The Yeti Rambler 26 continues to earn our Editors' Choice Award winner for a number of reasons. We previously tested the larger version of the Rambler and were impressed by its performance, but felt that its size was just too big for the bottle to win out over the longstanding favorite Hydro Flask. This smaller model of the Rambler has the same extra-wide mouth (for ease of drinking and cleaning), and ergonomic carrying handle that we loved on the previous test model. Its insulation stands up against the best when filled with hot or cold beverages. This bottle has it all! We liked all these features enough to carry the Rambler with us on all of our outings, even though we had lighter options to choose from!The Rambler is designed to be your everyday substitute to single-use bottles. It's fantastic around town, on commutes, in the parks, and in the office. It's clearly not meant to be taken on multi-day trips or multi-pitch climbs. Our testers didn't shy away from taking this bottle on day hikes or trips to the local climbing crag, though.
YETI Rambler 26 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Durable, easy to carry, wide mouth for easy drinking and cleaning, good design
Cons: Expensive, heavy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rambler is a durable, vacuum insulated bottle that accompanied us everywhere during our three-month testing period. It sat by our side at work, was our go-to for climbing days and hiking days, and was the ideal road trip bottle with its ability to hold both hot and cold drinks. The Rambler has a 26oz capacity, making it a much more reasonable option than its hulking 36oz big brother. Its major positives are the width of the mouth, which is significantly wider than most bottles, and the lid design, which is easy to clean and has a very comfortable, built-in carrying handle. The big pros and limited cons ended up landing the Rambler our Editors' Choice Award.
Ease of Use
This bottle is about as easy as it gets. A simple, easy to hold carrying handle, an exceptionally wide mouth, and a smooth rim to the bottle make it easy to fill and drink out of. These factors also make it super easy to clean - a simple lid and wide body make for a quick and easy rinse. Yeti designed the Rambler bottles specifically to confront the longstanding wide-mouth water bottle issue of how to fit your nose into the bottle when drinking. To remedy this, Yeti uses Over-The-Nose Technology with an extra-wide mouth that makes the bottle feel more like a drinking glass than a water bottle. Very civilized, Yeti!
The simplicity and pleasure of using this bottle helped sky-rocket this bottle to the top of our favorites list for daily use. Any bottle will work for carrying water, but this one makes the experience better. The Nalgene has a similarly wide mouth, but it doesn't come close to the diameter of the Yeti. If a wide mouth is not a must-have feature, check out the Hydro Flask, which was close behind the Rambler in contention for our Editors' Choice Award.
Making durable, heavy-duty products is Yeti's claim to fame as a company. Their bottles are built like their coolers-well insulated and incredibly durable. The Rambler is no exception, and takes the cake in terms of durability in our performance comparisons. The TripleHaul Cap has no extra parts, which avoids the risk of plastic parts breaking over time.
Like other vacuum insulated bottles we tested, the Rambler is durable simply because of its design and materials. The 18/8 Stainless Steel construction makes the bottle resistant to punctures and dents. The double-walled design of the vacuum insulated bottles also helps them in the durability metric.
Here, the Rambler comes up a bit short, as its girth makes it durable and functional, but also makes it one of the heaviest bottles in the fleet. At 18 ounces, this bottle isn't the one to take on overnights, ski tours, or other extended excursions. Typically, metal bottles that are not vacuum insulated are a lot lighter, like the Klean Kanteen Classic.
When we performed the standard taste test on the Rambler, we were happy to find that the Rambler did not hold flavors for long periods. We filled the bottle with electrolyte powdered drink mix, which often lingers in water bottles after one use, and left it in the bottle for a few hours. Then, once the drink mix was finished, we rinsed the bottle once with water and refilled it, finding that the taste of the mix was hardly detectable.
The Rambler has the benefit of the wide mouth, so it's easy to clean frequently, which helps it to avoid taste buildup. The wide mouth and the fact that the threads are on the outside of the lid make the Rambler one of the easiest bottles to clean, and thus lingering tastes are less of an issue here.
The Rambler is sold online for a pretty penny. This is becoming the norm for quality insulated bottles. Yeti has a 5-year warranty and a refund/exchange option for their products. The efficiency of the bottle's insulation and its longevity make the Rambler a bottle that is well worth the price tag.
The Yeti Rambler 26 really has it all. The simple design features like the Over-the-Nose mouth design and the carrying handle are subtle but critical aspects of the Yeti that make it easy and comfortable to use. It is also exceptionally easy to clean, also due to the mouth and lid designs. This bottle accompanied us on many adventures while still looking cool and carrying comfortably enough to be used around town. The price is fairly reasonable and the bottle's weight is similar to its competitors. All in all, this bottle wowed us enough in all of our metric comparisons to take the title of Editors' Choice.
— Jane Jackson