Yeti coolers was launched back in 2006 by brothers Roy and Ryan Seiders, however the coolers didn't look like they did today.
Yeti Coolers originally launched with a line of coolers they called the “Sherpa”. They sold these until they released the Tundra series of coolers which is still the main coolers that Yeti are known for today.
I wanted to take a moment to go back in time at the beginning of this now massive company. I want to share what Yeti coolers originally looked like and the features they had so you can see how the company started out.
I don't want the story of Yeti's beginning to be lost to time so this is my little part of preserving this interesting history of a company that was started in a shed and grew to be worth billions.
Original Yeti Coolers in 2006
I couldn't find any articles or many details about Yeti coolers from 2006 when they started.
As you can imagine the company was basically unknown in the beginning so there were no major press releases about their products. It was just 2 brothers, a bunch of coolers and a website.
I used the Way Back Machine to look at their website from 2006 and see what the original coolers looked like.
Yeti Sherpa Coolers 2006
Yeti's original brand of cooler was the Yeti Sherpa cooler which was sold from 2006-2008 before it was retired and replaced by the Tundra series of coolers.
It is likely that these coolers weren't designed by Roy and Ryan Seiders but were probably a white-labeled cooler based on another companies design.
Between 2002-2006 Roy Seiders ran a company selling custom boats, but he also imported and sold roto-molded coolers made by a Taiwan manufacturer.
The Yeti Sherpa coolers were roto-molded but lacked some of the durability of the newer Tundra coolers.
Instead of the T-Rex rubber latches they have plastic turn lock latches. The side handles are also made of plastic, not the durable and strong nylon rope handles they have today.
Yeti Sherpa were sold in the following sizes and for the following prices (according to the WebArchive):
- 25-Quart – $119.99
- 50-Quart – $179.99
- 70-Quart – $209.99
- 80-Quart – $224.99
- 100-Quart – $259.99
- 120-Quart – $279.99
- 145-Quart – $319.99
The Yeti website originally talked about the following features of the Sherpa cooler:
- High-Impact Seamless Construction
- Polyurethane Insulated
- Marine Quality Fittings
- Food Grade Materials
- O-Ring Sealing Gasket
- Dry Ice Compatible
- Positive Lid Latching System
- Non-Slip, Non-Marking Neoprene Feet
- Integrated Heavy-Duty Hinges and Handles
- Guaranteed Leak-Proof Drain Plug
- Dry-Goods Rack
Yeti Fiberglass Coolers 2006
There isn't a great deal of details about the Yeti fiberglass coolers. I presume they aren't as strong and durable as the Yeti coolers we know today but they did feature the same polyurethane insulation that Yeti coolers today have.
Yeti Fiberglass coolers were sold in the following sizes and for the following prices (according to the WebArchive):
- 60-Quart – $299.99
- 70-Quart – $349.99
- 80-Quart – $399.99
- 105-Quart – $449.99
- 125-Quart – $499.99
- 155-Quart – $549.99
- 200-Quart – $599.99
- 330-Quart – $899.99
Yeti Lunch-Mate Coolers 2006
The Yeti Lunch-Mate was the smallest cooler Yeti sold and was replaced by the Yeti Roadie in 2008/2009.
The Lunch mate was 16-Quart in capacity and sold for $69.99.
It features a similar metal handle to the Roadie cooler (but with no padded grip) and interestingly there is no latch at all on this cooler to keep the lid down but rather the handle when lifted up clicks into place holding the lid down.
Yeti Combo Cooler 2006
The Yeti Combo cooler was a combination roto-molded cooler and drink dispenser.
The combo-cooler was sold in 2 sizes:
- 6-Gallon – $99.99
- 13-Gallon – $159.99
They got rid of this cooler and didn't bring out another combination cooler until the launch of the Yeti Silo in 2018. Read my Yeti Silo review.
Can You Still Buy Original Yeti Coolers?
I would love to own an original Yeti cooler just so I could own a part of this history and share it on this website or on my YouTube channel.
Unfortunately searches for Yeti Sherpa or even Vintage Yeti Coolers on both Ebay and Amazon show no results.
Remember the company was tiny back then and it was likely only a few thousand of these coolers were ever sold before they were discontinued.
So good luck finding one to buy.
Even if you could they would likely be super rare and thus super expensive.
Who Owns The First Prototype Yeti Tundra Cooler?
Flip Pallot was a friend and inspirational figure to Roy and Ryan Seider who founded Yeti coolers.
Flip was the first ambassador for the brand and apparently received the first prototype cooler from the brothers.
The story goes is that they would make new products and give them to Flip to get his feedback and see if he liked it. Eventually they formed a business relationship and he became an ambassador for the brand.
He still owns the first prototype of the Yeti Tundra to this day, making that cooler over 12 years old.