Yeti Camino Carryall Review: Totes Your Damp, Smelly Stuff
While many companies have made it their raison d’etre to turn ordinary outdoor gear into coveted status symbols, few have done with as much success as Austin, Texas-based Yeti.
The contrast between the plain, utilitarian objects and the extensive Yeti re-engineering of them is so extreme that it almost verges on parody. It’s hard to imagine paying $350 for a cooler when my Igloo has lasted for almost fifteen years. Yeti also sells a high-end bucket. Now, listen, I have many buckets. One of them holds dog poop. If I have to replace one, which I rarely have to do, they usually cost under $5.
So when Yeti sent me their new 35-liter Camino Carryall, I was ready to laugh. But that was before I tried it. I’ve had it for over two weeks and I use it almost every day. Whether I’m going to the gym or picking damp, muddy dog towels out of the car, I can use the bag, hose it off, turn around and take it to the grocery store. It’s a bag I never knew I wanted—until Yeti made it.
With 35 liters of space, the Camino Carryall has an awesome amount of carrying capacity. It is made from Yeti’s Thickskin, a laminated, high-density nylon which is puncture- and abrasion-resistant, and has a very nice textured matte finish. The bag has a molded EVA bottom so that it can stand up on its own.
The fabric is tough and waterproof, but still flexible enough for me to squish it into lockers or under car seats. A few weeks of being kicked around has left no mark on it. I can wipe it off and it looks good enough for me to bring as a diaper bag to brunch (with two kids under three, no one asks why you’re bringing a 35-liter bag to brunch).
It’s particularly useful as a gear bag. Like most climbers, I carried my shoes, rope, harness, and chalk bag in a simple backpack. But the bag is difficult to clean, so I very rarely (okay, never) clean it. Over time, it’s acquired a fine patina made up of equal parts chalk, dirt, and mystery grime. Items of sweaty clothing occasionally vanish at the bottom.
If you don’t have to haul gear for long distances, it’s much easier and more hygienic to throw things into a washable, open-mouth tote that you can shake out at the end of your Hour of Power. The Camino fits the bill, and even has an interior zip pocket that’s perfect for wallets and phones.
The bag also has the requisite MOLLE webbing on the outside, which is useful for clipping on bottle openers or other accessories. The reinforced grab handles have stiff crossbars for more stability when carrying heavy loads.
Unlike a soft cooler tote, this bag does not zip shut. It does, however, have a small metal G-clip so that you can fasten the opening.
All Creatures Great and Small (And Their Bodily Fluids)
We’ve suggested using the Yeti soft-sided cooler as a tote before. The cooler tote does have a zipper and insulated sides. But $350 is an appalling price to pay for a tote bag, even by Yeti’s standards. I’d be much more inclined to fill the Camino full of ice if I really wanted an item to serve double duty.
I finally became resigned to the bag’s value when I had to return ten half-gallon glass milk bottles to the store. I was rummaging around my closet for the most efficient solution—A backpack? A plastic bin?—when my eye fell on the Carryall. I tossed them all in and headed out to the car. The bottles fit, tucked neatly under my arm.
As summer camping season approaches, and the number of gross, damp things that my kids and dogs will get into increases exponentially, I anticipate that the bag would become even more useful.
And forget The Ring—if you want a horror story, try leaving a leaky tumbler full of milk in a diaper bag for four days. Dog rolled in a dead seal at the beach, and all you have to clean off the gore is a flimsy packet of wet wipes? Toddler had a potty accident while out hiking? Just chuck everything into the Carryall, throw the bag in the trunk, and deal with it later.
At slightly over 18 inches tall and 14 inches wide, it’s a little too big to fit under an airline seat, and in any case, the lack of a zip top means that your items will spill out all over the place. But its soft sides would make it ideal for road trips, stowed behind a car seat.
The Price Is Not Right
Of course, you probably already have a ton of other bags, bins, baskets, and, yes, buckets that already serve any purpose that the Carryall might fulfill. “Are you using a $150 bag for the gym?” a friend asked when she met me for a workout. “How is it? Is it holding your stuff really well?”
If you want to get sticky about it, you could buy yourself a rolltop dry bag, a tote bag, a Rubbermaid bin, a milk crate, and a few garbage bags to stick here and there, and still come out less than the price of one Yeti Carryall.
But price considerations aside, even I can’t deny the Camino Carryall’s utility or appeal. If you have dogs or kids, or if your gear closet is also full of half-empty, dirty duffels, crates, and plastic bins, the Camino Carryall would be a very solid addition to your bag arsenal. But for heaven’s sake, leave the lifestyle bucket be.