YETI is known for making one of the best coolers on the market—with prices to match. If you’re looking for a cooler like YETI, but cheaper on your bank account, try one of these YETI alternatives and hang on to more of your money.
There are many reasons why YETI coolers are top of the line. They have great features, durable material, and most importantly, they keep their contents cold for a seemingly impossible amount of time.
Unfortunately, they are insanely expensive. Thankfully, there are many different coolers like YETI but cheaper to buy.
These YETI cooler alternative brands have many of the same qualities you’ll find in the pricier YETI hard and soft shell coolers. They have great ice retention, keeping everything icy and edible for your entire trip. The materials are durable and last through even the most rugged adventures. And some of these YETI competition coolers even have a few extras that you won’t find on even the top YETI models.
If you want to compare cooler brands for your next trip to see which one is the best and cheapest knock off YETI cooler, check out our reviews below for the top YETI cooler alternative brands and styles. This may just help you make your decision and keep more of your money in your wallet.
Top YETI Cooler Alternatives
|Pelican Elite Cooler||$$$||5|
|Ozark Trail Coolers||$$||4|
|Igloo Yukon Cold Locker||$$$||4|
The Best Coolers Like YETI, But Cheaper…
Though YETI may be top of the line when it comes to coolers, it is easy to find a YETI cooler alternative if you don’t want to pay the high cost.
These coolers like YETI but cheaper in price come in a wide variety of styles and offer YETI-like performance in terms of ice retention and durability.
Best Hard Coolers Like YETI
When it comes to hard coolers, YETI has its Tundra series. The YETI Tundra comes in 12 different sizes, including the Tundra 35, Tundra 45, Tundra 50, Tundra 65, Tundra 75, Tundra 105, Tundra 110, Tundra 125, Tundra 160, Tundra 210, Tundra 250, and the huge Tundra 350.
They all use rotomolded polyethylene for their construction. They also have Permafrost insulation and a No Sweat Design. And every one has a dry goods basket included.
Other features include the T-rex lid latches and Neverfail hinges, both of which are durable and damage-resistant. The Coldlock gasket is freezer quality. There are a few tie-down slots and sturdy handles for easy carrying.
RTIC is one of the biggest YETI competitors out there. They started manufacturing their YETI cooler alternative products in 2015, using the slogan “Half the price… holds more ice.” They also call their coolers “Over built — not over priced”, which is true when you do a premium cooler comparison.
The RTIC hard coolers come in 5 sizes, the RTIC 20 which is a cooler like the YETI Roadie. For rotomolded coolers like the YETI Tundra, RTIC offers the RTIC 45, RTIC 65, RTIC 110, and RTIC 145 quart models.
This gives you the right size you need for day trips or week-long excursions into the wild. And each of those numbers is an accurate account of the amount it holds inside rather than counting the cooler itself as part of the capacity.
Every size also boasts the same features. The rotomolded construction is extremely durable, with the commercial grade insulating foam keeping your ice intact for up to 10 days. These coolers are bear resistant, with an integrated locking system and heavy-duty rubber T-latches to make it easy to close.
The no-sweat exterior keeps the outside dry, and the easy-flow drain spouts let you get rid of the water inside quickly and easily. The traction lid keeps anything you place on it exactly where you left it, and the non-slip feet hold your cooler in place, even on angles or wet, slippery grass.
With many of the same features as the YETI hard coolers, this one is a great YETI cooler alternative. And for those looking for coolers like YETI but cheaper, when you compare the RTIC coolers vs YETI coolers of the same size, the cost for the RTIC models is literally half the price.
You can read our full RTIC Cooler review here which covers both soft and hard cooler models and compares RTIC vs YETI cooler models in each category.
ORCA started off with their hard coolers, built to withstand the rugged wilderness or the more modern tailgating party while waiting to support your favorite team. They believe so strongly in their coolers, they even give them a lifetime warranty.
When you compare ORCA coolers vs YETI coolers, there are quite a few similarities. These make the ORCA models one of the best YETI alternative cooler brands around. Like the YETI hard coolers, there are multiple sizes available for the ORCA coolers. You can choose 20, ORCA 26, ORCA 40, ORCA 58, ORCA 75, or ORCA 140 quart coolers, depending on the amount of food or beverages you’ll be carrying with you. You’ll notice that ORCA doesn’t offer an XXL size cooler, so if you are after a behemoth of a cooler you may have to stick with YETI.
All six of these sizes are made using rotomolded construction, making them extremely durable for all types of use. There is integrated insulation on the inside of these quality coolers. This gives you the most amount of ice and cold retention possible, so you won’t need to worry about any spoiled perishables in the middle of your trip. These coolers even boast freshness for up to 10 days.
To add the cold retention, this brand of YETI cooler alternative also has lid gaskets to give you a tight seal to keep the cold air in and the warm air out. There are either single flex-grip stainless steel handles or dual flex-grip cloth handles, depending on the size of the cooler.
An easy-flow drainage spout lets you get rid of any water accumulating from the slowly melting ice inside. For extra storage, there is also a cargo net attachment on the back of every one of these cheap YETI cooler alternative sizes.
Another handy feature of these is the wide range of styles and colors to choose from. These can help you blend in to your surroundings, or let you choose a wild color to make it easier to distinguish which is your cooler when camping with a large group.
Founded in Torrance, CA, in 1976, Pelican has expanded their sales offices and manufacturing plants to points around the globe. Though they began with flashlights, this company has expanded to smart device covers, drinkware, luggage, and of course, coolers.
The Pelican Elite Coolers come in a wide range of sizes, including the 20, 30, 45, 50, 55, 70, 80, 95, 150, and 250 quart models. These coolers are all made with the same rugged materials to keep your cooler intact and the food and drinks inside as cold as possible.
The exterior is Polypropylene in the body, handle, and spigot. There is stainless steel hardware throughout, all of which is corrosion resistant for longer wear. There are also ABS latches to keep them secure. For that extra-long 10-day ice and cold retention, these coolers use polyurethane foam, similar to YETI and other YETI alternative coolers.
The features vary, depending on the size and style of the Pelican Elite cooler you buy. All but the smallest have molded handles, and some also have wheels to make it even easier to tote them around with you. You can also find drain plugs and built-in bottle openers on every model.
The larger ones have an integrated fish scale to reduce any unlikely fish stories. Molded-in tie downs, non-skid or marking raised feet, and garden hose attachable drain plugs are also included on many of these YETI cooler competitors.
The bottom line is that the Pelican makes one hell of a cooler and the Elite series are great coolers like YETI but cheaper to buy, especially with their lifetime warranty.
There is very little info on the company that makes these hard coolers similar to YETI hard-shell coolers. They are manufactured in Decatur, GA, and are certified bear-resistant, but other than that, those who make them seem to stay off the radar.
These hard coolers come in fewer sizes than the YETI models. There are only 26, 52, and 73 quart sizes available in this style, so you may need more than one for those long excursions with a big group of family or friends.
These coolers like YETI but cheaper are made of the same rotomolded materials. It is a one-piece, seamless construction which reduces breakage and leaking. The exterior is also UV-resistant, so it won’t deteriorate too quickly if you plan on using it all summer long.
There are also air-tight gaskets that give you an excellent seal. This is essential to keep that ice from melting too quickly. But though these are coolers comparable to YETI in build, they do have a downside when it comes to the insulation.
Though they boast premium insulation, the largest Ozark Trail YETI cooler alternative only retains the ice for 9 days, a day less than YETI models. The small one only keeps the ice for 4.5 days, less than half the time. But when it comes to the cheapest cooler price, this one takes the prize.
Other features on these coolers are a stainless steel locking plate, built-in bottle opener and cup holders, reversible anti-skid/slide feet, an oversized drain plug with garden hose compatibility, heavy duty handles, and a wire basket to keep your dry goods from getting soaked.
Grizzly doesn’t just make coolers. They have been “engineering and torture testing coolers” since 2002. They don’t do this for fun, either. This company wants to make sure you have the best possible cooler you can get for any type of expedition you prefer. They are manufactured in Decorah, Iowa, using the knowledge and experience of the outdoor enthusiasts that are their staff.
Every one of these sizes uses RotoTough rotationally molded construction for increased durability. There are BearClaw latches to keep even the largest predators out of your cooler. In fact, these are IGBC Bear Resistant Certified for the bears protection as well as what you’re storing.
The pressure-injected insulation is environmentally friendly, so you won’t damage the planet while you’re trying to enjoy it. The molded-in hinge uses a stainless steel pin for increased movement and support. The rubber gasket seals in the cold air and keeps out the heat for better ice retention, though there is no info just how long the ice will last in these coolers compared to YETI models.
There are a variety of carry options, from shoulder straps to molded heavy duty handles, depending on the size of the Grizzly cooler you choose. There are drain channels and plugs to get rid of water, and tiedown slots for easy transporting. Like YETI coolers, some of the sizes also include a dry goods tray and you can get frozen ice pack divider to maximize your cooling.
If you are need of decent, long-lasting coolers like YETI but cheaper for your budget, the rugged, secure Grizzly cooler models make a great YETI cooler alternative. They are less than half the price, with a lifetime warranty to ensure you never spend a penny more for your cold food and drink needs.
Engel has been in business for the past 50 years, so they have an abundance of experience, making them one of the best cooler brands out there. They started out with AC/DC fridge freezers in 1962, but have continued in the cooling business by branching out into portable coolers. Because they created the original high performance rotomolded coolers, they may just be the top YETI cooler competitor out there.
The Engel hard coolers come in a huge variety of sizes, so you’ll never have to leave anything behind, no matter how much you need to pack. These sizes include the Engel 25, Engel 35, Engel 45, Engel 50, Engel 65, Engel 80, Engel 85, Engel 123, Engel Engel 165, Engel 240, and Engel 320 coolers.
But unlike many other cooler brands, these numbers don’t seem to stand for the quarts they hold. For instance, the Engel 45 is actually a 47 quart cooler, while the 123 only holds 108 quarts. This important to keep an eye on, so you are sure you have the right amount of space inside for all your food, drinks, and ice.
All of these hard YETI alternative coolers are rotomolded. This makes them durable and tough, with no seams to crack or leak if they are handled a bit roughly during your travels. Inside Engel’s YETI Tundra alternative model, there are 2 inches of insulation. This covers the lid, sides, and the bottom for maximum ice and cold retention for a max of 10 days.
There are silicon gaskets as well, to give you an airtight seal on the cooler lid, keeping that warm air from seeping in and melting your ice. This seal is durable, with Engel stating that it won’t lose its shape over time.
Other features of this YETI cooler competitor are the IGBC Bear Resistant Certification and the dry ice compatibility. There is only a 10 year warranty, where other brands have a lifetime guarantee, but this doesn’t mean the Engel hard coolers won’t last longer than that.
Igloo began in a modest metalworking shop decades ago, in 1947, where they focused on bringing clean water to those thirsty people on various worksites. From there, they began manufacturing their high quality ice chests for family vacations, cross-country roadtrips, or for hunting and fishing when you need a functional cooler to store your game. They are now a huge company located in Katy, Texas, selling over 500 products to retailers worldwide.
The Yukon Cold Lockers come in 4 sizes, the 50, 70, 120, and 250. These numbers aren’t just for show, they measure the actual inside, giving you that exact amount in quarts, so you always get the capacity you are paying for.
These YETI style coolers feature solid handles with a no-swing design that are wide enough to use both hands on when needed. The drain plug is oversized for fast water removal. The plug is also clog and leak resistant, with a tether so you won’t ever lose it.
There are reversible slide and anti-skid feet, giving you the ability to slide the cooler when loading it up or pulling out of the box of your truck, or locking it in place while you’re moving. These feet are also non-marking, making them a great option for boat decks, backyard decks, or even kitchen floors when it is time to fill or empty them.
The rotomolded construction on this YETI cooler alternative is durable and strong, with UV inhibitors to prevent sun damage on the outside of the cooler. The hinge rods are made of solid stainless steel. This prevents damage while keeping the lid on tight. These hinges are also hands-free, holding the lid open for easy access.
The 360 degree freezer-style gasket and thick foam insulation in the body and lid retain the cold for up to 7 days, and can even handle dry ice. Heavy duty T-handle latches keep the critters out.
After constant disappointment in every cooler he had purchased over the course of 30 years, John Gutierrez decided to create his own. He set out to make “The Ultimate Ice Chest”, which was durable, functional, and most importantly, keep the ice cold longer.
After testing out all the things he hated in other brands of coolers, he and his team finally succeeded in creating The Extreme Cold Series Ultimate Ice Chest that he always wanted. But this prototype still wasn’t good enough, so John added a variety of features to make it the best ice chest possible, which is the Ultimate Ice Chest available today.
There are a few ways that make this ice chest similar to YETI coolers. The DuraCold construction gives you a rugged exterior with thick insulation to keep your ice intact for longer. The PosiLatch system uses T-handles for a snug and secure closure. The BearClaw Lock Plate adds security but also doubles as a bottle opener for added convenience.
There are a few sizes to choose from in the Kysek Ultimate Ice Chest line, including the 25, 35, 50, 75, 100, and 150 models. All of them include heavy-duty EasyGrip handles for comfort while you carry your cooler over large distances. The 3/4″ drain plugs all have hose adapters, with a tethered chain on the larger models.
ZeroSkid non-slip feet keep your cooler exactly where you place it. The larger models also include a set of HeavyHaulers inset wheels for dragging it easily to your campsite, even over rugged terrain. There is a cutting board lid on every one of these YETI alternative coolers, so you can clean your kill right there before you store it inside.
Though the price of the Kysek coolers is a bit higher than some brands, they are still quite cheap compared to YETI models. This makes Kysek a definite contender in the YETI cooler competition.
Orion boasts that their coolers are the “world’s most feature-rich, customizable coolers.” They are all hand built at their location in Tennessee to ensure they are of the highest quality and to meet any of your personal preferences.
There are six different sizes to choose from, including the 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 85. Though there is no super huge size in these YETI alternative models, unless bringing home a cleaned buck or packing your cooler with a couple week’s worth of food, you should still be able to find the right size for your needs.
The Orion hard coolers also aren’t cheap coolers, but they are still lower priced than the best high-end cooler from YETI. And the number of the cooler actually matches the quarts you can fit inside, so you paying for the exact capacity you are expecting.
Like YETI coolers, the Orion coolers have a rotomolded design with rope handles on the sides. There are motorcycle grips on these handles to make it more comfortable to carry your cooler when it is filled to capacity.
The low profile camming latches are lockable and bear-resistant, so everything you keep inside it is safe from wildlife and other campers. On each corner of the cooler’s frame are handy aluminum bottle openers, giving you access to your beer from any angle. Six tie-down points keep your YETI alternative cooler secure, even when your cooler is sitting in the box of your truck while it bounces down a rough back road.
The customizable part of the company’s claim refers to the coloring on the outside. Though there are multiple standard and home team colors to choose from, for an extra $100, the company will create a custom color pattern for your cooler, so you’ll have the perfect match for your other gear or your personality, whichever is more important to you.
Though they’ve only been in business for a few years, Siberian coolers have become a favorite for all types of outdoor adventures, from hunting or fishing to backyard barbecues and tailgating parties. The Alpha Series Coolers are sturdy and well designed, with a price that competes with other high-end cooler brands.
The Siberian Alpha Pro Series comes in 3 sizes, the 45, 65, and 85 quart models. There is also the Alpha Sidekick Pro Series 22 Cooler that is perfect for strapping to the back of a quad or using for a cold lunch box for work.
Every one of these have a rotomolded design with a strong Linear Low-Density Polyethylene outer shell. Hard anodized aluminum latches and stainless steel hinges keep your lid on tight. There is also a security lock bracket for protecting what’s inside your cooler from potential thieves, human or otherwise.
To retain ice and keep everything edible, a thick layer of PE foam insulation has been injected into the interior of the cooler. This insulation ranges up to 2.75″ in thickness, depending on the size of the cooler.
Other handy features include tie-down strap slots, hidden pad lock plates, and a cup holder. The Siberian Sidekick has a durable aluminum carry handle for easy toting and a heavy-duty wire basket to keep your dry goods separate.
The larger YETI like coolers replace the wire basket with a dry ice compatible one, plus include a food grade cutting board that also doubles as a divider if needed. The three large models also have side handles and reversible EZ slide/non-slip rubber feet to make it easy to transport your cooler and keep it in place at the same time.
Coolers Like YETI Roadie
The YETI Roadie is the brand’s smallest hard cooler. It has the Tundra’s ColdLock Gasket to keep your ice cold for as long as possible. It also has the same No Sweat Design so you won’t have to worry about leaving puddles behind everywhere you go.
The Roadie has rotomolded construction, with up to 2″ of Permafrost insulation inside for extra cold retention. T-Rex lid latches, tie-down slots, Bearfoot non-slip feet, lipgrip and doublehaul handles, and the Vortex drain system are all featured on this neat little cold box.
If you want smaller coolers like YETI but cheaper in price, the RTIC 20 is a great choice. It is the smallest size for their hard coolers, so can be easily transported on the back of an ATV or for hunting or fishing day trips. You can even use this handy YETI Roadie alternative to keep your lunch cold when working away from a fridge.
The RTIC 20 has a rotomolded design that makes it virtually indestructible, even when a bear gets a hold of it. There is an integrated locking system to deter any potential thieves, no matter how hairy they are.
The walls are lined with up to 3″ of commercial grade insulation, which gives you up to 10 days of ice and cold retention, depending on how often you open your cooler in the heat. A freezer style lid gasket also helps to keep the cold air in. There are full-length interlocking hinges to reduce wear and damage.
There are is a top handle, dual rope handles, and molded-in side handles for easy carrying in any situation, no matter how full your cooler is or how rugged the terrain you’re on. Non-slip feet on the bottom keep your cooler exactly where you put it. The cool lift design also keeps the cooler itself above any hot surfaces, so you never need to worry about hot decks or rocks warming up the contents.
Another feature that makes this cooler comparable to YETI is the Rapid V-drain system, which speeds up the drainage of water. The easy-flow drain spouts also keep the ice in while the water drains out, giving you more room for extra ice without losing any in the process.
K2 coolers began in South Louisiana in 2011, with plans to build a cooler that has “Real Value that keeps your items Real Cold”, which they have accomplished with their K2 Summit Series. The Summit 20 is the smallest of the set, giving you great little coolers like a YETI Roadie without draining your bank account.
Like the Roadie, the Summit 20 has a one-piece, rotomolded design for increased strength, but the Summit uses food-grade material that is compatible with dry ice and also UV resistant for reduced wear.
K2’s SNOWblown insulation has been injected into the cooler walls under high pressure. This process gives you the proper insulation to help retain the ice and cold air inside the cooler. The K2 ICEvault gasket adds to the retention by keeping the cold air from leaking out. It also blocks the warm air outside the cooler from getting it.
There is a LOCKaway lid to protect your food and drinks from the elements, from hot winds to pouring rain. POSITRAC lid latches are mounted on the molded-in keepers to give you both a tight lock and a strong closure. This also creates a smooth unbroken surface on the front to make packing your cooler in with your other gear easy, with no clasps to catch on.
The Endura hinges are fully integrated for a more durable lid that won’t pop off. K2’s SUREgrip rubber feet hold your cooler in place on any surface, without leaving marks behind. Though not included, there are also SMOOTHglide covers you can buy for these little feet to make it easier to slide your YETI alternative cooler across the floor or bed of your truck.
All of these features make K2 coolers as good as YETI models. The price is the icing on the cake. The Summit 20 is over $100.00 cheaper than the YETI price for their Roadie, so if you want personal coolers like YETI but cheaper to buy, this one is a great option.
Nash Sports has been in the industry for over 50 years, producing a wide variety of outdoor gear for both cold weather and water sports. This includes sleds and spinner disks for some fun in the snow, and wakeboards, kneeboards, and water skis for summer adventures. And of course, coolers to keep you fed and watered in all seasons.
Their small Nash Sub Z cooler is only 16 lbs when empty and comes in 4 different colors. For those who want to use their little cooler as a chair as well, there is also the option of a camo seat that includes a padded base and a back for increased support. This makes the Sub Z cooler better than YETI in terms of comfort.
But a cooler needs more than padding to make it a great YETI alternative. That’s why the Sub Z features a rotomolded double wall with polyethylene construction. This makes it a sturdy model that can withstand a bit of rough handling.
The core contains foam insulation to help retain the cold and ice inside the cooler. This works with the Arctic Dome lid gasket, which seals the lid up tight, keeping the cold in and the heat out. Dual heavy-duty rubber latches lock the cooler up tight, even when traveling over bumpy roads.
The stainless steel handle is extra durable, with a comfort grip that makes it easy to carry your cooler with you, no matter how long the trip is. On the bottom of the Sub Z are non-slip pads to keep your cooler from sliding around. Nash also claims these ones are 30% lighter than similar models, thanks to its lightweight design.
Best of all, this is one of the cheapest coolers of this size out there. So, if you aren’t interested in paying those high YETI cooler prices, check out the Sub Z for it’s handy features and comfy extras.
Grizzly believes so strongly in the endurance of their coolers that they have given them a lifetime warranty. This is possible by testing their coolers against all types of rugged adventures and engineering them to meet their high standards.
The Grizzly 20 is their second smallest model. It has a 20-quart capacity and weighs only 16 lbs when empty. This model is a bit pricier than some other popular cooler brands, but still beats the cost of a YETI Roadie.
There are other ways that make the Grizzly 20 cooler comparable to YETI. It has a similar rotomolded construction for durability. But the Grizzly’s pressure-injected insulation is environmentally friendly for a safer cooler to use and dispose of when the time comes to get a new one. There is a rubber gasket around the lid as well to seal in all that cold air for maximum ice retention.
The Grizzly has a large 2″ drain plug for fast water draining but also has full-length drain channels to make sure you get rid of as much water as possible. There are also non-slip and non-marking rubber feet, tie-down slots, and a dry goods tray included with this YETI style cooler.
Other features are the molded-in hinge that uses a stainless steel pin for increased strength, BearClaw latches for a secure closure, a stainless steel handle with a comfortable foam grip, and a couple of molded-in handles for some heavy-duty lifting when your cooler is full.
Another bonus that makes these coolers better than YETI in a small way for those who like to fish is the embossed 17″ ruler located on the lid. This lets you get an accurate measure of everything you catch, so no one can accuse you of any unlikely fish stories. And for those who like to spend some time in the woods, the Grizzly 20 is also IGBC certified, so those bears won’t be able to run off with your meal.
The ORCA 20 are the most expensive coolers of their size, but since they are still cheaper than the Roadie, they are a great alternative to YETI. These little personal models come in 8 different colors, from basic tan to camo green.
If you want a cooler similar to YETI, the ORCA 20 has a 20-quart capacity, just like the Roadie. It is also made using rotomolded construction for a more durable body. The integrated insulation also works as well as that of the Roadie, retaining the cold and ice for up to 10 days. This gives you the freshest food possible, with no spoiling of even the most perishable of items.
The lid gasket gives you a tight seal around the sides, blocking out the heat around the cooler while locking the cold air in. When it comes time to drain the water and add more ice, there is an easy flow drainage spout on the side for quick removal.
There is only the single stainless steel handle for carrying this cooler, so there is no two-handed lifting when it is full. But the flex-grip makes it a bit more comfortable on your hand.
The downside of this one is that there is no basket to keep your dry goods out of the water. But ORCA has added a net storage compartment that can be attached to the outside of the cooler for your smaller items, keeping your hands free for the cooler itself.
Though it may be lacking in a few other features found on the Roadie, if you want coolers like YETI but cheaper, this is a great option to save you from completely emptying your wallet.
Soft Cooler Bags Like YETI Hopper
The YETI Flip has 3 sizes, the Flip 8, Flip 12, and Flip 18. All three have a Dryhide shell, which resists mildew, UV rays, and punctures. It is also waterproof. There is also Coldcell rubber foam insulation and a Hydrolok zipper that is both water and leak-proof. The Flips also have a wide mouth opening and a Hitchpoint grid for attaching anything you may need on the road.
The Hopper Two also has 3 sizes, the Hopper 20, Hopper 30, and Hopper Two 40. They have the same features as the Flip, minus the wide mouth opening. But the Two adds in tie-down points and multiple handles for increased carry options.
If you want soft-sided coolers like YETI offers, the RTIC SoftPak is a great option. It comes in 4 different sizes, the 8, 20, 30, and 40, so you can buy the size you need or get a few for your various adventures.
There are also 10 different color combos to choose from, so you’ll always be able to match your other gear and your personal tastes. For those looking for coolers like YETI but cheaper, the SoftPak is also less than a third of the price.
The number of each SoftPak cooler refers to how many cans it can hold. So, for a short day, the 8 is a great option, but if you are traveling with friends for a couple days, the 40 is a much better choice.
These RTIC coolers use StayDry material that is waterproof and a Nylon shell that is puncture-resistant, so they should be able to withstand all but the roughest treatment. The zipper is also leak-proof. There is also an antimicrobial liner to keep mildew from forming. This may not seem important until you forget to properly dry out your cooler and find a gross film coating the interior.
There is up to 2″ of closed-cell foam insulation on the top and 1″ on the sides, similar to that of the YETI Hopper. There are also multiple carry options like the Hopper Two comes with. The RTIC SoftPak has nylon end handles, carry handles, and even a shoulder strap for hands-free use. A handy front pocket holds your smaller items. Because it has a No Sweat exterior, this should protect anything inside from moisture.
The bottom line is that the RTIC SoftPak is a great YETI alternative, but cheaper on your wallet.
The Engel Cooler Bag comes in only one size, the 32-quart model. But there are 3 colors to choose from, giving you a bit of versatility when it comes to choosing your favorite.
The outer shell is made of durable 840 denier fibers, with a Thermal Plastic Urethane film on the front and back of the bag. This laminated layer adds to the durability of the bag by increasing its resistance to punctures.
Unlike some other soft coolers like YETI, the Engel has welded all the seams. This helps the bag’s function in a few different ways. It reduces water leaks, so your bag won’t drip when the ice begins to melt. This also keeps rain from getting inside the bag if left out in a storm. The welded seams also reduce air leaks, so cold air won’t escape and warm air won’t penetrate the bag, melting the ice inside.
The closed cell foam insulation blocks air on both sides, which works together with the material and seams to retain the cold and ice inside. In fact, the Engel Cooler Bag has been known to keep your drinks cold for over 4 days, even in the hottest temperatures.
Another feature that Engel is patenting is their Vacuum Valve technology. This looks like a drainage plug, but instead of water, it releases air. All you need to do is pack the bag, zip it closed, then use your vacuum to suck out any air left inside. This keeps the empty space inside to a minimum, so your ice won’t have to cool as much area and last much longer.
Other handy features that make these coolers as good as YETI Hoppers are the adjustable ergonomic shoulder strap, the comfortable carry handles, the water resistant front pocket, and the handy bottle opener for those who prefer glass containers to cans.
There isn’t much information about Polar Bear Coolers as a company, but their coolers may just speak for themselves. They aren’t the flashiest soft coolers around, with a few basic colors to choose from. But if you are looking for coolers like YETI but are cheaper, these coolers are some of the cheapest models around.
The Polar Bear soft coolers come in 4 different sizes. These include the Polar Bear 6 Pack, the Polar Bear 12 Pack, the Polar Bear 24 Pack, and their largest is the Polar Bear 48 Pack. This tells you exactly how much beer or other drinks you can carry with you, and still gives you more than enough room for ice.
All four sizes have similar features. They are made using 1000D luggage grade nylon for the outer shell. The 12 pack has a TPU double-coated nylon interior liner as well, and the two largest models replace this with a leak and sweat proof FDA food grade liner.
There is 1″ of high-density foam insulation all around the bag as well, giving you a minimum of 24 hours of ice retention, no matter how high the outside temperature is.
Every size of these bag coolers like YETI Hoppers also uses #10 YKK weathered zipper for heavy duty use. Other handy features of these soft coolers are the durable nylon bottom saddle for extra protection against sharp objects on the ground and a side zipper pocket for those little extras you need during your travels.
Though the 6 pack size lacks these next features, you can find them on any of the other three sizes. These ones include 4 tie downs and an adjustable shoulder strap. All four of them also have carry handles as well, which have a padded area to hold them together and make carrying your cooler this way more comfortable.
Another YETI Hopper alternative is the Igloo Marine Cooler Bag. These come in 2 sizes, the 24 and the 36. These square bags are built to last through any type of weather, with the materials and insulation to keep your drinks or food items as cold as possible for a more enjoyable trip.
Well built and ultra-tough, there is no doubt this cooler is a top YETI cooler competitor when it comes to the best soft cooler.
The outer shell is like a YETI cooler because it is thick and durable, made with puncture-resistant fabrics. This makes it much safer to use on more rugged terrain, so you’ll be able to use this cooler bag pretty much anywhere. This exterior fabric is also UV protected and resists mildew for a cleaner, longer-lasting bag.
All the hardware on these bags is non-corrosive, hence the Marine Ultra name. If you’ve spent a lot of time on the water, you know how damaging salt can be, so this is extra important in your gear, especially if fishing or boating is your sport of choice. There are also non-slip feet, which not only keep your bag exactly where you place it but prevent the bottom of the cooler from sitting in dirt or puddles.
There is a wide mouth opening for easy access to the items inside the bag. And when closed, you can use the clips on the ends to help decrease the air inside the bag for better ice retention. The ultra-thick insulation also helps in this matter, of course. The Marine Ultra boasts 2 days of cold drinks, without the need for more ice.
The interior also has a liner that is both leak and puncture resistant. It is also antimicrobial, so you won’t need to worry about anything growing inside if you forget to clean it right after you get home.
Other handy features of this YETI cooler look-alike are the front zippered pocket, the side mesh pockets, the comfort wrap handles, and the padded shoulder strap that is both adjustable and removable. If you are looking for a great cooler like a YETI Hopper, the Marine Cooler Bag is a great choice.
The makers of the Ice Mule Pro Cooler set out to “break boundaries and beliefs” on almost every aspect of what a cooler is expected to be. They abandoned the box style of cooler, replacing it with a soft shell and a tubed appearance. They even added straps that turn their cooler bags into more portable backpacks, while increasing the cold retention and waterproofing. And so, the Pro Cooler was born.
Though these don’t look like the Hopper, they have many features that make these coolers just as good as YETI models, at a fraction of the price. Like the Hopper, they have a few different sizes to choose from. The large is 23L to hold up to 18 cans plus ice. The X-large is 33L, or 24 cans and ice. The XX-large has a 40L capacity for 36 cans and ice.
All three of these coolers feature the MuleSkinET, which is Ice Mule’s durable exterior material, and the MuleSkinEV, with is their strong inner liner. Together, these two layers create a rugged bag that keeps your ice intact for as long as possible while protecting the bag and its contents from the elements.
Ice Mule has also created a PolarLayer insulation foam which holds the temperature inside the bag for over 24 hours. And unlike YETI and off-brand YETI coolers, these soft bags allow the addition of extra air for even more insulation. This is done using their unique IM Airvalve.
You can add air when needed for a larger cold area inside the bag, or use this valve to release it at the end of your trip to roll it up into a compact storage size.
Other features of the Ice Mule Pro that you won’t find on other cooler bags like YETI or the Hopper itself are the dual adjustable shoulder straps and the roll-top design for easy access and less zipper hassle.
If you’re on a boat and your bag happens to go overboard, don’t worry about losing it or its contents. This handy YETI cooler alternative is completely waterproof and even floats.
When it comes to cooler backpacks, the Ice Mule Pro Cooler is one incredibly well designed and tough built cooler.
Guide to Finding the Best Coolers Like YETI, But Cheaper
Why Are YETI Coolers So Good?
There are a few reasons why the YETI coolers are such great options. The Tundra series of hard coolers are made of rotomolded plastic, which is made by forming the plastic resins into one solid piece. This increases their durability by reducing the cracks that could lead to leaking.
YETI coolers also have a thick layer of insulation that lets you retain ice and cold inside the cooler longer than some other types of coolers out there. When it comes to protecting your food and drinks inside from the elements, YETI coolers do an excellent job. So if the weather turns hot or rainy, your perishables won’t be affected either way.
YETI coolers also come with a few handy features that make their coolers a decent choice. Drainage valves, sturdy handles, and excellent seals all add to the cooler’s effectiveness and ease of use.
Why Are YETI Coolers So Expensive?
The reason YETI coolers are so pricey is that this company was the first to create the high-end coolers they’ve been selling since 2006. Their rotomolded products were the first of their kind, establishing YETI as a top of the line cooler brand.
This early entry into the best cooler products gave YETI an edge, allowing them to dominate the competition. Since there were no coolers like YETI but cheaper in price on the market, they could grow their brand and spread out to countless distribution partners around the globe. Their coolers could be found in thousands of stores, claiming to be the best with no one to interfere with their profits.
This allowed YETI so set their prices as high as they wanted since there was no competition to match their quality in both cooler manufacturing techniques or ice retention.
The good news is that today there are a handful of YETI cooler alternatives that are worthy of pushing the brand from the top spot of having the best cooler.
Are YETI Coolers Worth It?
YETI coolers are great for their purpose. They have numerous features that make their coolers one of the top brands around. If you have the money, a hard or soft shell YETI cooler will definitely exceed your expectations.
But their high price is going to be their downfall. Those looking for coolers like YETI but cheaper will have no trouble finding a knock-off YETI cooler with a simple search. Many of these off-brand YETI cooler companies have imitated YETI’s rotomolded design and insulation for the highest ice retention possible.
So, really, the choice is up to you. If the price is not a concern, a YETI cooler can be well worth the high cost you’re paying. If you want to save a ton of money, going with a YETI alternative is a solid choice and we are confident you won’t be disappointed with any model we rounded up in this article.
Should You Consider a Cheaper YETI Alternative?
As I stated above, the choice of whether you should fork over the extra money for a YETI brand cooler or pay a bit less for a YETI cooler alternative is totally up to you. The YETI coolers are great models, but they haven’t changed much since their introduction.
The YETI alternative brands have taken what YETI has been offering and adapted it, adding in new innovations that, in some cases, have surpassed what YETI has done. These make for stronger coolers that can keep your ice colder for longer, some lasting over 10 days.
Many of these coolers like YETI but cheaper have also added features and changed their designs, giving them unique models that are actually much better than the higher priced YETI models of the same type.
Are YETI Alternatives Bear Proof?
One of YETI’s most prominent features is its bear-proofing. This keeps even the biggest predators from destroying your cooler when out in the wilderness, leaving you with no food or drinks, or stealing your freshly cleaned kill.
Though some of the top brand coolers like YETI but cheaper have added bear-proofing to their list of features, you can’t be certain that every one will have been tested and certified to have this claim. There are quite a few YETI cooler alternatives that have skipped this step.
Of course, if you plan on using your cooler mostly at home or on the boat, this will likely not be a concern to you. But for hunters or campers who prefer the wild instead of the heavily guarded campgrounds, finding a bear-proof cooler is a must. Those with this certification won’t leave this off the tag, so they won’t be hard to find.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best YETI Cooler Alternative
Cooler Type: Soft-sided vs. Hard-sided Coolers
Soft-sided coolers are great for carrying cold food and drinks for smaller groups of people. They are lightweight, so can be easily toted around by one person. These handy coolers are great for day trips to the beach or the park, or for a day of hiking. You can also use these smaller models for packing your work lunch.
The soft-sided coolers of today are also durable, with puncture-resistant and leak-proof fabric. They are highly insulated to keep the optimal temperature inside the bag. These types of coolers are also cheaper than the hard coolers like YETI but cheaper.
Hard-sided coolers are better for longer trips where more than a day’s worth of food and drink are needed. They are a bit heavier, but the walls of these coolers give you extra protection from damage and wild animals. The insulation and gasket seals lock in the cold air, giving you longer ice retention.
The downside to these is that they are quite a bit heavier than the soft models, so for longer distances on foot, they are not the best option.
A small cooler won’t do if you are packing enough food for a week-long camping trip. But you don’t want to carry a large one if you only need a small personal meal or a couple of drinks.
Thankfully, there are many different sizes of coolers like YETI but cheaper to choose from. The smaller ones are great for short day trips or when you need a lunch bag to keep your food cold while at work. Larger ones are perfect for a weekend in the woods.
When it comes to capacity, there are a few ways this is listed, depending on the knock-off YETI cooler you pick. Hard coolers usually list their capacity in quarts, though a few use Liters instead. But many of them also display the number of cans and pounds of ice they can carry as well.
Soft coolers may also use Liters, but since these are mostly used to carry drinks around, they usually specify their capacity in terms of the cans and ice they can hold. This can be helpful if you usually pack the same amount for your trips.
Ice retention is very important, and not just because we prefer our drinks cold. Coolers are necessary for storing our food when away from home in places where refrigerators are rare. Hunters who are spending a couple days in the woods and need a place to store their freshly killed and cleaned game must have a place to store the meat so it won’t spoil. The same goes for those who prefer fishing.
That’s why so many of the best coolers like YETI but cheaper have taken ice retention into account. They have made their coolers with materials that won’t let the heat in or the cold air out. This includes the type of insulation they use, as well as the thickness of it in the walls of the coolers. A good gasket is also important to tightly seal the lid.
There are a few ways to make the ice last even longer. I myself have been known to put my food in a warm cooler and dump the ice in overtop. This actually makes the ice melt faster because it has to cool down the cooler first before the temperature reaches the optimal ice retaining level.
Put a bag of ice in first and close the lid. This will cool the inside of the cooler. Then take the ice out. When you add the food, drinks, and more ice, the air will be the right temperature to preserve the ice longer.
Durability is one of the most important features of the best YETI type cooler. They need to be made of sturdy materials that won’t be damaged with the slightest bit of rough treatment. For hard shell coolers, rotomolding is best. This is one solid piece of material that leaves little room for cracking or leaks.
These types of coolers also need to have sturdy handles because of the weight they will be carrying. Hinges and gaskets must be of high quality or your lid won’t stay on or seal properly.
For the smaller cooler bags, the soft material needs to be protected from punctures and leaks as well. These coolers usually have zipper closures, so be sure they are quality zippers. Otherwise, they won’t be able to close, which leaves the contents open to the outside air. Just because these are coolers like YETI but cheaper doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be made to last as long.
Versatility is handy in your cooler, especially if you plan to use it for all of your outdoor adventures. If you are buying an expensive model like the YETI, this is especially important. But having versatile coolers like YETI but cheaper can also save you time and money by giving you everything you need all in one handy package.
Hard coolers are sturdy enough to double as a chair or table in a pinch. Many of them have added cup holders, rulers, or cutting boards to make them even better for all-purpose use.
Soft coolers don’t have these advantages, but they can be used for a few purposes. Carrying food and drinks is a must, and these ones are great lightweight models for hiking, work, or a picnic in the park. They can also be used for carrying your catch of the day home for supper.
YETI has been around for years, offering quality products to their customers the whole time. This reliability has made them a go-to brand for many people for decades. But if you want coolers like YETI but cheaper, you need to consider the brand itself before you purchase.
For instance, how long has the company been in the business of making YETI alternative coolers? Those that have been around for a number of years have likely done the testing necessary to ensure their coolers are high quality.
Of course, there are brands that have only been around for a couple of years that can still give you the cooler you want. Be sure to check out the brands “About Us” page and read any reviews you can find about their products.
Another thing to consider is their customer service. If you have to deal with them, likely because their product is not meeting your standards, they need to be respectful and easy to deal with. Those that aren’t don’t value you as a customer.
Availability is also important. If you can’t find a brand’s cooler at any of the usual stores or websites, you won’t be able to buy it. You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get the one you want.
The Bottom Line: What’s the Best YETI Cooler Alternative?
With so many YETI alternative coolers out there, it may be hard to choose the right one. You need to make sure it will last as long as the higher priced YETI models, keep your ice intact for a reasonable amount of time, and have all the features you want. Otherwise, you might as well fork over the extra few hundred dollars and just get the YETI model you need.
Thankfully, every one of the coolers we’ve reviewed here all meet the high standards of a YETI customer. They have great qualities, with proper features and insulation to keep your food and drinks ice cold.
If you are on a budget, and need coolers like YETI but cheaper to keep you within your spending limits, the RTIC roto molded cooler has the lowest price for the hard coolers on our list. As well as durable construction and great ice retention, they have an abundance of handy features to make them even more competitive with the other brands.
For those who prefer a soft cooler, but still need to save those pennies, the Igloo Marine Cooler bag is the cheapest model on this list. It’s durable body and non-corrosive hardware makes it a great choice for boating and fishing, but it is versatile enough to use anywhere else as well.
If you are after the best soft cooler bag like the YETI Hopper (and one of our top picks) look no further than the Polar Bear Soft Cooler. It’s incredibly well built and competes with the YETI in all aspects