As hunters (and fishermen and women too) we all have a need for portable cold storage. Sometimes it’s to carry drinks to camp, others to pack food for a long weekend, and if we’re lucky we need a good cooler to get our fresh meat home. Enter YETI and their wide range of wicked awesome coolers. You’ve all heard of them and I’m yet to see any negative comments on how well they hold ice and keep things cold. They have recently came out with a more conveniently mobile option with their Hopper series. I wanted to give you the low down on the Hopper 30 that I put to the test over the Memorial Day weekend.
When I opened the box and picked up the Hopper the first thing to pop in my mind was this thing is bulletproof! The construction just looked like it was meant to last even when abused in an outdoor setting. I was quite fond of the field tan/blaze orange color scheme as well. The biggest feature that caught me by surprise was how light the cooler was compared to the hard sided YETI models. The Hopper really was made to go with you and not remain in the back of the truck.
Per the owner’s manual the Hopper 30 dimensions are Length – 22.5”, Width, 12.5”, and Height 16.5”. It has a 6.5 gallon capacity and holds 24 cans. With that being said the premise for holding 24 cans is using a recommended 2:1 ratio of ice to contents. I did not follow that recommendation and easily fit 24 cans and 9 bottles plus a 7 lb bag of ice with some room to spare. So this particular size Hopper has a ton of room for a weekend on the lake or deboned meat.
As previously mentioned I did not follow the recommended ice to content ratio and used less ice and more content. So technically I put the cooler at a disadvantage to perform as desired. Even under these conditions, I was very pleased with the Hopper’s performance. Over the course of 48 hours, including 5 hours in full sun out on my boat in 85 degree weather, and constantly being opened, I still had ice cold drinks at the end of the 48 hours. I did have to add some ice to make it through the last day but under the circumstances I was extremely satisfied with the performance of the Hopper. Honestly, most coolers I’ve had would have struggled to make it through the first night and definitely not had enough ice to make it through the day on the boat.
YETI advertises that the Hopper 30 is leakproof. After seeing it and looking at the welded seams (inside and out) I believed it.
The DryHide material used demonstrates it was clear YETI knew what they were doing. This material is apparently very similar to what is used on whitewater rafts, which if you’ve ever been rafting, the rafts are pretty impressive in what they can handle. Another key aspect of the liner is that it is anti-microbial, mildew resistant, and FDA food grade. So you can feel comfortable storing meat inside without contaminating it and also if you don’t get around to cleaning it as quickly as you should the stains and stink should be kept to a minimum. Now here is the only part I wasn’t believing until I tried it. There was no way I thought the zipper on top was going to hold water. I figured if it was advertised as “leakproof” I had best test it to find out. In the pictures below you will see I am holding the Hopper upside down. What you can’t see is that the cooler is full of water. Another thing you can’t see is any water seeping through. The “leakproof” title held true and I was once again impressed with this cooler and the HydroLok Zipper.
Again, I was surprised at how light the Hopper is especially based on it’s performance thus far. I’m not going to say you are going to want to pack this thing miles into a mountain camp, but you could certainly carry it a pretty good ways or strap it to your pack for a moderate hike. As far as the straps/handles go they were well thought out. The two primary handles on either side and the shoulder strap look to be heavy duty and are located as they should be. The two end handles are where I believe YETI went the extra step. If this cooler was loaded down and you had to lift it into the back of a truck bed, the end handles are where it’s at.
Some other notable features of this cooler are the D-rings and HitchPoint Grid. These once again accomodate the mobile theme of this cooler. The D-rings are placed conveniently to allow you to strap the cooler down in the event you will be taking it on a wild ride in your boat or 4-wheeler. The Hitchpoint Grid utilizes nylon straps stategically sewn in multiple locations to allow you to attach any accessory you may think you might need. A bottle opener quickly comes to mind but regardless of what you feel you need to bring, there’s a spot to attach it.
I’ve always wondered what all the hype behind YETI products was all about. Now I know it’s legit. If you’re involved with anything in the outdoors and need to keep something cold, you’ve got to pick up a Hopper. They’re not cheap but in this case you get what you pay for. You will be purchasing a cooler that will indeed keep ice for days, is leakproof, and as far as I can tell after throwing it around for a weekend it’s tough as nails. I know this Hopper 30 will be heading to Kentucky bowfishing in the next month and then again in August hog hunting in Texas. Do yourself a favor and pick one up, you won’t be disappointed.
(Disclaimer: I received this cooler at no charge in exchange for an honest and fair review. I receive no payment whatsoever if you decide to buy a Hopper 30. What I can tell you is this thing is a beast and you’ll want one. Period.)