Do You Really Need A Yeti?
I didn’t see it coming, until it hit me like a freight train. The Yeti is to sportsmen what the Rolex is to suburban businessmen. In what seems like overnight, Yeti Coolers have become the new status symbol for hunters and anglers. Yeti managed to make coolers cool. I’ll admit, I fell for it too. But I wondered, if there is more to it than just hype?
With a price tag that makes wives cringe, I couldn’t reasonably justify running out and buying one. I needed a reason. Let’s face it, the stack of decades old hand me down coolers in the garage had mostly been getting the job done. So do you really need a Yeti?
- Multi Day Trips – Most coolers will get you through the day. Sure you will have more ice left over with a Yeti, but let’s be honest, your lunch and a few beers will be plenty cold for a day on the river no matter what you put it in. However, for multi day trips it’s a different story. With food spoilage a real issue, packed properly, a Yeti will keep ice frozen and food cold for days, in ways a standard cooler can’t. On the first morning of a seven day canoe trip, my wife found the half and half frozen. Packed amongst frozen goods and ice, then driven for two days across the Utah desert, the cooler had become cold enough to freeze this precious commodity. A week later we were still in good shape.
- Bear Country – Bear country is expanding and so are the requirements for legally camping in it. Bear proof containers are becoming increasingly necessary for camping in areas inhabited by grizzly and black bears. Approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Yeti has you covered. Add a couple locks and you are now legal and can feel good knowing a bear isn’t going to mess with your food.
- Big Game Hunting – Similar to their utility for multi day trips, the Yeti shines when big game hunting far from home. There are few things worse than having meat spoil due to improper storage and transport after a hunt. A Yeti gives you extra insurance. On an elk hunt last year, I was able to fit a boned out bull in the Tundra 110, and it kept the meat cool for the two days it took me to pack out our camp and return to town. Without ice, I opened the cooler at night when the temps dropped below freezing and closed it during the day when they crept above 60 degrees. The meat appreciated it.
- Durability (Latches and Hinges) – Before owning a Yeti, I though that keeping things colder, longer was the only advantage they presented. But their durability, and how much I appreciate it, caught me by surprise. Historically, I’ve broken hinges, drain plugs, and had lids go flying off at some of the most inopportune times. The Yeti is close to indestructible with solid hinges and latches that are hard to break. The latches also keep the lid of your cooler closed even if it goes upside down. The durability of the Yeti has become on of my favorite features.
- Extra Fridge – With a family of four, our fridge fills up quickly. My wife hates it when beer or other drinks are competing for space with the rest of the family’s food. I considered getting a dedicated beer fridge. Instead I use the Yeti. I freeze several large juice jugs full of water and keep them in the cooler with beer, soda, and my wife’s white wine. Every couple of days I swap a jug out of the cooler with a fresh one from the freezer. I’ve had cold drinks all summer and I’m not competing for coveted fridge space or wasting energy by having a second fridge. Heck my wife has even started grabing the Tundra 65 if she’s going on a grocery run and doesn’t want things to melt while she’s running errands.
So do you need one? Need is tough to define, but we use both of our Yetis constantly. The 65 fits perfectly in our canoe and drift boat. It’s also great for general day or weekend use. The 110 is a work horse that fits in a raft frame for long river trips, serves as our extra fridge, and is currently in the truck as I prepare to leave for a Wyoming elk hunt. Like a lot of things, you can probably live without them, but you won’t regret having one either. Even my wife has come to appreciate them.