*Please, don’t do what I did here, because I am stupid; also, I was not paid, encouraged, or compensated by the Yeti to write this. They’ll think me just as stupid as all of you should.
Are Yeti-brand coolers and cups worth the premium price tag? I can’t speak for the coolers, but when it comes to the Yeti Rambler 14 oz. Mug, I can give you a resounding OH YES.
Here’s what happened…
Nick Orange (this site’s co-owner, moral conscience and idea man) and I were walking around Dick’s Sporting Goods. We decided to purchase an item to review for the site, but didn’t want to just waste money on anything.
It had to be something I’d use at home, at work and on my occasional forays into urban exploring. Pocket knives, first aid kits, hiking packs, astronaut ice cream…none of it seemed worth discussing, much less reviewing.
Then we came to the Yeti display. The price tag kind of slaps you in the face. Yeti products are easily two to three times the cost of similar products, but some of that cost comes across in the look and feel of the item. The handles, the enamel coatings, the hefty rubber latches that cinch the coolers shut, all of these have a durable, premium feel. But is it worth twice the price?
We decided on the 14 oz. Yeti Rambler Mug, and instead of buying one, we bought two. His would be used primarily in an office setting. Mine would be used and abused in the great outdoors. After a few weeks, we’d get together and decide if the mugs were worth the $25 price tag.
The very first thing we did, just so we wouldn’t hesitate to put the mugs through their paces, is purchase the mugs, take them outside and drop them six feet to the concrete sidewalk. Passersby weaved away from us, of course, because that seems a crazy thing to do. We just wanted to get the first scratches out of the way.
For the next two weeks, we USED those mugs. Coffee, soup, pencil holder, paperweight, the mugs did their duty. Nick’s cup mostly went back and forth from home to car to office and back again.
Mine, on the other hand, suffered. I dropped it at least two dozen times on concrete, once from about twelve feet in the air. I stood on it. I rattled it back and forth across a metal fence (to startle a couple turkey vultures across a field). I, literally, ran over it with a 4×4 John Deere Gator, embedding it completely into the muck of October mud.
All of that and not a dent. Scratches, sure, but not a single dent. I began to think the mug was indestructible and messaged Nick to tell him so. He agreed and a provided a more practical review. The mug’s only downside was the smallish handle and the too-generous width, which prevents it from fitting in most car cup holders.
Shrug. It was, after all, a camp mug, so I couldn’t fault it for not being car-friendly. All that aside, we both concurred that cups of coffee or soup stayed hot for two or three hours. The insulation is fantastic in those things.
Sigh. A great mug, it keep stuff hot and is tough. Yeah. A boring review, and certainly one I didn’t want to write.
Then inspiration struck. I had a final, ultimate test for this abused mug that would grade its grit for once and all.
I’d shoot it.
Just once. Just a single .22LR round, because anything more powerful didn’t seem fair. If it broke, I was out one coffee mug, and I would leave that part out of the review. That Yeti Rambler had already done all I could ask and more. But if it passed? If it could withstand a gunshot? Well, I can’t think of a more impressive feat for a coffee mug. Can you?
My brother lives a quarter mile from his nearest neighbor and has a makeshift firing range in the back for target shooting. Not a militia-style range, mind you, just one for a fan of well-made, historic firearms. And some clay pigeon shooting. Not going overboard on preparation, I set up a cardboard box in the grass, placed the mug on top, and then stood back five yards.
Not to brag, but I am a pretty good shot at five yards.
I put on my ear protection, turned to make sure my brother had his on and stood well behind me, and then slapped the magazine into my Ruger MKIII target pistol. I only had three rounds in the magazine, figuring if I missed with three rounds at that range, I had no business shooting in the first place. Also, it was raining and I wanted to get back inside.
“Fire in the hole!” I shouted loud enough to get through our ear protection. My brother nodded. I pulled back the slide, raised the pistol and steadied the sights, aiming for the center of the mug. Then I fired.
The pistol cracked, barely kicking in my hand and then I saw I had missed, putting a round just below the mug into the cardboard. I didn’t turn to look at my brother, knowing he would shake his head sadly at my missing.
I fired at it again and the bullet smacked the mug off the cardboard and into the grass. That was a relief. I pulled back the slide to eject the last round, and locked it open, then dropped the magazine out and put on the safety.
Then I trotted over to the mug for the moment of truth.
I stared dumbfounded at the mug for a moment, not believing what I was seeing.
“Did it go through?” my brother asked.
“Yes,” I said. “And no. Look.” I held the mug up to him. Cold droplets of rain sheared off.
The .22 bullet had hit the mug right by the handle, tearing a one-inch gash in the enamel-coated steel. However, instead of piercing the interior of the mug, it had only left a thumbprint-sized dent. I rattled the mug, wondering if the bullet was still trapped inside. It wasn’t. But there was no doubt the mug was still serviceable.