Well-known as the leader in the ice-cooler industry, Yeti products are famous for their quality design, extreme durability, and excellent ice retention.
And amongst all their products, this one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. But does the Yeti Roadie 20 live up to its reputation? Or is it overhyped?
Let’s find out.
Much has been said about this product’s strengths. Some sing praises about its sturdy build, while others speak highly of its superior ice retention. But which benefits are true and which ones are just poppycock?
Excellent Ice Retention
Let’s start with the most important cooler function – ice retention. After all, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is or how nice it looks if it won’t keep your drinks cold for more than a few hours, right?
Thankfully, the Yeti Roadie 20 doesn’t disappoint here.
It comes armed to the teeth with several features that make sure your drinks will remain ice-cool even in the hottest of weather.
First off, there’s its FatWall design. The Roadie has extra thick walls that hold up to two inches of insulation. Not only is this more than enough to keep your stuff cold, but it’s also bear-resistant as well.
Next, we have the PermaFrost Insulation. Yeti uses polyurethane foam, injected into the walls and lid, making your ice remain solid for a longer period of time. Just for how long? While the Yeti hasn’t released the official statement about ice retention for this particular product, most people tend to agree that it will hold ice for about 5 to 7 days.
No matter how you look at it, that’s impressive as hell.
Every Yeti cooler is made with the same rotomolded construction, and the Roadie 20 is no exception. “Rotomolding” is a manufacturing technique where each product is molded from a single piece. That means there are no weak spots in the construction where water can leak. This is also what makes them almost impervious to damage.
That’s right – you can sit on it, stand on it, hell, you can even throw it around – it won’t leave a scratch on this bad boy.
But that’s not where the fun stops.
The Roadie also comes with T-Rex Lid latches, made out of heavy-duty rubber. Thanks to their interlocking design and two hinge pins, you can be confident that these hinges will never break.
All of this comes together in one impressive package. Can it withstand a ground-zero nuclear blast? Well, no… but to be fair, they haven’t tested it yet, so we may never know.
Despite its modest size, this cooler boasts an impressive capacity of 14 cans. However, that’s when using the 2:1 ice-to-content ratio that Yeti recommends.
If you’re feeling lucky, you can just do what this guy did and stuff the cooler. That way, you can fit up to 30 cans of beer inside it! (27 if you use 3 ice packs). No matter how you look at it, that’s a big capacity for a cooler that’s made to be small and portable.
Easy To Carry
Speaking of portability, another benefit of the Yeti Roadie 20 is its smaller size, which makes it easy to carry around.
The dimensions of Roadie 20 are:
- Length: 19 inches
- Width: 13 ¾ inches
- Height: 14 ⅜ inches
- Weight: 16 pounds
In addition to that, it also comes with a stainless steel handle that locks up-right. This makes it easy to carry around, making it the ideal personal cooler.
Just as every rose has its thorns, every product has some flaws. I’m willing to bet you can guess what the Yeti’s first one is…
There’s no way around this – this product is expensive.
It’s not “sell your kidneys to afford it” expensive, but do expect to verbally “ouch” when you see the price.
Now, is it worth it?
Obviously, everyone is going to have their own opinion on that, but in my humble (but usually correct) opinion, this product more than delivers on its promises.
Think about it this way – you’re going to be using this cooler for years to come. After even just a couple of years of use, the Roadie is going to pay for itself at least once over.
Now, this might sound strange, but multiple people have reported receiving the product with some scruffs and scratches on it.
The scratches are purely superficial and don’t impact the quality of the product in any way. However, most people (myself included) feel that if you’re paying a lot of money for a product it should arrive in pristine condition.
Of course, Wilderness Times wouldn’t be Wilderness Times if we didn’t offer you some alternatives to the products we review. Listed below are the three coolers that differ in price, size, and quality, offering a diversity of choices to fit any consumer.
YETI Tundra 35 Cooler
Then look no further than this bad boy.
While the Roadie is no slouch and holds 14 cans of beer, the Tundra 35 is an and can hold up to 20 cans of beer (or 28 pounds of ice).
Best of all? Even though its capacity is a lot bigger, the Tundra 35 weighs only 1 pound more than the Roadie. That’s right – this cooler weighs only 17 pounds, while the Roadie weighs 16 pounds. In terms of weight to capacity ratio, the Tundra 35 beats the Roadie 20 down easily. Of course, it does cost a bit more, but that’s to be expected.
Under Armour Sideline 20 Quart Hard Cooler
If you’re looking for something slightly cheaper, but still robust, you might want to check out this cooler from Under Armour. I had no idea Under Armour made coolers, but you’ll be surprised to find that this product is pretty decent.
Pro: It keeps ice for approximately 2 days on hot summer days.
Con: while extremely bulky, the actual capacity isn’t that great. This product is best used for car camping or any activity where you won’t be moving much, like fishing.
SuperHandy Rotomolded Cooler
Using the same technology as the Yeti, it is both cheaper and lesser quality than the Roadie (it figures, right?). It also comes only in the khaki color, which some might find off-putting. However, it’s still a great product and a great bang for your buck if you’re price-sensitive.
So what is our final verdict on Yeti Roadie 20 cooler?
The hype is well-founded – this is simply one of the best coolers available today. With a large capacity, excellent ice retention, and a sturdy build, this product is heaven-sent for anyone who wants a cool drink in 90-degree weather.
Yes, it’s pricey, but superior products always are. When it comes to price-to-value ratio, there’s simply no better cooler on the market.
Also be sure to check out our review of the IceMule Pro Backpack Cooler.