Most of Yeti’s soft-sided coolers and lunch boxes use Yeti’s patented HydroLok Zipper, which is completely leak-proof and specially designed to keep the cold air in your cooler, where it belongs.
For the most part, they’re durable, dependable zippers — but every now and then, things can go wrong and the zipper can break. Unfortunately, it's not as easy to repair as a regular zipper – but it can be done.
So what exactly should you do if the zipper on your Yeti soft cooler breaks?
If the zipper on your Yeti Hopper or DayTrip Lunch Box breaks, the first thing you should do is find out if your cooler is still covered under warranty. Yeti offers a generous three year warranty on all of their soft-sided coolers and lunch boxes that covers defects through normal use.
If your Yeti isn’t covered under warranty for whatever reason, you can try to fix the zipper yourself. Just keep in mind, you may occasionally make the problem worse trying DIY repairs.
If your zipper’s slider has come off track, you can remove the third and fourth teeth from the end of the track and thread the slider back into position. If your slider continues slipping off track through the removed teeth, you may also need to sew a zipper stopper across the tracks using a durable plastic thread.
If your Yeti’s zipper has a loose, rotating tooth that’s causing the slider to snag — run a finger across the tracks to locate the loose tooth, use folded paper on either side of the tooth to hold it snugly in place, then apply a small dab of strong glue around its base.
A broken zipper on a pricey cooler is no fun. But thanks to Yeti’s amazing warranty and awesome customer service, it’s usually no big deal.
Even if your cooler isn’t covered, you can usually fix the zipper to work more then well enough. Or even if you decide to not fix the zipper the cooler will still insulate and work fine, it just won't be waterproof like it previously was.
I've known people to use Yeti coolers with broken zippers for years. After a while you stop noticing it and it just is what it is.
But if you're keen to create a fix for your Yeti zipper then below, I’ll show you how to fix the two most common issues people have with the zipper on their Yeti soft coolers and what you can do to prevent more problems moving forward.
Try A Warranty Claim
The first thing you should do if the zipper on your Yeti breaks is find out if your cooler is still covered under warranty.
Yeti offers one of the most generous warranties of any cooler manufacturer I’ve seen and has some particularly awesome customer service that goes above and beyond to keep their customers happy.
Yeti soft-sided coolers are protected under a three year warranty (sadly two years less than their hard coolers) that covers any defects resulting from normal use. This means that if your zipper breaks Yeti will replace your broken zipper – most likely by completely replacing your cooler.
Even if you’ve lost your receipt (they don’t always ask for one), are unsure when or where you bought your cooler, or are quite sure that the broken zipper is your own fault, it’s still worth contacting Yeti to find out anyway.
What do you really have to lose?
If you’ve gotten the bad news that the broken zipper on your Yeti isn’t covered, all hope isn’t lost yet — keep reading to learn how to repair the two most common problems people have with their Yeti zippers.
How To Repair A Yeti Zipper That’s Come Off Track
By far the most common issue people have with the zipper on their Yeti soft-sided cooler is that the slider has come off track.
While it’s not really possible to fix this problem without doing a bit of damage to the zipper, at the end of the day a zipper that works at 95% is a lot better than one that doesn’t work at all.
NOTE: Doing these repairs and the other repairs mentioned below will likely completely void your warranty
To start, you’ll just need a pair of needle nose pliers and (possibly) a needle and some thread.
- Drag the slider to the “closed” position of the zipper to keep it out of the way.
- On the “open” end of the zipper (near the U-Lock), on the track where the slider has detached, gently pry off the third and fourth teeth from the end using a pair of needle nose pliers.
- Pull the slider back across and carefully thread the track back through the slider using the gap created during step 2.
- Pull the slider back across to the “closed” position. Your zipper should be fully sealed, except where the teeth were removed.
- Double check that all the teeth are aligned properly.
- Slide the zipper back across to the “open” position. Oftentimes the slider will remain on both tracks on its own, but may occasionally pop back off when fully opened.
- If the slider is repeatedly coming off track following the repair, you can sew some plastic thread in a small loop just before that portion of the zipper to act as a stopper.
If your slider has come off of both tracks, you’ll have to essentially follow the same process outlined above but remove two teeth from each track before reattaching the slider.
How To Repair Loose Teeth On A Yeti Zipper
The other issue people frequently have with their Yeti zipper is one or more of the teeth loosening. If certain parts of your zipper are difficult to open, close, or snag frequently, this is likely the problem.
- Locate the loose tooth (or teeth) by running a fingertip across your zipper’s tracks. Any teeth that turn or rotate will need to be repaired.
- Fold two sheets of paper a few times (until they’re thick enough to fill in the gap between the teeth of your zipper) and slide them on either side of the loose tooth to hold it snugly in place throughout the repair.
- Using a needle tip glue applicator, place a small dab of super glue around the base of the loose tooth on both the front and back, careful not to get any between the teeth.
- Let the glue fully dry before removing the paper wedges.
This method can be finicky and depending on the extent of your damage you may or may not be able to fully repair the zipper using this method. Still for the low cost and low effort it's worth a go.
Keep in mind, this method may seem to have worked great at first, but over time the repaired teeth may shake loose again. If so, you’ll need to scrape away any glue and give it another shot.
If despite your best attempts this method fails to work you can remove the broken teeth and leave yourself with a partial zipper that works up until the section where you removed the broken teeth.
After all a partial zipper is better that no zipper at all.
It goes without saying that manually removing zipper teeth from your cooler will void your warranty.
Just Don't Use The Zipper
Even without a working zipper Yeti coolers work great to keep your drinks and food cold for days at a time.
The Yeti Hopper cooler lids can still close and keep most of the cold air in – they just won't be completely waterproof or splash proof.
If you want you can glue or sew on a clip or some sort of strap to help hold the lid down, but most people will find this isn't needed.
The older style Yeti Hopper 20-40 coolers will still stand upright and work great even with a zipper that is permanently open.
You'll likely get slightly less ice retention out of your Yeti cooler when the zipper is broken. But it'll still keep ice for days at a time – especially if you keep it out of the sun.
Sell Your Broken Yeti Cooler
If it's out of warranty and you MUST have a cooler with a working zipper then consider selling your broken Yeti cooler on a marketplace like Craigslist or Facebook.
Someone will still likely pay you a bit of coin for a Yeti cooler with a broken zipper.
They might be able to repair it themselves or will be happy with a cheaper Yeti – even if it's partially broken.
Then you can use the money towards a new Yeti cooler with a working zipper.
Maintain Your Zipper To Prevent Damage
Most issues people have with their Yeti’s zippers are the result of not keeping up with proper maintenance.
To prevent problems going forward, regularly clean and lubricate your Yeti’s HydroLok Zipper.
- After use, wipe away any dirt or debris from the zipper using a damp cloth.
- Leave your zipper open until it’s completely dry.
- Once dry, store your cooler with the zipper fully closed.
- Lubricate your Yeti zipper regularly, particularly when it starts to feel stiff.
This zipper lubricant wax is non-toxic and silicone-free formula that lubricates and protects nylon, plastic and metal zippers against sand, salt, chlorine, rust and corrosion for years of smooth zipping.
Great for soft coolers, wetsuits, backpacks and tents.