Rugged Road Ultralight Cooler Review

Travis GneitingReviews

Rugged Road Lightweight Cooler
  • Durability
  • Ice Retention
  • Value
  • Cost
  • Features


The Rugged Road Outdoor is a great option for anyone looking for a high performance, great ice retention, lightweight, durable cooler.

The Rugged Road Ultralight cooler is a great option for anyone looking for a high-performance cooler without the weight of the rotomolded coolers that have become very popular. It’s a huge step up from the cheap coolers you find at your local grocery store. Have a look at previous models from Rugged Road, the benefits and drawbacks of the lightweight Rugged Road 65 cooler and we will also compare it with the popular Yeti 45 cooler to help you decide if this is the right cooler for you.

Previous Models

Rugged Road has been making coolers for a while now. The Rugged Road 65 is a new improved version based on the original Rugged Road Onitis 45. It was a cooler about the same size holding 60 cans. It however was closed using straps that were inconvenient. The lid was free to float around if not strapped down. The New Rugged Road 65 is a perfect upgrade and a really good example of innovation from Rugged Road.

Benefits and Drawbacks


Based on my own usage of the Rugged Road Cooler the biggest benefit is that it is a premium ice retention cooler that is lightweight enough for a child to move when empty. Other benefits include the easy-open handle and large open rope handles for carrying. The drain plug is attached which is nice if you have ever lost a drain plug from other coolers in the grass, or simply misplaced it. Lastly, the removable and rotateable lid is a unique benefit that I’ve never seen on another cooler. It’s nice to have a flat surface if used as a bench or to be able to flip over the cooler if you would like to use it as a drink holder and cutting board.


The Rugged Road cooler has a few drawbacks that were noticeable right when we started using the cooler. When I placed the cooler in the bed of my truck it started sliding around unlike other coolers I’ve used because it didn’t have any rubber feet on the bottom, just a smooth slick surface. To get around this I had to always tie down the cooler or wedge it in place with bags or other equipment. While the ice retention doesn’t exactly match that of a heavy rotomolded cooler, it’s going to be enough for 90% of the way I’ll be using the cooler for weekend camping trips without the need to top off the ice. However, some may complain that the ice retention is not up to par with rotomolded coolers.

My Experience with Coolers

We have been testing and using coolers for years now from Otterbox Coolers, Yeti, Blue Coolers, Cobalt Coolers, Rtic Coolers. I have personally tested these coolers in Utah’s desert heat and on the lakes. We have used them on road trips, vacations to Lake Powell, I have put them through many test and know what I prefer in a cooler and can give proper pro’s and con’s based on other coolers and my personal experience of years of use.

Rugged Road Outdoor Coolers

Rugged Outdoor Cooler Vs. Yeti Cooler

It seems that the gold standard for a cooler comparison it to put them up against a Yeti cooler, the brand that popularized roto-molded coolers. We stacked up the Rugger Outdoor 65 next to the Yeti 45 for a side-by-side comparison.

The Rugged Outdoor Cooler although named “65” is about the same interior size as the Yeti 45 (whose name is also a bit miss leading). Each cooler can hold about 65 cans with very little room for ice.

The construction of the coolers is where the differences start. Rotomolded coolers are made by rotating a solid form while a hard liquid plastic is pumped in while the mold rotates, as it cools it creates a strong durable shell that is later filled with an Injectable foam for insulation.

As I understand, Rugged Outdoor coolers start with a piece of foam in the shape of the cooler that is sprayed with an extremely durable plastic much like a bed liner in a truck. This allows for a much lighter weight cooler with superior insulation over your Walmart Colman cooler.

The Yeti 45 weighs almost 26 lbs empty.
The Rugged Outdoor 65 Cooler weights almost 11 lbs.

Who should choose the Rugged Outdoor Cooler over other Coolers?

The Rugged Outdoor Cooler is the perfect cooler for car camping. While Yeti and other rotomolded coolers are better suited for being on the water with their weight and rubber feet helping to secure the cooler. The Rugged cooler really shines because of its lightweight portability and easy latches that even children can easily open and close.

The flip lid is a nice feature for backyard campouts, tailgating, or car camping, but I can see the lid being broken if used in a rough environment and feel like that is where the weakness is on this cooler.

Rugged Outdoor Cooler Conclustion

In conclusion, the Rugged Road outdoor cooler is costly, but a has been a great lightweight alternative that keeps our camping food and drinks just as cold as our Yeti cooler but weighs about 15 lbs less. It meets or exceeds all of our personal cooling needs and thus far hasn’t had any issues with it.