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YETI has expanded its popular ‘Roadie’ hard cooler line by increasing the size and adding wheels. It seems like a simple addition, but the new YETI Roadie 48 and 60 are surprisingly well engineered and rugged.
Let’s take a closer look:
The New YETI Roadie 48 & 60 Wheeled Coolers
YETI already has a wheeled rotomolded hard cooler — the Tundra Haul. It has a traditional rectangular cooler shape with large built-in wheels and a hinged pull handle.
The new YETI Roadie 48 and 60, on the other hand, take their design cues from the Roadie 24, which has been an undeniable hit for YETI — and it was a hit for us, too, which you can read about in our Roadie 24 review here. This is a key point to why we’re covering this new gear addition at all — the Roadie 24 is a wildly popular cooler that clearly speaks to people. And in our experience, excellent, long-lasting gear helps you have a great time outdoors . . . again and again and again — and we value that.
These days, we’re trekking farther and farther away from crowds and staying longer once we nab a good spot.
What makes the Roadie 24 so special?
We believe the Roadie 24 popularity comes from a bunch of little things that add up to something more compelling than it seems like they should on the surface. The Roadie 24 excels as a day-tripping cooler that’s small enough to carry and tuck into spaces in your vehicle but large enough to pack drinks and a bit of food. Because it’s so thermally efficient, you don’t have to pack much ice. We usually just toss in an ice pack or two and call it good.
It’s rugged enough to sit on and tall enough to hold 2-liter bottles of soda or wine bottles — and that’s part of its charm. The Roadie 24 is a vertically-oriented cooler.
One big advantage of the hard rotomolded construction is the lid. Unlike most soft coolers, you can get into and out of the YETI Roadie 24 with one hand and the lid opens wide for easy access to contents. We’re fans of YETI’s new and improved magnetic-opening/closing HOPPER M30 Soft Cooler, but it’s hard to beat the Roadie’s rugged simplicity.
The biggest challenge with hard-sided rotomolded coolers is the weight. If you want ultimate ruggedness and multi-day ice retention, you’re going to end up with a relatively heavy cooler. And once you add ice and drinks, it just gets heavier.
But there are times when we leave the Roadie 24 behind because it’s too small to meet our beach or day-trip needs. These days, we’re trekking farther and farther away from crowds and staying longer once we nab a good spot.
The Roadie 48 and 60 is YETI’s answer for hard-cooler versatility that one person can pull.
The new ‘Periscope’ pull handles are retractable, dolly-style handles that pop up when you need them and collapse down when you don’t. The handles are reminiscent of wheeled luggage handles, and the real key for the Roadie 48 and 60 is the comfortable height and angles that come with this design. (Most competing wheeled coolers have pull angles that aren’t always optimal for tall guys or kids.)
YETI says its ‘Neverflat’ wheels feature a solid, single-piece tire construction that’s impact and puncture-resistant.
The Little Details
What we’re really pleased to see is the return of the drain plug. That’s one feature that was on the previous generation YETI Roadie 20 that was lost with introduction of the YETI Roadie 24. We can survive without a drain plug on the small Roadie 24, but any larger hard-sided cooler? No way.
Despite the handle, most people are going to move and store the cooler by lifting it with two hands, so YETI added some streamlined ‘Lipgrip’ handles. So, no strap handle on the YETI Roadie 48 or 60.
While most people don’t use tie-down slots with their coolers, we do — and yes, there are built-in tie-down slots molded into the top sides of the coolers.
Compared to the Tundra Haul, YETI’s new Roadie 48 and 60 weigh less than the Tundra Haul. At the same time, they have a smaller footprint but essentially meet or exceed the capacity of the Tundra Haul.
The Tundra Haul, however, costs less and currently comes in more colors. We also think the handle is better when the cooler is fully loaded and two people end up pulling the cooler at the same time.
Wheels on Rotomolded Coolers Are Welcome!
All-in-all, we’re big fans of high-quality rotomolded coolers from most manufacturers. They’re rugged and have great ice retention. The drawback is that they always have heavy starting weights. For most people, having a wheeled option makes going farther easier — and sometimes possible — without multiple trips to the parking lot.