooler has a metal handle with some foam padding. You can carry the Roadie 24 on your shoulder, and that’s definitely more portable than being forced to carry a rather heavy cooler in your hand.

Pricing

It’s no secret that Yeti coolers are expensive. And when you look at all the features they offer like the excellent insulation, tough and durable materials, comfortable carrying and in some cases, bear resistance, it’s easy to see why they’re some of the priciest options on the market.

If we’re just talking about these two series, the Roadie is by far the more affordable option. All of the coolers in this collection retail for around $200, and that’s a fair price for the quality and performance you get. I have to point out that the Roadie 20 series is more expensive than the newer version, and that’s because it’s mostly sold by third-party resellers. I wouldn’t recommend paying exorbitant prices for an older version of this cooler – if you can’t find it at a regular price of some $200, just go with the newer option.

The Hopper series varies in prices, and it’s generally more expensive than the Roadie coolers. The most affordable option is Hopper 8, which has a the smallest capacity out of the bunch. Other options range from about $250 for the standard Hopper 12, to some $300 for the Hopper Backflip with shoulder straps.

Again, that’s what they go for in the YETI store on Amazon. If you can’t find them at these prices, I would just recommend waiting for a restock. Another thing I have to point out is that some colors are cheaper than others, and unless you’re allergic to a particular shade, going with the cheapest option available is the most sensible thing to do. Especially when the quality, durability and performance – the things that actually matter – are all exactly the same.

Yeti Hopper Vs. Roadie: Final Thoughts

We covered all the features of these two coolers, from the durability of the external materials to the quality of the carry handles. And even though I can’t say that one of these coolers is outright better than the other, I can tell you which might be the better choice for you.

The Hopper is excellent if you’re prioritizing portability and weight over capacity and insulation strength. If you don’t need a cooler that can keep ice frozen for days, but instead you need something that you can carry around for a couple hours without experiencing pain. It’s still a great cooler – the closed-cell rubber foam insulation does an excellent job at keeping your drinks and food cold.

YETI Hopper Flip 12 Portable Cooler, Charcoal
904 Reviews
YETI Hopper Flip 12 Portable Cooler, Charcoal
  • The Hopper Flip 12 has ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that offers superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers, with a capacity of up to 12 cans plus ice
  • The Hopper Flip 12 features a 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper and the wide-mouth opening means great accessibility and visibility to contents
YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack, Charcoal
2,087 Reviews
YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack, Charcoal
  • Part cooler, part backpack, the Hopper BackFlip 24 is the perfect reason to extend your trek. It’s sizable enough to fit a day’s worth of drinks and food for you and your crew.
  • DRYHIDE SHELL - The Hopper’s high-density fabric is waterproof and resistant to punctures

Also, the Hopper is available in more styles and sizes than the Roadie, so it’s going to be easier to find a cooler that is just the right size for your needs. And it has external attachment points, so all those extra items like glasses and cutlery don’t have to take up space inside the cooler.

The Roadie, on the other hand, is the better option for people who are prioritizing capacity and insulation strength. If you need a spacious cooler that can fit wine bottles and 2-liter soda bottles upright, Roadie 24 is the option for you. The premium insulation can keep ice frozen for days, while the durable exterior can survive virtually anything. The non-slip legs ensure that you can even put the cooler on slanted ground, without worrying that it will tip over.

YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Tan
3,361 Reviews
YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Tan
  • The Roadie 24 is 10% lighter in weight and holds 20% more than a Roadie 20, it even performs 30% better thermally
  • It's got a taller build than its predecessor, so it now accommodates a standard bottle of wine (or 2 liter bottle) upright, and is a better fit behind the driver's or passenger's seat of a car

It is heavy and bulky though, so bear that in mind when you’re making the final decision! Head over to Amazon to see the exact prices of these Yeti coolers and check out our related posts for ideas on some other great portable coolers you can get.

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BUYING OPTIONS
Yeti Hopper (Flip 12)
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Yeti Roadie 24
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