I've had my Yeti Hopper for more than 3 years, but the newest version has a magnetic closure that is much easier on my wrists than a zipper - here's why I'd pay $300 for it

Yeti m30 cooler 2Yeti

  • Yeti's Hopper soft cooler is legendary for its durability and performance. I've had mine for more than three years and have taken it on more trips and adventures than I can remember.
  • The previous edition had an effective zip closure but it wasn't always fun to use as it chafed my wrists whenever I needed to access the cooler.
  • The new $300 Yeti Hopper M30 solves this problem with an innovative magnetic closure that's much easier on my wrists.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then consider Yeti coolers extremely flattered. Its soft-sided Hopper cooler, with its zippered closure and daisy chain attachment points, might be the most ripped-off item in the outdoor industry.

I've taken my Hopper (the original one) on more adventures than I can remember. It has kept my beer cold in Mexico, my sports drinks cold at bike races in Colorado, and literally saved my life by keeping my insulin cold in a southern Arizona desert.

Despite almost three years of being thrown in the back of pickup trucks, over my shoulder for beach picnics, and even checked on planes, the Hopper has somehow managed to get better with age. I've used it with Yeti's ice packs, bags of ice from gas stations, and the old standby of half-full plastic soda bottles frozen overnight in the motel freezers, and they've all worked fine. In fact, when I was in Mexico, the Hopper kept our water, soda, and insulin cold in 105 degree days, and still had ice chunks after two days of baking desert heat. It might have lasted longer, but we certainly didn't.

It's not a cheap cooler at $300, but if I can rely on it for my insulin even after using it for more than three years, I'm happy to invest in something that I know won't let me down. Cheaper coolers often suffer from broken zippers or cracked seams.

Read more: The best soft cooler you can buy

Yeti m30 coolerYeti

There's just one thing I don't love about my Hopper and that's the zipper.

It works perfectly fine - it's waterproof and is the same kind of thick zipper you'd get in drysuits when waterproofing is a life or death issue, but in a cooler, it's just not that great of an experience to use.

Reaching into the zippered Hopper meant scraping mt arm on the teeth of the zipper while I fumbled around for a beer or soda. After spending a day crack climbing and shoving my hands and wrists into abrasive granite, I need a beer but I don't really need to scuff up my wrists again.

Luckily, the newest iteration of the Hopper has fixed this with a magnetic closure.

The M30 ($300) promises to be as waterproof as the original; mine has yet to leak, and it's so much easier and more comfortable to open. You just pull the two sides of the cooler apart, grab your beer, and that's it - the thick magnets will close themselves. This also has the benefit of making sure that you don't leave the Hopper open, as this results in your ice melting much faster.

The cooler holds 7.2 gallons, which equates to 20 cans of beer or soda (with ice), or 28 pounds of ice. That should be plenty for weekend trips, and I rarely find mine overstuffed. Yeti continues to use its ColdCell foam, which keeps ice for days even in desert heat, and welded seams, which prevents leaks.

Read more: The best coolers you can buy

On the outside of the Hopper, there are two buckles that help reinforce the magnetic closure when the cooler is not being accessed, as well as daisy chain attachment points where you can use a carabiner clip to carry accessories such as a small knife, extra tote, and more. There's also a bottle opener on the side, and an extra-long padded strap if you want to carry the cooler across your body.

The old Hopper was the best cooler I've ever used, but the new M30 is much better on my wrists. Still, at $300, you probably won't want to replace your existing cooler given how durable it is.

I've had mine for more than three years and there's technically nothing wrong with it. But if you have an issue with the zipper like I do and appreciate anything that'll solve a small but immensely annoying issue, I couldn't recommend the new Hopper M30 more.

Get the Hopper M30, $299.99, at Yeti

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