I've been a big fan of Yeti, and their digital output for a good few years now after being introduced to them through the incredible 120 Days and Cosmo films. Since then I've watched most of their video output, regardless of the subject and toyed with the idea of buying a cooler for long time. I reckon it had been in my cart four or five times before I actually hit 'BUY'. In honesty, as much as I loved the brand itself and the ethos and attitude, I just wasn't sure I could justify the £300 for a cool box. Six months down the line, I actually think it's one of the smartest 300 quids I've ever spent and has genuinely revolutionised the way I eat and look after supplies on the bank.
'It's just a cool box right? I mean... yes and no. Without a shadow of a doubt it's the best cool box I've ever owned, and to be honest it's revolutionised how I eat and keep supplies fresh at the lake, after 30 years of having stuff go off, curdling milk in teas, and doing mid-trip supply runs, buying takeaways or eating some dried packet ration crap on the last night... no more - it wasn't cheap but it's easily earned its keep already.'
After thirty years fishing for carp and regularly doing 2 and 3 night sessions, summer and winter, keeping food and supplies fresh has been a perpetual problem and one I'd never really got a proper fix for - for me, the angling itself is always first and foremost in my thinking and food is just an afterthought - a quick supermarket sweep on the way at best, or at worst, a garage stop near the lake. Neither options are good, or cheap. I've had the usual Coleman cool boxes and loads of cool bags over the years, but none of them really cut the mustard. The bags are great for a night, at best, and the cheaper cool boxes only keep stuff cold for a day or so really in summer. Over the years I've wasted more food than I'd like to admit, actually given myself food poisoning from suspect overly warm dairy products, relied on dried supplies for the last night way too often and got sucked into way more takeaways than is healthy for anyone... Either that or I'll be nipping out half way through a trip to stock up on some fresh bits. Not only is wasting food a travesty, but then buying more half way through a trip or chucking £20 on a takeaway on top of that just isn't economically smart either. Food has always been important to me, I like to eat healthy and relying on ready meals, dried stuff or takeaways just doesn't really cut it, not for long anyway.
'Over the years I've wasted more food than I'd like to admit, actually given myself food poisoning from suspect overly warm dairy products, relied on dried supplies for the last night way too often and got sucked into way more takeaways than is healthy for anyone...'
Did I really need to spend £300 on a cooler though? I weighed up electric options, cheaper ones... I wanted something that would suit 1-3 night trips over here in the UK, and something for bigger trips and come along in the boat on longer euro missions marooned in far flung swims. Shopping around, similar high end boxes that keep ice for days were about the same price, the Dometic probably being the closest other option and although the Yeti's are definitely some of the most expensive, all the reviews suggested they were worth it. I figured I'd only ever do it once, and hopefully have it 20 years down the line so I winced, bit the bullet and hit 'BUY'. A few days later, it arrived, beautifully packaged, direct from their own .com site.
First impressions were it was big, and a bit bulky, but it felt tough, and as suggested, like it'd last forever. I also really liked the fact there is literally nothing that can go wrong with them and the build is absolutely solid, and as simple as it can get. Made from 'rotomoulded' plastic they have a better density, are tougher and the thicker hollow walls, although losing a bit of internal space, means they genuinely keep ice for days. I tend to load mine with two bags of £1 ice the day before a trip, stack it with food and a few drinks, milk etc and load it up with the rest of my kit - food worries are done and dusted for the duration of a trip.
They are a big piece of kit, no doubt and the 45 is too big to sensibly cart around a lake, but it lives in the van and is used to restock bits every day after I've wound in, or like this season, the van has lived behind me on Stoneacres so it's always there when I need it. 4 days in there will still be ice in there, and even after 6 days everything is still only a little less than ice cold, even in summer. A cold San Pel has never tasted so good..
'I tend to load mine with two bags of £1 ice the day before a trip, stack it with food and a few drinks, milk etc and load it up with the rest of my kit. 4 days in there will still be ice in there, and even after 6 days everything is still only a little less than ice cold, even in summer'
The simple design means they're a breeze to clean, and the drain position means you can drop the slushy water out after 4/5 days and just reload it with some more on a longer trip when you're refilling it with fresh supplies. The 'T' shaped rubber closings are really easy to use and same as the rest of it, I reckon should be indestructible, having broken clips and hinges on cheaper cool boxes over the years, that's never happening to this. You can lock it, and it is tested to be 'bear proof' but there ain't too many bears or food thieves around Oxford.. so I can't vouch for that. I went for the Tundra 45, apparently it weighs 10K empty although I never chucked it on my Ruebens, takes 38L and is about the perfect size for a 3 night trip and has meant that not only have I not wasted anything, but if anything doesn't get eaten and does come home with me it can go straight back in the fridge here.
Cold cans, fresh food and no more turned milk has been a genuine game changer this summer. I reckon it's nearly saved me the £300 I spent on it already and I've only had it 6 months. I can't ever imagine I'll need to buy another cool box, ever.