Features: Rotomolded Construction, Permafrost Insulation, Bearfoot Non-Slip Feet, Vortex Drain System, No Sweat DesignBuy Here
Yeti's got some serious street cred. Known for toughness, their coolers–including the Roadie 20–are the crème de la crème when it comes to regulating temperatures for days on end. Founded by two brothers with a passion for the outdoors who were tired of crappy coolers, Yeti's mission was simple: build the cooler they’d want to use every day. Turns out they built such a great product I now also want to use their cooler every day.
Over four weeks, 5,000 miles, and more powder days than is OK to brag about, I gave the Roadie 20 the run-around. It's been dropped, kicked, stood on, used as a chair, a table, left to fend for itself in -22 degree temps, and generally taken more abuse than Trump in caucus season. It hauled everything from beer and kombucha to bananas, ice cream, and fresh veggies—and (almost) started to feel like an even more valuable piece of gear than my skis. In short, there's no doubt some serious technology went into building this beast.
One-piece seamless construction, like what you'd see in whitewater kayaks, makes the roadie durable and able to withstand abuse. The walls (and lid) are pressure-injected with commercial grade foam, giving you a super-solid, super-insulated machine. Heavy-duty rubber latches are designed specifically to prevent breaking or falling off, and the cooler is literally bear-proof. In fact it's so solid that it comes with a 5-year warranty—though there's reason to believe you'll never need it.
A cooler might not be on your standard gear list mid-winter, but loose your breakfast, dinner, or beers to the elements just once and you'll see why it should be. Storing perishables in the Roadie 20 overnight seemed almost counter-intuitive at first (coolers are made for beer, right?), but when overnight temps dropped to more than 20 degrees below zero in January, there was no need for second guessing. Bananas were still edible, cheese didn't freeze solid, and beers didn't explode. And for the record, when outside temps warmed up, beer stored in the Roadie was cold for three days before we grew impatient of our test and drank them.
PHOTO: Crystal Sagan