Ozark Trail Cooler vs. YETI
Many campers and overlanders are looking for coolers like YETI, but perhaps a bit cheaper. Not spending too much on an ice chest also makes sense if an overland rig is already equipped with a 12 Volt portable fridge-freezer, so the cooler would merely be a secondary way to keep drinks cold and perishables fresh. The Ozark Trail Coolers is on many buyer's radar. However, does the much lower price still paired with great qualities? How do Ozark Trail Coolers compare versus YETI? Let's find out!
Ozark Trail vs. YETI Tundra
Ozark Trail Cooler vs. YETI – which is the winner? There are many cooler brands that are mainly aiming to compete with YETI's market dominance. Some may be better for people on a budget while others may be more appropriate for those who want value for their money.
The YETI Tundra is the leader on the market – which is why it is also a little high in the budget zone.
Here are some features that might interest you regarding the YETI:
- Fatwall Design that offers two inches of ice insulation
- Permafrost Insulation made from foam that ensures the ice will not melt
- Rotomolded Construction that drastically increases its durability
Furthermore, the Tundra Coolers have some additional features that users find useful. For example, the T-Rex lid latches ensure the cooler stays completely sealed and that it will not pop off, exposing the ice.
Furthermore, the LipGrip handles makes it very easy to carry around without bumping into the cooler at every step. You also have the advantage of the Doublehaul handles that were made from durable military-grade polyester rope.
The unit is leakproof and rugged. It's equipped with a drain system designed for easy and quick draining. Also, considering that the ice can last for as long as 8 days, the chances are that you’ll return home with the ice intact. In the event that you go on a camping weekend, this is the perfect tool for you.
Mostly, people are pretty happy about its ability to retain a cold temperature. Even when the ice melts, the water will still remain cold – which gives you a few extra days.
The only thing that buyers had complaints about were the price tag.
- Solid and durable construction
- It can keep the ice from melting for an extended time
- It is easy to carry around if you grab it by the handles
- The price tag is rather high
Opposite of this end, we have the Ozark Trail coolers, the brand that every budget savvy person goes for.
The design is similar to the YETI – the only difference being the materials and construction. If you are after a list of the features, here’s what you might want to keep in mind:
- Premium insulation that ensures your ice resists for up to 9 days
- Rotomolded construction without any seams that is resistant to UV lights
- Locking plate that was made with industrial stainless steel
- Heavy-duty handles that are easy to grip
Considering that this product received a bear-resistant certificate from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, you know for sure that your food will stay safe as you’re camping. This means there’s no chance Yogi will steal your food.
The Ozark also features four cup holders, which means it also doubles as a table. Furthermore, the latches are secure, so the risk of them popping off is very low; the food will remain insulated for as long as you leave it there.
The handles have similar design as the ones on YETI Tundras – the only difference being that this item doesn’t feature the same sturdy military grade rope. It’s thinner – like the kind you would normally see on a backpack.
For this reason, the handles feel rather insecure and more prone to wear and tear. There are, however, customers that say they are sturdier than they look.
Some customers complain that it cannot hold the ice for more than two days, but there are also those who claim it can easily hold up ice for more than a week. Perhaps it has to do with the way you latch it or how often you open the cooler.
- It can hold ice for up to a week
- The handles are comfortable to hold
- Sturdy construction
- Strong hinges
- Occasionally customers complain about short ice retention
- Carry handles are not as sturdy as YETI's
Bottom Line: the conclusion to this Ozark Trail Cooler vs. YETI comparison is the following – both coolers can hold ice for a decent amount of time, but YETI seems to have longer ice retention capabilities. Furthermore, YETI is proportionally more lightweight, making it the better option to take with you when you’re camping. YETI will be the better cooler in the long run.
Ozark Trail Coolers vs YETI Comparison Tables
Ozark Trail 26
21 3/4” × 13” × 15 1/2”
13 5/8” × 14 1/4” × 19 1/8”
16” × 9” × 10 3/4”
8 3/8” × 9 7/8” × 13”
Using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio by volume
Ozark Trail 52
17 1/2” × 17” × 28 3/4”
17 5/8” × 17 3/4” × 24 1/4”
11” × 11 3/5” × 23”
10 3/8” × 12 1/2” × 16 5/8”
Using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio by volume
Ozark Trail 73
19 1/2” × 18” × 30”
17 7/8” × 17 1/2” × 33 1/2”
13 7/10” × 12” × 24 3/5”
10 3/4” × 12 7/8” × 25 5/8”
35 1/4 lbs
Using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio by volume
Ozark Trail Premium Backpack vs. YETI Hopper BackFlip Cooler
If you decided to pitch your tent at a location unaccessible with your vehicle, you'll have to carry some of your camping equipment to the campsite. Same goes for surfing spots or similar activities where you just can't drive right to the place where your gear needs to be unloaded from the vehicle. This is where a backpack cooler is very useful.
Two popular choices are the Ozark Trail Premium Backpack and the YETI Hopper BackFlip Cooler. They may look slightly different, but their function is the same: to keep your food and drinks cool during a trip.
Ozark Trail Backpack Cooler
The Ozark cooler backpack, for instance, is the one you go for when you are on a budget.
Being 13 inches wide, 8.5 inches thick, and 19 inches tall, it’s big enough to carry food and drinks for a couple of days – making it the perfect option if you want to go on a weekend getaway.
Here are the features that should interest you:
- Made from 600D coated fabric
- Cushioned straps that are adjustable
- The interior can fit 20 cans, plus the ice
Made from 600D coated polyester, this backpack is not only durable, but also leakproof. Granted, it may not be as indestructible as a plastic carry cooler, but it’s certainly very good at doing its job.
You may adjust the straps to fit your own comfort and height level. Plus, considering they are generously cushioned, you may carry this backpack for a prolonged time without feeling uncomfortable. The weight will balance over your back, and will, therefore, prevent bad back posture.
Technically, the Ozark Trail backpack cooler can fit 20 cans of drinks or food; however, this also depends on how much ice you plan on adding. If it’s little ice, you can fit around 18 to 20 cans – but the ice will only hold for about one or two days.
On the other hand, if you increase the ice intake, you can carry it for a longer time – but you’ll only be able to carry 12-15 cans. The ice may have melted by the 3rd day, but it will still remain relatively cool – at least, cooler than the temperature outside.
The backpack is zipper-closed, meaning that it’s very easy to operate. However, people complained that there might be leaks through the teeth of the zipper – therefore causing the ice to melt sooner than it should.
- It is easy to carry
- The material is durable
- It holds the cold inside
- Leakproof when standing
- The zipper is weak
- It might not hold the ice cool for as long as it should
Ozark Trail Premium Backpack Cooler
YETI Hopper Backflip 24
13” × 19” × 8 1/2”
13 3/4” × 19 1/8” × 8 1/2”
YETI Hopper BackFlip Cooler
On the more “premium” side, we have the YETI Hopper BackFlip Cooler. It’s a bit more expensive than the Ozark, but most customers claim that it’s worth the price – since it can hold the ice for a longer time and it is very durable.
Here are its main features:
- DryHide Shell made from high density nylon fabric
- ColdCell Insulation using rubber foam
- Hydrolok zipper to prevent leaks
- It can fit up to 12 cans of beverage
At 12 inches wide, 6 inches thick and 15 inches tall, it’s a bit smaller than the Ozark cooler – but at the same time, it features superior ColdCell Insulation.
With this in mind, the cooler can carry 20 cans of beverage and 25 pounds of ice without any issues.
According to viewers, the zipper is actually fairly sturdy, and it is also leakproof. They had no problems carrying the beverage through hot temperatures, and the ice can hold for as long as 24 hours before it shows signs of melting.
- Compact form
- Durable material
- Advanced insulation
- Leakproof zipper
- It might need a bit more shoulder padding
Bottom Line: the YETI backpack cooler may be a bit more expensive, but it has a zipper that insulates much better – keeping your drinks cooler for longer.
Final Thoughts and Advice
It is not easy to purchase the best cooler for a camping trip. Sometimes, a regular cooler such as the Ozark Trail might be good for you. If you think your campsite is most of the time right next to your vehicle or you plan on tailgating only, go for an ice chest, not a backpack.
On the other hand, if you're actually after a backpack, choose the YETI Hopper BackFlip cooler. It will be a better choice in the long run.
YETI is good for those that don’t mind spending a couple of extra bucks on a good product – as long as they have the assurance that it will work properly.
Perhaps something in between Ozark Trail coolers and YETI would be a better choice if you don't want to spend YETI-price. Read our YETI vs Orca and YETI vs RTIC comparisons. How about Grizzly Coolers?