Yeti Hopper M30

Yeti Hopper M30

(This cooler review first appeared in the 2020 Gear Guide, now on sale at bookstores and fly shop nationwide, and also at osgnewsstand.com.) 

I first saw a magnetic waterproof closure on the Yeti SideKick, an easy-access pouch that fastens to the outside of Yeti’s Panga backpack. I wanted to put my iPhone, car keys, and passport in the SideKick while traveling, but I wasn’t convinced I could trust a simple magnetic snap-and-fold closure with my valuable electronics, and my only means of getting home. So of course I submerged it. Then I submerged it and stood on it. The magnetic seal is incredibly dependable, and while zippers can get jammed with sand or other debris, as long as electrons predictably revolve around the nucleus of an atom, I can’t envision any scenario where the magnet closure won’t work. Evidently, Yeti thought the same thing, and put a similar but mega-sized magnetic closure in its new Hopper M30 cooler. While Yeti’s 8-, 12-, and 18-liter Flip coolers still have zippers, the magnetic closure proved more reliable, opens wider, and is easier to access than the old-style hoppers with zippers. For day trips in rafts or drift boats, the soft-side Hopper M30 is quieter, and easier to stow and transport than a hard-sided cooler, and we all know how important it is to have something cold to drink when the fishing is summertime hot. $300 | yeti.com

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