So, I feel like some of the gear posts that people make online and in print are made public hwaaay too fast and the product doesn’t really have time to prove itself to the reviewer. I’ve been pretty tame on this site and on reviews, especially, for a while now, mostly because I have a lot of great product in my hands and I want do it and you justice. So I’ve been biding my time, making sure that I learn as much as I can about the product before I say something glamorous that, later, I might regret. So, let’s start with the Yeti Hopper, the company’s first soft-sided cooler.
I got this bad boy back in late-July or early August if I recall correctly. Yeti sent the cooler to me and bunch of other media and retailer types, after we sat through a rather painful live and digital press conference announcing the new product. I don’t remember all the glitches in the video production, but suffice to say that my girls, six and nine, who I’d invited in on the conference and who were sitting on each of my knees said, “Dad, is somebody going to get fired for this?”
Good thing is this: the Yeti Hopper showed up at my door a couple days later and the girls and I have put it to a wicked test over the past couple months. Frenchtown Pond; neighborhood parties; trips to Seattle; rockin’ down the Bitterroot; a 2,990 mile drive to northern Manitoba and back . . .
Here’s what I like about it: The Yeti Hopper is lightweight, unlike the super-duty heavy fiberglass Yetis; it’s easy to carry with a single hand or by using the soft-padded shoulder strap; you can fit a fair amount of food and pop or brew in here, enough for most of us, unless you’re rowing the party boat; it’s built like you could use it as a life preserver and it would save your life, complete with a survival-suit grade zipper; it’s a natural choice when you’re going to a drive in movie or to a friend’s house for a party, or to a ballgame because you could even sling this around your shoulder and ride a bike with it on your back; it keeps ice for a long, long time; you can stash the Hopper in small spaces, even behind the seat of your truck; riding down the street to a party with this on your back or delivering this to the back porch makes you the coolest party crasher around.
What do you give up by going with the soft side versus a full size Yeti? Room. This is not the most spacious cooler in the world; it does not, in my opinion, retain ice as long as a full size Yeti, but it wasn’t meant to (one comment I saw about this cooler is that it couldn’t keep drinks cold for a full day, which is absolute crap); if you put a variety of beverages into this cooler it’s difficult to see in and find the one you want; and it’s a little, a little difficult to clean because the gap at the top of the cooler isn’t broad.
22 1/2″ long; 16 1/2″ inches tall; 12″ wide
Utilizes: Hydrolock zipper; coldcell insulation; Dryhide shell
Verdict: It’s expensive, yes. But it’s a well made product that has served me well for the past months, and although there could be and probably will be improvements made to the Hopper over time, you can’t go wrong here. If you don’t need the major cargo area of a full size cooler, or you just want to complement your cooler collection with a soft-side, I’d go with this for sure. It will be your go-to for day trips and when space is an issue.