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March 3, 2012

Throw Down: Yeti Coolers v. Brute Box Coolers

I am working on an article for Fly Rod & Reel magazine right now and it's going to involve testing a lot of gear. I'm not going to have the word count in the article that I might like, so I wanted to say some things now about the Yeti 45 cooler and the Brute Box 55. (Yeti does not make a 55 quart model, or I would have compared one to one).

First off, even though there is a difference of 10 quarts volume in these two coolers, the smaller Yeti is actually quite a bit heavier (24.5 lbs. for the Yeti verus 21.5 for the Brute Box).

I think this is due to a difference in the density of the plastic material. The Brute Box is slightly softer, but not enough to make a difference. The latches on each box differ; I give the advantage to Yeti with their all-rubber version here. The Brute Box has a rubberized metal closure that I think would work just fine but isn't quite as burly.

On the other hand, Brute Box did it right with the carrying handles, which pass through the box from above rather than attaching to the sides. This makes a significant difference in swing (I rarely use the rope handles on the Yeti because it is easier to just grip the molded ones on the side and carry it as a solid, non-swinging object).

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June 26, 2010

Gear Review: Costa Cheeca and Wingman Sunglasses (For Ladies!)

by Lauren Holt Matthews


Costa Del Mar's Cheeca, new for 2010
A friend of mine and I were recently enjoying a beer at our local bar, chatting about being women in a sport so thoroughly dominated by men. We talked about how we got into the sport, shared a few fish stories, considered the different mechanics of casting as a woman, and compared the different dynamics we encounter in our local shops and when we meet other anglers on the river. “Of course, it's damn near impossible to tell we're not one of the guys until you get within 50 feet of us or we talk,” she said, at once bemused and frustrated.

We spent the rest of the night hashing out what we'd do with the hard and soft goods side of the industry - much like this thread - to make fishing more comfortable and more personalized for women. You guys have numbers and their buying power on your side; you get the benefit of fit and comfort in your gear in return.

My friend and I ran through the usual suspects: waders, shirts, sunglasses, and other pieces of technical gear that, even when ostensibly designed for women, just end up being slightly scaled down and often pastel-ed versions of the gear designed for the boys. We concluded that in reality, it would be pretty easy to make us happy. Designers simply need to focus on truly cutting gear for women. Leave the pastels at home, by and large, and make us gear like they make it for the guys: technical, tough, well-fitting, and not pink or purple.

In reality, of course, it's not always profitable for companies to design entire lines of gear for women. We understand this. Sometimes, though, pieces of gear can find themselves positioned in the unisex sweet spot. I've recently been fishing two different pairs of Costa Del Mar sunglasses that manage to accomplish just that: Costa's Cheeca and Wingman models.

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