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Review: YETI Hopper M30 Soft Cooler

Whether you're in the woods, on the lake, or at your favorite college football tailgate, YETI's M30 cooler will prove its worth in no time!

Review: YETI Hopper M30 Soft Cooler
The latest in YETI's popular Hopper lineup is the M30 Soft Cooler, which is available in navy blue, coral, river green and charcoal. (Photo by Jodi Pellman)

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the last decade, chances are you’re already well aware of YETI’s now-cemented place in the outdoor industry. Year after year, the company has produced some of the most recognizable products in the world, led by their coolers and drinkware. And in between, they’ve managed to showcase other top-end products like bags, camp chairs, dog bowls and much more. If you somehow aren’t familiar yet, chances are still very good that you’ve seen YETI window decals on the back of many pickup trucks that pass you by on the interstate!

Last August, the latest in the Hopper Soft Cooler lineup — the M30 — was unveiled. From past experience, I already knew it would perform at the highest of levels in regards to ice retention and durability. This is thanks to previously tried and true technologies that have quite simply made the Hopper series what it is today — Coldcell Insulation and a Dryhide Shell.

So how could they improve it? Well, one of the only complaints for some was that the Hydrolok Zipper was a bit too tough to open and shut. While partially true, I never minded that fact because I knew there was no chance of the warm outside air breaking through the lockproof and waterproof zipper. As it turned out, YETI’s solution — the HydroShield Closure — took away the zipper and replaced it with a strip of ultra-powerful magnets to create the same leak-resistant seal. Additionally, there are a pair of Quick-Release Buckles incorporated into the design. These ensure that the M30 will withstand anything you throw at it without breaking that magnetic seal. You could consider it the last line of defense. 

YETI’s new ultra-powerful magnetic strip — the HydroShield Closure — is the featured highlight of the M30 Soft Cooler. Considered a gamechanger by many, it makes the use of a zipper to open and close the cooler complete unnecessary. (Photo courtesy of YETI)

Skeptical? Sure, I get that — I was, too. In reality, there’s simply no reason to be. I initially wondered if the magnetic strip could effectively replace the zippers and do the job just as well as they always did. Now I’m here to tell you that these magnets on each M30 are so power that they almost “snap” back into place as soon as you’re ready to close your cooler. This left me with no doubt that whatever my M30 was carrying — whether it be iced-down meat that’s flying home from my latest hunting adventure, or cold beverages to Penn State’s next football tailgate — will be kept in perfect condition for the long, eventful day ahead.

Outside dimensions on the M30 are 25x12x17 1/2 inches, with inside measurements of 22x10x16 inches. YETI says the cooler has an empty weight of seven pounds, can hold up to 28 pounds of ice with nothing else inside, as well as 20 cans while using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio. A shoulder strap is also included for easy carrying.

As expected, the Hopper M30 Soft Side Cooler has done everything I’ve demanded of it through a variety of situations in the last eight months — both in and out of the field. It joins the rest of the prestigious Hopper lineup that is much more than just a hunting tool, even though that’s where many of us will get the most use out of it. One last thing: make sure you don’t let the price tag scare you away. It’s an investment — a good one — and it’ll pay for itself and then some long before you even realize it. MSRP: $299.99 |

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