A Serious Soft Cooler

Without a zipper to hassle with between races, Yeti’s Hopper 30 makes life easier.

Yeti Hopper 30
The Yeti Hopper 30 makes it easier to reach in for an apple, without having to zip open the entire cooler. The magnetic strips snap shut and keep the cool in.Walter Cooper

Anyone who has enjoyed the luxury of the grand-prix of soft coolers—yes we’re talking Yeti here—will agree that while the ice cubes remain in their solid state and the lunches and hydration come out cold between races, the heavy-duty zippers are a pain to get open and closed. Imagine then, a soft cooler without a zipper. Yeti’s solution is the 7-pound Hopper 30, a serious soft cooler with—get this—a magnetic strip closure that locks in the cool. To open, grab the tabs at the top and pull the strips apart to have full access to the belly of the beast. Loading it is a bit of challenge, made easier with the assist of a partner to hold it open, but once closed, it’s a thing of beauty.

closed-cell foam
The Hopper 30’s closed-cell foam keeps the cool in while the durable waterproof shell keeps the elements out.Courtesy Yeti

The Hopper 30’s interior dimensions are 10 x 22 x 16 inches, which we can confirm is volume enough for an ice block, a sleeve of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, six reusable water bottles, a bag of Granny Smith apples, and a vessel of gluten-free cookies—standard fare for Sailing World’s five-man Boat of the Year test squad, which tested the Hopper for a week of testing in Annapolis. Quick-release buckles across the top lock the whole thing down, preventing it from opening when stuffed into a lazarette. Hitch points provide plenty of places to attach accessories. Waterproof, and built tough, this cooler will last plenty of race seasons without fear of the zipper every failing. For the Wednesday night beer-can squad, Yeti assures us 20 cans will fit just fine, with a 2 to 1 ice ratio. But if they go into the Hopper cold, who needs that much ice anyway? The night is short! $300, yeti.com.