Growing up, Roy Seiders and his brother Ryan always had a passion for the outdoors.
“Hunting, fishing, traveling to outdoor industry trade shows with our teacher-turned-entrepreneur-father,” recalls Roy. “We were raised with an appreciation for wild game, unfamiliar territory, and high-quality gear.”
Roy, who is four years Ryan’s senior, remembers how their outdoors-loving high school teacher father introduced them to entrepreneurship early in life. A class project father Roger, an industrial arts teacher, designed for his students led to the creation of a glue to fix broken fishing rods. That grew into a business.
Following university – Ryan, Texas A&M in 1996; and Roy, Texas Tech in 2000 – the Seiders started their own ventures. Both based their businesses on ideas their father helped nurture: Ryan started a custom-fishing-rod business while Roy began a customized aluminum boat business.
Roy’s boat design incorporated three coolers integral to the vessel as seats and a casting platform. Born out of frustration with coolers that caved in when you stood on them, gave up on cold-holding when the weather got warm, or made it easy for bears to break into, they eventually gave up on their personal businesses and focused on creating a never-before-seen cooler that exceled in durability, extended ice retention, and weather resistance.
“The coolers available at the time just weren’t up to our outdoor adventures – the handles would break, the latches would snap off, and the lids would cave in. Not only was it a hassle to replace our coolers after each season, but also these cheaply built, ordinary ice chests were limiting our good times,” adds Ryan. “And that frustration led us to a solution.”
“In 2006, we founded Yeti Coolers with a simple mission: build the cooler we’d use every day if it existed. One that was built for the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than for the mass-discount retailers. One that could take the abuse we knew we’d put it through out in the field and on the water. One that simply wouldn’t break,” says Roy. “We decided early on that product innovation would come from necessity and firsthand experience – not from market research and data analysis. Today, Yeti products perform when it matters most – whether that be an excursion into the remote Alaskan wilderness, chasing redfish on the Gulf coast, or just getting together with friends in the backyard.”
The cornerstone of the Yeti line remains its Tundra hard coolers. Ranging in size from a small 35-quart design for day trips to a US$1,500, 350-quart behemoth for lengthy excursions on land or water.
Rotational-molded construction makes a Yeti virtually indestructible. In fact, with locks in the integrated padlock ports on the corners of each Yeti Tundra, these coolers are certified bear-proof by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.
“A very well-designed product,” said mechanical engineer Scott Haseman. “This is the Ferrari of coolers.”
Yeti’s lid latches are the same design and material as those used on ATVs so they are strong enough to take a pounding. A full-length integrated hinge system will not fail.
A Yeti’s two-inch thick walls are filled with premium polyurethane insulation – standard cooler walls are only a half-inch thick. In the lid, Yeti goes even further with a solid three-inch insulated top that doubles as a great casting platform or comfortable seat by the fire at the end of a long day. In a contest at Carolina Sporting Arms, a Yeti Tundra held ice for 248 hours – that’s more than 10 days.