There are 6 different sizes of Yeti soft sided coolers are 4 distinct types of Yeti soft sided coolers that are all quite significant from each other.
So what is the best Yeti soft sided cooler and which one should you buy?
Choosing The Right Soft Sided Cooler
Choose the right soft sided cooler for you needs is going to be a person choice. Each of Yeti’s soft sided coolers have different sizes, shapes and features that suit different uses better.
If you’re just looking for something to keep your lunch fresh at work each day then the small and compact Yeti DayTrip may be the perfect solution for your needs.
But if you want something where you can pack for a weekend away or a family day at the beach or a picnic in the mountains then the large M30 or BackFlip may be better suited to you.
Let’s have a look at the different types of Yeti soft sided coolers, their pros and cons and which may be best for you.
I’ve also done a write up on Yeti hard sided coolers vs Yeti soft sided coolers if you aren’t sure what kind of cooler you want.
Yeti Hopper M30
The Yeti Hopper was the first ever soft sided cooler Yeti released and the M30 is the third generation of it.
Release in 2019 this version removed the zipper at the top and instead has a magnetic seal. This allows for a larger opening so you can more easily load the cooler, access the stuff in your cooler as well as clean you’re cooler.
It also gave Yeti room for more insulation so it keeps ice longer than older models.
This is the largest soft sided cooler that Yeti makes, holding 30 Liters, and it stands thinner and taller than the other soft sided coolers and is shaped like a tote bag.
It’s got a dryhide shell which is water resistant as well as abrasion and puncture resistant, like all of the Yeti soft sided coolers.
It can keep ice for 2-4 days and it has multiple ways to carry it. A shoulder strap, a single handle in the center or two side handles for carrying with a friend when it’s completely full.
Yeti Hopper M30: $299.99 (see details at Amazon)
This is the best soft sided cooler if you’re looking for the largest soft sided cooler possible. It’s great for family outings, road trips or adventures on the boat.
Yeti Hopper Flip Series
The Hopper Flip is like a combination between the Hopper M30 and the Yeti hard sided coolers.
It has a rigid rectangular shape but is softer and lighter than a hard sided cooler. It has a top handle for carrying by your side or a shoulder strap if you want to carry it but keep your hands free.
They each have about 0.75-1 inches of insulation in the walls and lid and the lid has a waterproof zipper that won’t leak.
You’re able to open the lid all the way and it gives easier access to the inside of the cooler when compared to the M30 or the older Hopper cooler bags.
It comes in 3 sizes and multiple colors. The smallest fits about 8 cans of drink plus ice and the largest fits approximately 18 cans plus ice and is similar in size to the Yeti Roadie. Read my comparison between the Yeti Hopper Flip and the Roadie.
These are great because they offer flexibility in size. You can get the smallest size if you’re just using it for lunch at work each day or you can get the largest size if you need enough room for a family picnic lunch + drinks or enough food and drink for a day out on the boat or a weekend away.
Yeti Hopper Flip 8: $199.99 (see details at Amazon)
Yeti Hopper Flip 12: $249.99 (see details at Amazon)
Yeti Hopper Flip 18: $299.99 (see details at Amazon)
The Hopper Flip is the best soft sided cooler if you want a cooler that keeps its shape but is still light, comfortable and easy to move around.
Yeti BackFlip 24
The Yeti BackFlip is my personal favorite in this list. I already own a hard-sided Yeti Tundra 45 which I absolutely love and is perfect for weekends away or travelling in the van. But if I was to buy a soft-sided cooler this would likely be the one I would choose.
It’s rectangular in shape like the Hopper Flip but instead of having a shoulder strap to carry it around it has 2 backpack straps so you can carry it just like you would a regular backpack.
It also has a hip strap for extra support when fully loaded and a sternum clip for extra stability. The back is also padded and breathable so it’s comfortable on your back.
It’s arguably the best backpack cooler on the market even though it doesn’t have any external pockets. It’s made of strong 840-denier nylon and is water resistant as well as scratch and puncture resistant. It has a reinforced base so you can throw it down and not have to worry about it getting holes in it.
It’s got 0.75-1 inches of insulation in the sides and in the lid and the the zipper is waterproof just like the Hopper Flip. It can keep ice for 2-3 days which should be more than enough for a short camping trip or a day out hiking or at the beach.
It also costs about the same as the Hopper Flip 18 or the Hopper M30.
Yeti BackFlip 24: $299.95 (see details at Amazon)
This is the best soft cooler if you want something that is easy to carry long distances and allows you to keep both your hands free for navigating the terrain or for carrying other gear.
Yeti DayTrip Lunch Bag
The DayTrip uses a Coldcell Flex insulation which is more malleable that the other Yeti soft coolers. This allows it to fold away to a really small size when not in use, which makes it ultra portable and easy to store.
It also has an adjustable grip so depending on how full it is you can adjust the size of it, which is a pretty cool feature.
The ice retention on this soft sided cooler is the worst of the list, but it can still keep ice for over 24 hours. It’s also made of out food safe material and can also be used to keep hot food warm.
It’s the cheapest of the bunch, selling for less than half the price of the Hopper Flip 8 and overall is a really cool product. There aren’t really any comparable lunch bags on the market.
Yeti DayTrip Lunch Bag: $79.99 (see details at Amazon)
This product is the best soft sided cooler if you’re looking for something small and compact that isn’t too expensive and can keep your lunch cold or hot for work.
Alternatives To Yeti Soft Coolers
There are a few soft-sided cooler alternatives out there competing with Yeti and offering a similar quality product for a cheaper price. You may want to check these out before buying.
RTIC Soft Pack 20
The RTIC Soft Pack 20 is very similar to the Yeti Hopper Flip 18 with some minor differences.
It has a rectangular shape just like the Yeti and has handles that allow you to carry it single handed, with two hands or using the shoulder strap.
It will keep ice for 2-5 days, which is slightly longer than the Yeti because it has thinker insulation. The zipper is leak proof and the base is reinforced. I like that they added a small external pocket as well for carrying items you don’t want in the main body of the cooler.
It sells for a fraction of the cost of the Yeti Flip 18 so it’s a good cheaper alternative for the budget conscious shopper.
RTIC Soft Pack 20: $128.95 (see details at Amazon)
Pelican Elite Soft Cooler
I’m really impressed with the Pelican Elite soft cooler. It has a very similar design to the Yeti and the RTIC but it’s completely made in the USA, while the other coolers are made overseas.
It has a leak proof zipper which you can use when moving your cooler around or you can use the quick release buckles for quick access to your cooler if you’re using it a lot.
It comes with built in bottle openers, is made of FDA approved food grade material and comes with a 3-year warranty.
Pelican Elite Soft Cooler: $219.99 (see details at Amazon)
Frio Soft Sided Cooler
Frio coolers are one of the best soft coolers made in the USA and each of their coolers proudly states that they are made in Texas.
The cooler is heavily insulated, has a mesh pocket for additional storage and comes with an adjustable shoulder strap.
It’s much cheaper than the M30 so is a good alternative for the budget shopper who wants something similar to that.
Frio Cooler Tote Bag: $124.99 (see details at Amazon)
Which Soft Sided Cooler Will You Choose?
As you can see there isn’t really a soft sided cooler that I can classify as “the best” because each of the coolers is better for different things.
The DayTrip is better if you want a great lunch bag and don’t want a full sized cooler.
The Hopper Flip is great if you want something like a small regular cooler that keeps its shape but that is more portable and easier to take with you.
The Hopper M30 suits people who need to carry a lot of gear with them and have enough food and drink for an entire family for a day.
The BackFlip 24 is the most portable of them all and great for people hiking or taking their cooler long distances by foot.
But at the same time the Hopper BackFlip is unsuitable if you just want to take your lunch to work in it each day and the DayTrip is too small to be useful for a family at the beach.
Each soft sided cooler has its different uses so the best Yeti soft sided cooler will ultimately depend on what you’re using it for.
I wish you the best of luck with your hunt for the ultimate soft sided cooler.