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YETI Rambler 26 Review

The Rambler quickly became our new favorite bottle after a few trips with it. The size, shape, and design make it easy to use.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $40 List | $39.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, easy to carry, wide mouth for easy drinking and cleaning, good design
Cons:  Expensive, heavy
Manufacturer:   YETI
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 25, 2019
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OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 19
  • Ease of Use - 35% 10
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Ease of Cleaning - 20% 9
  • Weight - 15% 3
  • Taste - 10% 8

Our Verdict

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. When pack weight becomes important, we strongly recommend a model like the Best Buy-winning Nalgene or the collapsible, ultralightweight Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle. Our testers didn't shy away from taking this bottle on day hikes or trips to the local climbing crag, though.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
YETI Rambler 26
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $39.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$20.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$10.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$18 List$34.95 at Amazon
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Pros Durable, easy to carry, wide mouth for easy drinking and cleaning, good designLightweight, easy for one-handed drinking, re-designed sport cap is effective, durable, good color optionsLight, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy fillingAffordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, portableStylish, well-insulated, easy to clean, simple design, durable
Cons Expensive, heavySport cap not as secure as a screw cap, carrying handle is smallDiameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or drivingPaint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack securityHeavy, expensive
Bottom Line The Rambler quickly became our new favorite bottle after a few trips with it. The size, shape, and design make it easy to use.It is hard for us to find anything bad to say about this bottle. It's simple, easy to use, and reasonably priced.A tried and tested classic, the Wide Mouth wins again as our Top Pick for Plastic, as well as the Best Bang for your Buck bottle.For the most part, this is one of our top ranking bottles - it is easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensive to boot.This hip bottle is a simple, easy to clean vacuum insulated bottle with a narrow mouth and a portable size.
Rating Categories YETI Rambler 26 Klean Kanteen Classic Nalgene Wide-Mouth Simple Modern Summit Hydro Flask Standard Mouth
Ease Of Use (35%)
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10
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9
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8
10
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8
Durability (20%)
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8
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9
Ease Of Cleaning (20%)
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7
Weight (15%)
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Taste (10%)
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7
Specs YETI Rambler 26 Klean Kanteen... Nalgene Wide-Mouth Simple Modern Summit Hydro Flask...
Body Material 18/8 stainless steel 18/8 stainless steel Eastman Tritan co-polyester 18/8 stainless steel 18/8 stainless steel
Empty weight (oz) 18.5 oz 7.4 oz 6.25 oz 12.4 oz 12.9 oz
Volume (oz) 26 oz 27 oz 34 oz 22 oz 24 oz
Bottle weight (oz) per fluid oz capacity 0.7 oz 0.27 oz 0.2 oz 0.56 oz 0.53 oz
Mouth diameter 3 in 1.75 in 2.5 in 2.25 in 2 in
Base diameter 3.25 in 2.75 in 3.25 in 3 in 3 in
Height 10 in 11 in 8.25 in 9.5 in 11 in
Body Type Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional
Free of Materials BPA-free BPA-free BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA-free BPA-free
Cap Materials Not available Polypropylene, Silicone spout Information not available Not available Polypropelene
Cap/lid type Wide-loop cap Sport cap wih spout Loop-top screw cap Screw Cap Wide-loop cap
Other versions 18 oz, 20 oz, 36 oz 18 oz, 40 oz, 64 oz, loop cap/sports cap, wide mouth 16 oz, 48 oz 14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz 18 oz, 21 oz
Warranty 3 or 5 year warranty Lifetime Warranty Lifetime Guarantee for normal use Limited Warranty Lifetime Warranty

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 carrying handle built in. The big pros and limited cons ended up landing the Rambler our Editors' Choice Award.

Performance Comparison


Simplicity wins with the Yeti Rambler.
Simplicity wins with the Yeti Rambler.

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. 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 Standard Mouth, which was close behind the Rambler in contention for our Editors' Choice Award. The Standard is slimmer and taller. This shape makes it nice for cold beverages, but hot on the lips with tea or coffee.

We also loved the matte texture of the Yeti  which made it easy to grasp even though it is a fairly large bottle.
We also loved the matte texture of the Yeti, which made it easy to grasp even though it is a fairly large bottle.

Durability


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.

The Rambler 26 is the perfect size  whereas the previous model we tested (the 38 ounce) was too big to use on the go.
The Rambler 26 is the perfect size, whereas the previous model we tested (the 38 ounce) was too big to use on the go.

Ease of Cleaning


The Yeti really won us over when it came to cleaning the bottle. Our experience with most of the bottles in testing was a general disappointment with how difficult it was to clean most water bottles. Some, like the Klean Kanteen, the Platypus Meta , and the Soma bottle have too narrow a mouth to clean the inside effectively without a specific brush. Others, like the Hydro Flask, have a wide mouth, but the threads of the lid are inside a slot, creating an area for gunk to build up.


The Rambler, on the other hand, has exposed threads which are easy to clean quickly. Also, because the diameter of the mouth is so big, it is easy to see the inside of the bottle and check whether it needs a cleaning or not. The lid design and the size of the mouth make this the top choice in our ease of cleaning metric.

The Rambler perched on the bumper after a day on the trail.
The Rambler perched on the bumper after a day on the trail.

Weight


Here, the Rambler comes up a bit short, as its girth makes it durable and functional, but also makes it one of the heaviest bottle 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, so if you are looking for a lighter, stainless steel bottle, check out the Kleen Kanteen Classic.


Taste


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.


Bottles like the CamelBak Eddy+, which has a complicated lid, seem to trap taste more since there are more nooks and crannies for tastes to linger. That being said, after almost a year of use, the Hydro Flask, with a very simple lid design, traps taste more as it has been used frequently. The Rambler also 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 wide mouth of the Rambler sets this bottle apart. It eases both drinking from and cleaning the bottle.
The wide mouth of the Rambler sets this bottle apart. It eases both drinking from and cleaning the bottle.

Best Application


Since the Rambler is super heavy duty and bulky, the bottle is best used in a front-country setting. In other words, this is not the bottle you want to take on the John Muir Trail. If you want to keep drinks cool or hot while boating, picnicking, or working, the Yeti is a great option. It is comfortable to drink from, has a large capacity, and is extremely well insulated. The bottle is great for large groups (margaritas or a portable tea party, perhaps). The Rambler shines in any application but carrying long distances. Even if we wanted to, most of us can't spend all our days in the outdoors. So, for the weeks in between your weekends, this is the best daily driver you'll find.

The ergonomic lid and carrying handle made this bottle easy to carry by hand  which we do not often do with our bottles.
The ergonomic lid and carrying handle made this bottle easy to carry by hand, which we do not often do with our bottles.

Value


The Rambler is sold online for $40. This is becoming the standard price range for quality insulated bottles. The 38-ounce version of the Rambler costs $50, which feels like a lot of money, but this smaller, more portable version costs less and is more useful. Yeti also 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.

Conclusion


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