The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Review

Combining Yeti durability with a backpack design, this awkward back box leaves something to be desired.
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Price:  $300 List | $299.95 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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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Insulation Value - 30% 7
  • Ease of Use - 25% 4
  • Portability - 25% 8
  • Durability - 20% 7

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. If you're set on a backpack cooler, we think there are several better options out there.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $299.95 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
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$79.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super durable, leakproof, optional waist belt and sternum strapVery durable construction, excellent insulation, useful handles and features, comfortable shoulder strapGood insulation, easy to use, simple design, convenient size, affordableDurable design, comfortable to carry when full, good capacity, relatively inexpensiveComfortable to carry, convenient design, good features, tons of dry storage
Cons Shape is tippy, difficult to find bottom items, straps stiff, bottom corner uncomfortable to carryZippered exterior pocket not waterproof, very largeFrustrating zipperLearning curve for best use, not 100% leakproof, no extra pocketsZipper not leakproof, thin insulation, less durable, loose sternum strap
Bottom Line Combining Yeti durability with a backpack design, this awkward back box leaves something to be desired.If you’re looking for the best soft cooler on the market today, look no further than this outstanding model from Engel.Great durability and insulation power at a relatively low price.A very different design than most, but by far our favorite to carry over long distances.Though not as hardy as some others, this design combines cooler space and dry storage for an all-in-one pack.
Rating Categories YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 Engel HD30 RTIC SoftPak 20 IceMule Pro Cool Trail Split Pack
Insulation Value (30%)
10
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7
10
0
9
10
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7
10
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6
10
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5
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
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4
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
10
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9
Portability (25%)
10
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8
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6
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7
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9
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9
Durability (20%)
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7
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5
Specs YETI Hopper... Engel HD30 RTIC SoftPak 20 IceMule Pro Cool Trail Split...
Carry Style Backpack Messenger Bag Lunchbox Backpack Backpack
Measured Weight (lb) 4.9 lb 5.9 lb 3.0 lb 3.0 lb 2.4 lb
Exterior Fabric 840D double-sided thermoplastic urethane Abrasion-resistant fabric Thick nylon shell Mule SkinET 1000D ripstop tarpaulin/vinyl/nylon Recycled ripstop nylon outer/polyester inner
Closure Method Zippered flip top, watertight zip Zippered top, watertight zip Zippered flip top, watertight zip Roll-top Zippered flip top, dry storage cinch and clip
Handles and Straps Backpack straps, carry handle, top handle Shoulder strap, carry handles Shoulder strap, carry handle Backpack straps, sternum strap Backpack straps, carry handle, sternum strap
Additional Storage No; webbing attachment loops Yes; 1 larger exterior zippered (meant to be waterproof but isn't) Yes; small exterior No; exterior shock cord panel Yes; top half of pack, brain pocket, 2 mesh side pockets
Removable Liner? No No No No 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.

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 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.

Our insulation testing results from the backpack-style models in our review.
Our insulation testing results from the backpack-style models in our review.

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

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

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.


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.

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


Maggie Brandenburg