Sunday, March 26, 2023


Easy DIY Yeti-type cooler: Make your ice LAST!

By Cheri Sicard
Tired of having to replace cooler ice every day while on camping trips? In the video below, Steve Wallis shows you how you can easily make a DIY “Yeti”-type cooler. OK, it will not be the Yeti brand, but his DIY version functions similarly for a LOT less money (larger Yeti coolers cost upwards of $1,000!).

Steve starts with an ordinary Coleman cooler and a larger Rubbermaid plastic storage bin.

Many online DIY Yeti cooler instructions involve applying foam inside the storage bin and cooler. Steve rightly thought this would be unhygienic once you get foods, especially meats, and water floating around in there. YUCK.

Instead, using a regular cooler with extra insulation around the OUTSIDE gave him a better and easier-to-clean version.

In the bottom of the bin, four foam insulation blocks elevate the inner cooler off the ground.  He then used spray foam and set the cooler into the storage bin with hefty insulation all around.

Once the blocks were in place, Steve started filling the bin with spray foam insulation, and then he centered the ordinary cooler onto this. As the foam continues to expand, putting a weight in the bottom of the cooler can help.

He then sprayed foam around the sides before drilling holes in the original cooler’s hollow lid and filling that with spray foam too. He also insulated the lid of the Rubbermaid bin with a sheet of foam for good measure.

He then shaved off the excess foam and sealed everything with RV roof coating.

Steve then tested it by filling his DIY “Yeti”-style cooler and an ordinary cooler with equal amounts of ice and beer. Spoiler alert, the modified version worked better. Check out the video to find out how much better and what to expect if you make your own DIY-modified super cooler.



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1 month ago

This is a particularly clever hack. I can’t wait to ditch my too small-yeti for this much, much better version. Thanks too to the commenter who mentioned the modification version as anti-theft. In addition to not having to replace an uber expensive Yeti, I’m guessing my charcuterie and wine will be less theft-worthy as well.

1 month ago

I freeze my own block ice . I find a plastic container that just fits in my 150 qt Sams club 7 day rated cooler as a mold . Make several blocks . Generally lasts 9-14 days

Cheri Sicard
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

That is an excellent tip. I do that too. Block ice lasts so much longer. So imagine how long it would last if you put it in a super cooler like this.

Glenn A
1 month ago

Probably a lower chance of theft when it looks like a storage bin rather than a Yeti.

1 month ago

One thing not mentioned is the type of spray foam used. The regular foam sold by most places expands with a lot of pressure. It will bulge the outside container as it cures.
Minimally expanding foam, the type used for windows and door frames, would be a better choice.
My son-in-law used the expanding foam when he replaced an out side door.
After it cured, the frame was pushing against the edges of the door and it did not want to open.

1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

You are correct on the expansion issue and moreover, 100% correct on the type of foam chosen. The lower density foams are almost all open cell foams which means they will absorb water like a sponge versus closed cell foams. This may be good for camping but probably a bad idea if you are thinking about using it for boating. I would estimate that 7 in 10 attempts at this style of backyard Yeti solution will result in destroyed coolers, bins and 10 cans of foam for a loss of $150.00 but success will be truly successful and way better than gluing foam board on the inside if your cooler. Plan on 2 tries.

Scott R. Ellis
1 month ago

Nicely done. There are also any number of Yeti knock-offs available now. They’re not Yetis (arguably a get-what-you-pay for item, really pricey but also an extremely durable and high-performing product), but they’re vastly better than a cheapo Coleman from Walmart.

Bob p
1 month ago

The last time I looked a bag of ice was quite a bit cheaper than several cans of expanding foam. It’s a good idea but…

Scott R. Ellis
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

How many years of service do you get from one bag of ice? 😀

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