Friday, September 13, 2013

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Yeti Coolers for the Math Challenged

I recently read an article about the economic benefits of the super-duper, high-end coolers (ice chests) like those made by Yeti.  A great amount of effort was made of the "savings" you'll see by not having to purchase ice as often and "how they'll soon pay for themselves" after just a few trips.

Really...?  Tell me if I purchase one of these fancy-pants, high-end coolers that I'll (i) look taller and have more youthful skin, (ii) will become irresistible to my wife or (iii) I'll be a better hunter but don't blow smoke up my lower orifice by telling me it will pay for itself with "ice savings".

Does anyone really believe this hype?
I guess I need to share a dirty little secret with folks.  These coolers do not make ice or alter the atmosphere & climate making the need for ice obsolete.  You still have to buy ice.  Even if it does last longer, this doesn't matter a hill of beans in 98.7% of hunting situations.

To show how ridiculous this is for the average hunter, I offer the following examples:

Bob, Chris and Kevin go deer hunting in Texas over a 3 day weekend.  They buy two (2), 20 pound bags of ice @ $1.50 / bag.  They keep the ice in a $50 plain-Jane Igloo cooler and it lasts the weekend to keep food and drinks cold and to ice down one dead deer.

Total ice expenditures on this trip:  $3.00
Total ice expenditures over 4 hunting trips (2x/month for 2 month season):  ~$12.00

Bruce, Sven and Rafael, besides having really metrosexual sounding names, decide to go hunting and truffle collecting over the same weekends but with their $429, impact-resistant, bear-resistant, roto-milled, roto-tilled, high-end cooler.

Total ice expenditures on this trip:  $3.00
Total ice expenditures over 4 hunting trips (2x/month for 2 month season):  $12.00

Neither group ever goes musk ox hunting or encounters a grizzly and both coolers last their lifetimes.

ICE SAVINGS seen by the 2nd group with their super-duper cooler:   $0

# of years before the high-end cooler pays for itself with "ice savings":   (infinity)

Well THAT doesn't seem like such a good deal now, does it?

Perhaps it makes more sense with a week long hunt.  Let's see.... our intrepid hunters are off the grid for 9 days (2 days in the truck, 5 days chasing elk and 2 days back).  They take 80 pounds of ice ($6 worth) with them (most of which is bought in the last "real" town they pass through 1.5 days into their little adventure).  Like most hunts of this type, it is cool to down right bone chilling cold most of the time and because they are not stupid, they put the cooler in the shade.

The guys with the el-cheapo Igloo have to buy more ice on the way home since they killed a monster elk.  80 more pounds gives them a total expenditure for ice on the trip of ~$12.

The guys with the Yeti cooler (ignoring the fact they'll need several of these coolers since an elk is bigger than a rabbit) still have some ice left after they leave the mountain with their dead elk, only need to buy 40 more pounds at $1.50/bag.  Total ice expenditures for this group is $9.

ICE SAVINGS seen by the 2nd group with their super-duper cooler:   $3

$429.99 (cost of yeti) - $54.99 (cost of el cheapo cooler) = $375 (cooler differential)

Assuming our groups of hunters can only go on one such road trip a year, how many years would it take for them to "practically pay for the cooler with ice savings"?

$375 / $3 (annual savings) = 125 years.

So, unless you plan on hunting until you are 140 years old or leaving your cooler to your grand kids in your will, you might want to spend the extra $375 on something that might help you actually put something in the cooler like a better scope.... or binoculars... or an old rifle with character... and less on a plastic, roto-milled status symbol.

I'm just saying.


A Man with a Calculator


  1. Most of the Yeti's down my area are on Fishing Guides and heavy Fishing guys boats. They are bolted down with locks. as there have been a very large rash of thefts. 2 of the guides I have spoken to swear by them as they keep much colder temps than the coleman and igloo coolers they used to use.

  2. I just found your blog, and thus just found this post. This is hilarious! I've long thought that the Yeti coolers indeed LOOK awesome... but I can buy a Coleman at Walmart that has similar claims for less than a quarter of the price. And even then, it's overkill. The cooler I'm using now kind of sucks, but it will still keep ice all weekend in the summer, if I keep it drained and in the shade. Anything more just doesn't help me.

    Anyway, cheers! I'm enjoying your writing. ;-)