It ain’t easy being cool in a kayak. Hot sun, warm winds and water, water everywhere make it almost impossible to keep bait, fish and lunch cold. Kayak anglers need a cooler that can keep a ton of stuff cool without requiring a ton of space. One of the best options is a soft-sided cooler, and one of the best soft-sided coolers is Yeti’s Hopper Flip.
Yeti’s Hopper has Cool to Spare
Continuing Yeti’s reputation for unmatched quality and functionality, the Hopper line of coolers offers top-of-the-line insulation with near indestructible construction. The Hopper comes in 8, 12 and 18 liter sizes, but I chose the Flip 12 model to fit in the tankwell of my boat. The Hopper Flip 12 also fits behind the seat of my truck and, with the included shoulder strap, it is easy to sling over my shoulder and head out on foot.
Yeti offers a Sidekick accessory bag, Yeti Ice pack and even a Zinger retractable tool with stainless steel bottle opener that attaches to the Hopper’s Molle straps. We got a chance to check out these accessories at a recent Outdoor Retailer trade show. The items are designed to keep important tools attached to the cooler. The Sidekick bag is big enough to hold smartphone, keys and other essentials where you can find them. The waterproof zipper keeps your gear dry and if the boat flips, the cooler will keep the gear afloat.
We were really stoked to check out the Yeti Ice. This ice pack freezes at -2 degrees so it is colder than water ice. What that means is adding the Yeti Ice to your water ice will keep your water ice frozen longer. The Yeti Ice will melt and transfer the cold to the water ice creating an ice ball inside the cooler. As always, Yeti brings the coolest stuff to the game.
Yeti’s soft-sided coolers definitely aren’t “soft.” An inch of closed cell foam in the sides and 1½-inch at the base keep the cooler upright and semi-rigid. The outer material is puncture resistant and the inner material is mildew resistant. The bottom is reinforced with EVA foam material to keep the cooler upright. When I’m done with the Hopper, I prop it upside down with the zipper open and it dries overnight.
Speaking of the zipper, the Hopper Flip cooler uses a waterproof zipper reminiscent of a drysuit, and Yeti guarantees it’s 100-percent leak proof. Not only do the zipper teeth lock together, but the zipper pull latches into a U-dock to keep it closed. Outside, there are six D-rings to tie down the cooler in a variety of configurations. The Hopper can be carried with side handles, hand-bag style handles or a burly shoulder strap. There are Molle-style straps on the sides to attach accessory packs to the Hopper. All connections are welded to be low-profile and leak-proof.
While Yeti insists this is not a “soft” cooler (because it is hardcore) the sides and bottom are malleable enough to allow an angler to shove the cooler in a hatch or under a seat. When the Hopper is empty, it can be crushed flat. Then, you can keep shoving ice and stuff into the Hopper until it expands to hold more than you expect.
But Does it Hold Ice?
With a bag of ice and a half-dozen glass bottles filled with cold liquid along with some lunch meat and cheese, the cooler held hard ice for days. I had to break up the ice in the plastic bag to get it into the cooler, but an hour later the cubes had frozen into a solid block, again. Leaving the Hopper in my hot car all day, I dumped out a few cups of water and there was enough ice left for a second day.
To improve ice retention, I stick the Hopper in my freezer overnight. I also fill every crack and crevice with ice. And I chill contents before I put them into the Hopper. All of this extends ice life for at least a day.
Chill Out with the Yeti Hopper Flip Cooler
If you’re looking for a way to keep your catch, the bait or your lunch cold on the water, Yeti’s Hopper Flip coolers will fit anywhere and go anywhere.
Video Review of the Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Cooler:
Only thing better than a Yeti Hopper is a pimped out Yeti Hopper. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley