When it comes to outdoor brands, you’d be hard pressed to find one that is any hotter than Yeti right now. The Austin-based company has established itself as the undisputed leader in the premium cooler space, while also earning an almost cult-like following with fans. Everywhere you look these days you’re likely to spot Yeti bumper stickers, t-shirts, and other branded items, which is a testament to how popular the company’s products have become both in and out of the outdoor industry.
But, if we’ve learned one thing about Yeti, it’s that it isn’t a company that rests on its laurels. Since it was first founded back in 2006, its coolers have continued to undergo a series of incremental revisions and upgrades that have not only refined those products over time, but have also helped the brand maintain its spot on top of the market. That happens to be the case with Yeti’s latest offering as well, as the company’s soft-sided Hopper line gets a few modest tweaks that help improve on an already well-made product.
First introduced back in 2014, the Hopper is an alternative to Yeti’s larger and heavier Tundra line of traditional coolers. The soft-sided models proved to be popular with customers who wanted to own a Yeti, but really didn’t need the massive, over-engineered iceboxes that the company had become known for. The Hopper still commanded a hefty price tag when compared to similar products from the competition, but people were willing to pay more to get Yeti’s now-legendary performance and durability.
Last month, Yeti introduced the Hopper TWO, which retains the original’s leak-proof design and rugged construction, but brings a few minor upgrades to the table. For instance, an extended zipper now makes it easier to get things in and out of the cooler, correcting one of the few complaints about the first model. Yeti claims that this has also improved the bag’s thermo performance as well, although when putting the Hopper TWO to the test, we didn’t notice any significance changes in that department. The cooler still keeps things cold much longer than other soft-sided options, but it didn’t seem to impact performance to any significant degree.
Yeti has also made a few adjustments to the Hopper’s straps that help to make it easier to carry around, which is a welcome addition too. With its high level of durability, it is very easy to overload the cooler, adding a lot of weight in the process. But the extended side handles and shoulder strap help to overcome this issue.
The Hopper TWO also comes equipped with Yeti’s HitchPoint system, which is essentially just another name for MOLLE lash points. That makes the cooler more compatible with the company’s MOLLE accessories, which include a bottle opener and the water-resistant Sidekick stash case.
As already stated, individually each of these updates is fairly minor, but together they do manage to bring some nice changes to the Hopper line. That said, if you already own the previous generation of the cooler – and are happy with its performance – there probably isn’t much need to invest in the Hopper TWO. On the other hand, if you’ve been considering Yeti’s soft-sided model for awhile now, but still haven’t taken the plunge, the Hopper TWO does deliver a refined experience that is better than the original in some small, but noteworthy ways.
As far as soft-sided coolers go, the Hopper was already the best one available, and it just got even better. If you have plans to go camping or to visit the beach this summer, this cooler is total overkill. But that’s what makes a Yeti a Yeti after all.
The Hopper TWO is available in 20, 30, and 40 liter options. Visit Yeti.com for more info.