YETI Hopper Flip 12 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Extremely durable, easy to use, great insulation, tons of handles, convenient size
Cons: Very expensive, no extra pockets, flips upside down easily
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hopper Flip 12 is a slightly large, personal-sized cooler with an over-the-shoulder carry. It's extremely durable, has handles just about everywhere, and features a leakproof zipper. It's one of the highest-scoring coolers we tested and is our Top Pick for a Personal Cooler. It also is offered in two additional sizes - one slightly larger and one slightly smaller than the version we tested.
The Hopper Flip 12 packs a seriously impressive level of insulation into a relatively small cooler. Whereas most coolers this size lose their ice rather rapidly in hot weather, the Flip maintained USDA food-safe temperatures of 40°F or below for a whopping 82 hours! That's nearly 3.5 days of raw bacon, ground beef, or sashimi. This serious-business box lasted another ten hours beyond that to provide just shy of four full days of ideal beer temperatures of 50°F or less. Though some other coolers we torture-tested lasted longer than this seriously impressive result, this cooler is by far the smallest one to do so well.
The Flip accomplishes this through Yeti's closed-cell foam and leakproof zipper, sealing your contents in coldness. If you're searching for a cooler you can sit next to you on the hot, sunny beach, or leave baking in the sun in your truck all day and still have cold contents, this cooler is up for the task. We have absolutely no complaints about the insulation performance of this personal-sized cooler.
Ease of Use
The Hopper Flip is simple and easy to use. Though it's closed by a tough, watertight zipper, with regular lubrication, this hefty fastener quickly becomes 'old hat' to use. The cooler's large opening makes loading and unloading a breeze, and the durable lining is easy to clean and never let any water leak through in our testing. The interior is actually large enough to be useful for many sizes of possible contents, despite its overall small size. And the sheer number of handles all over this thing makes it very easy to grab and go.
As much as we love the leakproof sealing qualities of the Yeti zippers, they can be a bit of a bear to use. Fortunately, Yeti sends zippered coolers with a tube of zipper lubricant to help make this slightly easier. Much like a tube of lip balm, smearing this lubricant all over the zipper helps to make it glide more smoothly across the giant teeth. Yet it will never be an easy one-handed task to do. Yeti also makes some of the very few coolers we tested that don't have any additional pockets on the outside for dry storage. The Flip does have Yeti's Hitchpoint system of webbing loops on the outside of the box, but of course, purchasing extras to attach to these loops is, well, extra. However, in the scheme of things, these are minor complaints that don't meaningfully detract from the overall usefulness of this top-notch cooler.
The Hopper Flip is a personal-sized cooler that's meant to be easily portable, and it largely delivers on that promise. The wide, soft, padded shoulder strap makes for a comfortable carry, even when the cooler is full. Side handles, a back handle, and even a top handle add even more to the portability of this little cooler. The top handle is the newest major addition to the Flip and one that we find to be crucial to its overall portability. The location that the shoulder strap attaches to the sides of this cooler is a bit close to the bottom of the box. As the long strap lays on the ground while you use the cooler, it can easily get tangled on the corners and edges of the unit. This, many times, had us picking up the whole thing by the shoulder strap, only to find the cooler had flipped completely upside down - devastating if you hadn't yet zipped the top shut and annoying even when it was closed. With the addition of the top handle, it's simple to grab that and start walking away while you adjust the shoulder strap to where you want it to be.
Unlike some of the soft coolers we tested, the Flip is 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 this cooler. We also appreciate that the shoulder strap is actually long enough in this model to be able to wear across your body while still being adjustable enough to sling over the outside shoulder - or alternate in between. Some competitors we tested have such short straps that only our smallest testers could get a comfortable cross-body fit, and we appreciate the more versatile strap of this model.
If you're buying a Yeti product, one thing you don't need to worry about is durability. From the 840D double-sided thermoplastic urethane body down to the welded seams and reinforced stitching on the shoulder straps, everything about the Flip screams hardy. Despite our years of testing Yeti products, we have yet to run into a durability issue with their design.
We also love that Yeti includes zipper lubricant with your purchase to keep giving your cooler the TLC it needs through its lifetime. They also back their products with a 3-year manufacturer's warranty, which is among the best offerings out there for soft coolers.
With Yeti products, you are going to get premium performance at an even more premium price. Though a slight decrease in price accompanies the latest version of the Flip, it's still not cheap. Though the price tag may temporarily drain the blood from your face, knowing that this cooler will continue to perform for years to come does add value. And if you really like the idea of this cooler but can't quite bring yourself to swallow that triple-digit number, the Flip also comes in a slightly smaller size (that we didn't test, but appears very similar) that shaves a little bit off that sticker price.
The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 takes all of Yeti's trademark performance and durability and boils it down into a small, portable package. It delivers impressive insulation for such a small cooler, is a simple and easy to use zippered box, and has a comfortable strap that makes carrying it anywhere a breeze. If you're looking for the highest performance, longest lasting personal cooler, this is it.
— Maggie Brandenburg