Serve Yourself Comfort, Hot or Cold!
By Doug Howlett
Every year, companies develop and introduce new products that serve an entirely new purpose or make minor enhancements to an existing category of products. Few products ever redefine an entire market, but that is exactly what Austin, Texas-based Yeti has done with the cooler industry.
Until Yeti arose from the minds of two brothers, Roy and Ryan Seiders, coolers were pretty much one-inch thick or less molded plastic containers that held ice, food and drinks for part of a day before requiring more ice. There was little difference between one model to the next. They were made like many products today, arguably effective, but with an eye toward creating the most affordable product available to appeal to the consumer. This often resulted in cooler tops that bent or caved when sat upon, latches or handles that broke and coolers that needed to be replenished with ice daily or even multiple times a day in order to keep the storage compartment cool.
Yeti has changed that!
The Seiders brothers sought to design a cooler that was the best insulated storage device that money could buy. Virtually no expense was spared. Their products aren’t cheap, but then neither are the materials they are made with. They are thick, sturdy, and long-lasting, and made to be with you like your best pictures - for all time.
The results and data speak for themselves. A cooler that can hold ice for many days and keep items inside as cold as a refrigerator. For serious outdoorsman looking for a cooler as rugged, durable and well-suited for the adventures they pursue, Yeti comes with uncompromising quality.
My first Yeti experience came during a spring turkey hunt in Florida. It was only March, but the spring south Florida sun burned into the low 80s each day. Three mornings into the hunt, we opened the Yeti Roadie 20 that had been sitting in the guide’s truck since the start of our trip and some ice still remained. I was admittedly impressed. Yeti was still a fairly new company then, but since that time, has evolved as a virtual status system for the outdoorsman who wants only the best.
“We make things to work well, functional and simple,” says Ben O’Brien, Yeti hunting marketing manager. “The lid will be the strongest, the zipper will be best, the handles will be the sturdiest; there is a no compromise approach on quality at Yeti.” This approach has made the difference in forging an entirely new niche within the cooler business.
Product Line Expands
For a “Cooler Company,” it might seem strange that one of the hottest items they sold last Christmas, was a stainless steel travel cup.
Yeti’s Rambler Tumblers, available in both 20-ounce and 30-ounce versions, were the best-selling item Yeti sold during the holiday and continues to fly off shelves, especially the 30-ounce Yeti Tumbler. So how does a cup fit in the mix of product offerings by a cooler company?
“The Yeti Tumbler, when you think about it, is a natural extension of what we were already doing in a lot of ways with thermal vacuum insulation,” says O’Brien. “Thermal vacuum insulation is the best insulating property available. By combining that with a stainless-steel, kitchen-grade exterior, which is the perfect exterior because it doesn’t sweat, we built a Yeti-quality cup for any drink, hot or cold.”
Indeed, the Yeti Tumbler keeps coffee hot and iced drinks cold longer than any other travel cup available thanks to its double-wall vacuum insulation. It’s a tapered design is made to fit perfectly in most vehicle drink holders without sacrificing liquid-containing space. The thick plastic lid boasts a tight-fitting elastomer O-ring to maintain the insulating properties and provide a leak-preventing seal if toppled over, and is clear. This is great, so you can see how much drink is left in the cup. Because it doesn’t sweat, it is safe to set on any surface. It’s the perfect complement to any adventure or simple trip up the road.
For the person seeking Yeti-quality, but maybe not yet prepared to invest in a cooler-priced item, the 30-ounce Tumbler, at $39.99, is a much more manageable price-point to begin a personal Yeti collection.
“It’s a symbol of what Yeti is,” says O’Brien, as he theorizes when asked why it was among the most sought after items at Christmas. “Yeti has become sort of a status symbol in some ways, it epitomizes the outdoors and uncompromising quality”
The company continues to foster that approach to quality for more products as well. In addition to their well-known hard coolers, they now offer soft-sided coolers, the Rambler Tumblers, Rambler Bottles and most recently, even a Rambler Lowball Mug, which makes for the perfect camp cup. And you can continue to expect more.
“A lot of companies are starting to try and copy us now. Some had the tumblers, but not the coolers, while some had coolers, but not any type of drinkware,” says O’Brien. “But for a company to be built on a hard cooler, soft cooler and drinkware, that is uniquely Yeti.”