YETI Hopper 30 Cooler
Available October 1, 2014
Using a regular cooler and then upgrading to a YETI is like skiing powder on skinny, fully cambered skis from the 1990s and then clicking in to something like the DPS Spoon or the Black Diamond Carbon Megawatt, both of which are huge underfoot and have tons of rocker. In other words, it's night and day.
For years now, YETI has built a reputation for building some of, if not the best coolers on the market. Their boxes keep your beer and food cold for a silly long time, plus they're nearly indestructible, even if you beat the crap out of ’em. The brand's newest offering, the Hopper 30, is no different except that instead of hard walls it's soft-sided and more portable. This means it takes up less room in your truck while you're out tailgating this fall, and it's easier to haul on a sled or in a helicopter to your favorite lodge or yurt.
YETI doesn't specify exactly how long the Hopper 30 will keep things cold because it depends on the environment where it's being used. But they will say it can "keep ice for days" thanks to one inch of insulation in the sides of the cooler and 1.5 inches in the bottom. I've used the Hopper 30 all summer here in New Mexico's brutal heat and I've been surprised how well the thing works even if it's been sitting in the scorching high desert temps.
The Hopper 30 isn't as strong as something like their Tundra cooler, which is made from hard plastic. That said, I've done my best to rough the thing up and it's barely flinched thanks to the 840-denier DryHide fabric on the outside, which is similar to the material used in whitewater rafts. In terms of the zipper, YETI borrowed technology from survival suits and HazMat protective gear to make sure the Hopper 30 won't leak even it's getting jostled around.
Total overall carrying capacity is 6.5 gallons, which means the Hopper 30 will hold a six pack of beer, several cuts of steak, and some ice cream, plus plenty of ice to keep it all cold. Like all of YETI's products the Hopper 30 is ultra-spendy at $300, but once you use it you'll understand why it's priced so high. Like a good Gore-Tex jacket or pair of lightweight AT boots, you're paying for smart engineering and a product that makes traveling and being outside that much easier.