Yeti Hopper M30 Tote Soft Cooler Review

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I’ve been using a Yeti Hopper M30 Tote soft cooler to carry snacks and drinks out on the water, take bags of fish filets home and transport a weekend’s worth of food on family getaways since February. I’ve been pleased with its ability to keep ice, the easy-loading mouth and the lightweight construction. It is the highest-quality soft cooler I’ve ever owned by a good margin.

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THE SOFTER SIDE

As a soft cooler, the M30 is significantly lighter than its roto-molded brethren. It tips the scales at a hair under 7 pounds, while a Tundra with similar capacity is over 21. However, a hard-sided cooler has the ability to double as a seat or casting platform and the M30 does not so consider your needs before purchasing.

Speaking of capacity, Yeti says the M30 will hold up to 42 cans without ice. In practice, I’ve found I can get a dozen cans, a few sandwiches, some apples, and enough ice to cover it all with ease. The amply padded shoulder strap makes carrying it easy, even when filled to the the brim.

Yeti Hopper M30 Magnetic Closure Detail

MAGNETIC CLOSURE

The highlight of Yeti’s Hopper series is the magnetic closure that makes it easy to open and close, a feature recently re-engineered. The first iteration of Yeti’s magnetic closure wasn’t as good as it could be and ended up getting recalled because the magnets were getting loose. To solve that issue, Yeti molded the magnets inside the closure. This makes opening even smoother and I can get into the M30 one-handed if needed. As a bonus, the lid on the new Hopper stays open better than its predecessor, making it even easier to load up. Once full, the magnets snap it shut. For additional security, clip the two buckles shut and go. It should be noted that the fixed-length straps can make this task difficult.

ICE RETENTION

Though I haven’t performed a series of scientific tests, I can say anecdotally that the M30 holds ice better than any other soft cooler I’ve owned. I recently spent a full day fishing the Delaware River with the M30 holding a dozen drinks and a sandwich in my truck while I hopped from spot to spot. Though the temperature in my parked vehicle surely hit triple digits, everything was kept cold even though there were only a couple of ice packs in there. I can also get a few days out of a 2-pound bag of ice, storing it in my garage between trips on the boat.

Yeti M30 Hopper Tote on Boat

DURABILITY

I haven’t had the opportunity to drag this through the airport or check it into the belly of an airplane filled with filets yet, but the tough outer skin has yet to be damaged sliding around the bed of my truck. I’ve had it stuffed to the gills with food for family barbecues and the straps never felt like they were going to give out. It is also fairly easy to clean both inside and out; I was able to get the funk deposited by a leaking bag of fluke filets out with a couple of sprays of a non-toxic disinfectant. Tidal mud stuck to the bottom was easily removed with a quick spray of the hose. I expect this to last longer than any other soft cooler I’ve owned.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT?

The Yeti M30 is a great option for those looking for a soft cooler that is lightweight but still has the ability to maintain ice for days. It has served me well in the five months I’ve owned it and I’m looking forward to using it all summer. Don’t need that much capacity? Grab the M15 Hopper, which is slightly smaller and can hold up to 32 cans with no ice. If you’re looking for a similar quality soft cooler that might be a little easier to carry over long distances, consider the Hopper series of backpack coolers. Available in M12 and M20 sizes capable of holding 20 and 36 cans respectively. Both have the same convenient magnetic closure as the M30 tote. This is probably the last soft cooler you’ll ever have to buy, however this level of quality comes with a matching price tag.

AO Coolers Carbon Series

ANOTHER OPTION

If you want a soft cooler but don’t want to pony up for the M20, consider one of AO Cooler’s Carbon series. I picked one up to transport 50 pounds of bluefin home from San Diego last year and it stood up to the ravages of airline travel. Since then, I’ve been using it to transport big hauls of filets from the marina and a weekend’s worth of food on camping trips. Other than a little road rash, it’s no worse for wear. It doesn’t hold ice as well as the Yeti, or is as easy to load, but it has performed admirably and is a relative bargain.

Buy at Bass Pro

Buy at Academy.com

Buy at Walmart.com