While YETI is arguably the king of coolers, the V Series is the king of YETIs.
The cooler market changed forever when YETI coolers first hit outdoor retailers' shelves. For decades, outdoorsmen had relied on subpar coolers to keep food and drinks cold throughout the duration of an adventure, but rarely did they work for more than a day.
Even the idea of superior cooler technology seemed foreign at the time of YETI's birth, as we'd simply never known any better--a $20 cooler was standard.
YETI changed the landscape of the entire outdoors industry, however, leaving each us with a need for that rugged, outdoor cooler we can use to pack out meat on a backcountry hunt or keep ice on a hot day of fishing.
Many competitors have since tried to replicate YETI's concept, but none have come close to dethroning the cooler king. And now, YETI has set the bar even higher with its new stainless steel cooler.
YETI V Series
Throughout YETI's reign atop the cooler market, perhaps the most common complain is the price tag, as many of their hard coolers sit north of $200.
Their newest cooler, which retails at a ho-hum $800, is naturally capturing the curiosity of those who have already paid the price for YETI's unmatched quality.
If a $300 cooler can outperform everything else in that size, what can an $800 cooler do?
As someone who has been very pleased with YETI products in the past, I had to get my hands on one.
For starters, this cooler looks like royalty. With a stainless steel exterior, the V Series is both stunning and nostalgic, as YETI clearly wanted to capture a retro vibe. Additionally, the kitchen-grade stainless steel body wears well over time, as it's rust-resistant and durable, connected by cast aluminum hinges.
It's the perfect size for camping or tailgating with a few friends, holding 46 cans of beer with a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio or 55 pounds of ice only.
A single-center latch makes opening and closing a little easier than it is with the YETI Tundra cooler design, but also boasts durability and security.
However, it will save you in the backcountry, too. Rather than using rotomolded technology, the V Series uses vacuum insulation panels, which have already proven to be the best performing thermal insulators ever installed in a cooler.
Not only do the walls insulate better than any other YETI, but they're also thinner, leaving more space for contents inside.
While the YETI V Series cooler is on the heavier side for its size (35 pounds empty), it features rigid side handles that use rubber grips for easy, comfortable carrying.
It was odd enough to get a cooler that comes with a cover, but it just felt wrong to take it out on a hunting trip where I knew it would just get beat up.
But, on one of the gnarliest, roughest hunts I do each year, I found out why it costs so much, and why it's worth every penny (if you can afford it).
Like most Texas hog hunts, this one was dirty and it was hotter than hell outside. Because you can hunt feral hogs year round in Texas, it's often something we do in the summer when a cooler weekend presents itself.
Unfortunately the forecast let us down on a trip this past July, and we found ourselves sweating through 105-degree afternoons, hoping for a big boar.
With three days of hunting ahead of us, though, I couldn't help but wonder how the V Series would hold up. This was the ultimate test.
As a general rule, you don't open a cooler if you want to know how well it performs. However, this is where we kept all of our food, beer and water bottles, so we ended up opening and closing it throughout the trip. And yet, our food and drinks remained ice cold.
The size ratio held up, as we were able to actually fit 48 cans, as well as some lunch meat, without having to sacrifice any of the ice.
On the last day of the hunt, I was able to put my crosshairs on two hogs--a boar and a sow--from the same blind. In a matter of seconds, I had two adult pigs on the ground ready to be cleaned and quartered.
Not only did the ice hold for the entire duration of the trip, but there was still so much at the end that we actually had to remove some of the ice to pack all of the game meat for the ride home.
As soon as I moved the meat to the freezer, I simply dumped the remaining ice and hosed it down. Though we didn't need to drain any water because the ice held so well, I did test out the deep-seal drain plug, which proved to surely work if you were anywhere long enough for ice to actually melt.
Not only did it outperform every cooler I've ever used, but it also out performed every YETI cooler I've ever used. This is truly the best cooler on the market, hands down. If you have the money to invest in a cooler you'll never replace, this is the one.