A warm sunny day on the water and cold beverages go together like, well, a sunny day on the water and cold beverages. That’s why us boaters—perhaps more than any other group—demand the most from our coolers. They need to preserve ice for long, hot weekends and be built to protect their valuable contents while running. Yeti coolers have exploded in popularity among cruisers and anglers in recent years by meeting those requirements.
Yeti has been boasting similar claims for its line of Hopper cooler bags. So, in the name of science, I recently loaded a Hopper 30 (a smaller Hopper 20 is available for $300) with a 12-pack of bottled beer, a large bottle of wine, (don’t judge me) a couple bottles of water, and 10 pounds of ice, and set out for the weekend.
I immediately noted the Hopper’s heavy-duty zipper, which reminded me of the zipper on a drysuit. This would no doubt help support Yeti’s claim that the bag “is 100-percent leakproof,” I thought, while retaining a healthy dose of skepticism. For the next two days I put the bag through heavy use, and found its shoulder strap to be comfortable and essential when carrying drinks and barbecue supplies around the dock. And more importantly I noticed excellent ice retention despite being opened and closed regularly; by the end of the weekend about 4 pounds of the original 10 pounds of ice floated around a bevy of chilled beverages. I liberally tossed the bag in and out of the dinghy, and onto the beach and its hard nylon exterior shell still looked like it was fresh out of the box.
But what about that marketing claim about it being leakproof? Well, as neighbors on the dock watched with puzzled looks, I filled the Hopper with 6½ gallons of water and lifted the sloshing bag and turned it upside down. Sweat from the exertion quickly formed on my brow as I waited for a few drops to sneak out from the corners. I gave up before it surrendered a drop. There wasn’t even much condensation to speak of.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-carry way to keep drinks cold for a couple days that can be easily stowed in your cockpit or center console, the Hopper 30 might be a companion worth considering.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.