If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then consider Yeti coolers extremely flattered. Its soft-sided Hopper cooler, with its zippered closure and daisy chain attachment points, might be the most ripped-off item in the outdoor industry.
I’ve taken my Hopper (the original one) on more adventures than I can remember. It has kept my beer cold in Mexico, my sports drinks cold at bike races in Colorado, and literally saved my life by keeping my insulin cold in a southern Arizona desert.
Despite almost three years of being thrown in the back of pickup trucks, over my shoulder for beach picnics, and even checked on planes, the Hopper has somehow managed to get better with age. I’ve used it with Yeti’s ice packs, bags of ice from gas stations, and the old standby of half-full plastic soda bottles frozen overnight in the motel freezers, and they’ve all worked fine. In fact, when I was in Mexico, the Hopper kept our water, soda, and insulin cold in 105 degree days, and still had ice chunks after two days of baking desert heat. It might have lasted longer, but we certainly didn’t.
It’s not a cheap cooler at $300, but if I can rely on it for my i...