[Feature] The Origin Story of YETI Coolers

From the Music Issue Release Party. Photo: Sascha Mazzucco

In celebrating the launch of the YETI x Whalebone Pop-Up Shop in Montauk this weekend, we figured it might make a whole lotta sense to share their backstory with you. It’s a good one, and we think you’ll find that, not only are their origins tried and true, but their story serves as a nice reminder that good things more often come from first-hand experience and genuine places than anywhere else. We can dig that.

Of course, if reading interesting backstories on awesome companies isn’t your fancy, you can just jump down to the bottom of this page for all the details you’ll need to swing by the YETI x Whalebone Pop-Up Store in Montauk this weekend. Will be well worth dropping by.

Growing up, my brother and I always had a passion for the outdoors. Hunting. Fishing. Traveling to outdoor industry trade shows with our teacher-turned-entrepreneur father. We were raised with an appreciation for wild game, unfamiliar territory, and high-quality gear.

But the coolers that were out there 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. And that frustration led us to a solution.

We decided early on that product innovation would come from necessity and firsthand experience—not from market research and data analysis.

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.

We decided early on that product innovation would come from necessity and firsthand experience—not from market research and data analysis. And we’d never sacrifice quality for a few extra bucks. Because having your cooler’s lid cave in when using it as a casting platform should never be part of anyone’s fishing trip.

We’re so glad that we weren’t the only ones looking for a YETI. Today it is the cooler of choice for outdoor enthusiasts, pros, tailgaters, and backyard barbecue kings. And that still gets us fired up. Ultimately, life is about having a good time doing what you love. And for us, that’s being outdoors hunting whitetail, catching a tarpon on the fly, and spending time with our families and buddies. We’re wild at heart. So our coolers couldn’t be anything less.

— Roy and Ryan Seiders, Founders of YETI Coolers

So if you happen to be within striking distance of zip code 11954, there will be a generous amount of limited-edition Whalebone Ramblers, Tumblers, Colsters and other YETI products to help you ditch your single-use plastics and join in on #NOPLASTICMTK. Time, place and everything else you need to know, below.

The limited-edition Yeti x Whalebone Rambler. Photo: Mallory Turner

Where: 478 W. Lake Dr. Montauk, NY | Upstairs at the Whalebone Media Office

When: Two weekends only

  • AUGUST 4, 5 & 6
  • AUGUST 11, 12 & 13

Hours: 11 AM – 6 PM