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  1. With the Warming Comes The Coolers! Truth be told, it wasn't that cold in NorCal in the winter. I've played some cold rounds of golf, but I'd definitely qualify them as California cold. That's the cold where I'm wearing three layers of pants, and those that live where that snow stuff falls would likely view the weather as tropical, and be playing in shorts. I'll concede the point that some of you are more winter resistant than I am. But the winter is finally going away. Even if it's still snowing like a beast on your driveway, the fact that it's The Masters week means that spring is here! There may not be much evidence of spring in Minnesota right now, but the azaleas and green jackets of Augusta sing the song of spring's arrival. That means that summer is coming soon too. Oh, how I long for the searing embrace of July... While my body may appreciate the eminent increases in temperature, my play beverages typically do not. Right now, I welcome all warmth on the course, but is a couple of months, warm beer will not be the accepted recipe for quenching thirsts. As such, I thought that there would be no better way to kick off the 2018 19th Hole season than to review the latest cooler from YETI. Last year, I decided that the YETI Hopper Flip 8 was the greatest golf cooler ever created. This YETI Backflip 24 will be the first 2018 contender to that throne. It holds 24 Cans, Flips Open, and Goes on Your Back So the name is not crazy innovative, but it's catchy, and it tells you exactly what to expect from the YETI Backflip 24. This cooler expands Yeti's soft sided cooler Hopper offerings into uncharted territories. Sure, they have other coolers that can hold about 20 cans, but the Backflip 24 is the first cooler that can be worn like a backpack. How is a backpack cooler appropriate for golf? We will get to that shortly, but first let's take a look at the cooler itself. Specs and Features: YETI Backflip 24 Like YETI's other soft sided coolers, the Backflip 24 comes equipped with the standard specs that make these coolers cold-securing beasts. To review: DRYHIDEâ„¢ SHELL The Hopper's high-density fabric is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays. The liner is made from an FDA-approved food-grade material. COLDCELLâ„¢ INSULATION Closed-cell rubber foam offers far superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers. HYDROLOKâ„¢ ZIPPER The toughest, highest-performing waterproof and leak proof cooler zipper in the world. I've been using YETI Hopper coolers for a couple of years now and they have definitely lived up to the expectations. I've taken them to the golf course, camping, on road trips, to all-day youth rugby tournaments, swim meets, and so on, and never once has the Yeti failed to keep its contents cool, or suffered any kind of mechanical failure. The Backflip 24 features the same insulation and zipper system as the other soft-sided Hopper coolers, and the combination of the two, really keep the cold insides cold. The combination of YETI Ice and normal ice kept the inside of my Hopper 40 cold for days last summer while camping. Remember though, no dry ice, or the YETI will become pressurized as the dry ice sublimates. A high pressure cooler is not a safe cooler. It's a Cavernous Cooler The YETI Backflip 24 devours cans and bottles. Twenty-four cans fit inside without issue, fitting in as three rows of eight cans, or as two sideways rows of twelve each. In either configuration, there was room left over for ice. I think that the picture above does the best job of showing the capacity of this beast. I have placed a six-pack and a 22 oz. bomber inside of the Backflip 24. Yep, that tiny little bottle in there is a 22 ounce bottle. This cooler should be able to store any of your tall beverages, easily swallowing a champagne bottle, or a fifth of one's favorite spirit. Only the tallest magnum will poke its nose above the lip of the Backflip. Back That Cooler Up The real design tweak with the Backflip 24 is that it is designed to be worn as a backpack, allowing you to take the weight of the cooler, and canned content, off of a single strapped shoulder, and distribute it over both shoulders. Spreading the weight around reduces the overall strain of carrying the cooler, much like adding the second shoulder strap did with the golf bag. The shoulder straps and back pad are sufficiently padded for comfort, though I wish they were a little more ventilated. Most of the modern backpack systems utilize some kind of geometric foam system in the straps and pads to maintain comfort while facilitating cooling by improving air flow. These pads are a bit old school. Once you load it all up, you are looking at quite a bit of weight on the back. Here is a shot showing the weight of a cooler loaded up with 24 cans. Add some ice, and the weight would be even higher. Thankfully, YETI has added two optional strap systems to help with the load. There is a chest strap that you can attach to remove some of the shoulder pull, and a waist belt that really helps to move quite a bit of weight from the shoulders to the hips. Those of you who have done any backpacking know of the power of the waist strap. YETI vs. RTIC SIDE NOTE Since this is always a point of discussion, I thought that I'd share my experiences comparing the two brands. I actually have also purchased a few RTIC coolers in the past year, buying three of the 8 can lunch box sized coolers for Christmas presents last December. Side by side, the quality and design differences between the two brands was pretty obvious, with the YETI being better built. Sure, you'll save some money with the RTIC, but that savings is reflected in what you get in the product. RTICs are nice, but the YETI coolers are of higher quality, at least in my opinion. OK, It's A Cool Cooler, But GOLF? So you may never require twenty-four beers on a golf course, but if you need them, the YETI Backflip 24 will snuggle nicely into the cart rack between the seats and the clubs. The base diameter is just perfect to slide in, and even with the tall profile, the cooler doesn't immediately call attention to itself. You are one jacket cover up away from full marshal avoidance. You can keep a foursome worth of snacks and beverages cold in the Backflip 24 without issue in your cart. Out of the riding cart, the Backflip 24 loses some of its golfability. It's probably not going to work too well on your back, if you are also planning on carrying a golf bag on your back. I suppose you could put your golf bag on your back, and the cooler on your front, but Ms. Manners would definitely frown on that look. Push carters will probably also balk at the wearing of the cooler, though it's much more of a possibility when your clubs are on a cart. You could wear the Backflip 24 while you push your clubs, but odds are that you are pushing your clubs to get their weight off your back in the first place. If you are a walker, I'd go with the Hopper Flip 8. Off of the course, I've really found value with the backpack configuration of the Backflip 24. Using a more traditional cooler, I can't count the number of times that I've run out of hand and shoulder space when trucking gear to a youth sporting event, or even when heading to a neighborhood BBQ (walking there, naturally.) Putting the cooler on the back frees up all kinds of carry-ability for other stuff, and the weight of the beverages and such really dissipates when placed on your back as opposed to your hands or single shoulder. Though I'll likely never use this cooler when walking the course, it has become the goto cooler for other beverage requiring events. It cross trains very well. BONUS COVERAGE: YETI Sidekick DRY One of the complaints that I've had with the stock YETI coolers is that there aren't exterior, or interior pockets to store your non-cooler junk like phones, wallets, and keys. It would be nice to have a spot for them so that they need not be stuffed into pockets or socks. For my Hopper 12, I purchased the previous incarnation of the Sidekick, and it did a nice job of holding the extra junk, easily attaching to the HitchPoint grid on the outside of the cooler. The issue was that the zipper on top was not totally water proof. Resistant, sure, but the contents were not dry-bag secure. Such is not the case with the new YETI Sidekick Dry. This pouch opens like a dry bag, with a double layered system that prevents any water penetration. The top folds over, and then a series of plastic and magnets securely seal that inner opening. This new Sidekick attaches to the cooler using the same HitchPoint system, aka perfectly measured loops that attach via Velcro. If you are looking at this cooler, I'd take a look at the Sidekick Dry too as it makes the overall product much more of a one stop carrying item when the Backflip and the Sidekick Dry are combined.
  2. Dave's Take: Yeti's Hopper Two 40 http://yeti.com/hopper-two-40-cooler The Abominable Cooler My goal for usual goal for the 19th Hole product reviews is to find the ultimate products for us to take to the golf course. I'm looking for things that help our beers stay cold, and our cigars stay rich while we stroll through nature whacking the white ball. With today's review, let's get the obvious out of the way first. Unless you are sponsoring a beer hole at a scramble, the Yeti Hopper Two 40 is likely not the cooler that you'll be taking to the golf course. This thing is a beast, it's volume rivaling, maybe even surpassing the volume of your golf bag. If you want a golf course cooler, go with the Yeti Hopper Flip 8 that I wrote about a little while ago. It's perfect for golf. So why am I writing about a non-golf friendly cooler in a golf forum? Well there are two reasons actually. First of all, there are some real design improvements in the ‘Two” version of the Hopper compared to the original. I've been using the original Yeti Hopper 20 for over a year now, and without a doubt, the improvements are significant, and worth sharing. The second reason that I wanted to check out the Hopper Two 40 was purely beer centric, fitting nicely into the libation loving content of the 19th Hole. I was looking for a cooler that would hold road trip beers. Not beers that I take on the road, but rather those that I acquire while visiting breweries (yes, plural). I didn't want a small cooler that could only hold cans, I wanted a frigid beast capable of holding growlers. Thus chilling gallons, not ounces, was my objective. Yeti's Hopper Two 40 Specs The original Hopper™ proved that a soft-sided cooler could be anything but soft, and we wanted our new Hopper Two to push the limits even further. With the Hopper Two, we've extended the cold-holding power with a tapered body that's more comfortable on longer hauls. We also wanted to make loading (and unloading) easier and increase visibility — new zipper placement gives you both. And lastly, we wanted to make sure the Hopper Two is still 100% leakproof, tough-as-nails, and keeps ice-for-days. Check, check, and check. The Hopper Two 40 is the soft portable cooler that's built for larger hauls and longer days, now with a wider opening and easier access. · New design means your contents go in (and out) more easily · Tapered body makes extended hauling more comfortable · HydroLok™ Zipper and wide-mouth opening means great accessibility and visibility to contents · DRYHIDE™ SHELL - The Hopper's high-density fabric is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays. The liner is made from an FDA-approved food-grade material. · COLDCELL™ INSULATION - Closed-cell rubber foam offers far superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers. · Hitchpoint grid to attach accessories · MSRP: $399.99 What's New With TWO My relationship with my Yeti Hopper 20 began back with the The Recreational Golfer article that I wrote for the blog last summer. It was my first real exposure to any Yeti product, and because of Yeti's reputation, I went into the relationship with some expectations. Yes, I did just use the word relationship twice in the above paragraph, and that was on purpose. Relationships have their highs, and lows, and we work with both of those if we want the relationship to continue. Yes, I'm currently in a relationship with my Hopper 20. In the ways that counted, the Hopper 20 performed like a champ, living up to the Yeti coldness pedigree. No matter the activity, golf, rugby tournament road trips to Oregon, camping, or a New Years Eve party, the Hopper 20 kept things perpetually cold, and resisted all of my accidental attempts to damage it. After more than a year of use, it's bloodied, but unbowed. As you know though, it's rarely the big things that sour relationships. Rather it's the little annoyances that start to erode the happy place. For me, the real irritation of the Hopper 20 was the carnivorous zipper opening. Teeth That Bite Yeti coolers are water/air tight, and that feature plays a big role in their ability to stay cold so long. For the Hoppers, this feat is accomplished by the HydroLok™ Zipper. The teeth of the zipper lock so tightly together that not even air passes though them. Impressive engineering, for sure. My issue with the Hopper 20 is that the opening at the top is so tight that the zipper teeth always bite into my arm when I load and unload the cooler. The flat-topped design makes the unzipped opening tight and narrow. Arm-hairs beware! You can see right away that the new version of the Hopper has shifted from the flat top to one that is more peaked. While this may remove your ability to rest a beverage on the top of the cooler, it allows a couple of very significant features to be added. First, there is a top handle. I appreciate the top handle on the new Hopper Flip 8, and I definitely feel the same way about the handle on the Hopper Two 40. If you want to pick up the old Hopper, you needed to grab both side handles, or the shoulder strap. When you combine this with the more rounded profile of the older Hopper, you get an initial lift that often had an unbalanced list to it. With the Hopper Two 40, the narrower top shape, and the central top handle allow for much easier transport. Ergonomically, it's much more balanced and fits nicely into your hip or low back when you throw the strap over the shoulder. The most significant improvement that the new shape facilitates though is the ability to mount of the zipper on the side of the cooler rather than the top. When I first unzipped the Hopper Two 40, I was excited to see that there was actually space between the sides of the zipper. When I load this one, my arm still touches the edges, but no longer are the edges pinching in on my arm. This cooler is so much easier to load and unload than the original Hopper. I can't overstate just how much of an improvement the new zipper placement design is over the original. What to Do With the Yeti Hopper Two 40 As I said above, the Yeti Hopper Two 40 is not a great cooler for golfing. It won't even come close to fitting in the back of your power cart, and even considering somehow suspending it below your push cart is pure madness! So what activity niche does this cooler fit into? Actually, there are quite a few adventures that I think are ideally suited for the Hopper Two 40. Soccer Games Those of us with kids know that it is time once again for youth soccer. If your town is like mine, this means thousands of parents carting their little kickers around on Saturday mornings. Snack parents should take a long, hard look at the Hopper Two 40. This thing will devour all of the Gatorade bottles and orange slices that you can throw at it, and still have room for hopefully not needed things like injury ice packs. I can totally see teams investing in one of these coolers as part of their equipment package, rotating the possession of the Hopper to whoever has snacks that week. Car Camping The Yeti Hopper Two 40 is not for backpacking. I don't see how anyone would want to lash this monster to any part of one's body for any off-road walking. It's just too large for that, though your small kids could likely use it as a canoe at the lake. However, if you are driving in somewhere to camp for the weekend, this cooler is great. It won't leak in your car, it keeps the ice icy, and it will hold all of the food and other stuff (aka beer) you need. Boating For the love of God, don't put the Hopper Two 40 in your kayak, but if you go out on the water in something larger, you'll likely appreciate the Hopper tech. It'll keep stuff cold, and you want that, and should you somehow lose it over the side of the craft, its air-tight design means that the Hopper Two 40 will float. Though I have not tried it, maybe a kayaker could actually seal up the Hopper Two 40, and tow it behind the boat. Seems like that would work. Maybe I'll give that a go next time I'm out paddling and in need of forty cans or refreshment (aka every time paddling). Beer Adventuring This was my initial intended purpose for the Hopper Two 40. I wanted a cooler with the storage capacity, and the wait in the car ice longevity that would allow the beer acquired through multiple brewery visits to remain cold. My previous experiences have led me to trust the Yeti name for cold keeping, so the question really came down to one of capacity. Contents: Yeti Hopper Two 40 I predicted that the Hopper Two 40 would hold a lot. Really going out there on a limb, huh? The “40” in the name is referring to its ability to hold 40 cans, plus ice. Think about that for a second. You can go and buy that huge 30-pack of cans, drop it in the Hopper Two 40, and after you add ice, there is still room for more beer! Here are a couple of shots I took to show you the massive capacity of the Hopper Two 40. Hopper Two 40 vs. Can Hopper Two 40 vs. Wine Bottle Hopper Two 40 vs. Yeti Rambler ½ Gallon Jug Hopper Two 40 vs. Three Beer Growlers Here is where the rubber hits the road for the brewery adventures. Sure, lots of small breweries are now offering their beers in cans, or even crowlers (can growlers), but the 64oz. growler remains the staple tool to take beer home with you. I think that the magic growler number is three. Any more than that and you may not be able to drink it fast enough to enjoy the beer's freshness. Any fewer than three limits the stops you can make as you tour breweries. You can see in the above photo that the Hopper Two 40 laughs at three growlers. Even though they look small in the photo, remember that those are 64oz. bottles. Holding three growlers represents no challenge for this cooler. Take a look at all of the open space inside! The Yeti Hopper Two 40 will take your three growlers, lots of ice, and still leave you with room for additional content. Feel free to add a six-pack of cans, a fist full of 22oz. bombers, and/or perhaps even another growler. Leave your house with the Hopper Two 40 holding a bag of ice (maybe some Yeti Ice), and return with enough fresh beer for yourself, and maybe even a not so small gathering of friends. This Beast Takes Burdens The Yeti Hopper Two 40 is a monolithic cooler. Look at how it dwarfs my poor little roadster! It's tough to overstate the immense volume that this Hopper can hold. If you need to tote forty cans, a dozen bottles of wine, or three growlers, and still have room for ice, this is the cooler for you. It may not become part of your golf gear arsenal, but it's the killer app for snack parents, and traveling alcohol procurements. Remember too that it will also keep warm things warm, perhaps making this Yeti a welcome addition to chilly autumn tailgates as well.
  3. Yeti Hopper Flip 8 http://yeti.com/hopper-flip-8-cooler Yeti Triples The Flip Back in May, I reviewed the first Yeti flip-top cooler, the Hopper Flip 12. I ran that cooler through Contents, Coldness, and Cart-ability trials. The hopper Flip 12 was great at holding beers and keeping them cold, but the size was a little large for ideal golf course usage. That said, the Hopper Flip 12 was my go to summer poolside BBQ cooler this summer. I even bought a Yeti Sidekick for it to hold the keys, phone, and such, and it couldn't have worked out better. Yeti has now added two new Hopper Flips to the line-up: A larger Hopper Flip 18, and a smaller Hopper Flip 8. The Hopper Flip 8 is the one whose golf potential caught my eye, and the one that I'm sharing my thoughts about with you today. The Hopper Flip 12 was so close to being the ultimate course cooler. It was just a hair too large. My thinking was that the smaller Hopper Flip 8 could hit the perfect sweet spot, with a size of large enough to carry, but small enough to fit. Yeti's Hopper Flip 8 Specs One of the joys of a day trip is traveling light. The Hopper Flip in a new smaller size is perfect for keeping your food and drinks cold while out in the field. The Hopper Flip 8 has the insulation power only a YETI can offer, and is engineered to be tough – because flying solo doesn't mean you won't get a little dirty. The Hopper Flip 8 is your new day trip MVP. Cubed body makes it easy to haul and store HydroLok™ Zipper and wide-mouth opening means great accessibility and visibility to contents DRYHIDE™ SHELL - The Hopper's high-density fabric is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays. The liner is made from an FDA-approved food-grade material. COLDCELL™ INSULATION - Closed-cell rubber foam offers far superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers. Hitchpoint grid to attach accessories Double-stitched top handle MSRP: $199.99 The Hopper Flip 8 has the same Yeti bones as the Hopper Flip 12, and that's a good thing. Yeti is known for making coolers that can withstand punishment while keeping contents cold, or warm if you need it to go that way. Should something go south with your Yeti, they also have one of the best warranty reputations in the business. While similar to the Hopper Flip 12, the Hopper Flip 8 does have one fantastic new feature: The Top Handle. Sure, we lose a bit of the flat top surface area, and the Yeti logo, but I welcome the new handle with nothing but enthusiasm. As I said, I used the Hopper Flip 12 quite a bit this summer, and the lack of top handle was a bit inconvenient. Sure, you can just lift the cooler from the shoulder strap or side handle, but as soon as I picked up the Hopper Flip 8 from the top handle, I knew that Yeti made a great decision by adding it. It's so much easier to carry, and it gives you another place to anchor the cooler to things, like a kayak, or a push cart. How Cool is the Yeti Hopper Flip 8 Like I did with the Hopper Flip 12, my goal is to see if the Hopper Flip 8 is the go to cooler for the golfer looking to take libations and liquids to the course. Once again, I'm going to focus on three areas: Contents, Coldness, and Cart-ability Contents: Yeti Hopper Flip 8 Simply put, Contents is all about what the cooler can carry. There is a fine line here that a cooler must walk along to be ideal for golf. Too large and its bulk decreases its ability for it to fit into the cart, and thus lowers its Evade the Marshall sub-score. Hold too little, and why bring it in the first place? As you probably picked up from the name, the Hopper Flip 8 holds eight beverages, more specifically, canned beverages. The Hopper Flip 8 will swallow eight standard, or tall cans and still retain enough room for ice. Drop the load down to a six-pack, and you can even fit a sandwich and snacks in there. Bottles are another story. As you can see from the photo, the lid will not close when filled with bottles, however, if laid on their side, bottles will fit, just not eight of them. If you go the bottle route, it becomes a Yeti Hopper Flip 4-6 depending upon brand. I try not to bring glass to the golf course anyway, so this is not a huge capacity knock for me, but YMMV. I have been known to slip a 22oz bomber into my coolers though, and I was pleasantly surprised that one will actually fit in the Hopper Flip 8. The neck will rest above the side insulation, but the lid will zip closed with no issue. In this configuration, it becomes the Yeti Hopper Flip 8+1 (cans and a bomber). Coldness: Yeti Hopper Flip 8 The Hopper Flip 8 features the characteristic Yeti construction materials found in the rest of the Hopper line. The Dryhide shell fights off the elements, the Coldcell Insulation keeps everything cold, and the Hydrolok zipper seals the cooler frog-butt tight. That zipper is also airtight by the way. Should you drive the cart into the water hazard, your golf bag will sink, but the Yeti will float, allowing you to retrieve beverages to enjoy while you contemplate how you got to this place in life... This time around, I didn't run a how fast did ice melt experiment to check for coldness. If I'm taking this to the course, I need 4-5 hour results, and not 48-hour statistics. Every time I took it to the course, there was still ice in the cooler at the end of the round. Obviously any beverages still in the cooler at that point would be cold too. For reference, round temperatures ranged somewhere between 85 and 105 °F. Viva Summer! Coldness Bonus: Yeti Ice While I did always have regular ice in the Hopper Flip 8, I also had a two pound block of Yeti Ice in there. Yeti Ice actually took me a bit by surprise. Like you, I've used reusable “blue ice” packs before. Cheap ones from the grocery store have always seemed to work fine, but I think that the Yeti Ice works better because of... SCIENCE! You see, the Yeti Ice has a freezing point below that of water, so when the normal ice starts to melt, the Yeti Ice will actually be able to refreeze the water. If you leave a frozen block of Yeti Ice on the counter, it will even collect moisture from the air and pretty quickly become covered in icy frost. You can see that a little in the group photo on the two-pound block (the other two were not frozen). As a bonus, the Yeti Ice also fits perfectly into the Yeti coolers. The two-pounder sits nicely atop the cans in the Hopper Flip 8, and the four-pound Yeti Ice does the same in the Flip 12. Cart-ability: Yeti Hopper Flip 8 This is probably the category where I had the greatest expectations for the Hopper Flip 8. A profile just a bit smaller than the Hopper Flip 12 suggested that it should fit perfectly in the rear basket of a power cart. And you know what? It does! The Yeti Hopper 8 just snuggles right into that basket, and it even leaves some room for your other junk in there as well. The profile is low enough that you don't even really see it in the basket at all from a distance. Toss a jacket over it and you are in full cooler-stealth mode. Attaching this one to the push cart was easy. I just shortened the shoulder strap all the way, looped the strap over the cart console, and then lashed the top handle of the cooler to the cart frame with a bungee cord. Easy rolling and access all round. I did need to unhook the bungee when opening it, but the long zipper would mandate that regardless of how it was attached. Now bringing a cooler to the course is an at your own risk activity. Some courses will rupture forehead veins if they see one. Thing is though, the cooler is not the problem, more so it's the contents of that cooler. If you have a course that is really tight on this kind of thing, I have a suggestion for you. Bring it empty. How many times have you bought multiple beers at the course that they then give to you in a plastic bag full of ice? Wouldn't it be better to take the cooler into the bar, and then just add the purchased beers and ice to it? The Yeti Hopper 8 will definitely keep beers colder than a plastic bag. Just a thought. The 8 is Great If my goal was to find the ultimate take to the course cooler, I think that I have accomplished that with the Yeti Hopper 8. It carries enough stuff, keeps it cold, and fits into golf carts like a champ. Other brands out there may have some contenders, but as far as the Yeti line-up goes, the Hopper Flip 8 is the cooler for the course. At $199.99, it's definitely an investment, but this cooler actually should get lots of non-golf usage as well. I find that it also makes a perfect lunch cooler. It will keep your food cold, and if load it up with something warm, and it will stay warm. The volume of the cooler allows you to pack all kinds of food containers inside, and the Yeti toughness should stand up to all but the most vicious daily commute. Plus, after you empty the cooler out at lunch, you'll then have one that's nice and open for filling up with malty goodness on your way home, or even better, to the golf course. Bonus Hopper 8 v. Hopper 12 Action Shots! So not much action happening here, but if you are wondering how the size compares with these two, here you go. By the way, I have one more Yeti Hopper in the review queue, and it's a big one and a road trip is involved!
  4. Hot Course. But Cold Beer That's the whole point of coolers, right? Sure, maybe you are interested in other non-beer beverages (heresy!), but ultimately, we want to keep things cold in not cold places. I don't know about you, but a warm beer at the turn does not sound like something that is going to motivate me to finish the back nine. Golfers are very creative when it comes to keeping things cold, making sure that we can drink what we want and/or avoid the crazy course prices. $5.50 for a Bud Light can? I'm going to go with no thank you on that one. Instead, we do get creative. We often exploit the fact that we are already carrying a large bag with us, hiding small coolers, or even just cold cans in the pockets. Even the course bar knows the value of cool, with more than one course I've played including a bag of ice with a multiple can purchase. Insulation sucks, but at least there is ice involved. The Coolest of the Cool Which brings us to Yeti Coolers, the coolers known for their ability to keep ice frozen inside for a ridiculously long period of time. Cool side story: this was a happy by-product of the original intention. I was lucky enough last weekend to spend some time chatting with someone from Yeti at a local golf demo day. Much as I like the Yeti stuff, I didn't know their history. Basically, the owners/creators were a couple of buddies who were tired of coolers collapsing on them when they sat or stood on them. With that in mind, they designed a cooler that could stand up to the standing, one that they would want to have out fishing. So they designed these structurally stable coolers, and as fate would have it, found out that they also kept ice frozen for not hours, but days. The rep said that they initially drove a van, loaded with coolers, from store to store trying to sell them, doing all of their own legwork as they demoed to shop owners that they could jump up and down on them. A couple of guys mega engineered a cooler that they would want to use, and Yeti has grown from there. The Hopper Flip 12 First, please don't stand on the Hopper Flip 12, or any of the Hoppers for that fact, because they are soft-sided coolers, and your cooler contents will not likely be improved by your stomping. The Hopper line is not about the stability of the Yeti Tundra, but rather improved portability while retaining Yeti's signature ice sustainability. The Hopper Flip 12 represents the smallest cooler in the Hopper family, and as the name implies, it's the one with the flip top. It comes in two color schemes, with the Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue one depicted here today. My specific goal today is to look into the possibility that the Hopper Flip 12 could become the go to cooler for the golfer looking to take libations and liquids to the course. As such, I'm going to focus on three areas: Contents, Coldness, and Cart-ability Contents: Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Simply put, Contents is all about what the cooler can carry. There is a fine line here that a cooler must walk along to be ideal for golf. Too large and its bulk decreases its ability for it to fit into the cart, and thus lowers its Evade the Marshall sub-score. Hold too little, and why bring it in the first place? I'm so close to giving the Hopper Flip 12 the Goldilocks rating of just right. So close. It holds plenty of beer for you cart, maybe even your foursome. Initially I was a bit despondent that it was too short to hold 22oz bottles (a craft beer staple these days) only to realize that three of them would fit on their sides, along with a full complement of 12 cans, some tall cans even. Normal bottles also fit just fine standing up, but let's try not to bring glass to the course. My only grief with the size of the Hopper Flip 12 is that it is just a bit too wide to completely stuff into the basket on the back of the cart. An inch off of the width, and we'd be in the stuff in sweet spot. Coldness: Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Yeti is known for cold retention. I've got an old model Hopper 20, and it holds the cold like a champ. The Hopper Flip 12 uses the same construction materials as the other Hopper: Dryhide shell for waterproof toughness, and Coldcell Insulation to keep the contents cold. The big switch this time around is that the top flips open for easier* access to the contents, sealing up airtight via Hydrolok zipper. Hey Dave, why is there an asterisk on easier* in that sentence? Oh, you noticed that did you? Well the cooler is easy to zip and unzip, and the zipper seals out air (that's tight for a zipper btw) but it's a long zipper. Like longcat long. Prepare for a zipping odyssey when you open and close it. It's not tough to do, just takes a while to drive the zipper around the perimeter of the unit. You see though, that zipper is the price of admission when you want the cold to keep cold for a long time. Sure, a lighter gauge zipper would make for an easier zipping time, and a Velcro-sealed flap on the top would make it super easy to get beers out, but both would increase the rate of ice melting/warming. As for ice melting, I did a little, quasi-scientific test in my garage. Basically, I dropped a fully frozen plastic half-gallon of water into the Hopper Flip 12 and checked to see how fast it melted as it sat on my garage floor. I checked on it about every 12 hours. 36 hours later there was still ice, with it finally disappearing some time during the next 12 hours. That's a solid day and a half, and I didn't pre-cool the cooler, or have it full, both of which will stretch out ice life in the Yeti. I also just received a sample of Yeti ice. Supposedly this blue ice pack is legit cold too. Basically, even if I tried to play all four courses on the summer solstice up at Bandon Dunes, the cooler would keep up with the cold side of our bargain. Granted, my body would likely collapse somewhere near the tree on Old Mac... Cart-ability: Yeti Hopper Flip 12 As I said, the size is nearly perfect for the power cart back rack. It'll fit in there, but not super deep. Maybe penetration will improve with a little breaking in over time. We shall see. It does fit nicely on the seat in between the riders though, as it stays in place with a little bungee lashing to the rack. We did find that the flip lid was frequently left in the unzipped conformation, which wasn't a problem until the cart driver (not me) had flashes of Le Mans and the Rubicon Trail. Why am I always in his cart? Anyway, remember to zip the top. It will keep the stuff inside cooler longer and also prevent content loss through the hairpin turns. Under my Clicgear pushcart, yours truly is currently exploring lashing protocols truly as well. I'll let you know if I can figure out a way to quickly mount the Hopper Flip 12 in the cart's down under. Yeti Is Now 2 of 2 For Me As I said above, this is the second Yeti cooler that I have been able to run through the paces and again, I have come away impressed. The do keep your cold stuff cold, and are super durable in their construction. I took the Hopper 20 everywhere last summer, and was not gentile with it. Regardless, it still looks great, and works perfectly. Fun side note. The Yeti coolers float when sealed. Seems obvious, with the air-tight construction and all that, but it was a pleasant surprise when the Hopper 20 dove off of the boat last fall. Circled back, grabbed it, and nothing was amiss. For those of you balking at the $279.99 price, I asked the rep that exact question. I asked “What do I tell my readers when they ask about the cheaper RTIC, and other brand coolers?” Her simple answer was along the line of you get what you pay for. Yeti stands behind all of their products with a comprehensive warranty (3 years on the Hopper coolers, 5 years on the Tundras). Yeti stands behind their coolers, or rather on top of them. I think about the guys jumping on them at their inception. I love that image, and the idea that two guys with an idea can turn that idea into something bigger. Bonus Hopper v. Hopper Coverage! Here are some shots comparing the Hopper Flip 12 to the old style Hopper 20 so that you can check out the size differences. I'm actually hugely curious about the new Hopper 20/30 design as the zipper on my style was somewhere between annoying and predatory on my arm. May need to add another Yeti to the cohort.
  5. For the social side of golf.
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