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YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Review

Combining Yeti durability with a backpack design, this awkward back box leaves something to be desired
YETI Hopper BackFlip 24
Photo: YETI
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Price:  $300 List | Check Price at Amazon
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
Manufacturer:   YETI
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Insulation Value - 30% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 4
  • Portability - 25% 8
  • Durability - 20% 8

Our Verdict

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. Even if you're set on a backpack cooler, we think there are many better options out there.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
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$239.99 at Amazon$247.80 at Amazon
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$110.00 at REI$114.95 at REI
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Star Rating
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Pros Super durable, leakproof, optional waist belt and sternum strapVery durable construction, excellent insulation, useful handles and features, comfortable shoulder strapExtremely durable, easy to use, great insulation, tons of handles, convenient sizeSoft cooler body, good pockets and features, comfortable shoulder strapDurable design, comfortable to carry when full, good capacity, relatively inexpensive
Cons Shape is tippy, difficult to find bottom items, straps stiff, bottom corner uncomfortable to carryZippered exterior pocket not waterproof, very largeVery expensive, no extra pockets, flips upside down easilyExterior and zipper not waterproofLearning curve for best use, not 100% leakproof, no extra pockets
Bottom Line A beefy but awkward design that isn't our favorite backpack coolerOur choice for best all around soft coolerSized for personal use, this option is a high-performerA pleasant mixture of solid insulation, usable capacity, and simplicity of designWith a unique design and comfortable carry straps, we love it for long distances
Rating Categories YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Engel HD30 YETI Hopper Flip 12 REI Co-op Cool Haul 18 IceMule Pro
Insulation Value (30%)
6
9
7
8
5
Ease Of Use (25%)
4
7
7
7
8
Portability (25%)
8
6
7
7
9
Durability (20%)
8
9
9
6
6
Specs YETI Hopper... Engel HD30 YETI Hopper Flip 12 REI Co-op Cool... IceMule Pro
Measured Capacity (qt) 23 qt 32 qt 13 qt 18 qt 25 qt
Measured Capacity (cans with no ice) 30 cans 48 cans 18 cans 28 cans 39 cans
Carry Style Backpack Messenger Bag Lunchbox Messenger Bag Backpack
Internal Maximum Height (in) 15" 13" 8" 11" insert
12" lid
17" fully closed
23" max
Fits Standard Wine Bottle Standing Upright? Yes Yes No - will fit on side Yes Yes
Shelf Life of Food (Measured Hours Below 40ºF) 50 hr 98 hr 82 hr 58 hr 40 hr
Days of Cold Beverages (Measured Hours Below 50ºF) 54 hr 103 hr 92 hr 61 hr 48 hr
Measured Weight (lb) 4.9 lb 5.9 lb 3.6 lb 4.3 lb 3.0 lb
Exterior Fabric 840D double-sided thermoplastic urethane Abrasion-resistant fabric 840D double-sided thermoplastic urethane Ripstop nylon, polyester shell Mule SkinET 1000D ripstop tarpaulin/vinyl/nylon
Closure Method Zippered flip top, watertight zip Zippered top, watertight zip Zippered flip top, watertight zip Zippered flip top Roll-top
Handles and Straps Backpack straps, side handles, top handle, sternum strap Shoulder strap, end handles, duffel handles Shoulder strap, top handle, end handles Shoulder strap, end carry handles Backpack straps, sternum strap
Additional Storage No; webbing attachment loops Yes; 1 larger exterior zippered (meant to be waterproof but isn't) No; webbing attachment loops Yes; 2 slip exterior, 1 internal zip, webbing attachment loops No; exterior shock cord panel
Removable Liner? No No No Yes No

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.

Performance Comparison


Like carrying a box on your back.
Like carrying a box on your back.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Insulation Value


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 27 hours, which is far below the group average of 40 hours. However, it then lasted an additional full day holding below 50°F, achieving average optimal beer temperature (depending on type and preference, of course) for a full 51 hours. This lopsided 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.

A comparison of backpack coolers in our laboratory insulation testing.
A comparison of backpack coolers in our laboratory insulation testing.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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.

The BackFlip isn't nearly as insulative as the other Yeti coolers we...
The BackFlip isn't nearly as insulative as the other Yeti coolers we tested, probably due in part to this fairly awkward shape.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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.

With no dry storage, stiff straps, and angular corners, we're just...
With no dry storage, stiff straps, and angular corners, we're just not sure the BackFlip is worth it.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Portability


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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Durability


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.

With Yeti products, durability is one of this product's best traits.
With Yeti products, durability is one of this product's best traits.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

It's far from our favorite backpack to carry for long distances, but...
It's far from our favorite backpack to carry for long distances, but it is a backpack and you can carry it.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg