As summer draws closer we begin prepping for the beach. A key item for us is a cooler. I decided a long time ago that a soft side cooler was the way to go because it was easy for me, aka the beach bitch, to carry along with everything else that my crew “needs” for a day on the sand. Polar Bear Coolers was my go to source for many years and we still have some of them left but they are close to the end of their useful lives which seems to be 4 to 5 years. Not bad. I wanted to replace the old coolers with new ones but I also wanted to see what else was out there just to make sure I wasn’t missing something better. I couldn’t shop for a new soft side cooler without considering the new Hopper model from outdoor equipment market darling Yeti.
OK, I will admit that I have purposely drug my feet on embracing Yeti. That began when I was looking for a big cooler for my pickup. Price is not an issue in my reviews but I just couldn’t get over the very expensive prices of Yeti models when there were other choices, like Canyon Coolers, that were just as good and maybe even better in some respects and it pissed me off that Yeti used a name regime that mislead users about actual, usable capacity. I am also something of a stubborn contrarian when I sense that a product is becoming wildly popular just because it is the fad of the day. None of that has changed but I need a new soft side cooler and the Hopper series looks like it will work for me. It also fits perfectly in the back of my new rig so I am willing to give it a shot.
The Hopper comes in three sizes – 20, 30, and 40 liters. The 40 liter model is the one I am looking for and the list price at my local REI is $400. Yes, that’s right, I said $400. That is 4x times what a similar sized Polar Bear Cooler will cost you. Now I am not on Yeti’s nice list so I gotta pay full retail like every other schmuck. However, with a fat dividend check from last years REI binges and my one time 20% certificate I was able to get out of the Paradise Valley location with a brand new Hopper 40 for under 2 Benjamins. Boy am I glad my wife doesn’t read this blog.
They don’t seem to have any trouble selling them at that price either. According to the store manager they can’t keep them in stock.
Anyway, I still think that is a lot of money even though I got what looks like a well built, very beefy soft side cooler that we will use a lot. I can tell you this, if it doesn’t hold up the way I think it should, you will certainly hear about it.
I am anxious to see how it measures up and what Scham thinks.