YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box review: a kingpin of passive cool boxes

A cavernous cool box on wheels for beach parties, car camping and group picnics

YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

If you’re in the market for an exemplary XL cool box for your next car camping trip or beach party, the YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box will prove a worthy addition to your outdoor armoury. Yes, it’s expensive to buy but then again it’s also impressively capacious, exceeding well built and very effective at keeping food and drink suitably cool for up to four days.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Premium build quality

  • +

    Up to four days of ice retention

  • +

    Large, 45-litre capacity

  • +

    Excellent performance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    It's very big

  • -

    quite heavy, too

  • -

    There are more affordable alternatives

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Welcome to our YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box review, a humongous two-wheeled passive cool box for extended family camping, long boating trips, beach parties and group picnics.

Austin-based YETI has pretty much sewn up the upper end of the cool box market since its inception in 2006. In fact, it’s become the go-to brand for discerning outdoor types who not only seek what they perceive to be the best cool boxes a lot of money can buy but also the kudos attached to any product bearing the brand’s distinctive logo. If you can afford the best YETI cooler, then why not flaunt it?

What we have here on review is one of the largest cool boxes in the YETI range and by large I mean large with a capital L. You’ll therefore be pleased to know that the Roadie 48 can swallow a ton of gear, including a full complement of full-sized wine bottles. 

Let’s take a look at the YETI Roadie 48 in more detail.

YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box review

Price and availability

In the UK, the YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box retails at around £400 and is available from YETI, ProSmoke, Amazon and Stones Boatyard. If you’re shopping in the USA, you can purchase the Roadie 48 direct from YETI ($400) or Amazon ($400) and Walmart ($517.50).

Design and features

YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box

(Image credit: Future)

The Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box has a capacity of 48 quarts which equates to 45.42 litres. Rotomolded from high-grade, pressure-injected polyurethane and presented in a gloriously shiny finish that’s available in eight lush colours – blue, orange, teal, lilac, navy, red, white and dark grey – the Roadie 48 screams quality throughout.

The lid is so rigid that it’s impossible to deform its shape by even a few microns when kneeling on the surface and pushing down with all your might. I wouldn’t be surprised it were able to support the weight of Landrover Defender. The same diamond-hard rigidity applies to the rest of the box and that means you never need to be concerned about its durability. This thing is as tough as the toughest thing in Toughland.

The exterior of the YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box measures a considerable 53cm in height, 51cm in width and 50cm in depth if you include the protruding handle and wheels. That’s a lot of surface area to fit in the car.

Bolted to the back of the unit is a heavy-duty telescopic suitcase-style handle for wheeling it around. It looks like it might never break. To use, simply press the button on top of the handle, and it extends a full 55cm. Not that it matters much, but I’d like to have seen a locking dual-stop mechanism so that you don’t have to fully extend the handle for small position adjustments.

YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box

(Image credit: Future)

Given that this behemoth will need to be wheeled around – it weighs 11.7 kg/ 25.79 lbs when empty – you’ll be pleased to know that it’s fitted with solid 18cm wheels that provide plenty of grip on most slippery surfaces. When static, the box rests on four soft rubber feet so it can’t slide around when being transported on a boat or in the rear of a pickup.

Heading around to the slides, there are two recessed handles for lifting and a pair of anchor point tie-down slots for securely fastening the box to a vehicle or boat when travelling. And on the front end, two latches that are super smooth and amazingly precise in the way they lock the lid down fast.

YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box

(Image credit: Future)

At 38 x 39 x 29cm, the Roadie 48’s internal area is pretty darn cavernous and tall enough to accommodate a full size bottle of wine or a 2-litre bottle of water. I calculate it will fit around 40 cans of fizzy drink along with a dozen ice packs. It will also accommodate about 10 x 1.5-litre bottles of Highland Spring.

As an added extra, YETI throws in a sliding transparent top tray for easy retrieval of smaller items and a drain hole at the bottom for getting rid of all the water the ice will inevitably produce. Simply reach round the back and twist off the drainage cap.

YETI doesn’t state an ice retention period, but from my experience with smaller YETI cool boxes, the Roadie 48 should provide at least 48 hours of optimum cooling and up to four days of acceptable cooling where a soft drink is still cool enough to be palatable and therefore enjoyable.  

However, one should be mindful that, for full 3-to-4-day effectiveness, YETI recommends following a 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio and, for a maximum cooling effect, filling the box with as much sacrificial ice as possible so it can pre-cool the box before draining it away and refilling with fresh ice, ice packs or, for best performance, dry ice.

Of course, all this ice, along with the contents, ups the overall weight considerably, so it’s just as well the wheels are so big and sturdy.

Incidentally, if 45 litres of capacity is too much or two little for your requirements, YETI produces the same model in three other sizes – 24Qt (without wheels), 32Qt and a massive 60Qt.


YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box

(Image credit: Future)

I tested this cool box at home as the weather hasn’t been kind enough for any excursions. I can report that, despite the size and weight of having three bags of ice and eight 1.5-litre bottles of water on board, it was still easily manoeuvrable up and down a nearby country path. Mind, my arm nearly fell off after five minutes of hauling it up an incline, but then I’m built like a stick insect.

I then left the contents overnight and most of the loose ice was still present and the bottles perfectly chilled. So I left it sealed for another day and, while more of the ice had melted, there was still enough around to keep the water bottles fridge cool.

I stopped the test at day three when there was very little ice left but the water in the bottles still remained easily cool enough to enjoy. Had I pre-cooled the box first as instructed with some sacrificial ice and then filled it with an extra bag or two of fresh ice, I’m convinced the Roadie 48 would have kept the water suitably chilled all the way to a fourth day.

Personally speaking, this model would be far too big for my needs. Firstly, it would take up so much space in my Honda CR-V’s ample boot that I might not have enough room for the sterling Quechua Air Seconds tent I recently reviewed – and I’d still have all the other paraphernalia of camping to somehow squeeze in.

However, if you’re part of a large group and have the wherewithal to transport it, the YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box would be an exceptional addition to your outdoor pursuits.


YETI Roadie 48 Wheeled Cool Box on white background

(Image credit: YETI)

A price of £400 may seem way too excessive for a passive cool box but, in the grand scheme of things, I think this gargantuan model is worth every penny. It’s stupendously well built, has enormous capacity, a great pair of wheels and a sturdy handle to transport it; and it pretty much sailed through all our performance tests.

Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).