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Coolers Like YETI but Cheaper (Alternatives)

YETI sure makes an amazing cooler, but boy does it come with a big price tag! Here are coolers like YETI but at a more affordable price.

Chances are, even though you have a fridge in your RV, you also pack a cooler to take along with you. Or, you keep one in your RV basement to use when you set up camp.

Sure, your fridge may be only a few yards away, but having a cooler in your outdoor lounging area is so nice! You don’t have to take off your shoes or climb up into your RV to get an ice cold drink.

YETI makes a great cooler but the brand sells some of the most expensive coolers on the market. Instead of paying an arm and a leg for a cooler, there are some high-end coolers that make excellent, affordable alternatives. Cheaper options can still do a great job keeping your items cold for long periods of time.

The following is my list of excellent coolers, but for a smaller price point than YETI as well as what to look for when picking out your cooler.

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Different Types of Coolers

coolers like yeti
So many types of coolers.

When looking for the perfect cooler, first ask yourself what your best option is. There are different types of coolers, but the main two are soft or hard coolers.

Soft Coolers

Soft-sided coolers are ice chests that have insulated walls, but not a hard outer shell. They are usually covered in a waterproof, durable material. They are oftentimes tear and puncture-resistant and have an anti-microbial liner to keep them free from bacteria.

Soft coolers can be moved and shoved into places that a hard-shelled cooler might not be able to. So, they’re a great option if you’re limited on RV space. However, they are not usually able to keep your food as fresh and cold as hard coolers can.

Hard Coolers

Hard coolers have a hard outer shell that encases dense foam. That is how they are able to keep ice frozen for several days, keeping your food cold and fresh.

The downside is that they can be rigid and take up a lot of space. One trick is to use them as storage boxes in your RV basement when not using them, but it can be a bit of a hassle.

Cooler Backpack

Cooler bags are similar to soft coolers but are usually able to be worn much like a bag. Hence the name cooler backpack!

What to Look for in a Good Cooler

coolers like yeti
What are you looking for in a cooler?

There are many extra features that you should consider when looking at affordable coolers.

Cooling Capability

When it comes to ice chests, the most important thing to think about is ice retention. In other words, how long does it keep things cold? If you’re shopping for coolers like YETI, then you’re definitely looking for something with maximum cooling capability.

Bottle Opener

Some coolers come complete with bottle openers, which can come in handy when you are camping. It makes sense since your cooler is likely going to be holding drinks! That is sometimes one of those overlooked items that people forget to pack.

Waterproof Zipper

If you opt for a soft cooler, then look for one that has a waterproof zipper. That way it won’t leak if it accidentally topples over. It can also help to maintain the internal temperature of the cooler more efficiently.

Shoulder Strap

Many coolers come with a shoulder strap, rope handles, or metal handles. You may think a handle is a handle, until you’re lugging a fully loaded cooler around. So, be sure to consider which handles you think will be most comfortable.

Larger coolers often come with wheels, but you can look for that feature in smaller carriers, too.

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Coolers of course come in many different sizes, but don’t stop at looking at the exterior! If you’ve ever opened a YETI, you’d be surprised at how much smaller the inside is than the outside. That’s because they have a thick layer of insulation. So be sure to look at the interior size of a cooler.

Also, be sure to consider the weight. YETIs and coolers like YETI tend to be heavy! Again, it’s because of the extra insulation. You’ll have to decide if the extra cooling capacity is worth the heft of cooler (in many cases it is).


I imagine that finding a lower-priced cooler is why you are looking for a YETI alternative. There are many affordable alternatives to choose from. And an affordable price does not mean good quality!

Cup Holders

Cup holders are a nice feature that can come in handy. I’m sure it’s pretty obvious why so I’ll leave it at that!

Drain Plug

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to drain your ice chest without a drain plug. You have to try and tip the ice chest on its side to let out the water, without disturbing the ice and food. It is always a good idea to look for a cooler that comes with a drain plug.

Coolers Like YETI But Cheaper!

The following is a list of excellent cooler brands to look at when trying to find an affordable alternative to YETI brand coolers. I have reviewed two of the best in detail and included a list of great, reliable brands to also consider.

Cordova Coolers

This is considered one of the best YETI alternatives you can find.

No longer using rope handles, this incredible cooler offers durable, metal ones. They have a sleek design, and are easy to carry!

It is made from high-density foam enclosed in a hard-cell structure, almost three inches thick. The foam is eco-friendly, meaning it will not negatively affect the environment.

This bear-resistant cooler also provides gaskets that have an air-tight seal (Don’t forget these bear safety tips!). When you close the cooler, it keeps the cool air in, helping your food stay fresher for longer.

Not only are they made right here in the USA, but you can purchase them for about $4.37 per quart (at present time). YETI, on the other hand, costs about $5.73 per quart. That is a savings of about 25%!

They also come with a lifetime warranty. Talk about a great purchase!

RTIC Coolers

RTIC has been YETI’s biggest competition since the beginning. They even like to claim that they are half the price, and hold more ice!

These coolers are well-known for their excellent ice retention, which is measured in days. You can expect ice to last for over one week for their medium coolers, and 10 days for their larger coolers!

RTIC uses over 2′ of insulation made of polyurethane foam which gets pressure-injected inside the hard mold of the body of the cooler. The result is dense insulation that can prevent ice from melting for more than a week.

12 other coolers like YETI to consider:

YETI Coolers

coolers like yeti - yeti cooler
Or maybe a YETI?

If you are not convinced about getting an alternative brand and want to still look at YETI coolers, then your best options are probably the YETI Roadie or YETI Tundra. But you can also check out my other list of the Best Coolers for Camping.

Mike and Jennifer’s Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!

Coolers Like YETI but Cheaper (Alternatives) 1

We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.

Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter. 

That’s why we’ve created three guides, covering Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys. 

Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.

Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content! 

FAQ’s about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers

What is the weather like along Florida’s Gulf Coast?

The weather along Florida’s Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.

The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.

You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.

By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.

Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?

While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.

Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.

Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?

One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities. 

The service works – but it is not free.

Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.

The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.

Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?

Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you’ll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or  Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.

But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?

Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.

There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.

4 Responses to “Coolers Like YETI but Cheaper (Alternatives)”

December 30, 2021at10:45 am, Pam Shook said:

To drain a cooler without a drain, simply go the the hardware and buy a clear hose that is 1/4 to 1/2″ diameter (the bigger the diamenter the more space it will take up however it will drain faster) the length is from the cooler to outside the door plus the out side height and inside depth of the cooler. Stetch the hose out. Put the hose in the cooler and close the lid, then suck until you see the water in the hose and lower it to drain. I pull my cooler to the the door so have a shorter length of hose. Discovered this when I hurt my back and couldn’t lift the cooler. Besure to leave about 6″ water in cooler to keep it to keep it cold. Also the items in the cooler are not disturbed. Then store the hose inside the cooler so you always know where it is. Also always keep a frozen quart jug in the cooler and switch it with the one in the freezer after draining the cooler.


December 30, 2021at8:35 am, Tina Penney said:

Great article with lots of good information! I wanted to add one more to your list. We recently bought a Lifetime brand cooler as an alternative to the expensive Yeti. It is made in the USA and keeps ice frozen for days. It kept our moose meat frozen for the 5 hour ride back from the butcher. We are new to RVing and expect this to come along on our trips. Thanks for all you do! I’ve found it very helpful as we prepare for our RV adventures in 2022!


December 30, 2021at7:58 am, Shirley Watkins said:

I purchased a YAKA cooler from Scheels this past summer ! $150 bottle opener and drain !! Keeps ice up to 10 days


December 30, 2021at7:45 am, Randy Brunk said:

Another great alternate for a cooler is ICER.


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