Bar none, there is no company that’s easier to make fun of than Texas-based Yeti. My house is full of hilariously overengineered, overpriced products. The problem starts when these products become the most useful items I own.
Just this morning, I used the Camino Carryall to drag my climbing gear to the gym. I had to take my daughter’s roller skating gear out of it, and before that 15 tiny soccer balls that I took to the park to play with kindergarteners. It’s five years old and looks as good as new. And the Yeti Lowlands? I carry that heavy-duty blanket to every festival and camping trip. I don’t have to stake the corners. It pads over every small rock and blade of prickly grass, and it has its own sling carrying case!
I even forced my husband to make a pilgrimage to the Yeti flagship store in Austin, Texas. On one level, I find it repulsive to make such an ostentatious production out of spending so much money on the company’s signature cooler. Cooler! It’s just something to put your Coke and bait in! Yet everything was so exquisite, so heavy, in just the right colors. As I wandered the aisles picking things up and putting them down again, I felt a deep, primal yearning for a Ford F150 and a fly-fishing vest.
Rinse and repeat when I first opened the box for the Yeti Yonder water bottle, which looked more like a sarcophagus hand-carved for the boy king Tutankhamen than a shipping container. The first thing I saw was the gigantic, full-color visage of climbing and skiing luminary Jimmy Chin, with his signature reckless grin, looming over two water bottles that were the color of sea glass before a storm. I picked one up and have simply never put it down. You guessed it. The 25-ounce Yonder is now my emotional support water bottle. I can and will have no other.
Field of Dreams
I have weirdly specific water bottle requirements. I used to have a Nalgene, but it wasn’t insulated, and hot Nalgene water tastes just like taking a long lick off the bottom of a sticky McDonald’s ball pit. I’m also a talky, distracted drinker who has a tendency to pour water straight down the front of my shirt at the gym. (“Put to mouth, then drink,” I repeat to myself, to no avail.) The chug cap is a good compromise between being able to swig water quickly and not drenching myself with a single careless movement.
The Rambler is also dishwasher-safe! While my children use straw-cap bottles for their ease and convenience, I loathe cleaning them. I need specialized brushes to scrub the mold out of all the tiny valves and tubes, and then air-dry them every night. I will undertake this task for my kids, but not for myself. The Rambler is also insulated, and I can fill the whole thing with ice and refill it several times during the day and the ice won’t melt.
Yes, the Rambler is a perfect water bottle, except for one factor—its weight. Even empty, it weighs about 1.4 pounds. That’s fine if you’re in a car, on a boat, or pulling it in a wagon, but carrying that much weight on your back for an extended period is grueling.
That’s where the Yonder comes in. When I flew to CES and had to face the prospect of carrying a backpack from 7 am to midnight almost every day, taking my Rambler was a grim prospect. No, there was only one refillable water bottle I considered; a lightweight bottle whose cap I could wash and dry easily in and next to a hotel sink.