Down ‘N Dirty: YETI DayTrip

For the longest time, I didn’t worry all that much about keeping my lunch (or trail beers) cold; until I was on an all-day photo shoot in the hot desert sun. It’s one thing to pack a cooler and throw it in the trunk or truck bed, but when you need to carry everything for a hot day’s shoot on your back, it’s nice to have some cold snacks and some not-so-soggy food waiting for you when you need them.

While it’s easy to keep the things I need cold in winter, it takes a little more planning in the heat of a Colorado summer or fall day. So, I thought I’d give the latest from Yeti a shot. I’ve tried my fair share of coolers – hard sided, soft sided, tube style – from a lot of different brands; and the Yeti DayTrip is officially on my “favorites” list. As space got tight and prioritization started getting competitive, the DayTrip quickly made its way to a “must have” on my packing list for days in the field and became my go-to for in-office and school lunches. 

MSRP: $79.99

Pros: It’s light, yet durable. For a Yeti product, I was surprised by just how little it weighed while still featuring rugged material. In a backpack, it fit well against the back of the pack with gear packed around it. In the truck, it handled bouncing around on backroads and abuse in the field. And as a traditional lunch bag at work and school, the top handle makes it easy to carry without stuffing into a backpack. 

It did its job – kept food/drinks cold – and it did it really well. I packed the DayTrip in various configurations and it delivered just about every time. It fit a Yeti one-pound ice pack with a 6-pack of cans, a two-pound ice pack with two locking containers, and the one-pound ice pack with two sandwich-sized containers, two apples and a baggie of cookies. As long as I didn’t overpack it, it kept food and drinks cold for hours. 

It’s adaptable. Whether you want to carry a 6-pack of canned beverages, a large personal lunch, or two smaller lunches, the magnetic top and loop closure system allows the cooler to adapt to different size loads.

Cons: Soft coolers can have their fair share of problems. Over the course of several weeks of using the DayTrip, I found two “cons”. 

First, if you pack it wrong, the contents will suffer. We might have overfilled it with a few too many Fat Tire brews, so on one outing, the top couple of cans weren’t as cold as the bottom batch. We learned our lesson. 

Second, the dark color (charcoal) is a bit of a heat sink. We accidentally left the DayTrip in the sun on another outing and the contents were noticeably less-cool than the previous day’s contents. Neither one is a deal breaker, especially since it was user error, but it’s something I maintained awareness of on future uses.

Yeti coolers are proudly overbuilt – that’s what keeps us all coming back for more- and for a soft-sided cooler, its durability and functionality was great.

Where we took it: Day hiking southern Colorado, several days of firewood collection on the Rio Grande National Forest, and to my son’s school of parent-student lunch dates.

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