Everything about YETI products is heavy-duty. That goes for the portable, ‘soft’ (they don’t feel soft) Hopper series. I prefer the 30 model, which fits snugly sideways between the gunwales of a solo or inflatable canoe and has the capacity to carry drinks (up to 24) and perishable food for a 3-5 day outing. Secured with the patented HydroLok zipper, adorned with stout handles and straps, the Hopper slides into the load more easily than hard-sided coolers and features solid tie-down points. The DryHide material lining both interior and exterior combines stout 840-denier nylon and waterproof coating similar in durability to raft material. Closed-cell rubber foam provides a minimum 1-inch thick insulation. YETI recommends a 2:1 ice:food ratio, which can be a little hard to pull off, but on a recent Utah trip, I barely managed a 1:1 ratio and still had cold drinks on the fourth day. My only critique is that the rugged construction makes the Hopper a bit stiff and awkward to load and unload at first. It loosens up with use, and I’ll trade easy access for tough durability any day. YETI coolers don’t come cheap, but in this case, you truly get what you pay for.
Intel: www.yeticoolers.com; Hopper 30 dimensions – 22.5 L, 12.5 W, 16.5 H (6.5 gallon volume); $349.99.
— More GEAR reviews, tips and updates from CanoeKayak.com