The Yeti Roadie 24 cooler is one of Yeti’s smaller capacity coolers, from a vast range of coolers in all shapes and sizes, topping out at the definite overkill of the Tundra 250, which will swallow 100kg of ice, or a quartered moose. The Yeti Roadie 24 cooler was launched in early 2020 as an altogether more practical choice for everyday use, and is priced at an RRP of GBP £199.99 / USD $199.99. Is this brightly coloured beast fit to sit amongst today's best camping cool boxes? We reviewed it to find out.
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Yeti Roadie 24 cooler review: design and build
Several things are immediately apparent at first glance at the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler – it’s a practical size for most non-industrial cool box applications, measuring roughly 40cm square from the front, and a shade over 30cm deep. The build quality feels very robust indeed, and our test unit is an equally robust shade of Lifeboat orange (dubbed ‘King Crab’ by Yeti).
Digging a little deeper, things remain robust and very orange. The entire unit is seamlessly rotomoulded like a bucket, making it easy to clean and hassle-free, as well as essentially waterproof. Yeti claim that the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler is 10% lighter, holds 20% more, and performs 30% better thermally than it’s precursor, the Roadie 20. The company also claims that the slight increase in height allows a standard bottle of wine to be carried upright, which we can confirm is true, and in general, a Good Thing.
There's no drain plug in the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler, the idea being you just tip out any melted ice, and that enables Yeti to pack in more insulation instead. On the base there are a set of built-in rubber feet, which add to the premium feel when putting the cooler down on a hard surface, and also make it a more comfortable seat. So keen is Yeti on the cooler-as-seat scheme that they also sell a cushion that fits the top – a neat addition.
Yeti Roadie 24 cooler review: performance and usability
The immediate tactile elements of the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler are the latches and the handle, both of which have been redesigned from the older model. The latches are a particular plus point, operating slickly and easily with one hand - essential for picnics and more dynamic uses alike.
The ‘hefty hauler’ fabric strap is a different matter though. Comfortable enough to hold, and with a sliding (and removable) plastic handgrip, things initially feel positive, but we found the length to be an awkward compromise. Slightly too short to sling over a shoulder, but long enough to keep the cooler tangling with your ankles, this is a tough item to carry any distance. The best methods we found were to either recruit another porter to grab the handle and let it swing between you, or to ignore the handle and grip the two moulded handles. The handle also settles naturally on top of the cooler, which means it has to be moved to open the lid. In short, this is a problematic carry for a park picnic, much more suited to being strapped onto or into a vehicle.
We tested the cooling performance of the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler with gel cooling blocks and a larger, Yeti Grande 4lb ice block provided by Yeti, which fits neatly in the base of the cooler. The results were pretty impressive, keeping drinks fridge-cool for 48 hours, and keeping the whole cooler well below ambient for five days. Indeed, the Yeti block was still cool to the touch two weeks later, underlining just how good the insulation is here. Yeti recommends two-thirds ice to one third food and drink, which would in theory give you 8 litres of food/drink space and 16 litres of ice, but that sounds a little overkill for UK conditions.
Although the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler looks watertight, and has a robust-looking seal around the lid, it isn’t entirely watertight if not upright. This is probably due to that seal being taped at one point, allowing leakage – less of an issue with freezer blocks than ice. This isn’t much of an issue in everyday use as the cooler is slim enough to stand upright in most spaces (Yeti’s own suggestion is behind car seats, which works well), but something to watch out for when packing into smaller car boots, for example.
Yeti Roadie 24 cooler review: verdict
There’s a lot to like in the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler. It fits into cars easily, stays cold, and feels like it is built to last. The new latches allow one-hand opening with ease, a neat bit of design, and it’s a very comfortable seat. The downside is the handle, which is fine for lifting the cooler, but tricky to actually carry it any distance. As a cooler for camping, boating or road trips though, the build quality and performance of the Yeti Roadie 24 cooler makes it a winner.