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Strong like a sasquatch, built like a Yeti: A Run Oregon review of Yeti Coolers

When it comes to packing for an overnight relay (Cascade Lakes, Hood to Coast, Ragnar) or one-day relay (Gorgeous Series, Three Capes, Barrel to Keg), one of the most important things to consider is how you are going to stay fueled through the event. I mean, we are probably all pretty good at planning our wardrobe changes and hygiene necessities, but food and drink can sometimes be a little more challenging. It’s not because we don’t understand the importance of this, but without the right equipment to keep edibles and drinkables cold for extended periods of time, healthy options can go right out the window. Instead, we start loading our packs with a variety of not perishable box and bar options, a necessity, but definitely not ideal.

Yeti is a power player in the cooler business and in addition to using their products for camping or boating, their heavy-duty cooling items are ideal for healthy fueling pre-, during, and post-race. Yeti sent us a few samples to check out, and we feel we can honestly say “you’re welcome” in advance to our future relay teams. We are bringing the cold!

Yeti’s Tundra line comes in a large array of sizes, from personal-sized to huge family versions. The Tundra 65, which we tried out, measures in at:

  • Exterior
    • 16 inches Tall
    • 5 x 17.5 Top
    • 5 x 14.88 Bottom
  • Interior
    • 8 inches Tall
    • 5 x 12 Top
    • 375 x 10.75 Bottom
  • Weight
    • 29 lbs (unfilled)

This size can hold almost 40 beverage cans and 56 pounds of ice with their recommended 2:1 ice to contents ratio. That equals a lot of beer…cough…water bottles. It’s definitely not the most mobile of coolers, as even empty it is heavy. You are definitely going to want to keep it stable in your campground or van without having to lug it too far. Luckily, it comes equipped with military-grade polyester rope handles to keep hauling as easy as possible, and keep the wear and tear to a minimum.

And what keeps it cold and sets it apart? A really thick wall (up to two inches), PermaFrost insulation, a form-fitting lid that keeps the cool from escaping, and their patented ColdLock Gasket. All that simply means that stuff stays colder longer.

 

Some other features about the tundra is that they are certified “Bear-Resistant”. While that hopefully shouldn’t play a factor on your runs, it may prove more worthwhile when you are camping in the great outdoors. If you are a boater, it has

Colors:

  • White
  • Brown
  • Blue

The cooler is definitely an investment, but considering how virtually indestructible it is, this may likely be the last cooler you will ever need. From their hinge system, to carrying handles, to heavy-duty rubber lid latches, IN ADDITION to their strong construction, it seems able to hold up to all your needs. It does come with a 5-year limited warranty if there happen to be any defects (aside from normal wear and tear).

We have been using this as both an outdoor cooler on our deck (which gets a lot of praise from party guests), as well as on a handful of family trips, and couldn’t be more impressed. Sure it’s heavy, but it has allowed us to keep perishable food cold and avoid some restaurant stops because we have healthy sandwich, salad, and fruit / veggie options at the ready. We figured that on our last weekend trip, we ended up saving about $100 just on avoiding constant restaurant and snacking stops along the way. We really liked that it comes with a dry goods basket so that we could keep items like breads, meats, and cheeses cold, without having them directly in contact with the ice.

A perfect complement to the Tundra cooler is their Hopper Two– a portable “bag” cooler that does the job on the go. What the Tundra lacks in mobility, the Hopper fills the void by offering a portable option for keeping things cool on the go.  It comes in a few size options (20, 30, 40), of which we tried out the 30.

This version’s specs are:

  • Exterior
    • 18 inches Tall
    • 25 inches long across at Top
    • 12 inches wide at Bottom
  • Interior
    • 14 inches Tall
    • 17 inches long across at Top
    • 9 inches wide at Bottom
  • Weight
    • 5 lbs (unfilled)

It’s quite amazing that this can lug 24 cans and 30 pounds of ice (with the same 2:1 ice to contents recommendation). Obviously, you may need some weight training to carry at full capacity, it has the construction and durability to be up to the challenge. It may be “soft-sided”, but it’s anything but flimsy. It was pretty stiff during the first few uses, but has gradually become more flexible and durable with increased usage. It is made from a Dryhide shell – a thick waterproof fabric that protects against UV rays, punctures, and, perhaps most importantly, mildew. It also has a rubber foam that holds the cooler infinitely better than many soft-sided coolers – so much so that it boasts being able to keep ice for days, not just hours. While this is generally seen as a cooler, it can also be multifunctional by instead keeping food (and maybe even clothes if you have a need) dry during wet weather.

Carrying it is a little awkward at first, considering it’s healthy bulk, but you will get the hang of it. There are also multiple ways to carry it, from an over the shoulder carry option to handheld straps, it’s up to the task. The zipper is super heavy-duty – a definite necessity to keeping things secure and cold (it even comes with a tag that says “PULL HARD”). It’s also placed, not on the crest of the bag, but down an inch or two, which makes putting items in and out much easier. It’s obviously not quite as cold-keeping as the hard-sided counterparts, but does a fantastic job nonetheless.

Some other cool features are included tie down points (6 in fact), for if you need to secure somewhere, as well as a nylon strapping grid that can be used to attach necessary accessories, such as bottle openers, keys, carabiners, or whatever other portable tool you may need. I would have preferred that the loops were placed horizontally, rather than vertically, to maximize and hang multiple items without others getting in the way, but it still does the job if you aren’t planning to utilize too many external items.

Colors:

  • Blue/Grey
  • Khaki/Green

Once again, the big drawback is the price point. It’s going to set you back a pretty penny, but really, you are getting what you pay for. It is evident that this isn’t going to fall apart after a summer or two of usage – you are getting an extremely well-made bag that should last you well into the future.


Thank you to Yeti for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

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About Matt Rasmussen (965 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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