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

YETI Hopper Flip 12 Review

The best performing personal-sized cooler around.
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Price:  $250 List | $249.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Extremely durable, easy to use, great insulation
Cons:  Very expensive
Manufacturer:   YETI
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jun 6, 2018
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Insulation Value - 40% 8
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Portability - 20% 8

The Skinny

If you find yourself outside on those hot, humid days when having something cold to drink is an absolute necessity, the Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is your new best friend. It hangs onto ice like a dog playing tug of war with its favorite chew toy. It also hits a perfect balance where it is small enough to be carried around on most outings and even use as a lunchbox, but is still large enough to hold 12 cans and ice for those times when you need to kick back. The only real downside: it is quite pricey. If you're looking for something that fills a similar niche at a lower price point (and with correspondingly lesser insulation performance) you might want to check out the eBags Crew Cooler II.

2018 Updates
The Hopper Flip 12 got a slight update this year. See below for more details!


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Our Analysis and Test Results

2018's Hopper Flip 12 vs 2017's Version


YETI updated the Flip 12 this year, adding an extra carrying handle to the top of the cooler and dropping the price from $280 to $250. See the new version with the handle on the left, followed by the version we reviewed last year.


We're always a fan of a price drop and extra carrying options, but since we haven't put the latest version to the test quite yet, the following text refers to last year's version of the Hopper Flip 12.

Hands-On Review of the Hopper Flip 12


The Hopper Flip 12 is just about the nicest personal sized cooler you can buy, and possibly the most rugged looking lunchbox you could ever hope for (except for those classic Batman lunchboxes). The Hopper Flip 12 was one of the best overall performers in our testing.


In the sections that follow we further detail how the Flip 12 fared in all of the different tests that make up our individual scores.

Insulation Value


The Hopper Flip 12 tied with its larger sibling, the Hopper Two 30, for an impressively high score in our insulation test. Though not quite as impressive as the Editors' Choice award-winning Engel HD30 or Best Buy Homitt 30 Can, Yeti's inch thick insulation and sealed zippers really do deliver on the insulation front, and we were incredibly impressed that it was still holding ice after a full three days in our test. This is plenty of insulative power to keep some perishable items fresh during a weekend camping trip or keep some beverages frosty while they sit in a scorching hot car. And if you decide to use it as a lunchbox, you can be guaranteed that your salad will be crisp and cool.

Hopper 12 ice amount on day four. Still going!
Hopper 12 ice amount on day four. Still going!

Ease of Use


The Hopper Flip 12 scored well in our ease of use testing. It was bested only by the Yeti Hopper Two 30 and Engel HD30 and was on par with the Ice Mule and the Coleman 16-Can. The large opening made loading and unloading a breeze, and the durable lining is easy to clean and never let any water leak through in our testing. The only minor complaint we had was with the zipper, which is incredibly heavy duty and completely watertight.

When we first got the cooler, the zipper felt a bit sticky, but after applying just a bit of the zipper lubricant (which comes with the cooler), it was silky smooth. Occasionally it still would get caught a bit when zipping around the corners, which is why the Hopper Two 30 earned a slightly higher score in this metric (no corners to deal with there). However, this in the scheme of things this is a minor complaint that doesn't meaningfully contract from the overall usefulness of this top-notch cooler.

The Flip 12's wide opening makes loading it up easy.
The Flip 12's wide opening makes loading it up easy.

Durability


If you're buying a Yeti product, one thing you don't need to worry about is durability. Unless you end up using your Hopper Flip 12 to shield yourself from an attacking bear, we truly doubt you're going to be able to break it. From the urethane body down to the stitching on the shoulder straps everything about the Flip 12 screams hardy. Not surprisingly the Flip 12 tied with the other Yeti cooler we tested as well as our Editors' Choice, the Engel, for the highest score in our durability metric.

Everything on the Flips 12  from the zipper to the stitching  is durable.
Everything on the Flips 12, from the zipper to the stitching, is durable.

Portability


The Hopper Flip 12 is meant to be Yeti's most portable offering, and it largely delivers on that promise. The padded shoulder strap makes for comfortable carry, even when the cooler is full. Side handles also increase carrying options and sewn in daisy chains make it easy to strap the Flip 12 to the seat of your canoe or the luggage rack on your bike. The only portability related downside of the Flip 12 is the fact that it's relatively rigid, and thus can't be squished down and stuffed into the back of the cupboard or a suitcase. For most users, this would likely be a small sacrifice for the added performance of the Flip 12. The only cooler that scored higher than the Flip 12 was the Ice Mule Pro, which has backpack style shoulder straps that make carrying it very comfortable.

The Flip 12 is small enough that carrying it around is fairly pain free.
The Flip 12 is small enough that carrying it around is fairly pain free.

Best Applications


With a price tag like this one, this little personal cooler from Yeti probably won't be something you buy lightly. However, its incredible insulating powers and compact, easy-to-carry design make it a great lunch box or personal refreshment carrier to last through the heat. If your lunch sits in the car all morning before you get to it, the Flip 12 will help keep it nice and fresh until you're ready to munch. Spending a private beach day away from the crowds? The Yeti Flip makes a great companion. But if you're setting your lunch box in the office kitchen or looking to cart more than a personal amount of anything around, this cooler might not have the space or price you're searching for.

Value


With Yeti products, you are pretty much guaranteed that you're going to get premium performance at an even more premium price. With a whopping list price of $250, the Hopper Flip 12 is no exception. Sure, that's a lot of money to spend on a small soft cooler, but it blows all other soft coolers of the size out of the water. If you want a simple lunchbox or a small cooler for carrying cold drinks out to the deck, then this is pure overkill and a poor value. You'd be better off with the Coleman 16-Can in that instance. However, if you want a soft cooler that can stand up to the hottest of days and the toughest abuse, that premium price is may be well worth it.

Conclusion


The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 takes all of Yeti's trademark performance and durability and boils it down into a small, portable package. If you're looking for the highest performance, longest lasting personal cooler, this is it.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata