5 reasons I want a Yeti Cooler — and why they’re worth the hype

White Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler opened on a sandy beach with recently harvested clams inside
(Image credit: Yeti)

I don’t own a Yeti Cooler. I also don’t own a monocle or a Rolls Royce. While I have little interest in the latter two, resale potential aside, I’ve always wanted a Yeti, the ultimate bougie status symbol for hard-traveling, #vanlife-tagging, outdoor-loving Millennials and Zoomers. 

Despite the brand being coopted for social clout — similar to gorpware favorites like Arc’teryx and Patagonia (surely, you've seen those silly rain jacket shower videos) — Yeti Coolers are the truth when it comes to durability and chilling prowess, and from my experience, certainly worth the hype. That is if you can stomach the price. 

Sure, my $24 no-name soft cooler from Amazon works just fine at keeping food and beverages relatively chill for up to an advertised 12 hours. However, it’s certainly not keeping ice solid for three days straight in the summertime or surviving an encounter with a bear. The $275 Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler, on the other hand, will do both, though you’ll need Yeti’s $30 bear lock accessory to ensure the latter. 

Having jealously admired the Yeti Coolers of countless friends during tailgates, barbecues, camping adventures and excursions on the water, I can resist the urge no longer. Here are five reasons why I want a Yeti Cooler, one of the best summertime gadgets, a shattered piggy bank be damned. 

Durable design

I really don’t plan on having any encounters with bears; then again, nobody really does. And while the bears in my home of Washington state tend to concentrate themselves toward the coast, it’s a good idea to keep food well-secured from wildlife no matter where you’re camping. After all, the smell of fire-cooked hot dogs might attract more than just other hungry campers.

Approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) — yes, it’s a real thing — when secured with a proper shackle lock, the Yeti Tundra should keep your perishables safe from the paws of curious cubs, mamma bears and the like.

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler: $275 @ REI

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler: $275 @ REI
This hard-sided cooler comes in an array of eye-catching colors and has enough storage for 29 pounds of ice, 39 cans of soda/beer or enough food and beverage to keep two campers happy and satiated for several days. Three inches of insulation promise ice-cold temps for 72-plus hours and a tough-built construction designed to keep even grizzly bears at bay should ensure many seasons of use. Just in case, it comes with a five-year warranty. 

For durability, the top and base of the cooler are individually molded with no seams to avoid cracking. The hinges are reinforced with dual pins and guaranteed not to fail. Meanwhile, the lid latches that secure the cooler shut are made from super-durable rubber and insured to last the long haul. 

Just how tough is the Tundra 35 Cooler? Yeti went ahead and threw the thing off a cliff with no structural damage to speak of. So, yeah, it should survive life's bumps and bruises. And while I wouldn’t dare do the same, the demonstration is more than reassuring (and entertaining).

Serious chilling power

White Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler opened with a hand reaching in grabbing an iced cold beverage

(Image credit: Yeti)

The Tundra boasts 3 inches of pressure-injected polyurethane for insulation and a high-grade rubber gasket on the lid to keep the cold (or hot) locked in. Depending on the temperature outside and the cooler’s exposure to the sun, the cooler should keep ice solid for three to five days, making it the perfect choice for multiday camping trips. 

You can also use dry ice in the Tundra to keep things cooler even longer. Just be sure to wrap up the dry ice in newspaper or something similar before placing it in the cooler. Of course, the insulation power works both ways, so, if you want to keep your prize-winning chili hot during a long drive, the Yeti Tundra also has your back. 

Handy features

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler in White on the deck of a small boat with the rubber latches showing

(Image credit: Yeti)

In addition to a tough, well-insulated design, the Tundra also boasts lots of well-thought-out features like a quick drain plug that actually gets rid of all the water in the base of the cooler, unlike my now-retired, super crusty old red Igloo cooler. There are also anchor points along the outside to tie the Tundra down while on the move. 

I’ve seen these used to secure the cooler both on a boat and in the back of a pickup. Non-slip feet also help ensure minimal sliding around when not strapped down. And, for easy carrying, durable military-grade polyester rope handles with grippy plastic covers adorn either end of the cooler.  

5-year warranty

All Yeti Coolers come with a five-year warranty against defects and breaking, which is fairly generous though not entirely unique. Most coolers from reputable manufacturers like Igloo and Coleman come with one-year warranties; however, both the aforementioned match Yeti’s five-year warranty on their higher-end models, like the Igloo Trailmate 25 and Coleman 1900 Collection

The cool factor

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler in Agave

(Image credit: Yeti)

Beyond functionality, Yeti Coolers come in a wide range of aesthetically pleasing colors, including fun limited edition seasonal styles. And while I’m not ordinarily too picky about matters like the hue of my ice chest, this season’s Agave Teal and King Crab Orange colorways are legitimately gorgeous. Cosmic Lilac is also darn pretty.

Will owning this $275 cooler in such a unique shade as Wild Vine Red secure your spot as the coolest person at the campsite? Almost certainly. That is, as long as some jerk doesn’t show up with a $1,250 Dometic Powered Cooler

Ultimately, the Yeti Tundra 35 may be over-engineered, costly and pretty but it will hopefully be the last cooler I ever have to buy. That is, until next season's colors drop. 

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Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.