Yeti Hopper 20 Cooler Review

Yeti Hopper 20 Cooler

When I hear the word YETI, two things come to my mind instantly: coolers and mountain bikes and I like to combine the two. I love my trusty Yeti mountain bike, but after a long day of riding there is nothing better than coming back to a nice ice cold beverage.  That’s where the Yeti Hopper 20 cooler comes into play. No matter how hot it gets in my truck I know I can depend on my Yeti cooler to deliver every time. Yeti has been making some of the most durable hard sided coolers since 2006, but for this year Yeti has taken that durability and set out to make one of the best soft sided coolers. I have been testing the Yeti Hopper 20 cooler for the last month and have been nothing but impressed.

The Yeti Hopper 20 Cooler enjoying a nice spring day in Colorado

The Yeti Hopper 20 Cooler Design

What comes to mind when you think of a soft sided cooler? For me I usually think about a thin lightly insulated bag that I probably received as a gift from work. Well Yeti would prefer that you not associate their cooler with such coolers and instead calls the Yeti Hopper 20 a “portable cooler”. I have to agree with Yeti on this point, once I got my hands on the Yeti Hooper 20 it was anything but the standard soft sided cooler if anything it was a soft sided cooler on steroids.

The first thing that caught my attentions was how durable the cooler looked from the inside out. Yeti used DryHide for the inside and outside of the cooler to ensure it could take timeless abuse. DryHide is Yeti’s own material they developed which is a high tenacity 840 denier nylon with a double TPU coating. This is essentially the same material used to construct whitewater rafts. The DryHide is waterproof and is also resistant to puncture, abrasion, and UV-Rays. The interior liner also has an anti-microbial coating and is mildew resistant. To prevent wear and increase waterproofing the Yeti uses RF-welded seams this gives the cooler a nice clean look and keeps your mind at ease about snagging or ripping the seams when your hauling the cooler around. The bottom of the cooler is heavily reinforced with an EVA foam bottom. The EVA foam bottom not only adds stability but also minimizes wear to the bottom. I have thrown the cooler in the back of my truck on multiple trips and have set the cooler on about every kind of surface and it still looks as good as when I took it out of the box.

  • Dimension 21.5 x 10.5 x 13.75
  • Capacity 4.6 gal
  • 12 cans with a 2:1 ice ratio

The Inside DryHide lining comes in a nice deep blue color

On thing for certain about the Yeti Hopper 20 cooler is Yeti did not skimp on the zipper design. The cooler has an ultra tough HydroLok zipper to maintain the waterproofing of the outer shell. When the HydroLok zipper is closed, I could hang a completely full cooler upside down and the zipper didn’t budge. The zipper is made to last and to further increase the waterproofing a nice design feature is the U-Dock at the closing end. The U-Dock acts as a locking mechanism keeping the zipper nice and tight, so you don’t have to worry about water leaking out in your vehicle if it tips over. I will say it definitely takes a little pressure to close the zipper and it takes a descent pull of the T-type handle to get it open, which made me feel comfortable knowing the cooler was’t going to randomly open. The zipper opened smoothly for me during the time I tested it, but if it does start to stick over time all you have to do is put a couple drops of the lubricant Yeti includes with the cooler. Yeti does recommend periodically lubricating the zipper to improve the life of the zipper and waterproofing.

Easy to Grip T-Type Handle

The Sturdy HydroLok Zipper and U-Dock

Performance of the Yeti Hopper 20 Cooler

Another area where Yeti prides itself on is not skimping on the insulation of their coolers. The Yeti Hopper 20 Cooler is constructed with 1 inch of ColdCell insulation on the cooler sides and 1.5 inches on the bottom. The premium ColdCell insulation will keep your food and drinks cold for days. I did a test and filled the cooler with a six pack and an appropriate amount of ice. I set the cooler outside in the sun during the day and brought it in at night. During the day it was sitting in the hot Colorado sun that even in February can melt ice rather quickly. Well after almost 48 hrs all the ice had melted, but the water in the cooler was still ice cold. The ColdCell insulation did a superb job and won’t have you dumping and filling your cooler every few hours to keep your beverages cold. When it does come time to empty the cooler all you have to do is open the HydroLok zipper a couple inches past the U-Dock and then invert the cooler draining out the water without losing any of your cargo. One thing I did notice about the cooler is that right away it was rather difficult to open the cooler to put my drinks in it. After looking at the information from Yeti this can be expected and the opening will loosen over time. That’s exactly what happened with each use as it got easier and easier to dump stuff in the cooler. So don’t be surprised if the cooler needs a little break in period.

Carrying Options and Additional Features

Yeti designed the Yeti Hopper 20 with three different carrying options. The first option is the standard over the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is lightly padded and has a grippy surface to prevent the strap from slipping off your shoulder. The strap is pretty comfortable and will make carrying your heavier loads a bit easier. The strap is also detachable if you feel that it’s either in the way or not needed.

A padded over the shoulder strap makes carrying the Hooper 20 a breeze

The second option is the side straps which are sewn into the the side of the cooler and provides a sturdy option for carrying the cooler from place to place. The last option is the end handles that work great for throwing the cooler in the back of your vehicle or pulling it when packed. The end handles also offer an excellent leverage point for when you are opening and closing the zipper.

Nice Sturdy Side Handles make it easy to carry the Hopper from place to place and the D-Rings help tie the Hopper down

Since the Yeti Hopper 20 cooler is meant to be an active cooler is comes with multiple D-Ring tie-down points. In all the cooler has 4 primary tie down points with 2 on each side. If you do take the shoulder strap off then you would have an additional 2 tie down points on each end of the cooler. On each side handle Yeti incorporated a hitch point grid that can act as gear loops. I got a little creative and put some plastic wear in the loops. The utensils stayed in the loops ok, but that obviously wasn’t the intended use of the loops.  Instead I used the loops to clip my Yeti bottle opener with a carabiner. An additional accessory that can be purchased for the Hopper is the Yeti Sidekick. The Sidekick is an additional storage case that attaches to the hitch point grid with velcro straps. The case is meant to hold keys or your wallet while you’re at the beach or on the water.

Not the intended use, but it did work. I would instead recommend throwing a Yeti bottle opener on the HitchPoint Grid

Final Thoughts

The Yeti Hopper 20 cooler is an excellent portable cooler that will give you days of cool beverages. The biggest question about the Hopper? Is it worth the money? I think if I had the choice I would probably spend an extra 50 dollars and get the Hopper 30 that offers even more room at 6.5 gal. But if your looking at a Yeti cooler then you have already prepared yourself for the cost, but know that you are going to get a quality product that is going to surpass your expectations. Whether you’re in the market for a portable cooler or a hard sided cooler, head on over to Yeti’s website where they have a variety of coolers to fit all of your needs.

For more information visit yeti.com

MSRP 299.99

Derick Beiswanger: Derick has always had a passion for the great outdoors. Winter is his favorite season and when he isn't working he is either skiing at a resort or touring the backcountry. Even though skiing is his go to sport, Derick also enjoys snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and hiking in the winter months. As the snow melts and winter fades you will find Derick exploring Colorado on his road or mountain bike. Derick is also passionate about fly fishing, camping, trail running and photography.

View Comments (1)

  • Great review, bud. The Hopper is a favorite of ours, too. The design is fantastic for camping, running, biking, and a whole slew of other similar activities. I like that you mentioned the tie-downs. Most people miss how handy those are.

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