YETI Hopper M30 Soft Cooler ($350)

From light and portable designs to burly options for days on the water, we break down the best soft-sided coolers
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Table of Contents

26 cans (with ice)

7 lbs.

Impressive ice retention for a soft cooler and excellent attention to detail.

Very expensive and overkill for most

YETI can be described as an absolute Cadillac of cooler makers and it is believed to have accelerated the development of the top rotomolded industry. However, their soft-sided models aren’t anything to be snubbed at and keep much of what’s been the reason for their popularity throughout the years, such as impeccable care for detail, excellent retention of ice, and elegant design. Their flagship M30 is an example that combines dense closed-cell foam insulation the hardwearing and burly shell that is awe-inspiring and resistant to tears and snags. While testing Hopper M30, we were impressed by the Hopper M30, we were impressed by the solid feeling of the opening with strong magnets that close with quick-release buckles that prevent leaks when traveling. The final feature is its accessory-ready outer which lets you easily connect additional accessories like the Rambler Bottle Sling or SideKick Dry Gear Case (sold separately).

Unfortunately the soft coolers from YETI don’t offer much savings in comparison to their hard-sided counterparts. In actual fact, the Hopper M30 is priced at 75 more than the similar-sized Tundra 35. The Hopper is significantly smaller than Tundra (by approximately 13 pounds.) and much lighter to carry around, but it isn’t quite as efficient in terms of ice retention capacity. Furthermore, even though the M30’s magnetic-equipped opening is certainly sturdy however, it’s also quite rigid, making cleaning and loading a lot of work and difficult (we prefer the zipper that wraps around for the small Hopper Flip models). The M30 is a hefty and heavy bag even with its empty capacity and does not compress as easily as the more flexible and soft alternatives like the Hydro Flask 20L Insulated Tote or the REI Pack-Away 24 , below. However, the YETI brand name is hard to beat which is why Hopper M30 is a great choice. Hopper M30 has its place for those who are serious about day trips and weekenders seeking to increase portability, endurance and retention of cold.

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