RTIC Cooler Review

Travis GneitingCamping, Reviews

  • Durability
  • Features
  • Functionality
  • RTIC Customer Service

RTIC 45 and RTIC 22 Cooler Review

We have been reviewing a lot of coolers lately. The RTIC 45 and RTIC 22 have been a great combination of coolers that meet most family or individual needs. Much like Yeti or Blue Coolers that are also rotomolded, the RTIC coolers are extremely durable built. As promised they keep items cold for days with the proper use. While these are not my favorite coolers for every situation, there are many reasons I reach for the RTIC cooler over my YETI 45, keep reading to find out why, or look at our YouTube short to see the quick difference between Yeti 45 and RTIC 45 cooler.

RTIC 45 Cooler Review

Great ValueDrain plug not attached to the cooler
Simple DesignT-straps can break after extended use
Drain Plugs on both sidesKnotted handles that can slip
RTIC Coolers are well-designed durable coolers with “T” style latches to keep the cooler closed.

Rtic Cooler Review Overview

I have been personally using the RTIC 20 and RTIC 45 Coolers for the last couple of months to give you an honest review of how I think RTIC Coolers stand up against some of the other big names in the cooler market. RTIC coolers are manufactured with the same rotomolded process that YETI uses. The coolers are also insulated the same way with injected insulation and have similar handles attached to the sides. As well as injected insulated foam, and have similar molded and carrying handles. They also have locking holes, are “bear-proof” and have about the same rating. 

RTIC Coolers have a number of accessories like the wire basket and divider cutting board.

There are at least a dozen videos on YouTube showing the ice retention of RTIC coolers, which you can watch here. I am going to focus more on the real-world application of the RTIC coolers I used. Rotomolded coolers are pretty simple products; they are insulated boxes designed to keep cold things cold as long as possible and in some cases warm things warm. They are designed to be bear-resistant with a lock. The various sizes and costs make RTIC and other rotomolded coolers a great all-around option for car camping, or a week at Lake Powell, Utah in the United States.

RTIC Coolers are different from YETI Coolers because they have a drain plug on both sides while YETI coolers only have one.

I have used the RTIC 45 on a few camps and car trips. It’s great to keep in the bed of a truck and with the rubber feet, I didn’t feel like I was ever on any roads that I needed to tie it down.  However, if you need to there are built-in tie-down holes under the lid near the handles to run a cooler tiedown strap.   One downside to most rotomolded coolers with the “T” style closure is the difficulty of opening the cooler when packed into a truck bed.  I usually have my truck bed packed side to side, and unless the cooler handles are at the end of my bed where I can lower the tailgate to access them, it usually requires some unpacking to access the latches.

RTIC Coolers have a rubber seal around the lid. As you can see there is a seam where the rubber starts and stops.

The RTIC 45 is my go-to cooler size. It’s still manageable by one person but can support a week-long camp trip for myself and a friend.  RTIC currently does not make a cooler with wheels. If you are looking for a cooler with wheels, check out our review of the BLUE Cooler 55.

RTIC Coolers are bear-resistant if you use a lock through the corner holes.

The RTIC 45 Cooler can fit up to 36 cans with ice in its 45-quart chest. I do like using the separator and dry basket inside the cooler when I have a little extra room in the cooler. If I’m going to be packing the cooler full, I like to include a couple of RTIC Ice Packs in addition to bagged ice to help the ice chest stay colder longer. Another trick to keep your cooler colder longer is to pre-chill the cooler with ice-cold water for a few hours prior to filling the cooler with food, drinks, and fresh ice.

RTIC Coolers have a strong padded handle with a knotted rope handle.

I did have a couple of issues, first, the rope handles are knotted in and I found that a couple of the knots were loosely done and started to slip out when carrying a heavy load.  Other coolers use a continuous rope to prevent this from happening.  Second, the feet on the bottom of the cooler seem to just be popped in and when sliding around a heavy cooler these might pop out.

The knots have been known to slip out, be sure to check your cooler handles from time to time.

One of the biggest complaints is that the knots can slip out when carrying heavyweight in the cooler. Be sure to check them regularly.

The small cutout above the handle is used for tie-downs to secure the cooler in a truck, boat, or side by side UTV.

You should buy this cooler if you are looking for a perfect-sized all-around cooler that can support a couple of people for a few days, a single person for over a week, or a family on a tailgate or overnighter. The current retail price is about $200 for a 45-quart cooler. In terms of value (getting what you pay for), it’s really hard to beat RTIC Coolers. Click the button below to check for any deals and pricing for current RTIC Coolers.

The RTIC 45 is great for backyard BBQ holding drinks, you can fit about 30 cans with ice.

The accessory pack with the divider that can also be used as a cutting board as well as the wire basket are some nice to have added features. However, if you are going on a longer trip or really trying to pack stuff into the cooler you will notice the convenience of the cooler accessories just seem to get in the way and you can fit more in the cooler without them.

The black dots on the back of the cooler are likely where the insulation was sprayed into the lid.
Hinges on the RTIC 45 Cooler

Hinges on the RTIC Coolers are attached with a riveted pole. They have been very durable from opening and tipping the cooler back, even lasted through many camping trips with kids. They aren’t indestructible, for example, if you have your cooler upsidedown to dry out after washing and a kid was to climb on it, they could be damaged.

Rubber feet stay in place and are very grippy.

Overall, I have been very impressed with the RTIC Cooler. You might have seen another great cooler we reviewed The Blue Cooler and coming soon a closer look at some of Yeti’s coolers. RTIC Coolers are simple, durable, and just work. RTIC is one of the fastest-growing cooler brands and edging on YETI for users that don’t want to pay a brand name premium.

RTIC 20 Cooler Review

Here is a good size comparison of the RTIC 45 and the RTIC 20 cooler. You can see the main difference in size and handle.

The RTIC 20 cooler is a great size for one person to manage even when the cooler is full of food, drinks, and ice. It is the perfect size to fit inside a vehicle yet still provides the long ice retention of the larger coolers.  The RTIC 20 can hold about 24 cans with ice and will last around 7 days if the cooler is properly prepped, and used.

The RTIC 20 has a metal handle that fits into the side of the cooler.

The RTIC 20 uses the same “T” style closures but the handle is different. Instead of rope handles on the side, the RTIC 20 has a rigid metal handle across the top. It semi locks into place when in the up position.  The diameter of the handle is about the same size as the YETI with the padding. However, it feels a little small in my hands and when the cooler is full it feels like it should be a larger diameter.

The inside of the RTIC 20 cooler is almost identical to the other larger RTIC coolers

The cooler is the same rotomolded design, rubber seal, and drains. It also has the same accessories available; a divider inside the cooler as well as its own sized dry food basket for the top.  It’s worth noting during our use I thought I’d like to use the divider and basket more than I actually did.  It takes up more room and makes it more difficult to pack the cooler so I ended up leaving it out most of the time.

The exact same “T” style closure and lockable corners

You should buy this cooler if you are looking to keep things cold for one or two people for a few days or want to keep a hard cooler inside your vehicle.  Keep in mind you will likely run out of food and drinks before you run out of ice in a cooler like the RTIC 20, so a better option might be the smaller more portable soft cooler for short trips.

The lid has a nice lip for opening when the cooler is stuck in the bed of a truck.
RTIC Cooler drain plug

Much like the big brother coolers, the RTIC 20 also has drain plugs on both sides of the cooler. The drain plug is simple and easy to open even with gloves on.

RTIC Coolers have a handful of helpful accessories like the cooler basket, also cooler tie-downs, and Ice Packs.

Here is a close-up picture of the recess for the “T” handles closure.
Stong rubber feat prevent slipping

The rubber feet on the cooler are nearly identical to the competitors like Yeti. They are pressed into the bottom of the cooler. I was a little afraid of dragging the cooler across the bed of a truck or boat would pull the rubber feet out, but have not had a single issue with them so far.

Other RTIC Coolers not Tested:

I didn’t get to test the following coolers from RTIC but wanted my readers to know that there are even more options.  Below are a list of the rest of RTIC hard coolers currently offered.

RTIC Ultra-Light Cooler 52

Rtic Cooler 65

RTIC Cooler 110 

RTIC Cooler 145

RTIC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is RTIC really as good as Yeti?

When putting an RTIC Cooler side by side with a Yeti cooler there are very few subtle differences. From my personal experience using an RTIC cooler and a Yeti cooler, Yes, RTIC are really as good in terms of build quality and the ability to keep your items cold for long periods of time.

Are RTIC coolers worth it?

Yes, RTIC coolers are worth the money. They are some of the best value coolers available. The extra cost for the cooler over a cheap, thin wall cooler from Walmart is that your food and ice will last a lot longer, and the cooler will last a lot longer. They are very durable and will likely last you for years with the proper treatment.

Is RTIC owned by Yeti?

No, RTIC is not owned by Yeti. Entrepreneurial twin brothers, John and Jim Jacobsen, gained success in the cooler industry by selling their high-end products for less. They offer high quality coolers with all of the features customers want – at a fraction of the price you can buy in a retail outlet. How? By cutting out the big box retailers, using word of mouth, & social media to promote their coolers. In the three years since launching Rtic Coolers—now known as Rtic Outdoors—the duo’s ultimate goal remains the same; provide high-quality, affordable products for all. The brothers are ready for the journey ahead!

What Cooler is better than a Yeti?

RTIC Coolers are often referred to as a cooler that is better than Yeti. I think this is largely because of the lower cost for almost identical coolers. There are dozens of ice challenges on YouTube showing just how similar the performance is between a Yeti and Rtic cooler.

What does RTIC Cooler Stand For?

RTIC is not an acronym, it’s a play on the word “Arctic” the polar, very cold region. It’s an excellent name for a company that focuses on keeping things cold.

Is RTIC Coolers going out of business?

There have been questions in the past about RTIC coolers because they were sued by Yeti coolers. However, they are not “going out of business”.

What size RTIC Cooler should I buy?

RTIC Hard Coolers come in 20, 45, 52, 65, 110, and 145. A cooler should ideally be just big enough to store your items with ice and minimal air space. WIth RTIC coolers, warm air inside the cooler after opening and closing the cooler repeatedly is what causes the cooler to warm. Think about how you will be using your cooler, as well as how long you will need your items to stay cold. Then estimate the size of cooler you can fill with your items and ice to have little to no empty space for maximum cooling.

Why is my RTIC cooler not holding ice?

The biggest reason users think their RTIC cooler is not holding ice is because either the cooler was not prepped, warm items were put in the cooler, or the cooler is repeatedly opened and closed in warm weather. There may be a possibility that the seal around the lid is damaged or allowing airflow in the cooler. Also, check that the drain plugs are tightly closed. The coolers are pretty simple, if they are not holding ice, warm air needs to be getting into the cooler somewhere.

Do RTIC coolers go on sale?

RTIC Coolers offers 10% discount to Active military and first reponders with verifications from ID.me. As a direct to consumer model, RTIC markets their products as “30% off competitors” but doesn’t typically offer sales on their coolers.

Does RTIC do promo codes?

RTIC coolers don’t typically offer promo codes.

Do any stores carry RTIC coolers?

RTIC is not typically sold in stores. However, we are seeing them more and more in online shoping locations like Walmart.com and Amazon.com.

Is RTIC a Walmart brand?

No, RTIC is not a Walmart brand. However, you can purcahse RTIC products on Walmart.com

Does Walmart sell RTIC coolers?

RTIC Coolers are not sold in Walmart. However, you can purchase a RTIC Cooler from Walmart.com that are typically sold by a 3rd party.

Are RTIC Coolers made in the USA?

RTIC Coolers are not made in the USA. The majority of the coolers and parts are made in China.

Where are RTIC Coolers made?

Most RTIC Coolers and parts are made and assembled in China.

Does RTIC offer free returns?

RTIC Returns are not completely free. There is a 15% restocking fee on items over $500. RTIC offers a 30 day return policy. However, within 30 days you can get a full refund if following the return guidelines. You can read the entire return policy here: https://rticoutdoors.com/returns

How long to Rtic coolers keep ice?

RTIC Coolers website claims the RTIC 45 qt cooler will hold ice for 10 days. Obviously, there are many factors that go into the estimate of how long your food and ice will remain cold. In our use, with a cooler 3/4 full of food/drinks and 1/4 full of ice in 90 degree weather while sitting in the shade, and openening 3 to 4 times a day we get about 5 days of cold ice/water.

What is RTIC Cooler warranty or does RTIC offer a lifetime warranty?

RTIC hard coolers come with a 1 year warranty. Other RTIC Coolers, drinkware, and bags come with 1 year to 90 days warranty. You can read the entire RTIC Cooler Warranty here: https://rticoutdoors.com/warranty

Do RTIC coolers float?

RTIC hard and soft coolers will float when empty. However, the seal is not waterproof and if the cooler is submurged or full enough to submerge the seal the cooler can fill with water and sink.

How do you clean an RTIC cooler?

The best way to clean an RTIC Coolers is with a scrub brush and dishsoap on your front yard with a garden hose. Coolers can be cleaned inside, however because of their size it can be difficult. No RTIC coolers are not dishwasher safe.

How do you store an RTIC cooler?

The best way to store your RTIC Cooler is to remove the drain plugs and crack the lid by putting an old newspaper or something else to allow airflow from the lid. The key to keeping your cooler stink free is clean it before storage, and allow airflow when in storage by removing the drain plugs and proping the lid open.

RTIC Cooler Review Conclusion

It is hard to find a better value cooler than the RTIC hard cooler. Regardless of the size you choose, the rotomolded design paired with tough handles and rubber for feet and closures makes this a great step up from the old Colman cooler you might have been using. Ideally, owning a few sizes makes using the larger rotomolded coolers easier. It allows you to select the size based on the adventure. There are more and more rotomolded coolers hitting stores every year, RTIC has been around for a long time and stands behind their products and there is some added value in that vs. a new cooler just being introduced to the market.