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  7. Gear Review: Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler
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  7. Gear Review: Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Gear Review: Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Yeti's Latest Cooler is All About Performance and Portability

Image Caption: Image Courtesy of Kraig Becker

Competition in the premium cooler space has become fierce in recent years. Not only has consumer demand increased dramatically, but the number of options for durable, high-end coolers has grown, too. Despite an ever-crowding market, however, one thing has remained constant; Yeti—the company that almost single-handedly started this cooler craze—remains the market leader in terms of innovation, performance, and mindshare.

Recently, the Austin-based company added two new models to its catalog, expanding its popular line of Roadie coolers with 48- and 60-liter versions. That alone would be good news for fans of the brand, but these new additions also come with built-in wheels that make them much more portable.

So how well do these latest models perform? We took the Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler out for a test drive, and as usual, Yeti does not disappoint.

Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Image Courtesy of Yeti

Built Like a Tank

One of the defining traits of any Yeti cooler is durability. Since the company first launched in 2006, it has used a manufacturing process called rotomolding to create products that are practically indestructible. Over the years, its hard-sided coolers have become legendary for being able to take a beating, often surviving in the harshest conditions without showing any wear and tear. Because of this, they have become extremely popular with outdoor enthusiasts, especially hunters, anglers, and RV campers.

The Roadie 48 continues that rugged tradition nicely. It exhibits all of the durability that we’ve come to expect from a Yeti cooler, with an outer shell and lid that are tough enough for any adventure. But the over-engineered design extends to the Roadie’s other components, including its hinges, integrated handles, and tie-down slots. The idea is to eliminate potential points of failure to ensure the cooler can be confidently used anywhere you want to take it.

Even the Roadie’s wheels are built to withstand plenty of punishment. The cooler’s tires are made from a solid material that resists punctures. That means you won’t end up stranded with a flat tire in a remote location, requiring you to lug the Roadie and its contents back to your vehicle.

Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Image Courtesy of Yeti

Ice Retention

Another defining characteristic of rotomolded coolers is the ability to maintain a constant temperature for a surprising amount of time. For a Yeti, that means being able to retain ice for days, keeping the interior of the cooler cold on extended camping trips and other outings. For most people, this level of performance is overkill, but it certainly comes in handy on camping trips lasting just a few days to more than a week.

The Roadie 48 uses Yeti’s proprietary Permafrost insulation and a tightly-sealing lid to keep its interior temperature steady. Even in direct sunlight on extremely hot days, the cooler can keep ice from melting, translating to colder drinks and fresher foods. Conversely, it can also keep hot food warm for hours at a time, making it an excellent option for tailgating and backyard barbecues.

During our testing, the Roadie was able to hold ice for about five days, even in sweltering conditions. That level of performance proves useful at the campsite and expands the number of fresh foods and beverages you can bring on an outing. Under those conditions, the cooler serves as an excellent backup to an RV refrigerator or freezer, and when the temperature isn’t so warm, it can retain ice for even longer.

Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Image Courtesy of Yeti

Improved Portability

While the rotomolded construction process improves a cooler’s durability and performance, it does have a few drawbacks. For instance, rotomolding adds weight to the cooler’s design, making it less portable. This is especially evident in Yeti’s Tundra models, which are large and heavy. To counter this, the company introduced the original Roadie to give consumers a smaller option that is easier to carry around.

By adding wheels to the Roadie 48, Yeti has found a good workaround for the portability issues. The cooler weighs nearly 26 pounds before adding food, drinks, and ice. But pairing the wheels with a telescoping handle makes it easy to maneuver, even when loaded with plenty of cargo. The large tires roll effortlessly over uneven terrain, and the heavy-duty handle makes it easy to maintain control.

When it comes to adding wheels to its coolers, Yeti is a bit late to the game. Other manufacturers have offered wheeled models for some time, so it’s nice to see the company playing catch up. In the case of the Roadie 48, it is definitely a “better late than never” situation as the increased mobility is much appreciated.

Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Image Courtesy of Yeti

Carrying Capacity

Yeti says the Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler can carry 42 12-ounce cans and enough ice to keep those beverages cold. It can also hold 39 pounds of ice alone, which is an excellent number to know if you’re bringing ice on an RV camping trip.

The inside of the cooler measures over 15″ in height, which is enough space to allow most wine bottles—or a two-liter soda bottle—to stand upright. How many bottles you can haul depends on the shape and circumference, along with the amount of ice packed in. That said, the Roadie 48 has no problem carrying five or six bottles of wine and ice, along with plenty of snacks, with room to spare.

While camping, most coolers aren’t used to exclusively transport beverages. Instead, they carry a mix of food, drinks, and ice to keep everything cold. The Roadie’s boxy shape is conducive to loading it up with a surprising amount of cargo, placing canned beverages on the bottom and stacking fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats on top. Yeti even includes a removable basket for keeping dry items separated from the ice, further extending the cooler’s versatility.

Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler

Image Courtesy of Yeti

The Elephant in the Room

No discussion of a Yeti product is complete without addressing the rather sizable elephant in the room—the price. One of the more frequently asked questions about Yeti coolers is whether or not they are worth the premium cost. While these coolers offer outstanding performance and are durable enough to last forever, they are expensive. Whether or not they are worth the money depends on your individual needs and how often you use a cooler.

If you only need a cooler that you can take to the beach or on family picnics, a Yeti model is probably overkill for your needs. While the company’s products perform very well in those conditions, there are plenty of other options available that can handle those short outings just fine. Chances are, those models will probably be lighter, easier to carry, and cost less, too.

On the other hand, if you find yourself living off the grid regularly or need to keep food and drinks cold for days at a time, a Yeti cooler is worth every penny. The company’s products offer best-in-class ice retention and thermoregulation, not to mention industry-leading durability. This combination of performance and build quality makes it easy to recommend the Roadie 48 to RVers in the market for a new cooler. Especially if you don’t mind paying a premium for a model that will accompany you on your RV adventures for years to come.

The Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler is available in white and charcoal gray, with a blue version set for release in 2023. It is priced at $450 and comes with a five-year warranty. For more information, visit the Yeti website.

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