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YETI Roadie 20 Cooler Review

Vintage Coolers of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were built like tanks and practically weigh as much, but leave them out in the elements for a while and rust soon starts eating them away.   Even today, most coolers seem easy prey for the elements and still fall short in their design and longevity.

In 2006 YETI was founded with a mission to build a better cooler.  One that was built for the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than for the mass discount retailers.  Something where the handles wouldn’t break, latches wouldn’t snap and lids wouldn’t cave in.  Basically the ultimate cooler, but beyond the rugged design, the cooler had to keep things cold for a very long time.

To understand how tough YETI has made their coolers, all you need to think about is how tough kayaks are these days.  YETI uses rotomolded construction, just like how Kayaks are made.  Drop it, kick it and even stand on it without worry.  Think of a YETI as your portable step stool and indestructible box, that keeps things amazingly cold when iced.  YETI coolers even have the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) stamp of approval for being Grizzly Bear safe (As long as the coolers are locked).

The Rotomolded YETI® cooler features include:

  • One-piece rotomolded polyethylene body (the same process as used for whitewater kayaks)
  • Walls filled with thick 2” foam designed to keep things colder for longer
  • Lid filled with 3” polyurethane foam
  • Heavy-duty, non-breakable hinge system
  • Freezer quality sealing gasket to lock in the cold
  • Food-grade material construction (dry ice compatible)
  • Non-slip rubber feet
  • Recessed leak-proof drain plug
  • Lockable lid design including heavy-duty T-latches and integrated padlock ports
  • UV resistant
  • Built-in slots for the tie-down capability, making locking down a cooler to a deck or boat easier

Here is the lowdown on the Yeti Roadie 20

Technical Highlights

Here is a great video that describes the YETI Roadie 20 in detail.


The Good
We have a soft spot for quality products and the YETI Roadie oozes with quality.  The T-Rex rubber latches are the same ones used on ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and are built for loads of use.  People love saying the name YETI, it’s not a cooler, it’s a YETI.  When we filled our YETI with ice on a recent excursion to the great outdoors, it was like opening up a freezer every time we needed to grab something from it.  You could just feel the cold air trapped inside.  We thought that was pretty impressive considering it was 100 degrees outside, yet Rodie’s contents remained freezing cold.

YETIs come with an amazing 5-year warranty.  Impressive to say the least, which for most people, is ease of mind.  We are quite certain, that for the majority of YETI owners, this is the last cooler they will ever need, well that is unless they want to have more on hand for their adventures.

The Bad
For those who are a little less, how should we say, strength enabled, you may find the YETI a little on the heavy side.  Being bomb-proof does come with a price, namely weight.  Weighing in at 22lbs empty, the Roadie 20 after adding ice, food and liquid can easily top 50lbs.  Another downside is the actual storage space.   YETI coolers tend to have less space in them than their footprint would portray.  The simple reason is, if you want to keep things cold and keep them cold for a very long time, you need a lot of insulation, which adds to the overall bulk.

The Ugly
If you’re a Walmart shopper or a penny pincher, you may balk at the price tag.  The cost of the YETI is triple the cost of your standard Coleman cooler.  YETIs are built for the serious outdoor enthusiast who will use their coolers throughout the seasons, not just a one-day event.   With the price, you also have to weigh in longevity.  You may be perfectly happy with a cheaper cooler, but over time that cooler, with a lot of use, will need replacement.  YETIs from their design and everything we read, last a very long time and can be relied upon day after day.  In fact, if you’re like most people, a YETI purchase could be a purchase for life.  Something to think about when contemplating price.

We have read lots of reviews pertaining to the T-Rex rubber latches and how they appear to be the weak spot in some environments where sun damage over time weakens and make the rubber more prone to breakage.  The T-Rex latches are replaceable, so even if one should break, it’s very easy to replace.


Bottom Line

Let’s face it, YETI has done their homework and come out with an amazing product.  They know their market and what consumers wanted.  It’s really an amazing story of passion combine with pure inspiration to make something better than it was.  They have created a brand and a following that are fanatical about their products.  It’s not just a cooler, it’s a YETI.

We absolutely love the cooler for what it does.  Keeping things wickedly cold, even in the searing heat of an Austin summer.  If we could change anything about the Rodie, it would be to somehow to make it lighter, yet still, maintain it’s ruggedness.  New materials are constantly evolving and we are sure there will be ways to lighten the load.  Another option to look into would be a set of side handles similar to those on their larger coolers.

To find out more definitely check out YETI’s website.  You will be glad you did.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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