The Yeti BackFlip is a very boxy backpack that lives up pretty well to the beefy, durable build and impressive insulation prowess of other Yeti products, but leaves a lot to be desired from a backpack. To make something worth carrying on your back requires more than just two straps and a back pad. Though the optional waistbelt and sternum strap help a bit, this pack is stiff and angular and not much fun to carry for very long. If you're set on a backpack cooler, we think there are several better options out there.
YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Super durable, leakproof, optional waist belt and sternum strap
Cons: Shape is tippy, difficult to find bottom items, straps stiff, bottom corner uncomfortable to carry
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Yeti BackFlip is a backpack cooler with a removable waist belt and sternum strap. It features a leakproof zipper and the Yeti HitchPoint grid to attach other accessories to it.
With Yeti's signature closed-cell foam insulation between layers of waterproof material, the BackFlip is a moderately insulated cooler. In our torturous insulation testing, it held USDA food-safe temperatures of 40°F or less for 50 hours, which is pretty good. It lasted another four hours holding below 50°F, which is roughly the optimal temperature for beer (depending on type and preference, of course). This performance is nowhere near some of the most impressive performers in this metric but isn't too shabby. And for a backpack cooler, which probably isn't being used for longer than a day or two anyway, it's pretty solid.
The zipper is leakproof as well, allowing you to lay it down without fear of water spilling out and helps it to keep that cold air in longer. However, if you spend a lot of time digging around to get to the bottom of the bag or taking things out and putting them back in repeatedly, this value may drop a bit more. Overall, it does a pretty solid job considering, though it isn't a knockout in this metric.
Ease of Use
This is one place where the BackFlip loses some points in our scoring. We like that the top opens completely to aid in loading and unloading - as long as it doesn't tip over first! It comes with a tube of zipper lubricant, which is a nice touch because it needs it. Yeti has also furnished this cooler with their Hitchpoint grid system, so you can attach all your favorite Yeti extras to the outside - or just a simple thing-on-a-carabiner. But all those extras add to the whopping overall price. On top of an already not-so-cheap cooler, and the BackFlip offers nothing extra to users - no side pockets or dry storage of any kind - where most other backpack coolers have at least a few basic extras. The inside shape of this cooler is also a bit annoying to use. It's also easy to knock over when digging through it. We think that when it comes to backpack coolers, this one is disappointingly devoid of handy features that can make or break the whole experience.
It's a backpack - yay for portability, right? Well, not so fast. Yes, it's a backpack, which helps to even out the weight across your shoulders. The optional hip belt and sternum strap help to make it slightly more comfortable. However, this is about where its convenience ends. The shoulder straps are rather stiff and have some rough edges that can be abrasive on the bare shoulders of summer. Perhaps most bothersome though, is the excessively cuboid features of this boxy bag. The back pad does a bit to make the stiff case slightly easier against your spine, but the bottom corner digs into wherever it sits on your body. And for most of our testers, it ends high enough that the webbing waistbelt isn't particularly useful for bearing weight, leaving it all to rest on your shoulders. The cooler isn't lightweight, either. It is just shy of five pounds by itself, let alone all the heavy liquid and ice you pack into it for your adventure.
It does have four additional handles around the bag for when it's not on your back - one on top, one on the back like a backpack hanging loop, and two on the sides for a two-handed pick-up. This seems to be the latest and greatest in Yeti soft coolers, helping you to grab your pack from any angle. It's helpful, but only marginally so on this backpack design.
As with the long list of Yeti products through the years, the BackFlip is built with the same intense design. The zipper is beefy and strong and can withstand all the necessary tugging you'll do, even with that zipper lubricant. Seams are welded and reinforced, and straps are thick and solidly attached. Their 840D double-sided thermoplastic urethane fabric that makes up the body of this cooler is seriously impressive. No matter how many rough granite boulders we slid this bag along or what pointed objects we dropped it on, it sustained no damage. Maybe a little dirt, but nothing that wasn't easily wiped off.
Another long-time expectation we have from the line of Yeti products is a fairly high price point, and the BackFlip is no exception. While we love the idea of an awesome Yeti cooler being reimagined into a super-portable backpack, we aren't impressed with what the BackFlip delivers. We think it's lacking usability and comfort features that would warrant paying a high price for something that lasts a long time. Hopefully, newer versions of this cooler will help correct what we think are design flaws, but for now, we're not sure this one is worth the dough.
The Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 is a beefy backpack cooler that isn't quite there when it comes to the actual user experience. It lacks the features and niceties to make it a comfortable, easy-to-wear backpack.
— Maggie Brandenburg