Kayak coolers need to hold plenty of beverages but be small enough to fit in the back of an average sized kayak. For this test, no soft sided coolers were put through the paces.
The two coolers under the microscope in this installation of “The Search” are the Yeti Roadie 20 and the Brute Box 25.
Here are the specifications:
The Yeti Roadie 20
Weight: 15 pounds Capacity: 20.8 quarts Dimensions: 19.25” X 14.38” X 13.75”
The Brute Box 25
Weight: 16.5 pounds Capacity: 25 quarts Dimensions: 18.75" x 16" x 15"
At first glimpse, these two coolers share lots of similarities but after a few days of testing, the differences stand out.
Difference #1- The Handle
The Yeti has an aluminum handle that locks into place in an upright position. It cannot be carried comfortably by more than one person which might be needed if it’s loaded down with 20 quarts of beverages. If we use water as the test, that would put the full capacity weight at just over 55 pounds. For some of us, that’s the weight of our kayaks. We might want a hand, especially if we are schlepping beer to share with a buddy. The handle makes it difficult.
The Brute has two rope handles with rubber carrying grips. One person can carry it but if it is a two man job, the handles spread out more to allow for side by side carrying. These also give you a few more options for lashing and no worries of bending the handle.
Difference #2- To Drain or Not
The Yeti has its patented Vortex Drain System on the side of the cooler. You can drain the melted ice after a few days on the lake with just a twist. No need to unload everything in it. Could it be a potential fail point? Maybe, but it’s replaceable.
The Brute doesn’t have a drain. Most times it’s not a big deal but if for some reason you had beverages or food still in the cooler and wanted to lighten the load by draining any melted ice, you’d have to unload everything.
Difference #3- The One Hand Latch Test
When you have a cooler behind you in a kayak more than likely you only have one hand available to reach behind you, unlatch the cooler, open the lid, get what you need, close it and latch it back.
The Yeti has the T Ball latch. It holds well, fastens well and is usable with one hand. In six tries though, I couldn’t get the Yeti open with just one hand without completely turning around to put more torque on the lid. Sure it’s a good seal but if I have to dismount to get to my cold ones, that’s a bit much.
The Brute uses a large rubber lunch box style latch. These are easy to latch and unlatch; even with the heavy gasket seal in the lid I could get to my cold beverages with one hand and little effort.
Difference #4- Where Is It Made
The Yeti is made in the Philippines.
The Brute is made in the USA.
The easiest way to break it down with different sized coolers is dollars per quart.
The Yeti Roadie 20 is $250. At 20.8 quarts, the price per quart is $12.02
The Brute Box 25 is $229. At 25 quarts, the price per quart is $9.16
Other important things to note:
In the testing I did, both coolers kept ice for a little over three days, side by side with the lid staying closed most of the time. The average temperature where they were kept (my garage) was a balmy 88 degrees. Both coolers performed well in the rugged wear and tear department. Hose them off when you are done and the dirt and mud comes right off. They both also doubled as a casting platform with no buckling or fear of toppling over.
When you total up the scores, the final verdict for this battle is pretty clear. The Brute Box 25 in my testing was the clear winner. Unless you have to have a drain, check out the 25 and all his big brothers at www.bruteoutdoors.com