YETI created the high performance cooler market years ago and hasn’t settled for anything but the best ever since. You have all heard of them and can’t question their ability to keep things cold. I’ve trialed many YETI products and keep close tabs on other reviews and social media comments and have yet to see where they didn’t perform in the upper echelon of cooler performance. With that being said, I had the opportunity to test YETI’s latest offerings; Hopper Backflip 24, Camino Carryall 35, and Sidekick Dry.
I’ll never forget years ago listening to my mother-in-law going on about carrying and dragging coolers around to all sorts of sporting events when her children were young. She then went on to say, and then someone comes along and decides to put wheels on them making life so much easier! She couldn’t understand why she didn’t think of such a simple concept that could make such a large impact. I feel the same way right now with what YETI did to their Hopper. They took a great and relatively portable soft sided cooler and made it even better by simply adding a couple straps converting it to a backpack. Why carry or roll a cooler when all you have to do is throw it on your back? What a concept!
The Backflip 24 actually makes carrying a cooler long distances practical. Look at it this way, when you travel into the back country you don’t pack your gym bag to get you through. You load up your favorite backpack and head out. YETI didn’t simply throw some canvas straps on a cooler and call it good. They actually went to the efforts to make a comfortable backpack. The back is padded making it comfortable for extended forays chasing whatever it is that suits your fancy. The straps are adequately padded and fit my 6′ frame.
The Backflip continues to impress with the ice retention abilities that YETI is known for. I was however surprised at the size, or in better words, the large carrying capacity of the Backflip 24. There are three handles in addition to the straps that make grabbing, moving, or carrying the Backflip very convenient in the event you’re making a short trip or throwing it in the back of the truck. All and all, I find myself carrying the Backflip more than any of my other coolers.
The one thing that surprised me the most out of the three YETI products in this review was the Camino Carryall. Had you asked me prior to this review what in the world I needed a tote bag for I would have laughed. But now it gets used all the time. Take for example you are going on a quick afternoon hunt and need to only throw the essentials in the passenger seat. Boots, shells, water bottle, snack, flashlight, knife and you are good to go. They all easily fit into the Camino and you can easily transport from the house/barn to the truck and back again. Last minute fishing trip, same deal, just throw in the essentials, grab and go.
There are a few features that set the Camino apart from other bags or totes. First, it is self standing. No slumping over forcing you to shove items in to keep the opening hoping it stays that way for the next load. Second, it’s waterproof. Now obviously the fact that it’s a tote with a large opening doesn’t let itself to being submerged but the material will keep liquids in or out depending on your needs. Going on the boat where there is always water on the floor? No worries, your gear will stay dry. Been hunting in some serious mud or have wet waders and don’t want your seats looking like they got in a fight with a wet dog? The Camino will keep all that stuff in. As a matter of fact, I wanted to test exactly how well it would indeed work. So I filled it with water and let it sit all day and through the night. I even put a piece of paper towel in the zipper compartment to see if it would stay dry too. Well, not a drop leaked out onto the ground and the paper was as dry as when I stashed it in the zipper. The last thing I’ll mention is thought and toughness that went into the handles. I’m pretty sure you could use them as tow straps if you ever got into a pinch. They make carrying a load pretty easy.
The final item in this review is the Sidekick Dry. This little piece of equipment will find a place in your year round gear arsenal. Its said to be “Dry” and I have no concerns at all that it would leak. When sealed, it is air tight. I am positive it could double as a pillow if you ever got caught without one in a pinch. I used it to carry my camera equipment, phone, battery packs, and other items for which moisture is an enemy. It serves many purposes as a stand alone item or can easily mate with other coolers in the Hopper series making for a total travel companion. As a matter of fact, my wife keeps telling me that fanny packs are making a comeback. I happened to see a photo on the YETI website with a fly fisher sporting a Sidekick Dry for just that purpose. Not sure about fanny packs but the Sidekick is most definitely something you want to check out.
YETI says they build their products “For The Wild” and after testing their equipment for years, including their most recent releases, I have to agree. The Backflip makes carrying ice, fish, crawfish, shrimp, worms, beer, or anything else you can imagine a breeze. It balances the load on your back and keeps your hands free to carry fishing rods or kids. The Camino accompanies me on not only hunting and fishing trips but also a day in town with the family. Extra clothes, snacks, toys, electronics, and drinks all store very well in the Carryall. Lastly, the Sidekick gives me a great sense of comfort taking my electronics with me into the field. I’ve been rained on unexpectedly, thoughtlessly jumped in lakes, and fell on a creek crossing or two. With the Sidekick Dry, I’ll just keep on trucking knowing my valuables will remain safe and dry. Give these products a look as I’m sure they can find a place on your gear list must haves.
Disclaimer: These products were provided to me at no charge in return for a fair and honest review. I have described and demonstrated to the best of my abilities the types and quality of products YETI is putting out. I receive no additional payment whether you choose to by any or not. However, you’ll be missing out if you don’t!