Nobody wants to go camping or overlanding only to see that within a day all his/her food has gone bad while out hiking, thanks to a faulty or non-quality cooler. There are several different types and brands of coolers out there. With the large selection of coolers in the market, you need a cooler that will keep your food, ice, and cans fresh and cold for longer. The RTIC cooler is one such cooler that has excellent features that give you high efficiency and value. In the below RTIC Cooler Review we go through each feature and highlight any good as well as bad points.

It might be a good choice for those who would like to invest small in a cooler that gives you one of the best cooling experiences on the market right now with a price that's also affordable.

With this RTIC coolers review, we are focusing on the RTIC 20, RTIC 45 and RTIC 65 quarts models and later below we're also reviewing the soft bag versions, the RTIC Softpack Coolers.

Detailed Review Of the RTIC 20, RTIC 45 And RTIC 65

Click on images to see more color options

Features of RTIC Coolers

Unlike other brands that skimp on the latches by using cheap models, the RTIC Coolers specifically RTIC 20, RTIC 45 and RTIC 65 are equipped with stylish silicone rubber latches.

These T rubber latches grip the cooler body locking it efficiently and improving its cooling performance. Due to its great grip, it's easy to open the ice chest. 

The other plus side of using silicone rubber latches instead of metal is that you will not end up with corroded latches over time.

Around the lid of an RTIC cooler is a freezer-grade gasket that is a quarter-inch wide and a quarter-inch thick to seal the cooler.

This gasket does not only help keep the contents cold for an extended period of time but it also prevents leakage. This is an important feature as it is useless to have an extra-durable cooler if it doesn't have a tight seal.

rtic cooler review

If you often go overlanding or enjoy venturing off road, you'll appreciate having a cooler with molded tie-down slots. This feature allows you to easily secure the cooler to your vehicle or trailer bed, preventing it from bouncing around.

It's also great to know that RTIC coolers have a cool lift design that keeps the cooler above hot surfaces. This will help ensure that you will have optimum ice retention time.

This cooler also comes with a built-in locking system. On both of the front corners, you will notice two small holes.

These are there actually for two reasons — locking down the cooler or using as tie-downs. You can use any long shank padlock to lock the cooler for additional security.

It would be better if the RTIC brand coolers came with wheels. However, this cooler features feet/stands instead. Once again, the feet also do two jobs here.

These are anti-slip feet, so your cooler won’t slip accidentally while you have put it down on any types of surface, but especially useful when it comes to placing it in a truck bed or in the trunk of your rig.

On the other hand, these feet slightly lift the cooler which prevents it from contacting with any warm surfaces. For that reason, the heat won’t transfer from the ground or the surface you have put the cooler on and so your RTIC won't heat up easily. 

PROS:

  • Multi-purpose: cooler, bench, tabletop, stool
  • Simple and effective cooling system
  • It keeps ice for up to ten days
  • Robust build with rotomolding technology
  • Great value compared to competitors
  • Easy draining and cleaning

CONS:

  • It is heavy thus hard to carry over long distances when filled with food and ice
  • The cooler has only thirty days of warranty 

Build Quality of RTIC Coolers

The RTIC coolers are made using rotomolding technology which makes them strong and durable. This technique uses molten plastic which hardens and ensures that no heat can get through the cooler.

The rotomolding technology is key in achieving a consistent and even shell thickness. Not only that, rotomolded plastics are also known for their high durability as they are molded as one solid piece.

If you will look closely at the RTIC brand coolers, you will find that they have no joints, hence, there are also no weak spots.

In the construction of RTIC coolers, the materials are not exposed to external pressure due to the use of rotomolding technology. As a result, the coolers are more stable and strong with insignificant risks of defects.

Also, the body is injected with polyethylene foam that hardens the inside of the cooler, enhancing the lid and body of the cooler. The hinges of this ice chest are made of rubber, plastic and silicone, making them durable and able to withstand any pressure.

overlanders meal

Ease of Use - RTIC Cooler

The coolers made by RTIC are easy to carry around as they come with two types of handles that offer portability. 

It has one set of molded-in handles that allow you to have a firm grip when lifting the cooler. It also has heavy-duty rope handles in case you want to keep the cooler secured at the back of your truck. 

Depending on how heavily loaded the cooler is, you can easily decide which type of handle to use. If the rope handles are not comfortable due to a fully loaded cooler, you could use the molded handles.

Unlike other brands of vacuum-sealed coolers that are difficult to open, the RTIC brand coolers are different. That is because they have lids that extend up to half an inch past the edge of the cooler, giving you more room to grasp and work when opening the cooler.

And while the cooler is closed, the T latches keep the lid in place and make them easier to “unlock” the lid. 

The cooler is also easy to clean since it has a drain spout to ensure that the melted ice water drips out of the cooler, keeping it fresh and clean. You don't have to empty all the contents just to get rid of the water drips. You just have to open the drain if you need to get rid of the dirty water.

Commercial-grade Insulation

The cooler features a two- to three-inch commercial-grade insulation acquired by injecting polyurethane foam which makes it great for retaining low temperatures to keep your food or drinks ice cold. 

The type of insulation that RTIC coolers have is commercial-grade and they generally can hold ice longer than other brands. Typically, you can expect between 8 days and 10 days.

While RTIC's promise of long ice retention time is possible, you should take it with a grain of salt as there are other factors that can affect ice retention such as ice-to-contents ratio, outdoor temperature and the frequency of lid opening. In some instances, the days of ice may just be 7 days or less, depending on these factors.

Hinge and Integrated Locking Systems

A premium cooler needs a reliable hinge system as it connects the lid to the cooler. The full-length hinge system of RTIC coolers ensures that the lid will stay in place.

With the integrated locking system, the ice and all the contents will remain safe inside regardless of where you will take the cooler with you.

Cool-Lift Design

It's also great to know that RTIC coolers have a cool lift design which keeps the cooler above hot surfaces and off the ground.

This will help ensure that you will have optimum ice retention time even in the hottest conditions. So during the hot summer season when most coolers can only retain ice for about 5 days, yours will have longer days of ice.

Bear Resistant

It is designed to be bear resistant, so you do not have to worry about bears keeping you hungry over your camping period.

As in the case of many high-end coolers, RTIC coolers are also made to be "bear-proof" or bear resistant. This means that the coolers are extra durable and safe to bring even in bear country.

Sizes Available

When it comes to RTIC coolers, you can easily choose the right size (at the right price) for every occasion. If you want a smaller one-person cooler, there is the RTIC 20.

This cooler is perfect for a one person or two person camping adventures.  Weighing just 17.5 pounds, this cooler fits about 24 cans of drinks.

The RTIC 45 is a step up from the RTIC 20. This cooler weighs 25 pounds and fits 36 cans of drinks or 45 quarts of liquid. It is ideal for camping and hunting, especially for small families.

The biggest cooler is the RTIC 65 which can hold 65 quarts or roughly 64 cans of drinks. This one is a perfect cooler for larger groups or for individuals who would like to go overlanding for a couple of days. 

 

With most customers opting for the 20, 45, or 65 Quarts coolers, here is how their capacity compares:



How does RTIC compare to competing Orca and Yeti?

RTIC, Orca and Yeti coolers are premium products. The coolers produced by these three brands share many similarities in terms of the build and the design. However, they also differ in many features.

For one, Orca has more size options than the two brands. For its similar sizes, the RTIC coolers can hold more cans and more ice than the YETI and Orca coolers since they are larger in relation to other similar sizes from these other two manufacturers. So RTIC 45 has a higher capacity than Yeti Tundra 45. 

The price is also way cheaper than both of those cooler types. Orca and YETI are pioneers in the cooler business, which implies that many people know about them as compared to the RTIC coolers.

You can read more reviews also about YETI and Ozark Trail Coolers here.

How long they hold ice? The YETI coolers are the winners when it comes to ice retention, I'm afraid. Yeti coolers hold ice longer.

What Previous Buyers Said? - RTIC Coolers

Weight 

One of the most common issues we hear about RTIC coolers is the weight.  The RTIC 20  QT weighs about 17.5 lbs, while the RTIC 45 QT and the RTIC 65 QT weighs 25 lbs and 36.5 lbs respectively. And we can agree that they are on the heavy side. But if you check on the other brands, the weight difference in just minimal.

The cooler is very efficient but this efficiency is brought about by the material from which it is made.

Its weight is determined by the specs of the cooler meaning that the material is responsible for the cooling as well as the cooler’s additional weight.

Warranty 

Some users have mentioned in the reviews that they find the warranty period to be a bit short while other brands offer 5 years or even a lifetime warranty. According to many users, the short product warranty period shows that the manufacturers do not stand behind their products. 

However, there are also many users who seem to be happy customers despite the short warranty period. They say that the ten days of premium cooling and ice retention matter to them. They are proof of the reliability and efficacy of the product.

As such, thirty days are enough if you ask us. It covers against defects and shoddy workmanship. In other words, you will find out about ice retention capabilities in hot weather much sooner than 30 days.

One good thing about RTIC is that if you have concerns pertaining to the warranty, their customer service representatives are quick to help.

Cold drinks at the campsite

Quality & Price

When it comes to quality and price, RTIC coolers get many thumbs up for these factors. Many customers praise the quality and value for money that RTIC coolers offer. One happy buyer said it is great value due to its affordable price as compared to name brand coolers.

Similarly, another satisfied RTIC user said he kept it in the bed of his truck in direct sunlight and the RTIC cooler was able to keep ice from Sunday until Friday.

We also read of customers who were able to use their coolers under harsh conditions. Many of them left positive feedback and reviews because of the overall performance of their cooler.

With hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon, we are more than happy and confident to recommend this product.

Performance of RTIC Coolers

According to RTIC’s official claim, their coolers can retain ice for up to 10 days. Now, you should already know that it depends on a lot of factors.

For instance, if you open and close the lid of the cooler frequently, or use a low amount of ice, or keep the lid open for a long time, then the performance would not be that good. You can expect 7 days, 5 days, or just 3 days of cooling if you are not careful enough.

One thing is for sure. If you follow good practices like pre-cooling, using good quality and enough amount of ice, then it can retain the ice for up to about 5 days in real-life condition.

And, under optimum condition, this can also serve you for up to 10 straight days. In that regard, we really liked the real life performance of the RTIC Coolers.

Detailed Review of the RTIC Soft Pack

Now, that you know about the RTIC Coolers. Let’s learn about the lighter and more portable alternative, RTIC Soft Pack Cooler Bags.

Features To Look For

This soft pack cooler bags from RTIC come with a lot of cool features. For instance, these ones have no-leak zipper which is also waterproof.

Typically, due to condensation, the exterior of many coolers tend to sweat. But not in the case of RTIC Soft Pack 20/30/40.

It also comes with about 2 inch closed-cell insulation which is made with foam. For that reason, the outside temperature won’t impact the inner temperature of the cooler.

The thick insulation locks the cold inside the cooler for a long time. It also features anti-microbial liner which helps to resist mold.

On each side of the RTIC Soft Pack 20/30/40, you will find conveniently placed carrying straps.

Those straps allow the user to carry the bags as they like. Along with that, you will also find a long, sturdy yet comfortable shoulder strap on the bag. The length of the straps also can be customized according to your needs. 

It also has tie-down straps on both sides of the cooler so that you can tie it down to your overlanding rig for more security.

PROS:

  • Very lightweight and portable
  • Comes with a cushioned shoulder strap
  • Leak-proof and puncture-resistant
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Comes with extra pockets for storing your valuables
  • Comes with heavy-duty nylon outer shell

CONS:

  • One-way zipper system

Capacity, Size, and Weight

As the name suggests, the cooler RTIC Soft Pack 30 can typically store 30 cans of average size on it. Likewise, the cooler RTIC Soft Pack 20 can accommodate about 20 cans of the same size.

However, depending on the size of the cans and the amount of ice, the capacity of these portable cooling bags might vary.

The dimension of the inner side of the RTIC Soft Pack 30 is 13” (L) x 9.5” (W) x 9” (H). And, on the outside, it has a dimension of 15.5” (L) x 11.5” (W) x 12.75” (H). And, it weighs about 4 pounds.

Whereas, in the case of the RTIC Soft Pack 20, the inner dimension is 11.5” (L) x 7” (W) x 10” (H) and the outer dimension is 13.5” (L) x 9.5” (W) x 13.75” (H). The weight of this cooler is about 3 pounds.

While we only focus on only three cooler sizes in this review, it's worth mentioning that this brand also offers larger coolers such as the RTIC 110 and the RTIC 145. The RTIC 110 is the step-up of the RTIC 65.

Build Quality, Design, and Ease of Use

One thing we can say with confidence that these cooler bags from RTIC is not cheaply made. The outer shell is made of Stay Dry premium Nylon.

That makes it 100% waterproof, tear and puncture-resistant. The seams are welded and the zipper is also leak-proof.

These come with robust build quality. Even then, these are very lightweight.

You can easily carry it around with the help of all the straps and handles. The lid uses the flip-top mechanism.

So you can easily get access to the foods and drinks by just unzipping it. On the outside, you will also get extra pockets to keep dry items on the cooler bags.

Performance

As it is a cooler bag, you cannot expect that it will perform similar to the RTIC coolers. So, these cannot keep your foods and drinks cold up to 10 days.

But, these can serve you perfectly for about 3 days.

However, all of these also depend on many external factors like pre-cooling, ice type and amount, and the frequency of opening and closing the lid, etc.

But, overall, this can be used as a lunchbox regularly, or for short camping trips, or even for a quick sports session.

What Previous Buyers Said? - RTIC Softpack

From the statements of the current owners, it is clear that they are very happy about it. One of the previous buyers said that he is using an RTIC Soft Pack 20 for 3 years. 

Still, it is serving him great without any type of issues related to the zipper, cooling capacity, or anything.

One customer stated that he used this particular cooler in a number of summer camp trips. And, it worked great in retaining ice.

Matter of fact, the ice was intact for over 3 days even under 100 degrees heat. As a result, he is pleased with the RTIC Soft Pack 30.

Conclusion - RTIC Cooler Review

The RTIC 20, RTIC 45 and RTIC 65 are perfect for family camping trip, a game with the boys, a fishing trip, or a hunting trip and of course a short overlanding trip, if you decided you don't need a 12V fridge.

With its rotomolded technology to enhance its durability, cooling technology, and sleek design, you are guaranteed of continued cooling and ice retention for ten days. 

The RTIC is a long-term cooler that's not going to break the bank. With great features like the ones reviewed above, it makes a grand bargain. So, if you need a great ice box that you can get at a more affordable price than other premium coolers, check out the different color options for RTIC Coolers on Amazon.

You can also read our detailed article on RTIC Softpack Coolers and also a comparison with the famous YETI ice chests.