YETI sure makes an amazing cooler, but boy does it come with a big price tag! Here are coolers like YETI but at a more affordable price.
Chances are, even though you have a fridge in your RV, you also pack a cooler to take along with you. Or, you keep one in your RV basement to use when you set up camp.
Sure, your fridge may be only a few yards away, but having a cooler in your outdoor lounging area is so nice! You don’t have to take off your shoes or climb up into your RV to get an ice cold drink.
YETI makes a great cooler but the brand sells some of the most expensive coolers on the market. Instead of paying an arm and a leg for a cooler, there are some high-end coolers that make excellent, affordable alternatives. Cheaper options can still do a great job keeping your items cold for long periods of time.
The following is my list of excellent coolers, but for a smaller price point than YETI as well as what to look for when picking out your cooler.
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Different Types of Coolers
When looking for the perfect cooler, first ask yourself what your best option is. There are different types of coolers, but the main two are soft or hard coolers.
Soft-sided coolers are ice chests that have insulated walls, but not a hard outer shell. They are usually covered in a waterproof, durable material. They are oftentimes tear and puncture-resistant and have an anti-microbial liner to keep them free from bacteria.
Soft coolers can be moved and shoved into places that a hard-shelled cooler might not be able to. So, they’re a great option if you’re limited on RV space. However, they are not usually able to keep your food as fresh and cold as hard coolers can.
Hard coolers have a hard outer shell that encases dense foam. That is how they are able to keep ice frozen for several days, keeping your food cold and fresh.
The downside is that they can be rigid and take up a lot of space. One trick is to use them as storage boxes in your RV basement when not using them, but it can be a bit of a hassle.
Cooler bags are similar to soft coolers but are usually able to be worn much like a bag. Hence the name cooler backpack!
What to Look for in a Good Cooler
There are many extra features that you should consider when looking at affordable coolers.
When it comes to ice chests, the most important thing to think about is ice retention. In other words, how long does it keep things cold? If you’re shopping for coolers like YETI, then you’re definitely looking for something with maximum cooling capability.
Some coolers come complete with bottle openers, which can come in handy when you are camping. It makes sense since your cooler is likely going to be holding drinks! That is sometimes one of those overlooked items that people forget to pack.
If you opt for a soft cooler, then look for one that has a waterproof zipper. That way it won’t leak if it accidentally topples over. It can also help to maintain the internal temperature of the cooler more efficiently.
Many coolers come with a shoulder strap, rope handles, or metal handles. You may think a handle is a handle, until you’re lugging a fully loaded cooler around. So, be sure to consider which handles you think will be most comfortable.
Larger coolers often come with wheels, but you can look for that feature in smaller carriers, too.
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Coolers of course come in many different sizes, but don’t stop at looking at the exterior! If you’ve ever opened a YETI, you’d be surprised at how much smaller the inside is than the outside. That’s because they have a thick layer of insulation. So be sure to look at the interior size of a cooler.
Also, be sure to consider the weight. YETIs and coolers like YETI tend to be heavy! Again, it’s because of the extra insulation. You’ll have to decide if the extra cooling capacity is worth the heft of cooler (in many cases it is).
I imagine that finding a lower-priced cooler is why you are looking for a YETI alternative. There are many affordable alternatives to choose from. And an affordable price does not mean good quality!
Cup holders are a nice feature that can come in handy. I’m sure it’s pretty obvious why so I’ll leave it at that!
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to drain your ice chest without a drain plug. You have to try and tip the ice chest on its side to let out the water, without disturbing the ice and food. It is always a good idea to look for a cooler that comes with a drain plug.
Coolers Like YETI But Cheaper!
The following is a list of excellent cooler brands to look at when trying to find an affordable alternative to YETI brand coolers. I have reviewed two of the best in detail and included a list of great, reliable brands to also consider.
This is considered one of the best YETI alternatives you can find.
No longer using rope handles, this incredible cooler offers durable, metal ones. They have a sleek design, and are easy to carry!
It is made from high-density foam enclosed in a hard-cell structure, almost three inches thick. The foam is eco-friendly, meaning it will not negatively affect the environment.
This bear-resistant cooler also provides gaskets that have an air-tight seal (Don’t forget these bear safety tips!). When you close the cooler, it keeps the cool air in, helping your food stay fresher for longer.
Not only are they made right here in the USA, but you can purchase them for about $4.37 per quart (at present time). YETI, on the other hand, costs about $5.73 per quart. That is a savings of about 25%!
They also come with a lifetime warranty. Talk about a great purchase!
RTIC has been YETI’s biggest competition since the beginning. They even like to claim that they are half the price, and hold more ice!
These coolers are well-known for their excellent ice retention, which is measured in days. You can expect ice to last for over one week for their medium coolers, and 10 days for their larger coolers!
RTIC uses over 2′ of insulation made of polyurethane foam which gets pressure-injected inside the hard mold of the body of the cooler. The result is dense insulation that can prevent ice from melting for more than a week.
12 other coolers like YETI to consider:
If you are not convinced about getting an alternative brand and want to still look at YETI coolers, then your best options are probably the YETI Roadie or YETI Tundra. But you can also check out my other list of the Best Coolers for Camping.
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