check out these 16 shells and mid-layers we reviewed this week.
Welcome to another installment of Editor’s Review from FREESKIER. Each week our editorial staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear we’re testing. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains as possible. Read up on the YETI Hopper Two 30, below, then visit us again tomorrow for more awesome gear coverage.
For the past several months, I’ve been using YETI’s Hopper Two 30 cooler and, let me tell you, this thing f#cking rules. From the hot and slushy days of our 2017 Ski Test at Snowbird, to multi-day car-camping trips in the-middle-of-nowhere, Colorado, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the function and quality of this product.
Function-wise, it manages to retain ice for days on end, which has been especially awesome on long missions in the woods this spring. While my friends settle with lukewarm beers and sopping-wet hot dogs, my belongings have stayed wonderfully ice-cold—just how I like ’em. YETI achieves this prowess via its proprietary ColdCell Insulation, which utilizes closed-cell rubber foam that’s akin to a premium pair of fishing waders, but thicker and more badass.
The cooler’s exterior is just as impressive; another proprietary YETI material, Dryhide Shell, stands up to any and all challenges like a boss. It’s comparable to the a white water raft—completely puncture-proof, waterproof and resistant to gnarly mildew. Perhaps the coolest element this product can fight off, though, is UV rays. This technology completely prevents the sun from affecting the interior’s temperature. I’ve let the cooler sit out in the open all day, then come back from a hike to find full ice cubes still keeping my food and drinks chilled. (By the way, this puppy holds a solid 30 beers, though YETI suggests 24.)
Before I dive in any further, do keep in mind that you’re not going to lug the Hopper Two 30 up the whole Appalachian Trail; it’s big, and heavy depending on what you put inside. But, you can certainly carry it a mile or two without issues, as I’ve done lately. Fortunately, the main straps are comfortable to hold, and I’ve found the removable shoulder strap to be even more useful; it’s wide, soft and easy to wear across your chest so you can keep your hands free.
Even the zipper on this thing is impressive. Utilizing yet another proprietary YETI innovation, Hydrolok, it’s completely leakproof, waterproof and durable; I’m pretty sure even a bear couldn’t get this thing open, though I can’t confirm… What I can confrim, however, is these zippers are used on hazmat suits, just to give you an idea of the quality here. And the T-shaped zipper pull is a nice add-on—just another instance of YETI going the extra mile with its gear.
Last but not least, the Hitchpoint Grid is great for hanging belongings like bottle openers and bluetooth speakers, while the Tie-Down loops down bottom are great for anchoring the cooler to objects like boats and truckbeds.
Now, for the tough news: this sucker costs $350. I know spending that much on a cooler of all things might not sound normal. Why bother when your local gas station sells styrofoam ones for a few bucks? It’s simple: you’ll literally own this thing for the rest of your life; it’ll save you countless dollars by preserving your beloved food and beverages from the wet, hot point of no return; and, well, you’ll always be the cool one who brings a YETI to the party.