If you are searching for a new cooler, Yeti and Cabela’s produce some of the best options.
Yeti is considered one of the top manufacturers of coolers and outdoor drinkware accessories. However, Cabela’s is also a trusted brand and leading sporting goods supplier. Both companies produce great products, making it difficult to select the right cooler.
To compare Cabela’s coolers vs. Yeti coolers, I look at several key features needed in a quality cooler. I compared the quality of the material, insulation, the seal, and portability.
Choosing the Best Coolers to Compare
Both Cabela’s and Yeti produce a wide variety of coolers. There are dozens of options from Cabela’s and several great choices from Yeti. To make the comparison easier, I looked at the most popular cooler from each company.
The Tundra is the most popular model of Yeti coolers and comes in a variety of sizes. The quart capacity of the cooler is listed in the name, such as the Tundra 45 or Tundra 65. There is also a Tundra Haul, which features two large wheels for easier portability.
The Polar Cap Equalizer is the top Cabela’s cooler in the same price range as the Yeti. It even features a similar design and is available in several different sizes.
Related: Picking the Best Yeti Cooler
Material and Design of the Coolers
The Yeti Tundra is constructed from durable materials and designed to withstand the toughest abuse. However, Cabela’s makes the same claims for their coolers.
Cabela’s even claims that their coolers are bear-proof. While I have not tested this, I do believe that the solid molded plastic design could keep a large bear or any other animal from getting inside.
I feel that both products offer quality designs that should protect the contents of the cooler in any conditions. Both coolers also include molded-in hinges with a single pin to ensure that the hinges never break. The only major differences in design are related to the handles and latches.
Cabela’s Coolers Are Easier to Handle
The handles on the Yeti coolers are recessed into the sides. You grip the sides of the cooler and reach your fingers under the lip. If I am in a cold environment and wearing thick gloves, the handles are difficult to grip.
With the Cabela’s Polar Cap coolers, there are large handles extending from the sides of the cooler. Each handle has a cutout, providing a larger area to grip. Overall, Cabela’s has a slightly superior handle design.
The latches are also different. Both the Yeti and Cabela’s coolers feature tough rubber latches that are easy to open and close. However, the latches on the Cabela’s coolers are a lot wider and thicker. While the latches on the Yeti coolers may never break, the Cabela’s latches seem even tougher.
Yeti Coolers Offer More Insulation
The Yeti Tundra and the Polar Cap Equalizer both feature quality seals and thick insulation for keeping your food and beverages cool. With either option, you get a freezer-grade gasket for an airtight seal.
The Cabela’s coolers have a slight edge when it comes to the overall design of the coolers. However, Yeti provides better insulation. While it is hard to determine exactly how much insulation is blown into the molded plastic of the Cabela’s coolers, the Yeti includes two inches of commercial-grade polyurethane foam.
Cooler Portability and Convenience
As mentioned, the Cabela’s Polar Cap coolers are easier to carry with the larger handles. You can even tie a rope around the handle and pull the cooler, which is not an option with the Yeti.
Both series of coolers also feature a model that includes wheels for easier transport. The Yeti Tundra Haul features two large rubber wheels with steel components, allowing you to roll the cooler across almost any terrain.
The Polar Cap Equalizer also includes a wheeled cooler. However, the wheels are not as large as the wheels on the Yeti Tundra Haul, which may make it more difficult to roll the cooler across sand or difficult terrain.
With the standard Cabela’s Polar Cap coolers that do not include wheels, you can purchase a set of attachable wheels. These wheels easily screw into the bottom of the cooler, providing instant portability.
Cabela’s Coolers vs. Yeti Coolers: Pros and Cons
I like both sets of coolers. The Yeti Tundra and the Cabela’s Polar Cap Equalizer coolers are quality options with thick insulation and durable designs. However, there are pros and cons to both series of coolers.
The Yeti Tundra coolers provide slightly more insulation than the Cabela’s coolers. The disadvantages include smaller handles and latches. Due to the larger handles, the Cabela’s coolers are easier to transport. While these are minor differences, they may be essential based on your intended use.
Conclusion: Which Cooler Should You Get?
Yeti and Cabela’s coolers are two of the top options for any of your outdoor cooling needs. While Yeti has been considered the top choice for many years, Cabela’s has continued to improve the design of their own line of coolers.
The Polar Cap Equalizer is Cabela’s greatest achievement in cooler design. It matches the Yeti in almost every area and includes several useful features that the Yeti lacks.
For example, with the Cabela’s coolers, you get thick rubberized latches that are both durable and easy to open or close. The Polar Cap coolers also feature bigger handles compared to the Yeti, providing easier portability.
The one area where Yeti exceeds the Cabela’s coolers is the insulation. While the Cabela’s coolers use enough insulation to keep ice frozen for a week, the Yeti coolers include even more insulation. You get two inches of high-quality, pressure-injected polyurethane foam. While this extra insulation is great, how often do you need a cooler that can keep ice frozen for more than a week? I rarely go camping for more than a few days.
In the end, either option is great. Yeti coolers and Cabela’s Polar Cap coolers are in the same price range and include many of the same features. If insulation is essential, I would recommend the Yeti. If you prefer the convenience of large handles and more secure latches, choose the Cabela’s Polar Cap coolers.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.