Finally, there's a cooler that serves every casual need of outdoorsmen.
This isn't the first time we've reviewed a YETI product. In fact, we've covered just about all of the especially popular ones.
And, any product that dons such grandiose branding will inevitably bring polarizing opinions surrounding the true value behind the name. Perhaps no brand is more familiar with this dynamic than YETI, which has garnered a reputation for charging high prices for everyday items.
However, avid outdoorsmen who are willing to spend the money recognize the disguised value in spending more on that less exciting genre of products.
The Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler is a perfect example of how to invest is the right outdoor essentials. Like many YETI products, there isn't anything all that exciting about spending $299 on a cooler, but there's a reason YETI dove face-first on the cooler market a decade ago: people replace coolers at roughly an annual clip.
Besides the fact lower-level coolers don't hold ice nearly as long, they also don't hold up in general. Subsequently, it becomes a yearly tradition to buy a new cooler for $20 or $30 until you finally bite on upgrading to something a little more expensive.
The beauty of this particular cooler is its versatility. As the owner of a YETI Tundra 65--arguably the brand's flagship cooler--I can honestly say I use the Hopper for every cooler situation, whereas I only use the Tundra for maybe half of them.
For example, if I'm going on a hunt where I would keep all of my ice in the Tundra for four or five days, I'll still bring the Hopper to pack away meat, beverages and other eating essentials. But, there are plenty of casual situations where I'd bring the Hopper and not the Tundra, such as a day on the lake, a trip to the pool or even a road trip where I want to pack a lunch.
Unlike smaller soft coolers, the Hopper is big enough to fit enough cans for a fun day trip, but manages to maintain comfort when you have to carry it around.
After trying the Hopper out in some of those more casual environments, I was able to finally put it to use in the field during a Wisconsin grouse hunt back in October.
Even though the temperatures didn't necessarily demand a cooler to keep meat from going bad, I did have to drive all the way back to Texas, as a bird dog can make flying difficult. So, what better way to transport harvested upland game birds over a two-day road trip than a small, soft cooler?
The hunt was a success, as I not only got to watch my dog land her first-ever ruffed grouse, but also her first woodcock, both of which would be going home with me at the end of the week.
And, not only did the cooler still have plenty of room for my birds, but it was also able to fit a few of the extras my hunting buddies weren't able to take home!
The soft-sided cooler holds ice with its DryHide shell, which uses a high-density, waterproof, durable fabric, as well as YETI's ColdCell insulation, which optimizes closed-cell rubber foam. The famous, leakproof HydroLok zipper then seals everything together just like any other soft YETI cooler.
Using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio, the Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler fits 20 cans of beer, or 24 pounds of ice without any cans. And, it has an empty weight of 5.1 pounds.
Not only will this cooler come handy in almost any scenario, but it should also last for most of my life, which is why it really isn't that crazy to spend a little extra for a product so superior to its competition.
I'd recommend the YETI Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler to every outdoorsman, regardless of his or her specific interests.