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

YETI Hopper Flip 12 Review

The best performing personal-sized cooler around.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $250 List | $249.99 at Backcountry
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
Manufacturer:   YETI
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Insulation Value - 30% 8
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Portability - 25% 7
  • Durability - 20% 9

Our Verdict

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 and our Top Pick for a Personal Cooler. 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. It's been slightly redesigned with even more handles for added convenience. The only real downside: it is quite pricey.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $249.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$193.44 at Amazon$86.95 at Amazon$113.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$79.95 at REI
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Pros Extremely durable, easy to use, great insulation, tons of handles, convenient sizeVery 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 Very expensive, no extra pockets, flips upside down easilyZippered 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 The best performing personal-sized cooler around.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 Flip 12 Engel HD30 RTIC SoftPak 20 IceMule Pro Cool Trail Split Pack
Insulation Value (30%)
10
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8
10
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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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7
10
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8
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8
10
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8
10
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9
Portability (25%)
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7
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6
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9
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9
Durability (20%)
10
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9
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9
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Specs YETI Hopper Flip 12 Engel HD30 RTIC SoftPak 20 IceMule Pro Cool Trail Split...
Carry Style Lunchbox Messenger Bag Lunchbox Backpack Backpack
Measured Weight (lb) 3.6 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 Shoulder strap, 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 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.

Performance Comparison


The Flip is a seriously impressive personal cooler.
The Flip is a seriously impressive personal cooler.

Insulation Value


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.

We never had to worry about our ice not lasting all day in this beefy box.
We never had to worry about our ice not lasting all day in this beefy box.

Ease of Use


The Hopper Flip is simple and easy to use. Its 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.

With handles seemingly everywhere and a wide  comfortable shoulder strap  the Flip is a joy to use.
With handles seemingly everywhere and a wide, comfortable shoulder strap, the Flip is a joy to use.

Portability


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.

The top handle is crucial to being able to pick up this little box without flipping it upside down - which happens a little too easily when using the shoulder strap alone.
The top handle is crucial to being able to pick up this little box without flipping it upside down - which happens a little too easily when using the shoulder strap alone.

Durability


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.


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.

Like we've come to expect from Yeti products  the Flip is a seriously durable piece of gear.
Like we've come to expect from Yeti products, the Flip is a seriously durable piece of gear.

Value


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 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.

Conclusion


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.

Enjoy spending time in the sun again with your Flip by your side.
Enjoy spending time in the sun again with your Flip by your side.


Maggie Brandenburg