Due to the nature of our website, we had the opportunity to review hundreds of coolers and a number of brands to try & help you find the best cooler for you.
However, today, we are planted against one of the toughest comparisons we’ve done yet because we are comparing the mighty ORCA to the very influential RTIC.
Indeed, these two brands rank amongst the elite of cooler manufacturers for a number of reasons but how do they compare against each other?
In order to draw a clear line and truly make a distinction between the two brands, we dedicate this article to all of you out there who love both brands but can only pick one.
Accordingly, in this article, we will compare RTIC to ORCA on the basis of variety of sizes, design & build quality, ice retention & finally features.
So, let’s settle the RTIC Vs ORCA debate !
Available sizes & Dimensions
One of the biggest contributors to the success of a brand is variety & these two brands seem to be fully aware of that. Indeed, both ORCA and RTIC display a wide array of hard and soft coolers in hope to help you find the best match for your needs and requirements. So, here are all the available cooler options from ORCA & RTIC in that order.
ORCA is one of the most privileged brands in the industry for a number of reasons and variety is definitely one of them. Indeed, this brand offers a wide selection of hard & soft-sided coolers for multiple tastes & purposes.
As far as hard-sided coolers go, one can argue that ORCA provides a limited but wholesome variety that can work for all possible situations. In fact, the brand at hand offers an impressive line that begins at the ORCA 20, which is great for casual use, picnics, beach days & light angling.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the ORCA 140 which is a literal beast that measures 40 x 23.5 x 20.8 inches, making it a solid option for serious anglers, hunters and even team sport events.
While these are the two most prominent hard coolers that ORCA displays, the list continues to include 4 more different sizes in-between the biggest & smallest to make sure you get the exact fit for your needs.
In that respect, the brand showcases one size only with a variety of skin designs to appeal to different people. The backpack coolers can handle up to 14.24 quarts & are leak proof which is definitely a compelling factor.
While ORCA has been given the lead to initiate this debate, RTIC seems to have enough courage to keep challenging this giant. While the ORCA Vs RTIC debate is endless, it seems that this one is not working for RTIC’s favor.
Indeed, RTIC falls short when it comes to variety in the hard-sided sector because it starts at the mighty RTIC 20 which is great for job sites, weekend trips & game days and finishes at the RTIC 145 which is a giant that can handle up to 36 gallons.
Accordingly, while ORCA features 3 extra sizes in-between the biggest & smallest, RTIC seems to be satisfied with a variety of 5 hard-sided coolers in total.
While ORCA takes a slight advantage in the hard-sided feud, RTIC completely destroys its opponent when it comes to soft-sided coolers. Indeed, Unlike ORCA, RTIC provides you with 4 different size options to choose from according to your needs.
Soft-sided RTIC coolers come at 8, 20, 30 & 40 cans capacity, making it possible to find a perfect match for you.
RTIC Vs ORCA Coolers – Design & Build Quality
Design and build quality are a big influence on the customer since they are the first elements that we inspect when looking for a cooler. Indeed, while most coolers out there look more or less the same, they are built differently and that’s what could help us make up our mind. Sadly, however, you’ll see that both brands produce very similar coolers and only differ in minute details.
ORCA is basically the minimalistic guru of the industry since it truly tends to avoid any distraction to the overall design of their coolers. Hence, you will find that hard-sided ORCA coolers are smooth, simple and to the point.
In fact, ORCA’s design seems so basic that it almost looks like a cheap brand but it makes up for it with a variety of rich colors. (Insider tip: lighter colors will do a better job under direct sun light)
In terms of build quality, it is no more a matter of guessing as all premium brands rely great on the rotational molding approach. In that respect, roto-molding works for so many reasons because it relies on a spinning dual-axle motion that creates the entire mold of the cooler in one consistent / coherent piece.
On the other hand, soft-sided ORCA coolers are equally impressive but also different. Indeed, while it is not the most appealing design, the soft-sided ORCA is built to perfection. Accordingly, this ORCA is wrapped in dense poly-plastic, it is heavily insulated & firmly sealed around the zipper to create an impeccable frosting capsule.
Just like you’d expect from a premium brand, RTIC worships minimalism and that is evident in design. Indeed, hard-sided RTIC coolers are built by the principles of quality and practicality, which doesn’t leave room for extravagancy. Accordingly, RTIC coolers may not hook your attention at first but once you zoom in on details, you can tell that it’s a quality product.
Speaking of quality, it is no secret that RTIC produces robust ice chests but what makes them so reliable is definitely unmatched. Indeed, while RTIC adopts the rotational molding approach, its true strength resides in the build material that push the cooler’s resilience to the max. Accordingly, on top of a unified mold, the brand relies on some of the strongest polyethylene combinations to reinforce its walls against constant friction.
RTIC Vs ORCA – Ice Retention
While the two brands are famous for being literal beasts in the ice retention sector, it is important to distinguish the mechanisms and techniques both brands adopt to deal with the process of prolonging ice retention.
Accordingly, RTIC is known for being an objective brand that tends to get the job done at minimal expenses in order to reduce the final price. However, it was still impressive when we learned that their coolers are supported via a two inches thick foam insulation.
In fact, the walls on these coolers are injected with pressurized foam that helps disperse heat through an infinity of air capsules, consequently maintaining a steady cooler temperature.
Further, in order to attain maximum efficiency, RTIC also relies on its robust gaskets to seal the opening of the coolers firmly and prevent air circulation. Consequently, it doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that RTIC coolers can withhold ice between 6 to 10 days, depending on temperatures.
On the other end of the spectrum, ORCA stands with a mighty grin because it leaps over RTIC’s insulation by a third. Indeed, ORCA devotes 3 inches of foam insulation to its hard-sided coolers which raises the competition to another level.
Nonetheless, it is worthy of mentioning that both brands exhibit similar results in terms of ice retention. Accordingly, with the 1-inch advantage, ORCA coolers are only capable of achieving a week to 10 days period of ice retention achieved by RTIC and that calls for a tie-breaking variable.
RTIC Vs ORCA – Features
While it’s been really hard to distinguish the two brands through previous variables, features might just have the answer you need. Accordingly, the current segment will focus on variety of features ORCA Vs RTIC-style and how they can impact your experience as a whole.
When looking at RTIC coolers, it becomes evident that this is a brand that truly cares what we think about it. Indeed, unlike many brands, RTIC invests heavily in features in order to facilitate our interaction & improve performance to the maximum. So, here are the best features you can find on an RTIC cooler:
- Right off the bat, first feature that stands out on any RTIC cooler is the premium gasket. Indeed, the freezer-grade gasket pushes ice retention capacity to the maximum on RTIC coolers and that earns it at least 30% of the cooling credit.
- Heavy duty T-latches have been a big deal in the cooling industry for a while now and it would be oblivious to dismiss the advantages this little feature presents. Indeed, all RTIC coolers come with these practical rubber latches that pull the lid down firmly, giving the gasket far more influence.
- What could go wrong with a cooler that is literally bear-proof? Yes, RTIC coolers are developed typically with a hunter / angler in mind and that calls for some serious animal resistance. In that respect, RTIC coolers feature an integrated locking system and robust full length hinges, making these products immune to animal attacks.
- One of the most annoying things you can encounter on a cooler is an all-flat profile. Not only is it impractical but also quite upsetting when you have to struggle every time to open that lid up. Hence, to completely avoid this concern, RTIC coolers come with an easy lift front handle that extends slightly beyond the body & sometimes, that’s all it takes to feel satisfied.
- While you can use the molded handles on the side of 45 & 65 RTIC coolers, you surely don’t need to. Indeed, all RTIC coolers come with practical marine-grade rope handles with comfortable grips to make carrying these coolers less of a burden.
- For those of you who need a ‘boat cooler’ or a cooler that will usually go on your vehicle, RTIC provides you with the support of clever rubber feet. Truly, not only will the rubber feet on RTIC coolers rise the ice chest a bit above the hot floor but it will also prevent it from sliding around as you go.
There are a few more interesting features about RTIC coolers that do deserve an honorable mention & that applies to the integrated hinge system, the easy-flow drain spout, the rapid V-draining technology & the fact that RTIC coolers are built with food-grade UV-resistant polyethylene that is dry-ice compatible.
With such a rich presentation from RTIC, you’d think that ORCA is very like to rank second in this contest. However, we should definitely give ORCA a chance to flex before we make that judgement. So, here are some of the best features you can find on ORCA coolers and why you need them:
- One of the main attractions ORCA coolers benefit from is the fact that they are impressively thick. Before we mis-interpret that, what we mean is that ORCA coolers benefit from an extra-thick insulation that makes great use of the roto-molded body. Indeed, these two features combined upgrade ORCA coolers to super cooler’s zone and that’s hard to beat.
- One thing is for sure, ORCA coolers are impressively resilient. Indeed, being primarily designed for anglers, you’d question the need for such a robust build. However, anglers are far more likely to push a cooler to its maximum potential since they use them as casting platforms & there will always be unsecured objects on a boat that will strike your cooler repeatedly. Thus, that certified bear resistance badge all ORCA’s wear might come handy in various ways.
- Easy flow draining spout is a necessity in most scenarios because once the ice starts to melt, you want to rush in and drain the water out as soon as possible. Hence, while it is impossible to do that with a draining valve that comes out completely at once, the easy-flow draining spout on ORCA coolers will open slightly to allow water to escape but not ice.
- The design of ORCA coolers is a magician’s hat that keeps on giving. Indeed, ORCA coolers are blessed with a list of design advantages that make it far less tedious to deal with these coolers on a daily basis. Accordingly, these coolers come with a gap on the lip of the gasket to allow easy access, they can be locked on both sides of the lid to ensure a perfect seal & they have indentations on both sides that can be used as handles.
- Further, because they are so essential, ORCA coolers come with resilient rubber feet that will prevent the cooler from sliding on the go & that’s always a relieve. However, if you want to be extra secure, make sure to put the tie-down slots to use.
- Lastly, perhaps the branded ORCA rubber T-latches help you settle the ORCA Vs RTIC cooler debate. In that respect, these T-latches stretch firmly to lock in place but most importantly, they squeeze the lid aggressively one they are in place, making it impossible for air to exit / enter the cooler.
RTIC Vs ORCA – Final Thoughts
As much as we’d love to tell you our opinion about which cooler we prefer, it would be insignificant compared to the facts presented in this article. Hence, you are the only one that can put an end to the ORCA Vs RTIC cooler debate and we trust that this review helped clarify the image for you even in the slightest way possible.