Spy Finds is a weekly series that unveils the coolest, under-the-radar products that you haven’t heard of until now. Each product is curated by our editors who want to help you discover cool finds you didn’t know you needed.
There are few brands that actually live up to their name better than YETI, which is why the young brand has such loyal customers. YETI takes well-worn classics and puts an entirely new spin on them, completely refreshing them in the process. Take their famous coolers for example; as a product, coolers have been around for decades. You typically know what you’re getting yourself into when you purchase one, so often it just comes down to finding a brand you like best. YETI, however, introduced premium insulation to keep your goods cold for days, even in direct sunlight. Oh, and the coolers are literally bear-proof.
So, having mastered the art of the high-end cooler, it makes sense for YETI to turn their gaze elsewhere. The outdoor market is a natural next step for the brand, and which is why I was excited to test out YETI’s latest products — folding outdoor chairs. (Sure, YETI dog bowls and dog beds are fun too, but camp chairs seem like a more natural fit for the company). YETI sent me the newly released Hondo Base Camp Chair and Trailhead Chair, and after trying them out in the wild, I don’t have anything negative to report.
The Trailhead Camp Chair and Hondo Base Camp Chair mark YETI’s foray into the wider outdoor market. The brand is taking a similar approach as they have with coolers. The new YETI camping chairs and beach chairs are supposed to look and function better than the cheap options you’re used to. However, that also means they cost more, too. You typically know what you’re in for when you purchase a YETI product, and the same is true with these chairs.
To justify the higher price tag, YETI has upgraded the chairs with all sorts of clever design features. Take the Trailhead Chair for example. The standard bag chair gets upgraded with a special fabric (known as FlexGird) that makes it highly durable yet still lightweight. Special tensioners on the arms and back of the chair lock the chair into place in order to make sure the FlexGrid is fully optimized and won’t fall apart. Plus, the bag itself has backpack-like shoulder straps to make it even easier to lug around. And it weighs a little over 13 pounds, making it easy to tote from a soccer game to a tailgate with ease.
Meanwhile, the Hondo ensures that the flimsy webbed-backing of beloved beach chairs won’t rip or fall apart thanks to more FlexGird tech. You won’t miss out on the breeze since the webbing is highly breathable on top of being extra comfortable. The frame of the chair is a dual-layer of aluminum, which means you can firmly plant the chair in the sand without worrying about a beach breeze blowing it away from you while you take a dip. And while it doesn’t include a handy carrying bag, the aluminum bar at the bottom of the chair allows you to sling it over your shoulder for easy carrying.
While the chairs are lightweight and breathable, they feel durable and secure when you sit in them, while also letting you know it would be rather difficult to tear them up. That’s especially appreciated with the Hondo, as I typically have to go easy on beach chairs out of fear of ripping them to shreds. In comparison, YETI’s Hondo Beach Chair is rugged without looking it and built to last. Sure, that drives up the price quite a bit — both chairs are $300 apiece — but that’s not uncommon for YETI products. They’re meant to invest in now and last for a long, long time. (They also make great gifts.)
Sure, not everyone is going to be in the market for a $300 recreational chair. But if you are, YETI continues to justify its higher prices with higher quality. If these chairs represent the first of many steps into the outdoor market, then we’re looking forward to the brand’s next release.