Dry Ice (or frozen carbon dioxide) turns into gas as it heats up. This can build up a lot of pressure over time.
But will dry ice cause a Yeti cooler to explode? And if so how can you keep dry ice in your Yeti cooler and avoid having it explode, warp or break when using dry ice.
No, dry ice is highly unlikely to make a Yeti cooler explode. Yeti coolers aren't 100% airtight so the gas can escape slowly. If lots of pressure is built up it will push up the lid slightly allowing more gas out past the rubber gasket.
Still, when using dry ice in a Yeti cooler it's a good idea to either unscrew the drainage cap slightly so excess gas can escape or don't engage the rubber latches, allowing the gas to escape through the lid.
Why Yeti Coolers Won't Explode From Dry Ice
Looking at a Yeti cooler with it's thick rubber latches that pull the lid down and it's freezer grade gasket you can be excused for thinking it's 100% leakproof and airtight.
However, it's not.
Firstly, the rubber gasket on Yeti coolers doesn't go all the way around and has a small gap at the back of the cooler. On my Yeti they connected this together with tape but there is still an obvious gap where air can escape.
Secondly, while the rubber latches pulls down on the lid of the Yeti they don't pull down hard enough to create a perfectly airtight seal under pressure.
While little to no air is likely to escape when you've just got ice in the cooler if a significant amount of pressure builds up inside the cooler then it will be able to escape slowly out through both the gap in the gasket as well as where the gasket connects with the body of the cooler.
What Do Yeti Say About Dry Ice Exploding Their Coolers?
I wanted to have a look through and see if Yeti themselves comments about their coolers exploding due to dry ice and what exactly makes their cooler dry ice compatible.
While I couldn't find any details on their website this Reddit user claims to have received this response from Yeti about using dry ice in their coolers.
The YETI is dry ice compatible because of the type of plastic used in the construction of the cooler. The polyethylene plastic is strong enough to withstand the super cold temperatures of the dry ice. As for pressure, the YETI cooler does not have an air-tight seal so as the gas sublimates it is able to slowly escape out of the lid. No worries about combustion!
So as you can see even Yeti themselves say you can't explode a Yeti cooler using dry ice.
Has Anyone Ever Made a Yeti Cooler Explode With Dry Ice?
I searched high and low to find a video, a report, a comment on a forum, anything to indicate that someone at one time blew up their Yeti with dry ice.
Heck, even to find someone blowing up any kind of cooler with dry ice and I couldn't find anything.
I've seen people blow up plastic bottles with dry ice but never anything as large as a cooler.
The only thing I've seen that has been able to make a Yeti cooler explode is when people started shooting their Yeti coolers back during the NRA debacle.
Below you can see a video of a Yeti cooler exploding when shot with a sniper rifle.
How To Stop a Yeti Exploding When Using Dry Ice
While the words from a Yeti customer service rep might ease your mind a little you can still never be too safe.
This is why when using dry ice in a Yeti cooler it's a good idea to take some precautions to ensure that pressure doesn't build up and your Yeti cooler is never at risk of exploding.
Open The Draining Plug Slightly
Yeti drainage plugs are designed in such a way that you can partially unscrew them and it allows air (or water) out of the cooler without you having to take the entire drainage cap off.
By unscrewing the drainage plug slightly gas has an easy way to escape.
Don't Engage The Rubber Latches
The T-Rex rubber latches on a Yeti cooler are designed to hold down the lid and apply pressure on the rubber gasket making it harder for air to get in or out of the cooler.
If you don't want to open the drainage plug when you're using dry ice then another alternative is the simply leave the rubber latches open.
Because there is no downward pressure on the gasket it definitely isn't airtight and the gas can easily escape as pressure builds up.
Worst case scenario if a bit of pressure does build up the lid will simply pop open a little bit allowing the gas to escape.
Not nearly as exciting as a dry ice Yeti explosion and a hell of a lot less dangerous.
Can I Put Dry Ice In My Yeti?
Yes you can. Yeti coolers are dry ice compatible. The plastic is thick and durable enough that it won't become brittle and break from the extremely cold temperature of the dry ice.
You do need to be careful when using dry ice in a Yeti cooler though.
Dry ice can burn your skin so keep kids away from the cooler and use gloves or some sort of protection when handling the dry ice.
Also when transporting a Yeti cooler with dry ice in it make sure to leave your windows open so you have lots of ventilation.
Otherwise the carbon dioxide gas can fill up your car which can be dangerous and in very rare cases people have died from dry ice. However, this is suuuuper uncommon and just ventilating your car will protect you.
If you're looking for a good cooler for dry ice then check out my article on the best coolers for dry ice or you can see the latest prices of Yeti coolers by clicking the link below: