Yeti coolers are great to have on vacation and camping trips away but if you’re flying to your destination, you might wonder if you can bring your Yeti as checked baggage or even bring it in the cabin with you.
Yeti coolers are TSA approved as long as they don’t have any liquid or melting ice in them. Your only issue when flying with a Yeti would be the size and weight because the larger Yetis may be bigger than your baggage weight allowance.
If your Yeti is packed with frozen food, it might be too heavy so make sure to weigh it before flying so you don't incur extra charges by your airline.
Smaller Yeti coolers like the Yeti DayTrip or the Yeti Hopper Flip are perfectly fine to take on flights as carryon luggage and can be a great way to keep food and snacks cold and fresh while on a long haul flight.
In fact, I would say that they Yeti DayTrip is the best cooler for air travel and I've taken it with me on flights many times without issue.
Flying with a Yeti cooler is completely doable but you should follow some tips to ensure it isn’t confiscated by TSA and you don’t have to pay for oversized baggage.
Can You Fly With Yeti Coolers?
You can fly with Yeti coolers but you’ll need to check with your airline if it’s small or light enough to check in or bring in the cabin with you. Your Yeti won’t pass TSA security if it has liquid or melting ice in it.
Yeti coolers can be checked in and go into the luggage compartment or they can be taken as carry on luggage depending on their size and weight.
A Yeti Hopper Flip for example is small enough to fit in overhead lockers on your airplane. However, a Yeti Tundra 45 is much too large and heavy to fit as carry on luggage and must be checked in with other larger suitcases.
According to the TSA website, you can bring empty coolers through security or check them in. But most people will bring Yeti coolers with them full of other items like frozen food, medicine or just fill them with other items so that no space is wasted.
You just need to be mindful that the cooler is not overweight for your luggage allowance as this can lead to the airline charging you large costs for flying with your cooler.
The TSA also states that you can even bring food in your Yeti, as long as it’s completely frozen, packed with ice and there’s no moisture in the cooler. This means that you can’t bring drinks (unless you freeze them) but you can bring your other meat, vegetables and fish.
You do need to be careful with ice packs or frozen drinks you take with you inside your Yeti cooler. You can only bring ice packs on an airplane if they are completely frozen and don't contain over 100 mL (3.4 oz) of liquid.
If you’re worried about the food in your cooler getting stolen in transit (it can happen), you’ll need to use a TSA-approved padlock if you have a Tundra. Unfortunately, other Yetis can’t be locked.
Yeti coolers stay cold for several days and your ice melting shouldn’t be an issue. However, consider using large ice packs (which melt slower) to be on the safe side, and avoid continuously opening and closing the cooler.
For info, the Yeti Tundra 65 is usually the largest cooler most airlines allow folks to check in but it’s worth checking with your airline about size and weight restrictions before going to the airport. Alternatively, check what their rates are for oversized baggage.
Instead of weighing and measuring your Yeti cooler, check out this useful guide with Yeti cooler dimensions.
How To Protect a Checked Yeti Cooler
If you’ve decided to check your Yeti cooler in as luggage, you’ll probably want to make sure it doesn’t get damaged when it gets thrown onto the conveyer belt.
Yetis are pretty durable and don’t scratch easily. However, the corners may get a little scratched during transit. To protect your checked Yeti cooler from damage, consider wrapping it in protective packaging. This will also deter people from opening the cooler, keeping your contents inside safe.
If it doesn’t make the cooler too big to be checked in, wrap your Yeti in a layer of bubble wrap and then tape it up tightly with duct tape.
If bubble wrap isn’t an option, get a large roll of cling wrap and wrap it tightly around the cooler so you have several layers.