Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: $40 Utility bucket?

Yeti is a master marketer.

Convincing hordes of suburban dwelling office workers (pot, kettle, black) that a $450 cooler that will keep their beers marginally colder at Coachella is absolutely needed.

And to show how important it is that ice does not melt (Ack! The humanity! Use frozen water bottles instead. Even melted a bit, they still work!) manly men are shown riding horseback with the coolers,  doing manly things on fishing boats, and wrestling alligators. (The last one I made up. I think.)

It is something out of a 1960s Marlboro commercial minus nasty cancer-causing side effects.

Picture him fishing out an Izze soda instead!

But if you are like most suburban dwellers who have the $450 cooler to make your cold drinks marginally cooler, I doubt you are hanging out on commercial fishing boats too often.

Which brings up the latest marketing gimmick from this company: A $40 utility bucket.  Not including a $30 lid…so actually $70??? Whuh?

Who the heck is the target market for this bucket????

Inspired by the elbow grease of our grandfathers, The LoadOut™ Bucket is the YETI solution to the tried-and-true plastic hauler loyal to garages, docks, and ranches.

OK. Look, my grandfather had a metal utility bucket or two.  And a collection of coffee cans with nuts, bolts, and washers in them.

Yes. This specific brand. Similar to this can. I am sure many people of my age and background have similar memories of their grandfathers.

I doubt he’d ever buy a $70 utility bucket.

And when I do go to the authentic fishing village of Galilee in Rhode Island, I am by the docks.

Not pictured: $70 five-gallon utility buckets.

I smell the salt air, see the fishing boats, and I do see many, many, many food grade white plastic buckets of the five-gallon size. And you know where they come from? The restaurants or similar that buy their seafood. If you have worked in a commercial kitchen at all, you know the name Sysco and are familiar with this bucket.

From Webber Restaraunt supply

These buckets are either free from when the supplies they contain are gone or pretty damn cheap.

So, again, who buys these buckets?

The same people buying $35 backpacking wallets I assume.

I am sure some outdoor gear blog will tell you how wonderful these $70 total utility buckets are for your everyday use.  And how you absolutely need oneWait for it..looking…one moment…YEP. 

And if you don’t need a food grade bucket, this one is $5 at your local hardware store. You can even take it to Coachella! From Google Image Search


Outdoor gear is an industry like any other. People are trying to convince you to purchase crap you don’t need. I learned that fact a couple of years ago.

But a $70 plastic utility bucket and one shilled by an outdoor gear blog at that?

Well, that’s a new Whiskey Tango Foxtrot for me…

EDIT: From a reader…

On a side note for those who don’t want to try and scrub out the pickle smells from the “free restaurant” buckets here’s a TIP: Find someone with a cat [or many!]: Litter buckets are exceptionally sturdy [as they are designed to hold more than 40 lbs.] and as a BONUS they are food grade! They have sealing, waterproof [some with o-rings too] lids and are rated PP5 or better. 🙂

Yep..so you can get the same type of damn bucket with kitty litter  😉





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My $6 Load Out bucket. $3 bucket.plus $3 sticker. This is one epic bucket… @shiti_coolers @thegearjunkie @mallorydangerpaige

A post shared by Paul Mags (@pmagsco) on


24 Replies to “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: $40 Utility bucket?”

  1. I just read the comments from the “Epic Bucket Review” and they were pretty harsh and came a similar conclusion.

    I’m no stranger to buying a trinket or 2 that I don’t need, but I wonder how many of these they can actually sell.?

  2. I was totally having fun laughing at other people, and then you made fun of my wallet! To be fair, any good wallet is usually at least $25, and I was looking for a thin one to use all the time, not just for backpacking. Damn it. =D

  3. What blows my mind is that people get paid to write crap “reviews” of this kind of garbage like in that GJ article. Companies like this are the first to go down when the recession comes

    1. They probably don’t get paid much, but about 80% of their “articles” are basically just pasting the advertising blurb with some stock photos and calling it a day.

      I have them on feedly feed, and I view them as amusement more than anything else. Making gear decisions based on gearjunkie reviews is a terribad idea.

  4. Insanity. I tend to think I have a good sense of humor but this product just makes my blood boil. The worst part is that people will buy it and think they made a good decision.

  5. But those $40 buckets come in pretty colors, with a nice brand name logo on them! There evidently is a market for that sort of thing. I guess. . . . Long ago, in my misspent youth, in the dark ages of the middle of the last century, this used to be called “conspicuous consumption.” There’s probably a fancier term now.

  6. I will confess to buying a yeti cooler many years ago when I was working at a sporting goods store seasonally. I got an employee discount and a clearance coupon and clocked out for about 150 bucks.

    At 150 bucks, it’s overpriced, and f*cking heavy, but I bought it with the intent of mounting it in a kitchen galley of a teardrop trailer and for that I don’t regret it really. Though if I did it over again I’d buy something else.

    1. I always thought if I absolutely needed a cooler for all conditions beyond 5-day camping trips, I’d get a boat cooler. It is what people use where I grew up. And for days at a time. About $100 or so. They don’t need to be shown in ads being used by commercial fishermen. They ARE used by commercial fisherman. In fact, if you zoom into the Rhode Island photo, I suspect the cooler is this one or similar: https://www.igloocoolers.com/00044687-marine-ultra-94-white I would not need something that big so a step or two down would be fine. 🙂
      The boat was docked next to the restaurant where two of us ate an amazing (and inexpensive) seafood dinner.

  7. Lowes sells good grade buckets for about$5 if you want a lid and there is no food smell to worry about.

    This is looks like it should be April fools day

  8. Doesn’t everyone need a $450 cooler that weighs more empty than most others do full? Or a $40 bucket that does nothing but be a bucket.
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a much nicer way to say it. Gonna have to use that from now on.

  9. I just got several Wally World $2.99 plastic 5 gallon pails and they have steel bails. I won’t buy a bucket with a plastic bail.

  10. You guys crack me up! I have spent more than that on beer when camping. lol. You must be broke if it outrages you that someone spent $40 on something they don’t need. Everyone on here does it all the time, and I would love to have one of these buckets.

    1. Well, I’m not broke because two years ago, I knew better than to buy a $40 utility bucket (EDIT: $70 actually, lid not included!) when I can get the same thing with kitty litter. Now, if I was paid to shill for it (And the point of my artilce) I wouldn’t be broke, either.

      1. Lol $40 will break you? Well, you look like a gun owner, so why not just buy a high point, because spending any more would be a waste of money. Right? I mean look at how much people pay for dogs. They are not needed so lets hate on that too. My point is, if you can afford it and think it is cool why does that make you stupid and worthy of ridicule. I own a Yeti 160 ($700). I don’t need it, but I love it and use it all the time. I also shoot a Hoyt bow and could have got other brands at half the price that do the same thing. Big deal! If you think it is dumb, don’t buy it. Don’t act like people who buy it are stupid, because you have also made useless purchases.

        1. Well, you look like a gun owner, so why not just buy a high point, because spending any more would be a waste of money. Right? I

          Nope. I have an Italian last name that is hard to pronounce. 😉

          I own a Yeti 160 ($700).


          Don’t act like people who buy it are stupid, because you have also made useless purchases.

          You missed the point and are upset because just proved you spend money foolishly. 😉 How can a supposedly popular outdoor magazine with supposedly reputable reviews think shilling a $70 bucket for outdoor use is, well, doing an excellent service for their readers?

  11. I am not upset, and I understand your weak point of view, but other overpriced products are fine as long as you enjoy them, right? Maybe your point should be not being a drone and do some critical thinking about what your buying. Not that this is the dumbest thing ever. Trust me, I don’t throw money around foolishly. Lets put put numbers up? I can afford the money I spend. Your career must not pay well, because $40 is not alot buddy. I invest at least 4 times that much in retirement each week. We are hiring Entry level engineer here…….. but you probably don’t meet the requirements.(Seeing how your worried about $40)

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