Yeti Hopper: The Dragons Mouth

The YETI Hopper has become my go to cooler in the truck and in my boat. While I still employ my 65 quart YETI Tundra on longer excursions the smaller and lighter Hopper 30 soft sided cooler has been getting most of the attention. The reason for my switch is the size and weight of the YETI Hopper. While this cooler is still bulky it is much lighter than it’s bigger hard sided cousins and is still able to keep its contents cool on hot days. This soft sided cooler also frees up a lot of space on my raft, allowing me to store dry bags, straps, etc.. under my rowing seat.

YETI Hopper 30 quart soft sided cooler.
YETI Hopper 30 quart soft sided cooler.

Coming in at just under 350 clams I certainly feel like I am getting plenty of use out of this cooler but there are a couple things that I am not impressed with. Number one is the Zipper. I got the YETI Hopper 30 just before Christmas for a tropical trip and the zipper broke after a week of use. Of course our group was in and out of the cooler multiple times an hour grabbing cold beverages but at this price point the zipper should not fail that quickly. Fortunately my brother in-law took the time to piece the zipper back together so it remained functional. It remains difficult to open after the zipper fail and one of the zipper teeth has started to come off the cooler. I am sure that YETI would address the problem if I was to bring it to their attention but I have yet to do so. Regardless, the zipper has been my biggest problem with the YETI Hopper. The opening of the cooler is extremely tight also, which I am assuming has everything to do with insulation. But, good grief you need a welding glove to reach into the cooler or your hand gets chewed up by the zipper. I refer to it as reaching into the dragons mouth.

YETI Hopper zipper.
YETI Hopper zipper.

Despite above complaints the YETI Hopper is a rugged soft side cooler that will keep its contents cold in the hottest conditions. My experience is that the YETI Hopper works best for keeping beverages cold due to the fact that the ice inside the cooler will melt leaving (especially in hot climates) your contents swimming in an ice bath. For this reason I would recommend using ice packs if you plan on storing food and beverages together. There is nothing worse than a soggy sandwich when you are stomach is growling on a drift boat of flats skiff. The YETI Hopper comes in 3 different sizes, a 20, 30 and 40 quart so you can decide which cooler best suits your needs. Overall I would suggest this cooler to anyone who is looking to lighten up their load and shrink down their cooler size but I would be aware to the above mentioned.