Back away from the YETI. Yes, the coolers are pretty legit, but how can you justify throwing several hundred dollars at the things? Avoid sticker shock and check out these cheaper alternatives.
RetailMeNot combed through the reviews and ice-retention testings to nail down 10 coolers that function just as well—if not better—than the YETI Tundra and YETI Hopper but for way less. Bonus: Many of them come with longer warranties than YETI’s three- or five-year promise, too! Looking for alternatives to Yeti’s equally famous drinkware? Check out our favorite Yeti Tumbler alternatives.
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Best Yeti Alternatives on Sale Now
Before delving into our best overall picks, check out these options, which are marked down right now (helping you save even more on what you’d normally shell out on a YETI cooler). Note that prices are subject to change.
RTIC Soft Cooler 30 (
$175.99 $129.99) at Amazon (this price is for the 30-can size).
This bag is leak proof and never sweats, even when it’s filled with ice, thanks to the 2 inches of closed-cell foam inside. It also sports a 4.5-star review on Amazon, and reviewers tout its durability and its effectiveness for day trips as well as camping. And, if the basic black-and-gray combo doesn’t strike your fancy, you can get it in red, green and several other colors. It also comes in smaller sizes, as well as a larger 50-can size.
EchoSmile 35-Quart Rotomolded Cooler (
$189.95 $165.99 at Amazon)
This cooler promises to keep ice for up to five days (when you load it up at a 2:1 ratio, ice to contents). It can hold up to 40 aluminum cans and can withstand more than 310 lbs, meaning it can double as extra seating at the campsite. It has two cup holders and two bottle openers as well, making it the perfect tailgating or camping companion.
If you don’t need something quite this big, or need something a little bigger, there are 25-quart ($145.99), 30-quart ($155.99) and 40-quart ($175.99) versions, too. Some sizes come in other colors besides white.
1. Cabela’s Polar Cap Equalizer Cooler 25-Quart ($199.99) + 5% cash back at Cabela’s
This ice chest won Field & Stream’s ice-chest throwdown. “The Polar Cap kept ice longer than any other cooler and didn’t hit our warm-beer threshold of 42 degrees until eight days, 20 hours. Its molded-in handles were a tester favorite, and the single-pin hinge was near bulletproof. The drain, too, was excellent and attached with a metal wire lanyard,” Field & Stream writes. The rope handles even glow in the dark!
2. Orca 20-Quart Ice-Retention Hard Cooler ($199.99) at Amazon
Orca coolers are 100 percent made in the USA and come with a lifetime guarantee. They also come with a cargo net for extra storage. Now, it appears that in order to get the bear-proof feature, you’ll have to invest in a special lock that Orca sells, but if ice retention is your main need, the Orca is capable of keeping ice from melting for up to 10 days. And, while it won’t keep your drinks any colder, we love the bright color.
3. RTIC 20 cooler ($179.99) at Amazon
Long story short: With the RTIC, you’re getting very close to the same quality as the YETI but for half the price. So if you’re not an avid hunter or fisherman and just need an amazing cooler for the river or tailgating, this is your pick. RTIC has a larger storage size than YETI, so you’ll be able to hold more ice anyway, and people say RTIC keeps ice longer. And, it has a one-year warranty!
4. Pelican Elite Cooler, Tan/Orange, 30 qt. ($229.95) at Amazon
Coming in at a price just under the competitor’s comparable model, this YETI alternative Pelican cooler is adored for its ruggedness, size and ability to hold ice just as long—if not longer—than a YETI cooler. In fact, reviewers say the Pelican managed to keep ice from melting for nine (!) days. Also, most who own this cooler do admit it’s super heavy, but with that weight comes incredible durability that outperforms the YETI. Bonus: Pelican coolers rock a lifetime warranty.
5. Engel Cooler High Performance, Tan ($254.99) at Amazon
The Engel can retain ice for 10 days, ships for free and is certified bear-resistant. The brand, which has been around more than 50 years and claims to be the originator of high-performance coolers, has diehard fans who have no problem telling YETI to go take a hike. You’ll get two inches of insulation in the cooler and an airtight seal. And it might be worthy to note that EMS and fire rescue personnel use Engel.
6. Coleman Xtreme 70-Quart Cooler ($79.99) at Amazon
The Coleman Xtreme certainly doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the others, but if you really don’t have crazy needs for a cooler and just want something simple that will hold ice for a couple days, you can’t go wrong here. Plus, it doubles as extra seating in a pinch: The easy-to-clean seat lid has four cup holders.
7. Canyon Coolers Outfitter 35-Quart ($250) at Amazon
Canyon is a great buy for the money. In a five-day ice challenge, Canyon proved that it can definitely hang with the YETI and Pelican coolers of the world. Plus, the shoulder strap makes the Canyon ideal to “carry to the river bank with your fly rod in the other hand.” Very nice mental image.
8. Magellan Outdoors Frosty Vault 36-Can Soft Cooler ($79.99) at Academy
With a name like Frosty Vault, how can you go wrong? This backpack-style YETI alternative is very similar in style to YETI’s Hopper, but at a fraction of the cost. Reviewers say the cooler is awesome at keeping its contents cold all day and is extra roomy—it fits 36 cans or 24 with ice. The Frosty Vault also floats—making it ideal for trips to the lake (or neighborhood pool!).
9. OtterBox 30-Qt. Trooper Cooler ($199.95) at Amazon
Comparable in price to the YETI Hopper, the Trooper Cooler has such good reviews we couldn’t ignore it. This soft cooler has a wide mouth for loading and unloading, and reviewers say it can be easily opened with one hand—a nice feature when your other hand is holding a six-pack. The padded strap can be converted from shoulder carry to a backpack, plus there are exterior pockets with water-resistant zippers, great for storing utensils, lighters or other food prep equipment. Best of all, food stays cold up to three days.
10. TOURIT Soft Cooler 30-Can ($139.98) at Amazon
Reviewers love this cooler because it’s lightweight, durable and well-made. Features like leak-proof zippers, three-layer insulation (keeps food cold up to three days), padded shoulder strap and a bottle opener make this a standout YETI alternative pick. Reviewers on Amazon especially like that this cooler does indeed keep food and drinks cold for up to three days (even in 100+ degree weather).
Why Are Yeti Coolers So Expensive?
Branding and popularity are part of it, but Yeti coolers are popular for a reason. Yeti coolers keep things cold for a long time. They’re made with rotomolded polyethylene, which is durable and effective at keeping things cold for days. “Rotomolded” means the cooler is seamless, making it more efficient and less subject to damage. But it involves an expensive manufacturing process.
Yeti’s lengthey warranty (five years for some of its coolers) also raises the cost.
If you’re looking for an extremely rugged cooler that keeps things cold for days (maybe you’re an avid camper, hunter or fisher), dropping several hundred dollars on a Yeti cooler may be worth it. You know what you’re getting. However, occasional campers, backyard-party-throwers and those looking for a good cooler for a day on the lake will do just fine spending far less. If nothing but the real thing will do, find out how to save more when shopping at Yeti.
The post Our 10 Favorite Affordable YETI Cooler Alternatives appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.