OVERALL FEEL - 8.5
INSULATION - 9.5
DURABILITY - 10
PRICE - 5
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Listen… I’ve bought my fair share of inexpensive Igloo and Coleman coolers and never saw any reason to spend the extra money on something of a higher quality. Then again, I always just figured that cracked lids, missing drain plugs, broken handles and constantly replacing ice were par for the course when it came to modern camping coolers. It wasn’t until I received a hand-me-down YETI 35 from a friend who was trying to clear out his warehouse that I realized exactly how wrong I was. Since then, I’ve learned that there’s no substitute for a quality cooler and have replaced those busted Igloos and Colemans with a YETI.
When it comes down to it, nothing beats the durability of these coolers… They’re virtually indestructible. I meant, these suckers are manufactured to be bear-proof. While I’ve never managed to test the bear-proofing, I’ve definitely dragged ’em over rocks, through mud and brush and in and out of countless boats and trucks. I’ve managed to put my to YETIs through their paces and then some. To give a couple examples…
I was driving up the I-5 on my way out for a long weekend camping, off-roading and shooting in Jawbone Canyon with a fully loaded YETI in my tow-hitch cargo carrier. As I was slowing down for typical Los Angeles traffic, I felt someone slam into the back of my car. While the force of the fender bender wasn’t enough to do any damage to my tow-hitch or car, it was enough to snap some of the welds on my cheap Harbor Freight cargo carrier. However, except for a few minimal scuffs, the YETI was completely undamaged.
There was also the incident where I decided that it would be wise to slide my packed cooler down a hill from my car to my campsite rather than carry it. Let’s just say that the cooler ended up flipping end over end the entire way to the bottom. Amazingly, the cooler stayed closed and, while my pride was quite damaged in that moment, the YETI looked virtually untouched… though, I thought it wise to wait a while before opening the beers that were inside.
Now, to the most important feature of any cooler… How does well does it hold temperature? Let me just say that the ice retention in these YETI coolers is absolutely top-notch. I came home from a weekend desert trip with the temps up in the high eighties and the cooler spending a good portion of the time in direct sunlight. I pulled the cooler off the rack and left it behind the house, completely forgetting about it until the following Friday. When I finally cracked the cooler, there was still ice floating around with the beer… and the beers felt like they’d just come out of the fridge. When I got my first YETI, I wasn’t getting results like this. After a bit of research, I found out that, because the insulation is so good, it’s best to crack the cooler and let it cool down overnight before you pack it.
Another of the keys to getting the most out of your YETI is to make sure you pick the right size. Bigger isn’t always better. If you’re not going to fill up the entire cooler, it won’t retain ice as well. Now, of course as you go up in size, your price per quart definitely definitely goes down. However, looking at all the factors combined, probably the best bang for your buck in each of the size ranges would be the YETI Tundra 65 in the smaller range and the YETI Tundra 110 in the larger range. For shorter single-day excursions, you’ll want to pick up something more along the lines of the YETI Roadie 20.
Whether you’re looking to load up on brews, transport those deer backstraps or keep your catch fresh until you get home, you won’t regret investing in a YETI.
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