RTIC 65 Cooler Review: Super-great alternative option to other high-end coolers
After a long time using my old ice box for storing food and beverages for outdoor activities such as weekend parties, camping, etc., I finally decided to invest in a professional cooler for food and beverage to make life simple. It’s good to know that cooler technology has improved dramatically to offer consumers more choices. However, that also means that it’s quite difficult to pick one among lots of products. Most of my friends recommended the Yeti cooler but it seems beyond my budget. Then, one day, I found the RTIC 65-quart cooler, which is a top-rated coolers thanks to its affordable price and similarities to Yeti’s product. This is my hands-on review of this product; thus, please don’t look for any professional information here.
To be a wise consumer, I always identify the most important features that I expect to have in a product based on my real demands. I did the same thing for this food cooler.
Things to consider when buying coolers for food and beverage storage
Insulation capability is what I consider first because the main purpose of buying a cooler is to keep my food and beverages cool and fresh -- and, more importantly, to prevent food poisoning. As you may know, bacteria grow rapidly between 40°F and 140°F. Coolers are our solution to prevent food from spoiling, especially during trips and outdoor activities.
There are two types of cooler shells for ice retention.
● Hard-shell coolers: There are more insulating materials for ice retention; thus, they are recommended for perishable foods.
● Soft-shell coolers: They are designed with less insulating materials than their counterpart but are lightweight and easy to carry around.
You should look carefully at the lid to see if it is thick enough because this is what keeps the heat out when your cooler is outside. Most high-quality coolers have thicker and denser insulating materials. Of course, their price is much higher than those of affordable coolers.
Most people will expect the product to last for a long time, especially if the product requires a decent investment. A high-end cooler normally costs hundreds of dollars; thus, its durability is what I focus on.
A cooler whose exterior is made of hard plastic or metal is more durable than others. So, my advice is that you should ask yourself about how you plan to use the cooler. If you will mostly bring the cooler on trips, hard plastic or metal may be your choice to withstand all weather conditions. Soft-shell coolers are less expensive but are good enough for storing things for your outdoor activities at home.
Size is another important feature you should pay attention to. Picking the wrong size of cooler may lead to a waste of time and money. If the cooler is too small, you might have to buy a second one to fit your needs. On the market, there are many sizes available, normally measured in quarts.
Here are some tips about how to choose the right cooler size:
● Remember to leave room for ice; ice packs will have to be put into the cooler.
● If you are going to carry the cooler during your outing, consider whether the cooler can fit in your car before deciding to go for the largest size of coolers.
In terms of materials, there are 2 options:
● Softshell coolers: These are coolers normally made from fabric, which are ideal for a one-day trip or a small amount of food and beverages. They are lightweight and simple in terms of design; thus, they are more flexible but not good for ice retention. Most of them offer extra pockets in which you can snacks or personal belongings.
● Hard-shell coolers: These are called traditional coolers and they are normally made of plastic or metal. These coolers are a lot better in terms of ice retention, as they are designed with thicker insulation. That’s why hard-shell coolers are recommended for long outings and weekend parties with a large amount of food and beverages to store. Please bear in mind that hard-shell coolers will take up space in your house or your car, so you will want to choose the proper size.
When choosing a cooler, consider how easy it will be to transport your cooler to your designated areas. Smaller options are not always easier to carry than larger options. Consider a small cooler with a single handle and a big cooler with side handles and wheels. Which one is more mobile?
Regardless of design, always consider your limitations when you will need to carry your cooler while it’s fully loaded.
RTIC 65 cooler review
If you do some research online about the best coolers for camping, I’m sure that most of the results are about Yeti’s coolers. This brand has been the best-known in the premium cooler niche since it introduced its first high-end cooler in 2006. This cooler could retain ice for up to 10 days.
That changed a little when RTIC started its business in 2014. It seems that RTIC's business goal is to compete directly with Yeti, as RTIC’s products offer most of the same features as Yeti’s but are sold at a much cheaper price.
RTIC representatives have explained why the company can sell its products at a very competitive price. The company’s strategy is to sell directly to customers; thus, it does not pay a commission to any intermediaries, which helps reduce the costs of its products.
The RTIC 65-quart cooler belongs to the company’s second generation of ice chest coolers. Five sizes are available in this product line: RTIC 20, RTIC 45, RTIC 65, RTIC 110, and RTIC 145.
This is my detailed RTIC 65 review!
The RTIC 65 applies Rotomolded construction, which is known for its super ice retention capability. Let’s learn a bit about “Rotomolded construction”. This is the latest technology using thermoplastic materials to make a solid shape for a cooler to increase its durability and ice retention time. RTIC advertises that its cooler can hold an ice-cold temperature for up to 10 days. In reality, after a month of using it, I found that the RTIC 65-quart cooler is ideal for keeping food at a refreshing temperature of 50º F for 6 days. These numbers are impressive, as there are not many coolers on the market right now that can reach these results.
This is the second area in which this RTIC 65 shines. Although this cooler is not certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, it’s a tough food cooler that can withstand pushing, yanking, and harsh conditions such as direct sunlight. This cooler can support the weight of a man jumping on it. Its latches and hinges can take regular punishment.
3/ Storage capability
The name “RTIC 65” means that there is 65 quarts of storage space. More specifically, this mid-sized cooler can hold up to 64 cans, 70 pounds of ice, or 16.25 gallons. It is ideal for a large group of people who will be taking trips that last several days.
Thanks to the latest technology, called “Rotational molding”, molten plastic is used during the production of the RTIC 65-quart cooler. This kind of material and this new technology can produce thick and uniform walls without seals. The thickness (up to 3’’) makes these best ice chests harder than ever. In other words, this cooler can last for ages … and I’m pleased to pay for something that works.
The RTIC 65-quart cooler is equipped with double-carry handles that are not very convenient to carry for a long distance. This is a minus that I found while using this cooler. However, it’s not a big deal if you don’t have to move the cooler too far.
Price is a big factor when one is choosing a premium cooler. Many other brands can outperform RTIC coolers, but when it comes to price, RTIC has been a winner for many years. After experiencing the RTIC 65-quart cooler, I confirm that this is the best budget-friendly cooler that offers the longest ice retention. Personally speaking, I find that size vs price is the best aspect of RTIC products.
Pros and Cons
● Tough and highly durable: Rotomolded cooler
● Impressive ice retention: Up to 6 days at a refreshing temperature of 50º F
● Large amount of storage space: Holds up to 64 cans, 70 pounds of ice, or 16.25 gallons
● Affordable price for a high-end cooler
● Non-slip feet
● Rapid draining
● Too big for one person
● No built-in wheels
● Short warranty program
Features and specifications
In the last part of my review, I would like to share how I prepare and pack the cooler. You can use this as a reference for your trips!
Step 1: Prepare the cooler (usually 1 day before the trip)
● If you store the cooler in a hot area in your house, you should bring it inside one day before your trip to cool it down.
● If you don’t use the cooler very often or if you did not clean it after your last trip, you will want to clean it thoroughly with disinfectant spray for food safety reasons.
● If possible, fill the cooler with cold tap water and a bag of ice at least 12 hours before setting out for your trip. Remember to dump the water out of the cooler before you pack it.
Step 2: Prepare food and things to pack (usually 1 day before the trip)
● Think about the menus for your trip and list them to make sure nothing is left behind.
● To save space in your cooler, you can pre-chop, marinate, and portion your food. You can also get rid of excess food packaging. The more space you save, the more room you have for ice!
● If it’s an overnight trip (2- or 3-day trip), you can freeze your food. However, avoid freezing food that you plan to use on the first night. Other foods must be refrigerated before you put them into the cooler.
Step 3: Packing
● Start with a layer of ice at the bottom of the cooler. Then, pack the last day’s food first. Finish with the first day’s food. Note that block ice is the best type of ice for building the foundation of the cooler. It takes a lot longer to melt than ice cubes do.
● As you may know, the air inside the cooler can speed up ice melt; thus, fill up as much space as you can with ice cubes.
● Remember how you organized your stuff in the cooler to minimize the time you spend opening the cooler to search for things inside it.
● The cooler should be the last item that you put in your car, to avoid as much heat as possible.
Now you’re all done and ready for your trip!
The RTIC 65-quart cooler is, for me, one of the best coolers sold at a very affordable price. It is a great mix of impressive insulation, durability, ease of use, and a great price.
The cooler has its drawbacks, such as portability, sizes, and a short warranty program (compared to other cooler brands). However, so far, its built-in features and quality have impressed me.