YETI Hopper M30 Magnetic Soft Cooler Review

YETI has been an innovative brand since its inception. And while it has legions of lovers and haters, most of its products have one thing in common: Brands love to create cheaper knockoffs to undercut YETI’s (expensive) price tag. The Hopper M30 may take a little longer. Here’s why.

The YETI Hopper M30 looks similar to a lot of soft coolers on the market. It has a shoulder strap, two daisy chains down the front, and a large top opening. But in that opening lies a closure unlike any other we’ve seen.

Hopper-M30-Navy-Hydroshield1

Instead of a big, heavy zipper or clamshell configuration, magnets hold the lid of the M30 closed. And the brand claims the combination of magnets  and a foldover system it calls “HydroShield Technology” creates an “ultra leak-resistant, yet easy-to-use closure.”

And while we haven’t tested it in the field, it’s certainly nice in the hand. We checked the cooler out at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. YETI built a beautiful product once again.

YETI Hopper M30

The magnetic closure is more than a gimmick. Due to the engineering change, the M30 is a lot easier to open and close than its previous iterations with beefy, if effective, zippers. The magnetic, foldover top also allows insulation to be placed higher in the cooler, which the brand claims will help improve its thermal properties.

It’s a nifty change in design that won’t make or break the already good cooler. But for those who want the latest engineering, it’s a clever design. And moreover, we’re guessing it’ll take the YETI followers a few more months to figure out how to copy this one.

YETI Magnetic Hopper Review

In brief testing (we’ll update this article more as testing progresses), the closure is extremely effective. Just let go of the two halves, and they snap together instantly. Then roll it down, snap a buckle, and you’re on your way.

But there does seem to be a downside to the closure, namely that you can’t easily keep it open. Letting go of the magnets assures that it snaps shut, but it would be nice if there was a built-in way to lock it open to load. As it is, you may need to stick something in there to prop it open, especially to let it dry out after washing.

Hopper-M30-Navy-Side1

But the build quality is YETI through and through. Burly material, strong handles, and no manufacturing defects make this a very nice piece of kit. Of course, that’s what one would expect for a $300 soft cooler, and YETI does deliver.

The Hopper M30 holds 7.2 gallons, which equates to 20 cans (with ice), or 28 pounds of ice. It hits the market in spring 2020 for $300.


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Sean McCoy
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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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