Chilling With a Yeti

Product Reviews

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting a trip into the Himalaya’s to go one on one with the legendary fur ball that supposedly roams those parts.

This Yeti is much closer at hand, and a great deal easier to find. Just head on over to a quality outdoors store, and with a bit of luck, you may have a verifiable sighting.

There is no need to be concerned about getting up close and personal either, because it just so happens that this Yeti is actually a brand of cooler. 

I have purchased a number of basic, plastic coolers over the years, and while they have done an adequate job when it came to keeping things cool for three or four days, beyond that, unless I topped them up with ice on a regular basis, they were not particularly effective. 

When we acquired our camp, deep in the boreal forest of northwestern Ontario, one of the challenges was finding a way to keep our food cold for weeks – yes weeks - at a time during the hot summer months. We also needed a cooler that could stand up to being bounced around in the boat we trailer along during the 2400 km return trip.

Topping up a cooler with ice every few days was not practical, in that an ice run takes at a bare minimum, four hours. We gave some thought to putting in a propane refrigerator, but the cost and logistics of getting one into camp was not particularly attractive.

While searching for alternatives, I happened to come across a line of coolers called Yeti – - and believe me; they were unlike any cooler that I had previously encountered. 

To begin with, you can stand on them and use it as a casting platform. In addition, they are so strong, that when properly locked down, a Yeti will frustrate even a hungry Grizzly Bear who has designs on the contents, and while this does raise the question of what the bear may decide to eat when it can’t get into the cooler – you have to admit this is a pretty impressive feature! 

Utilizing the same molding process that is used to make high quality white water kayaks, their “Tundra” series features two inches of polyurethane insulation in the walls, and three inches in the lid. To put this into some perspective, most coolers have about ½ inch of insulation in the walls and nothing in the lid.

They have a rubber, freezer type gasket that runs around the inside of the entire lid, thereby ensuring an extremely tight seal, and both the body and lid are one piece, not glued together, so there are no seams to separate, which has been known happen over time with standard coolers – particularly if they get banged around a lot.

Handles, latches and hinges are all heavy duty, and what really caught my attention was that they could take unwrapped dry ice without damaging the cooler in any way.

While all this sounded rather impressive, if I was going to drop about ten times more than I had ever paid for a cooler in my life, the question was - would it be worth the investment.

In a word – yes.

We bit the bullet so to speak, and bought two of them – a Tundra 85* and Tundra 45 quart – and they certainly lived up to, if not exceeded our expectations.

By packing the 85 with between ten and twelve kilograms of dry ice, it kept our food frozen for a minimum of seven days.  We put a block of ice in the 45, and it lasted an entire week.

In order to keep our trips back into civilization to a minimum, we also threw a bag or two of ice into the 85, which took over the cooling process once the dry ice had dissipated. That way we could transfer over any remaining items from the 45, and by doing so; keep things cold and fresh for the better part of two weeks.

If you are used to hauling around a standard cooler, you’re going to be in for a surprise when it comes to handling a Yeti.

Our 45 weights twenty-two pounds when empty, and the 85 goes over thirty, so once filled with food and ice, you may need a hand lifting them in and out your car and/or boat. The biggest model weighs in at over 100 pounds; therefore you may want find a permanent location for this monster - before filling it – unless of course you have access to a forklift.

In terms of pricing, get ready for some sticker shock. The Tundra series start at around $260 (US) and go as high as $1100, for the model that can be best described as “coolerzilla.” Yeti also offers a smaller, “Roadie” series, with starting prices in and around the $200 mark.

Yetis’ come with a three - year warranty, and unlike most other cooler companies, Yeti offers a number of replacement parts and accessories. In the unlikely event some component fails, you can either order the part and fix it yourself, or send it in to be repaired, which means you won’t have to go out and buy a new cooler.

Ordinary coolers are fine for a day at the beach, short camping trips, or in situations where topping up the ice on a regular basis is not an issue, but if you need a cooler that will keep your food and beverages cold for extended periods - without having to constantly add more ice - and can take all manner of abuse, consider investing in a Yeti.

If you do, my guess is that it will be the last cooler you ever buy.

*According to the Yeti website they no longer appear to offer the Tundra 85-quart model, therefore if you prefer one in this size range, your options are to purchase either the 75 or 105 quart model.

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Last modified onFriday, 20 March 2015 14:32
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