Hopper M30 vs. Hopper Two 30
Yeti gave this soft cooler an overhaul since our testing period. Now called the Hopper M30, it has been redesigned with a wide mouth opening that contains a strip of strong magnets (Yeti's HydroShield Technology) to aid in ease of closure. It's backed up with two quick-release buckles to help make sure it stays closed and keeps everything cold and crisp. Compare the updated Hopper M30 (first image) to the version we tested (second).
We'll be linking to the M30 as it becomes available, but since we haven't tested it just yet, we can't vouch for any of the new technologies. The review to follow only tells our account of the Hopper Two 30.
Hands-On Review of the Hopper Two 30
The Yeti Hopper Two 30 is among the highest performing soft coolers we tested. This fact is not surprising from the high-end cooler industry leader. Yeti has once again delivered a stellar product. Put the Hopper Two 30 into action in conjunction with the Yeti Tundra 65, and you have a winning combo of keep cold power!
The Hopper Two 30 performed exceptionally well in our head-to-head ice retention test, retaining 15 ounces of the original seven pounds of cubed ice after 72 hours. However, it lost to both the Editors' Choice Engel HD30, and our new Best Buy award-winner, the Homitt 30 Cans, both of which maintained ice-cold temperatures for 96 hours.
By comparison, the next best performing non-Yeti option, the surprisingly well-insulated Polar Bear Coolers 24 Pack Soft Cooler, only held onto nine ounces and the rest had no ice left after 72 hours. During regular use, the Hopper Two 30 kept our beers cold for days and could pack to the brim. Testers used the Hopper Two 30 as one of their primary beer holding devices for over a week during our testing period, and it consistently held ice and cold beer. Along with the Engel and Homitt, the Yeti models were the top insulators we tested.
Yeti uses watertight zippers that improve insulation performance.
Ease of Use
The Hopper Two 30 is a no-frills affair with no external pockets and only a top zipper opening. The only external features are a series of daisy chains and attachment loops that can be used to secure gear, keys, alternative shoulder strap configurations, or as tie-down points. Compared to the Editors' Choice, Engel, the Hopper Two is much more bare-bones. The Engel has an extra exterior pocket, conveniently designed end handles, comfortably connecting side straps and even a detachable bottle opener!
Testers found the plethora of handles nice for when you just wanted to drag the thing around, and all the handles and attached straps feel incredibly robust. Using the zipper did take a little getting used to; to make a high quality, highly insulating, and watertight product, the zipper needs to seal and be extra secure. The zipper can feel a bit sticky out of the box, but Yeti includes some zipper lube with each cooler. Dab this on, and the zipper glides like an Olympic figure skater. The newly redesigned zipper on the Hopper Two also allows for a much wider opening and makes it much easier to load an unload. It eliminates the problem of the zipper on the old Hopper biting your hand like a Hungry Hungry Hippo. This redesign is yet another example of Yeti listening to its customer feedback.
The new Hopper Two 30 opens much wider than its predecessor.
Portability is the only performance area in which the Yeti Hopper Two suffered a little, the operative words being "a little." With its super rugged build and stiff materials, it just couldn't pack down into an easily transportable package when empty and felt closer to a hard cooler when full. Meaning that unlike many of the other coolers we looked at, you couldn't smash it down into small spaces or roll it up as you can with something like the IceMule Pro. It definitely takes up its share of space.
It is also among the heaviest soft coolers we reviewed, coming in at just about 5.3 pounds, making carrying longer distances even more of a challenge. The Editors' Choice, Engel HD30 is slightly heavier, at 5.9 pounds, but it also boasts a much larger capacity. The shoulder strap of the Hopper Two 30 is comfortable, but it couldn't beat out the IceMule Pro with its backpack setup. But for what it is, it was easy to move, and with all the rugged straps and external materials, you never had to worry about dragging it around or tossing it in the back of a truck, sled, or whatever.
We wouldn't want to take a full Hopper Two 30 on a long hike, but even when full it isn't too uncomfortable to carry.
Durability is NOT something you will have to worry about with the Hopper Two 30. Like other Yeti products, this thing is built to last. Testers threw it around, dragged it in the dirt, and used it hard, and it barely showed any wear. You could play soccer with this thing if you wanted and it would stand the test, though your feet and ankles may not! A heavy rubber exterior gives it more of a work or climbing haul bag feel, and the beefy nylon straps were never a worry. Even the plastic clips were built to above and beyond standards.
It is a safe bet you could strap the Hopper 30 to a rope and drag it up a rock face, across a shingled roof, or even behind a car and it would still be usable. The only other cooler that came close to this level of durability was the Engel HD30, which snagged our Editors' Choice award from the Hopper Two 30.
The Hopper Two 30 feels nearly indestructible.
The Hopper Two 30 is a well-insulated, extremely durable cooler. Our previous Editors' Choice award winner, this cooler is pretty awesome. It's incredibly durable and is a great size and shape to carry. The Yeti can make a great accompaniment to the beach or a game or even a long weekend of camping. If you're on the hunt for the ultimate insulating power and even larger capacity (for all those ribs!), you might check out the higher-scoring, less expensive, Editors' Choice Engel HD30 instead.
Crossing the line at a whopping $300, the Yeti is certainly is not the cheapest option. The Hopper Two 30 is the most expensive option we reviewed. The Engel HD30 outcompeted the Hopper Two 30 and is a full $100 cheaper! The price of this cooler alone is enough to cause some people to stop in their tracks. But with a three-year manufacturer's warranty and the confidence and durability of the Yeti brand behind it, you can be sure the Hopper will last and put up with essentially anything you can throw at it. Testers found the Hopper to be a great addition to road trips, days out, and other occasions in which a larger hard cooler just wasn't needed.
We don't give out the Editors' Choice Award lightly, nor is it taken away from a previous product without thorough testing. We looked at everything we could think of and every aspect of all the coolers tested. We took these things with us everywhere. We also did things with these coolers most people would never do; seriously, how many people are going to throw a full cooler onto the pavement to see what happens? We conducted controlled tests, and even a few times just used the coolers as, well, simply coolers to keep our beer cold. For years, the Yeti brand has delivered outstanding products to keep your refreshments refreshing. Recently though, several other competitors have entered the market and offered some incredible options that have given Yeti a run for its money. In our most recent round of testing and re-testing, the Engel HD30 performed better in insulation value than the Hopper Two 30, and snagged our Editors' Choice award and at a lower cost.
If you are looking for a rough and ready cooler that you can take anywhere and be sure it will keep your stuff cold, the Hopper 30 is an excellent option. It packs incredible insulating power and some of the most durable construction available. It might not be the least expensive option - in fact far from it - but you can assure yourself that barring a fight with a wood chipper, it will last and continue to perform. The Hopper series is another excellent addition to the Yeti line and once again shows why this company is the industry leader in high-end coolers. Whether you are heading to the game, the beach, or on a road trip, the Hopper 30 will do its job.