YETI coolers can sell for up to $1,300. Photos show how the brand became a status symbol in less than 10 years.
YETI is known for its expensive coolers that have become a status symbol in America.
This is their most expensive, the 82-gallon Tundra 350.
It retails for $1,300.
Since the company was founded in 2006, YETI has become an iconic brand.
And they now make a lot more than just coolers.
Their product lineup includes things like drinkware ...
... apparel ...
... and even dog bowls.
But the coolers are what the brand is best known for ...
... like the popular Tundra 35 that retails for $250.
But you can get a comparably-sized cooler from legacy brands like Coleman and Igloo ...
... for closer to $40.
So why are YETI coolers so expensive?
There are two pretty simple answers: technology ...
... and marketing.
The Austin, Texas-based company was founded by the Seiders brothers.
They're two avid outdoorsmen who felt there weren't any coolers on the market that kept their catches ...
... kills ...
... and beverages cold enough for long enough.
They teamed up with a factory in the Philippines to create a cooler that they described as indestructible ...
... with superior ice retention.
Their first cooler hit the market in 2006, and if you were serious about keeping your catches, kills, and "brewskies" as cold as possible, you needed a YETI.
So, how do they work?
The cooler's shell is made of a common plastic called polyethylene with a process called rotomolding.
Rotomolding uses high temperature and low pressure to create one piece of hollow plastic.
It's the same process used to make kayaks.
The shell is pressure injected with up to three inches of commercial-grade polyurethane foam.
And that's what keeps your beers, catches, and kills cold for so long.
The coolers feature a full-frame, freezer-quality gasket that seals around the entire lid to minimize air exchange.
And from our personal experience with the coolers, they work.
But are they worth the high price tag?
So we asked a people on Facebook, and the responses were mixed.
One person said, "Definitely."
Another pointed out that "They're heavy AF" — we agree that they are heavy.
And one responder just said, "No."
Another commenter wrote that "There are cheaper brands that work just as well."
That person isn't wrong. There are some rotomolded YETI competitors like Orca, OtterBox, and RTIC, that are slightly cheaper, but still comparably priced.
But none of them have been able to create the brand phenomenon that YETI has seen.
In October of 2018, YETI went public when they filed an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company's market cap is now estimated at $2.25 billion.
So, how are YETI coolers able to carry that high price tag? Marketing. Highly-effective marketing.
And their campaign to ramp up the population of YETI nation is just getting started.
The company hired Melisa Goldie, the former head of marketing for Calvin Klein, to be its Chief Marketing Officer.
And the company's effective use of the all-American, rugged, outdoor lifestyle keeps customers coming back for more.