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. A 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.