The brand that built its reputation on keeping cool in extreme heat is branching out, while still maintaining its reputation for supreme burliness.
The fall 2017 product launch at YETI’s flagship store this week in Austin, Texas, marked the brand's entry into new categories, as well as an expansion of sizes, styles and accessories.
The new products reflect a spectrum of intended use and price. The Panga Submersible Duffel is a more mission-specific drybag built for river runs and remote hunts, while the LoadOut Bucket is YETI’s engineered take on the everyday utility piece.
The puncture-resistant nylon Panga duffel has a chunky Hydrolok Zipper and U-Dock to create a waterproof seal, like that found on its soft-sided coolers. The duffel, which come in 50-, 75- and 100-liter sizes and will retail from $300 to $400, can be worn as a backpack and has several quick-grab handles.
Browse the new YETI LoadOut collection
The LoadOut Bucket is intentionally overbuilt to withstand the abuse often doled out on hardware store paint buckets, and has a wide-grip handle, a slip-resistant bottom, and tie-down slots for secured storage. Accessories for the bucket include a watertight lid, an interior caddy, and an exterior gear belt for stashing tools or shotgun shells. The 5.5-pound bucket retails for $40 and comes in YETI’s signature colors of white, charcoal, tan and seafoam. The gear belt, lid, and caddy retail for $40, $30, and $20, respectively.
These new products were born in the brand's Innovation Center, a non-descript 20,000 square-foot facility where designers and engineers concept and stress-test gear.
In the case of the Panga, Alex Baires, category manager of soft-sided products, said they heard customers and ambassadors were using the Hopper cooler as drybags, which wasn't quite the intended use. "We did think of it from the ground up," he said. "We spent a lot of time on the carry system just to make sure it was super simple but very functional."
The Hopper Flip 8 holds a six-pack and ice. And there’s now a handled coffee mug version of the Rambler, as well as a Chug Cap, which creates a smaller drinking mouth inside the wide-mouthed Rambler models.
As for the future of YETI, and the brand moving beyond insulated wares, Berias deferred. "We don't want to get into a category just to build something that somebody else is doing extremely well," he said. "We're interested in seeing where there is opportunity for us to come in and be best-in-class because there’s a gap in what others are doing."
The new products will be available for stores in late summer and early fall 2017.