Which Rtic cooler is best?

Whether you’re heading on a weeklong camping trip or a picnic at the park, the right cooler keeps food and drink fresh and chilled. Rtic coolers are known for being rugged and good at what they do. 

Your main choice is between hard and soft coolers, but you should also consider factors such as capacity and ease of carrying. Rtic Heavy-Duty Hard Cooler is the top choice if you’re looking for a hard cooler. 

What to know before you buy an Rtic cooler

Cooler types

Rtic makes both hard coolers and soft coolers. The right one for you depends on how you intend to use your cooler and how long you need to keep its contents cool. 

  • Hard coolers: These are generally larger than soft coolers and hold ice for up to 10 days. This makes them great for camping trips or other overnight adventures and for days when you need plenty of supplies, such as big family picnics. 
  • Soft coolers: Lighter than hard coolers but with significantly less insulation, these types of coolers are better for day trips and picnics. They’re more easily transportable than their hard counterparts and are available as totes or backpacks. 

Capacity

While soft coolers tend to list their capacity in cans, hard coolers usually have a quart capacity listed. This will help you figure out roughly how much you can fit in an Rtic cooler. However, it can vary somewhat depending on factors such as the type of cooler and the size of any cans you want to put inside. 

  • 45 quarts: Coolers of this size cold roughly 36 cans or 40 pounds of ice. They’re good for days out or weekend trips for one or two people. 
  • 65 quarts: Expect a cooler of this size to hold 64 cans or 70 pounds of ice. They’re good for weekend trips for large groups or longer trips for one to three people. 
  • 145 quarts:  This size cooler holds around 145 cans or 155 pounds of ice. It can keep a small group going for up to 10 days or hold supplies for eight to 10 people on shorter trips. 

What to look for in a quality Rtic cooler

Carry straps and handles

These coolers can have handles, single-shoulder straps or double-shoulder straps, like a backpack. They’re durable enough that they shouldn’t break halfway to or from your destination and leave you in a tricky situation

Drain

Rtic hard coolers have drains to empty the water left behind by melted ice. Without this, they’d be hard to empty, especially without making a huge mess. 

No-sweat exterior

The no-sweat exterior of these coolers doesn’t gather beads of condensation. This is a particular bonus when loaded into a car next to other items that a sweaty cooler could get wet. 

Bear-resistant

This company’s hard coolers are extremely rugged and seal tightly, making them bear-resistant. This is great news for camping trips or days out in the wilderness. 

How much you can expect to spend on an Rtic cooler

Soft coolers cost roughly $50-$200, while hard coolers can cost from $200-$600. Larger versions are always pricier than smaller ones. 

Rtic cooler FAQ

Are Rtic coolers worth it? 

A. Naturally, an item worth buying for some people isn’t for others. However, if you’re looking for a durable cooler, Rtic models offer excellent value.

You might pay more than you would for a simple soft cooler or a thin-walled hard cooler, but they can hold ice for up to 10 days and are incredibly rugged. They’re especially worthwhile purchases for keen campers or anyone who takes lots of picnics or trips to the beach. 

Can you put hot food and warm drinks in a cooler? 

A. While you technically can use a cooler to chill food and drinks, you’ll get the best results if you chill them in the fridge before loading your cooler. This way, any ice or cool packs stay cool for longer since they don’t have to chill warm food or drinks. They just maintain an already-cool temperature.

It’s also more efficient to layer your food or drinks under ice or cool packs rather than on top. Warm air rises, and cold air drops, so ice more effectively chills anything below it.

What’s the best Rtic cooler to buy?

Top Rtic cooler

Rtic Heavy-Duty Hard Cooler

Rtic Heavy-Duty Hard Cooler

What you need to know: This exceptionally durable hard cooler is perfect for serious campers and tailgaters. 

What you’ll love: It’s available in three sizes: 45, 65 and 145 quarts. It can hold ice for up to 10 days. It’s bear-resistant, thanks to the tough body and secure latches. The easy-flow spout makes draining it a breeze. 

What you should consider: It’s on the heavy side, so you wouldn’t want to carry it over long distances. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Rtic cooler for the money

Rtic Soft Pack Can Cooler

Rtic Soft Pack Can Cooler

What you need to know: Ideal for picnics, hikes and day trips, this soft cooler is light and easy to transport.  

What you’ll love: The exterior is leakproof and doesn’t sweat. Its shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around. You can choose from five sizes, holding eight, 12, 20, 30 or 40 cans. 

What you should consider: The zipper is tough to undo, which can be frustrating. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Rtic Ultra-Light Hard Cooler

Rtic Ultra-Light Hard Cooler

What you need to know: As it’s 30% lighter than Rtic’s standard hard cooler, it’s great for anyone who would struggle with the weight of the heavier model. 

What you’ll love: It holds up to 64 cans or around 40 pounds of ice. The removable divider and basket make organizing different types of food and drinks easier. It’s durable with heavy-duty marine rope handles. 

What you should consider: It’s only available in one size. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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