First came YETI coolers, then backpack coolers, then magnetic coolers, and, finally, YETI magnetic backpack coolers. Meet the Hopper M20 Backpack.
When YETI launched its M30 cooler with magnetic closure in 2019, it garnered plenty of attention and loads of praise. After all, YETI has fought off no small number of knockoffs to its burly designs, and this patented magnetic closure offered a new, more difficult-to-replicate twist to YETI’s arsenal.
But, as our — and subsequently others’ — testing revealed, the Austin brand’s “MagShield” tech proved a little too good. Sure, it was easier to open compared to YETI’s beefy zippered alternatives. But the design also made it difficult to keep open.
Enter version 2.0 of YETI’s MagShield access. YETI unveiled the patented magnet tech last month on the new M30. Today, the brand launches the M20 Backpack cooler — the first time the tech has graced a YETI cooler backpack.
Best of all, version 2.0 purports to solve the keep-open problem. We received an advance sample to verify and try out.
First Look Review: YETI Hopper M20 Cooler Backpack
In fairness to the original M30 cooler bag, it wasn’t the only YETI to fluster some users. The OG BackFlip cooler, lauded for its durable, waterproof construction, posed its own challenges. Namely, the watertight zippers were so beefy and locked the lid so tight, it confounded some users.
What’s more, it also commanded a little TLC from the owner, with every BackFlip including lubricant to help keep the zipper in proper working order.
But it seems the rising tide of new YETI tech will lift its portable cooler fleet. The Hopper M20 Backpack is a literal snap to open and close. Just pull the tab, and the top-loading cooler yawns open. More importantly, take your hands off, and it stays open.
Loading is indeed easier than the previous M30 and at least as easy as the BackFlip.
But the Hopper M20’s construction also sets it apart from its BackFlip counterpart. Whereas the BackFlip had a mostly rigid shape and feel, the M20 offers up a more pliant figure. It’s noticeably more forgiving to compression and a little softer on the back. This is a welcome improvement for a cooler backpack.
M20 Cooler Backpack Specs
On paper, the M20 bears a striking resemblance to the BackFlip. Both have the same abrasion-resistant shell, “ColdCell” insulation, and leakproof interior. They also both sport daisy chains along the face, sides, and shoulder straps to attach key carabiners or any of YETI’s handy accessories.
The base is solid and helps keep the Hopper M20’s shape throughout. Once closed, two side-release buckles cinch down the folded-over top. Finally, a top handle and two side handles offer a range of carry options off the back.
Empty, the cooler backpack weighs just shy of 5.5 pounds (about the same as the BackFlip).
As the name suggests, the M20 has a 20L capacity. This makes it a wee bit smaller than the 24L BackFlip. But in testing, the M20 offers plenty of room for a full 12-pack of cans (beer, soda, or skinny seltzers) and enough ice to keep it all cold for a full weekend of adventure (YETI promises multiday ice retention).
The YETI Hopper M20 Backpack goes on sale today for $325.