Being an active individual often comes with a tax and one which we are happily willing to pay. Indeed, proper hiking, angling, hunting and camping require certain skills, a strong will power and a reliable ice cooler but we are only expected to pay for one of these.
Undeniably, coolers have made life a lot easier for us by keeping our catch, snacks and occasionally beers frosty. However, most reputable brands are slightly on the expensive side and that can often create an inconvenience for many. Hence, be it a Yeti or an ORCA, ice coolers will often be one most expensive items on our list
In fact, RTIC coolers claim to be just as good as a Yeti for about half the cost. Certainly, many of our readers are already familiar with the brand, being a leader in the industry, but it seems that not so many of us tend to believe their slogan. Accordingly, we took the opportunity to make a detailed RTIC coolers review and define just how close an RTIC cooler is to a Pelican or a Yeti.
RTIC Coolers Lineup
(H X W X D)
RTIC 20 Qt Cooler
|• 22QT (24 cans) |
• 25 pounds of ice
• 5.5 gallons
13.75" x 10.87" x 8.75"
20" x 15" x 13.75"
RTIC 45 Qt Cooler
|• 45QT (36 cans)|
• 40 pounds of ice
• 11.25 gallons
19.37" x 11.87" x 10.50"
26.50" x 15.87" x 16.50"
RTIC 65 Qt Cooler
|• 65QT (64 cans)|
• 70 pounds of ice
• 16.25 gallons
24.75" x 13" x 11.75"
32.25" x 17.12" x 18.50"
RTIC 110 Qt Cooler
|• 110QT (110 cans)|
• 115 pounds of ice
• 27.5 gallons
27.75" x 16.25" x 14.12"
35.37" x 19.87" x 20"
RTIC 145 Qt Cooler
|• 145QT (145 cans)|
• 155 pounds of ice
• 36.25 gallons
34.12" x 17.25" x 14.12"
41.62" x 20.87" x 20"
Things to Consider Before Buying an RTIC Cooler
Even with the best selling cooler on the market, you’ll need a checklist to make sure that you are making the right purchase for YOU. Truly, it is very important that you take the time to note down some of the key reasons why you need an ice cooler, the nature of your target environment and a couple more criteria before you click that purchase button.
However, it must be understood that ice retention periods don’t trace the difference between a good and a bad ice cooler. It’s rather simple, if you’re a regular john who’s only looking for an ice chest that will keep your meal or catch fresh for a couple of days then you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on a cooler that is designed for bigger dreams and vice versa.
Accordingly, it is important that you determine the duration of ice retention, which is necessary for your hobby, or needs in order to get the cooler you need for the price you want.
Indeed, there are a few reasons to go one way or the other but the most important of which is practicality. Hard shell plastic coolers are robust and can take a beating especially on a rocky boat or a rough terrain.
However, if you’re going on a picnic or looking for a car / truck cooler then you would want a more fluid cooler that can fit in tight spaces and hit you less on the ankles as you carry it to your favorite park table.
However, it has been made clear that the reduction in warranty life is the result of a lawsuit feud initiated by Yeti to claim the design.
Nonetheless, RTIC still offer free returns on faulty coolers which isn’t a general rule in the industry and as long as you make sure that it’s not leaking or damaged then you’re pretty much set with a long lasting portable mini freezer.
Accordingly, if that’s a concern of yours, then it would be a relief to learn that RTIC is a US based brand whose headquarter is located in Houston Texas which completely eliminates the suspicion around the quality of materials and build of these coolers.
Moreover, it is important to note that RTIC is one of the few ice cooler manufacturers out there that does not support second party sellers and does everything from creation to publicity individually, securing the safety and quality of their coolers.
What Makes RTIC Different From The Others?
If you know anything about ice coolers, it is that there are a couple prominent names in the industry, which are safe, reliable and efficient choices. However, it is through that process that we miss some of the most interesting deals on the market.
Indeed, RTIC is not Yeti nor Coleman but it’s definitely up there. In fact, this is a brand that promises premium efficiency for half the price and that is worthy of our attention. While there is a lot more to these coolers than price, it is important to note that this is an attention grabber especially for those of you who won’t be needing an ice chest on a regular basis.
RTIC coolers are relatively unfamiliar but they are making a big entrance due to their unshaken rigidity. Actually, the brand takes so much pride in the quality of its coolers because they are engineered to endure the roughest environments and that includes wild rain forest hunting adventures.
Beyond being almost indestructible, RTIC coolers are also noticeably practical as they come ready for use straight out of the box. Also, the coolers are designed to fit snug in your car, boat or even on the back of your all-terrain vehicle.
Most importantly, the brand’s selling point has got to be the exemplary insulation which is built around 2 inches thick foam walls that will prevent heat from getting anywhere near your drinks. More accurately, the company promises an outstanding ice retention period that can reach up to 10 days with proper packing.
RTIC Coolers : Features and Benefits
RTIC has built an impeccable reputation around its practical value even before we decided to write this RTIC cooler review. Hence, this RTIC review would not be complete without diving deep into the key features that make these coolers rank high enough to compete with big brands such as Yeti, Pelican, Coleman, Igloo…etc.
RTIC takes great pride in their technology as it is considered to be a leading example in the industry. Indeed, Rotomolding is an impressively effective technique, which makes the cooler perfectly seamless, pushing its ice retention ability to the top.
Hence, with a completely unshaken body, RTIC coolers are pretty much shielded from the environment and that will help you maintain your belongings fresh and ice cold for up to a week in most models.
#2- Pressure-injected Foam
Unsurprisingly, RTIC coolers feature a premium foam insulation which is known as pressure injected foam. To set themselves apart from the rest, RTIC decided that regular foam insulation is not enough as the air bubbles contained within this type of foam can still carry heat over within.
Accordingly, the brand replaces the standard foam by injecting the plastic frame of the cooler with polyurethane which will keep external elements from influencing the temperature of the inside of the cooler to a large extent.
#3- Freezer-grade Gasket
Extending ice retention is often individually linked to the insulation characteristics of a cooler.
However, the gasket plays an equally pivotal role in the ice retention capability of a cooler and that is why RTIC invested in a Freezer grade gasket.
Indeed, all RTIC coolers are equipped with a perfect-seal gasket that will completely prevent hot air from entering and cold air from existing the cooler as long as it is properly shut. Further, the tight seal will also prevent any potential leakage.
#4- 10-day Ice Retention
With the perfect combo of a pressure injected body and an anti-leak head gasket, RTIC seals the lead on the ice retention race as it promises to keep your snacks, drinks and even wild catch fresh and cool for up to 10 days.
Nevertheless, the period of ice retention promised by the brand relies heavily on a firm packing strategy with the basic rule of ice sandwiches.
#5- Bear proof
Hunting is a passion with a lot of requirements and RTIC completely understands that every hunter deserves the peace of mind which comes with knowing that your your beverages, food, catches…Etc are secure and safe from any unexpected attacks.
Accordingly, RTIC made sure to bear proof most of its coolers with Rotomolded walls that can endure a rough night with wild animals / long years of rough use and terrain.
#6- Locking System
We often tend to take pride in our catch and if that were not the case then we surely would not want anyone digging into our favorite beverages, which is why RTIC came up with a secure locking system.
Actually, as simple as it is, the locking system on these coolers will prevent anyone from humans to animals from accessing your stuff without your permission and that is always a good thing.
Unlike traditional latches, the T-latches on RTIC coolers make the entire process of accessing and sealing the cooler as easy as you would imagine. Indeed, T-latches have worked wonderfully for RTIC because they are designed to click right on / off with a simple touch.
T latches are undeniably the smartest quick lock mechanism ever introduced to ice coolers. Indeed, RTIC takes the hook and goes for industrial grade silicon T latches that can be easily operated with bare hands or while wearing your gloves.
Beyond the quick release advantage, the cooler is going to benefit greatly from the stretching hold of the T latches which will prevent leakage and enhance ice retention time.
#8- Draining plug
It’s undeniable that the most annoying thing about ice coolers is when the ice melts and you have to drain it out manually.
In order to make this a non-issue, RTIC went with a smart V shape draining system that will clear out melting ice to the last drop with a simple touch. All you have to do is remove the lock and allow the water out as easy as ever.
#9- Rope Handles
The last thing you want is to go for a small cooler and end up with far more stuff than you planned for. However, getting a larger cooler isn’t that easy of a solution as they tend to be significantly heavier once loaded.
Therefore, in attempt to rubber down this problem, RTIC hooked up its larger models with standard rope handles that are flexible enough not to break and robust enough to carry the extra weight.
#10- Anti-sleep Feet
An essential feature on any cooler is one which will enable it to secure and stabilize it in one spot. Especially for anglers, nothing is more annoying that a loose cooler rocking inside a larger boat which is why RTIC hooked all of its coolers with industrial grade rubber feet that fixate the cooler in one spot, allowing you to use it comfortably even as a casting platform.
#11- Carry Handles & Molded Tie-down Slots
RTIC is one of the few brands out there, which is aware of the fact that we actually have to carry these large coolers around most of the time. Hence, the ½ inch extended lid is definitely a clever touch that will make it possible to move these coolers quickly.
Moreover, for longer distances, you will get to experience the advantages of the flexible rotating carry handles. Indeed, with these handles, you will be able to carry these coolers around while standing tall in total control and trust that your back will thank you for that later on.
Furthermore, If you are always on the go and you would like to keep your cooler firmly tied down then you will definitely find great value in the molded slots RTIC coolers provide.
Indeed, whether you are going off road or simply driving to your favorite fishing spot on the side of the road, you will be able to keep your cooler and yourself protected thanks to this little feature.
#12- No Sweat Exterior
It might not come as a strikingly essential feature for most of us but a cooler that doesn’t sweat is still better than one that does especially if you’re an angler who uses the cooler as a seat or casting platform. Hence, the last thing you want is for your platform to be wet and slippery.
#13- Anti-Slip Lid
There are many reasons that make RTIC coolers great but if you needed one more then it would be the anti-slip lid.
The lid on these coolers is thus designed cleverly to function as a casting platform for anglers who seek a better angle and more control.
#14- Dry Ice compatible
In case you’re wondering whether these coolers can handle dry ice or not then wonder no more because they absolutely can.
Depending on the quality of build materials, you will find it surprising that many coolers would not be able to handle dry ice without suffering from consequential damage. Hence, RTIC supports its claims of rivalry with the big dogs in the industry even further with this extra feature.
#15- RTIC Colors
This might be a needless feature for most of you but RTIC does not neglect the fact that colour can also play a big role in the process in finding the right match for you.
Hence, the brand decided to grant you more room to discover your options in different colors, ranging from Artic White, Mojave Tan, Ocean Blue, Softpak Gray and all the way to Softpak Camo.
#17- RTIC SoftPak Coolers :
While making some of the best Rotomolded ice coolers on the market, RTIC is simultaneously investing in softpak coolers of different shapes and sizes. Now, it is undeniable that there is no comparison between a pressure injected foam cooler and a soft-side one but to each their own.
Hence, soft-sided coolers are much more practical in the right eye as they offer dependable ice retention for a couple days or less and a lot more flexibility which are two criteria most commuters would appreciate. Hence, it would be ignorant to completely dismiss this type of coolers without placing your needs and requirements on the scale.
#17- RTIC Hard-Sided Ice Chests – Available Sizes
Smaller coolers are generally familiar because they are our daily type of cooler; the cooler we take on family picnics, afternoon beaching and generally individual daily use.
Generally speaking, most of us would be more than satisfied with the smallest RTIC being the 20 as it has an ice retention that can extend up to 3 days and can provides enough storage for a couple of users.
Thus, the RTIC 20 is considerably light, weighing around 17 pounds while empty and that makes it great for short camping trips and small fish.
The cooler is also compact, measuring around 17 x 11 inches on the bottom and 20 x 13 on the lid and that makes transportation a breeze.
For those of you who are more into the beaching aspect of coolers, this RTIC will prove to be capable of handling up to 24 cans without ice. However, it is important to note that the more ice you add to the chest, the longer your stash remains fresh.
Definitely an upgrade compared to the RTIC 20, the RTIC 40 is still designed for a smaller group of people. Primarily built for hunters and anglers, the 45 RTIC is great for outdoors activities that require longer ice retention periods and more storage space.
Indeed, it is at this size that RTIC coolers tend to be taken more seriously as they are targeted towards a more dedicated audience. Hence, the 45 is a solid pick for small game hunters, anglers and long duration campers.
While it weighs around 25 pounds, the cooler at hand is considered compact. In fact, at 25 x 13 inches on the bottom and 26 x 16 on the top, the RTIC 45 can fit nicely in the back seat of any vehicle as well as the trunk.
With the special privilege of 11.25 gallons, you can fit about 35 cans in one go without any ice or a single case with enough ice for a couple days. Needless to say, the RTIC 45 will make a great beach party asset.
Last but definitely not least is the 65 as it is the biggest on this list and the perfect size for large parties of people with different uses. Indeed, this type of coolers can be used on a regular fishing adventure but it can also come in extremely handy on a camping journey.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t make it exclusive for larger groups of people as it can be the perfect pick for anglers going for a bigger catch.
What the RTIC 65 is not great at is space management as it measures around 30 x 15 inches on the bottom and 32 x 18 on top, which can be an inconvenience for a lot of us who do not dispose of the means to cater for it.
Further, it must be noted that this cooler starts at 36 pounds and it can only get heavier. Nevertheless, the RTIC 65 has a dedicated fan base as it can handle up to 64 cans with no ice and that’s a lot of room.
Who is The RTIC Cooler For?
The question at hand might seem very much to the point but it’s also very hard to concentrate because there are different RTIC coolers and different types of users out there.
As discussed earlier in the article, RTIC coolers come in three different sizes for an endless variety of uses. Indeed, there are multiple purposes for each size and that brings about the next question: Who is it for?
Starting at the smallest, the RTIC 20 is considered to be the cooler of all trades because it is as efficient as it is compact. Indeed, with such a manageable size, the RTIC 20 would be great for literally anyone. Hence, the cooler at hand might not be great for hunters but it will be more than enough for beach days, weekend trips or solo camping.
Upgrading a little higher would take us to the RTIC 45, which is a rather reliable cooler for tougher missions. Indeed, unlike the 20, the RTIC 45 is actually great for small game hunters, anglers and proper camping trips. Nevertheless, this cooler is still not enough for some people.
For those people, we suggest you get the RTIC 65, which is a significantly larger cooler, making it perfect for regular hunters, big fish and outraging beach parties. Indeed, this cooler is so large that it can literally keep an entire soccer team refreshed throughout the game.
RTIC Vs. Yeti – Which Is Better?
Picking a brand has never been easy and it is not about to get easier because Yeti and RTIC are different but similar as well. In fact, these two giants have a lot to show for yet it is almost impossible to deny that a Yeti will often sound like a better option.
So, do you just go with the easy choice and perhaps regret it later or would you rather get informed before you make the purchase?
If you are looking for the best ice cooler out there then this should probably help. So, here’s a side by side comparison of the 3 main sizes provided by each brand, including some numbers you might be interested in:
RTIC 20 Vs. Yeti Roadie 20
|RTIC 20 QT||Yeti Roadie 20 QT|
|Type||Roto Molded||Roto Molded|
|Weight||17.5 lbs.||15 lbs.|
|Capacity||• 22 Quart|
• 24 Cans
• 5.5 gallons
|• 20.8 Quart
• 16 Cans
• 5.2 gallons
|Dimensions||15” x 20” x 13 ¾”||14 3/8” x 19” x 13 ¾”|
Unsurprisingly, every old school angler / hunter would instinctively go for a Yeti but this comparison requires a little bit more processing. Indeed, Yeti is a phenomenal brand and the Roadie 20 is a great example of that, being a pick up and go type of cooler with the ability to retain ice for up to 4 days.
In fact, this small ice chest can actually withhold up to 20 pounds in ice which is going to help keep your snacks and catch fresh for a long time.
On the other hand, the RTIC 20 is what you would call a new born as it has been recently developed to compete with the Roadie and that is strongly visible in its insulation.
On paper, the cooler at hand has promised to retain ice for up to 5 days but in truth, it can only perform as well as the roadie with its ability to contain up to 25 pounds of ice. If the head-to-head performance quality is not compelling enough for you then perhaps you’ll change your mind once you check the price tag on both coolers.
RTIC 45 Vs. Yeti Tundra 45
|RTIC 45 QT||Yeti Tundra 45 QT|
|Type||Roto Molded||Roto Molded|
|Capacity||• 45 Quart|
• 36 Cans
• 40 pounds of ice
|• 37.6 Quart
• 28 Cans
• 34 pounds of ice
|Weight||25 lbs.||23 lbs.|
|Dimensions||15 7/8” x 26 ½” x 16 ½”||15 ½” x 25 ½” x 16”|
Yeti is undeniably an impenetrable shield when it comes to ice retention because it has proven through all of its coolers to be the best at what it does. However, it seems that the Tundra 45 has an upcoming contender, which offers more space and similar quality.
As the habit goes, RTIC always tries to keep up with the first wave and especially for a type of coolers which is vastly familiar amongst anglers, hunters and regular campers. However, the RTIC 45 tries to push the bar a little higher this time by offering 5 extra pounds of space compared to the Tundra and a higher ice retention period.
Accordingly, where the Tundra pledges to maintain its ice reserve for up to 5 days, the RTIC 45 is determined to go up to the 6th day.
RTIC 65 Vs. Yeti Tundra 65
|RTIC 65 QT||YETI Tundra 45 QT|
|Type||Roto Molded||Roto Molded|
|Capacity||• 65 QT|
• 64 cans
• 70 pounds of ice
• 16.25 gallons
|• 57.2 QT
• 42 cans
• 52 pounds of ice
• 14.30 gallons
|Weight||36.5 lbs.||29 lbs.|
|Dimensions||17 1/8” x 32 ¼” x 18 ½”||16” x 30 ½” x 17 ½”|
The Tundra Vs RTIC rivalry extends to the 65 perimeter as it precedently was the biggest size RTIC had to offer and the most common type of coolers professional anglers go for. Starting with the Yeti Tundra would not be easy knowing that the RTIC 65 is leaking in the back, waiting for an opportunity to shine.
Indeed, the Yeti Tundra 65 might offer plenty of space for ice and a long ice retention period, ranging up to 6 days and a half but the RTIC offers space for 13 pounds extra which can easily translate to an extra ice retention day. Hence, with similar insulation filler and edge cutting locking technology, you are left to a tough decision between an old goodie and an upcoming champ.
RTIC Vs. Yeti Coolers – Ice retention
Now, before we proceed, let us take a moment to wipe out what we have already heard / read about the two brands because ice retention is very fluid.
Indeed, a cooler’s ability to retain ice for long periods of time will often be influenced by the nature of the usage, the overall surround temperature and a bunch of other influences.
Nonetheless, the RTIC vs. Yeti coolers debate will become clearer once we learn about the difference that insulation can make.
Indeed, both brands are big on insulation but from the size analysis earlier, we can tell that Yeti is keen on that aspect whereas RTIC coolers often grant advantage to size.
Ice retention is the core feature for every cooler out there and these two brands are completely aware of that. Hence, it would be unjust to name a brand as better than the other but it can be very objective to define which of the two provides longer ice retention periods in the same category.
Accordingly, as mentioned in detail previously, RTIC made it its mission to track down and overtake the throne of 3 major categories in the industry and specifically from Yeti coolers. However, Yeti coolers would be on top if RTIC remained true to the exact sizes of each type.
Hence, the final call comes down to the user’s preference and willingness to pay. Truth is, RTIC coolers offer the exact ice retention performance with the slight edge of the larger size in each category whereas the Yetis offer admirable performance with an equally high price tag.
RTIC Vs. Yeti – Who Wins?
Bottom line, the RTIC Vs. Yeti coolers debate is not going to end in black and white. However, if you are someone who tends to go on weeklong or even longer camp, angling or hunting trips then you should probably stick with Yeti.
Nonetheless, if your journey often remains within one week’s time and you really could use that extra space then RTIC is your best option. Of course, not to mention the significant savings you will be making which could be invested in something equally necessary.
RTIC Cooler Accessories
Like most coolers out there, RTIC coolers also have a helpful eco-system of accessories that is meant to make your experience even more satisfactory.
A lot of you will be really happy to learn that RTIC coolers are actually compatible with a divider. The divider is not only capable of keeping your stuff separated but it will also reduce the possibility of crashing fragile items and overall reduces the messy feeling you get whenever you open a cooler.
If that’s not enough for you then perhaps you’d be happier with perfect fit baskets that go right in your cooler and remain firm in place, allowing you to separate your catch from the rest of your cargo and often works great for item that are not supposed to get wet.
Losing a drain plug should not be a concern when you can get one extra just to be safe. It is actually funny that a lot of big brands don’t offer this item as an accessory which in case you lose it, you’ll have to buy a new cooler I guess.
If none of these accessories seem to hit your bell, you can always search the market for third party manufacturers who are constantly innovating and creating all kinds of different accessories for RTIC coolers.
RTIC might not be the leader of the cooler market yet but it is definitely one of the fastest growing brands out there and that does not come cheap. Indeed, the company invested so much in a smashing advertising campaign but most importantly in an efficient insulation, a roomy cooler and a premium build quality.
For all these reasons and more, RTIC definitely deserves a shot because unlike coolers within the same price range, it will last forever.