I Upgraded to This Splurgy Cooler and Have Zero Regrets (It Keeps Drinks Cold for Days!)

published Aug 22, 2023
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Summer picnic spread on blanket with jam sandwiches, fruit and wine
Credit: Malcolm P Chapman/Getty Images

When it comes to cookware and kitchen gear, there are a lot of things out there that — unless you’re shopping for aesthetics or rare pieces to complete a collection — you probably don’t need to really splurge on. Is a super-expensive Japanese chef’s knife undeniably awesome and functional? Yes. Can you also cut an onion with a cheap-o blade you snagged at IKEA? Absolutely. Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t invest in high-quality products — quite the opposite. There are plenty of things that are worth shelling out for, and one such item is a good cooler. The once-humble mainstay of garages, park days, and cookouts, coolers have gotten good (like really good) in the last two decades or so. And, though there are plenty of great coolers out there, there are far more not-so-great coolers on the market that can leak, rip, and turn your ice-cold beers, sandwiches, or produce into warm mush. So, a solid cooler or cooler bag is a must, especially for the warm weather months. Recently, I got to test out the YETI Flip 12 (in Camp Green, a limited-edition color), and despite its high price, I think it’s totally worth it. 

What Is the YETI Flip 12?

The YETI Flip 12 is a small, lightweight cooler that’s ideal for two people. It can fit 24 12-ounce cans or around 15 pounds of ice. It features a comfortable, adjustable shoulder strap; a Hitchpoint Grid for attaching pins, carabiners, and more; and a heavy-duty, leak-proof zipper that comes with its own lubricant. (They’re not messing around on the “heavy-duty” part.) The insulation is probably the best I’ve seen on a soft cooler and though it has a small footprint, it holds just enough for a park trip or beach day. It won’t keep ice cold as long as a hard-shell cooler would, but after forgetting to unpack it after a beach day, I still had some ice left and all the beers were chilled to perfection. 

Credit: Ian Burke

Why I Love the YETI Flip 12

There are a ton of reasons why I love the YETI Flip 12, but the biggest one is how convenient it is: It’s both easy to store in my apartment and does its job really well, which is all I’m looking for in a cooler at the end of the day. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s super cool-looking and rugged!  You can really beat this thing up, too — I left it baking in the sun on the beach all day, scraped it on hot pavement, and tossed it in the back of my trunk, and you couldn’t even tell. It’s also the perfect size for my girlfriend and I (there are larger and smaller versions available to suit your needs) and even though there is some mild sticker shock, I really don’t mind paying a higher price for premium quality. To top it off, you can register it online with a three-year warranty, so even if anything does happen to it — though it probably won’t — you can always get a replacement. It’s also got a bunch of great reviews on the website: “My girlfriend and I took a motorcycle trip through the Colorado Rockies and we always had a cold beverage available anytime of the day,” one happy customer wrote. “Along with Yeti Ice, two fit perfectly on top, we didn’t have to add Ice until three days into our five day trip.”

So, if you’re in the market for a new cooler, an upgrade to a previous model that let you down, or a gift for the outdoor-lover in your life, snag the YETI Flip 12 right away.