Review: YETI Heavy-Duty ‘Rambler Bottles’

Building on its popular line of tumblers, lowballs, and koozies, YETI releases three water bottles this spring. We tested the Rambler Bottles (18, 36, and 64oz) with hot and cold beverages for a first look review.

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YETI Rambler Bottles hit the market in spring 2016. They are durable, leak-proof, double-wall vacuum insulated bottles that work for everything from coffee and water to soup or chili.

Double-Wall Insulation

Double-wall vacuum insulation has been around for a very long time. The first vacuum insulated flask was invented by Scottish physicist and chemist James Dewar in 1892, and it was put to commercial use by Thermos Gmbh in 1904. So, YETI didn’t re-invent the water bottle with this insulating design. But the brand made a solid version of this popular and time-tested insulated bottle.

Using “kitchen-grade” 18/8 stainless steel, the YETI Rambler Bottles are not lined with plastic or other substances that could leach into your beverage. As with all bottles of this style, they have a vacuum between the two walls of the vessel, which stops heat transfer, keeping the internal contents hot or cold for a long time.

YETI Rambler Bottle Review: Hot And Cold Liquid Testing

With vacuum-insulated bottles, the biggest source of heat transfer is from the cap, which is not vacuum sealed and eventually allows the cooling or heating of the internal liquid.

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We tested both hot and cold liquids in the YETI bottles.

To test hot liquids, we filled a Rambler Bottle with boiling water and set it outside on a cold, snowy Denver day. The outside temperature hovered around freezing.

Four hours later, we opened the bottle and checked the temperature with a meat thermometer. The water registered 160º F, which is about the perfect temperature for a hot coffee or tea, as a quick sip test confirmed.

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Conclusion? The YETI Rambler Bottle will keep boiling water “hot” for four hours, probably a little longer, in temps around freezing.

Cold Test: For a semi-realistic test, we loaded a bottle halfway with ice, then we filled it to the top with cold water. We capped the lid and set the bottle inside at 70 degrees, about room temperature.

The bottle still had a small amount of ice present after 9 hours.

Sure, neither of these tests are exactly scientific, but they provide real world evidence that these bottles keep liquids hot and cold for several hours.

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It’s worth noting that the bottles do open with a “hiss,” after pressure changes, so they should keep beer carbonated to some extent if filled at a tap-house as a growler. We haven’t tested it for this use yet, but will update when we have a chance to get the 64oz model filled.

Form And Function

The bottles are a nice shape, and they have a big, easy-to-grasp handle on the lid that allows for three-finger holding. The opening is 2.75 inches, enough to easily fit “over the nose,” which, as YETI touts, helps you enjoy the aroma of your favorite beverages.

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The tops are tough, and they easily open and close, snugging firmly to ensure leak-proof performance.

To test the durability of the bottle, we dropped the 18oz model, full of water, from six feet, both onto its bottom edge and top handle. It bounced amazingly high, and it showed little damage. This is important, as a puncture to the stainless steel shell would result in the bottle losing its insulating properties.

It passed this test with flying colors.

Price, Competition

Priced at $40, $60, and $90 for the 18, 36, and 64-ounce models respectively, the YETI Rambler is a significant investment for a water bottle. Similar models from Hydro Flask come in at a lower price (Hydro Flask’s 18oz bottle is $26, and its 64oz growler is $55)

Hydro Flask’s products are also high quality, and we’ve been impressed with the brand in the past.

YETI’s bottles are set apart due to the three-finger graspable lid and rugged design, which seems slightly more durable than Hydro Flask (although this is difficult to test — both are plenty tough for normal use).

Ultimately, the YETI is a high-end product that will last for many years of normal use. Choose it if you’re a YETI fan and want one of the best bottles that money can buy.

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By

Managing Editor 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 Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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