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Storage Review

The Yeti Roadie Cooler is made to Travel (continued)

Operation: The Roadie 20 is built to travel and within hours of use I was finding the cooler quite easy to work into tight spaces on the truck or in the boat. The cooler is quite heavy however, weighing in at right around 16lbs by itself and well over 20lbs when loaded with just about anything. Carrying the Roadie 20 for any long distances is a pain, but the steel handle does make it easier and another option is to carry it over your shoulder to avoid having it bang against your knees or legs during transport.

Time to see what the Roadie is made of... let's go off-road!

Though technically “portable” if you are looking for a cooler that needs to travel further than from your car to your boat you’re probably in need of a lighter option. This particular cooler is designed first and foremost to keep water and food cold and protected, and that comes with a weight premium.

Exposing the Roadie to some saltwater

A traditional point of failure on so many coolers are the plastic latches cracking or snapping off. Yeti’s answer are heavy-duty rubber latches that do not protrude from the cooler. These “T-Rex” latches not only are very durable but because they are made out of rubber help apply constant downforce pressure, keeping the lid firmly closed.

The heavy duty rubber latches are easy to open and close

When you open the Roadie you notice that the lid stays open at a 90 degree angle. While it is relatively easy to break the hinges off any normal cooler Yeti has engineered a truly exceptional hinge that utilizes a full length aluminum rod and an interlocking design that connects the lid to the body. The hinge stops are molded into the body of the cooler itself to prevent over-extension or breakage and we didn’t experience any rust on the hinge whatsoever, even when we subjected the hinge to saltwater.

This looks like a nice spot to tailgate

The Roadie is able to keep ice so long due to the one piece design that houses two inches of pressure injected polyurethane insulation. This insulation keeps the cold locked in as long as the lid is closed. The downward pressure of the T-Rex lid latches keeps a gasket that circles the entire length of lid completely sealed to lock heat out and seal the cold air in.

The Roadie has a gasket that circles the entire compartment

We found that ice retention varied depending on two factors, how much ice you start with and how much you leave the cooler alone. The colder your contents and the more ice you pack in will help reduce warm air spaces and improve ice retention. We also noticed that if we froze large blocks of ice versus pouring in smaller ice cubes the ice would also last much longer. If left alone ice in the cooler can even last a few days, but if you are frequently opening the Roadie’s lid then you are letting a lot of the cool air out, and the warm air in. For maximum cooling the Roadie is also rated to accommodate dry ice as well, something that cannot be said for many other coolers.

Loaded up the Roadie is pretty heavy but the handle makes it easier to move short distances

In most cases the Roadie will probably surprise you in regards to ice retention. I’m very used to freezing my water bottles before a trip and loading them into the cooler to act as both the cooling element and the thirst quencher during trips. When I did this with the Roadie I had to go thirsty after an eight hour drive when I opened the cooler only to discover that the bottles were still nearly completely frozen. Another example of just how impressive the Roadie’s cold insulation is came on a off-roading trip on the dunes. After a full day off off-roading in the hot sun and having the Roadie bounce around the back, violently at times, I was not only able to enjoy a cold drink but also a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream after nearly 10 hours in the cooler with nothing but blocks of ice helping keep it cool, which is so deliciously awesome.

To maximize cooling don't remove the water until your done

If you are really looking to maximize your cold retention Yeti also recommends not pouring out the cold water that pools up, as it is almost as cold as the ice and will help insulate the remaining ice. If you are looking to replenish the ice or clean out the cooler at the end of your trip the Roadie can easily be drained by removing the drain plug. Yeti calls this the “Vortex Drain System” and though the name has marketing-speak written all over it I have to admit the design really works. The drain plug never leaked during our tests thanks to the embedded gasket and threading that is built into the body of the cooler. The grip is oversized and easy to rotate tightly closed a there are two holes near the grip so that a quick turn will start releasing water without having to completely remove the plug.  

Draining the Roadie is easy with the big easy to rotate plug

In terms of durability the Roadie 20 is an absolute tank. While the non-slip feet do a very good job preventing the cooler from sliding around on the deck of the boat they could do little to prevent the cooler from rolling around the bed of the truck when off-roading. I should have tied the cooler down but in the interest of seeing just how tough this cooler really is I allowed it to roll and bash around the bed. Suffice to say after an hour I was a lot more worried about the health of my truck bed then the Roadie.

Non slip feet do a great job holding the Roadie in place on boat decks. It feels like a very stable platform to cast from

Next Section: The last personal cooler you ever buy?










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