The longer I review gear, the more jaded I become. It’s hard to be impressed. I’ve become more selective about what products I want to review. But when the folks at Yeti Coolers reached out before the summer Outdoor Retailer show I knew I had to check them out.
Just a week before on a summer road trip to Lander, Wyoming, I told my friends, “I’ve got to get a new cooler, I’m tired of wasting food in the hot summer temps.” So, I got a Tundra 50 to replace my old crappy run of the mill cooler, and I’ve been testing it out all fall.
If you want to make your friends jealous get a Yeti cooler. Their reputation precedes them, and it’s a product that is on everyone’s radar, a sort of benchmark purchase for the outdoor enthusiast. With such high standards, I wondered if it would live up to them.
The first thing I noticed about the Tundra 50 was that this was a well thought out product. I wanted a cooler that would keep the contents as cold as possible, and would also not waste food. The Tundra 50 easily achieves that with its roto-molded construction, heavily insulated walls and lid, and freezer-sealing gasket. I also like the small basket for veggies and other softer products to keep them out of the water when the ice does melt. Simple yet elegant ingenuity.
When you get a Yeti cooler there’s an extensive set of directions to ensure the contents stay properly cold, for as long as possible. This includes using dry ice, rock salt, not draining the water, and pre-chilling the contents. Because I wanted to test this out the way I think most climbers would use it, I simply used normal ice and a couple four pound Yeti Ice packets, which are impressive in their own right. Most of my uses of this cooler have been two to four day trips to the desert. I’ve properly frozen the Yeti Ice, and thrown in some ice from my freezer.
Each time I took the Tundra 50 out to the desert my expectations have been met or exceeded—in layman’s terms, I’ve had cold beer on the last day on each of these excursions. I also didn’t follow the directions to a T, I often left the cooler sitting in the sun, or used it as a chair next to a hot fire at night. Despite my laziness the Tundra has delivered as promised. It is one badass cooler.
With its reputation amongst the outdoor community, the price is often remarked on. One friend joked that “those coolers are a hundred bucks a letter”. It’s true, they are not cheap. How many other coolers come with a five-year warranty though? This thing does. I’ve also thought about how much food I waste in a given year, and how much money I spent on ice a year. I’ve already noticed significantly less food waste and ice usage.
Bottom line: This product, and others that Yeti offer is definitely for the refined outdoors person, not that dirtbag living hand to mouth. That said, I’m getting the feeling that in five years it will more than pay more itself with money saved on food waste and ice. The Tundra 50 is a perfect size for a weekend trip, but if I were doing something longer, I’d likely want a slightly bigger size. All in all, the best cooler I’ve ever used.
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In the vertical world, quality gear is as important as good weather or the right partner. At the Climbing Zine, we review gear that we put to the test in our personal climbing pursuits, over months of use. If we like it we’ll tell you, and if we don’t we’ll tell you. That’s our policy…If you have gear for us to consider for a review please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle.