RTIC Cooler Review – Smart Money Saver Or A Poor Man’s Yeti?
Not so many years ago, buying an ice box was simple. One cooler was much like another and it wasn’t a purchase that required much thought. That changed in 2006 when Yeti created the premium cooler niche with boxes that could retain ice upwards of 10 days.
Other companies soon began producing premium coolers – with premium price tags to match. Then RTIC appeared on the scene in 2015 and changed the game by offering premium coolers at sub-premium prices.
So what’s the deal? Are RTIC coolers too good to be true or are they really what they appear to be, namely a high-performance premium cooler at a fraction of the price of their competitors? In this RTIC cooler review, I will give you the information you need to help you decide.
RTIC 20 Soft Pack
RTIC 30 Soft Pack
RTIC 40 Soft Pack
Things To Decide Before Buying An RTIC Cooler
First of all, why would you need a premium cooler in the first place? A cooler is an essential item for anyone who wants to keep food or drinks cold when they are away from home, but why would you need to pay the extra money for a premium model?
The recommended temperature for storing perishable foods is 40°F and the recommended temperature for beer is…cold! Depending on what activities you enjoy, you might require a cooler for camping, hunting or fishing trips or other activities when you won’t have access to a refrigerator.
If your trips usually last only a day or two, a cheaper, traditional cooler would probably be quite sufficient – however if you are looking for a solution for keeping your food and drinks cold for up to a week and more, you might consider spending your money on a premium cooler.
Another feature of premium coolers, including RTIC coolers, is that they are rugged and heavy-duty. If you require a cooler that is able to withstand a lot of punishment and rough treatment, then you also might consider investing in a premium cooler like an RTIC cooler.
This means RTIC coolers are suitable for anyone who needs to keep food and drink cold on extended trips with no access to a refrigerator and who requires a tough ice box that can take a certain amount of punishment but is not willing to meet the high price tag of other top-end coolers.
If you only need an ice box for shorter, casual trips you might not need to spend this much money on a premium cooler as there are cheaper models that would be adequate for your needs.
It is worth noting that the warranty period for RTIC coolers is shorter than other comparable brands. RTIC offers a 30-day warranty period whereas Yeti, for example, offer five years. If this is important to you, you might consider choosing a different brand.
Things to consider before buying an RTIC cooler:
- Do you need a cooler that will keep food cold for only a few days or upwards of a week?
- Do you need a rugged ice box that can take lots of rough treatment or only a cooler for casual trips?
- Is the warranty period an important issue for you?
- Do you prefer a product that is made in the USA?
What Makes RTIC Different From The Others?
What are the outstanding features of RTIC coolers? What makes them stand out from the crowd and how do they compare with other premium coolers currently available?
The RTIC company exists because the creators of the company saw that there was a market for premium coolers but they thought they could produce top-end ice boxes at a much lower price point than the competition.
- RTIC coolers are rotomolded, a manufacturing technique which ensures they are better insulated than traditional coolers and capable of retaining ice for up to 10 days
- They are rugged, ensuring they can stand up to rough treatment. This means that even if they are buffeted around on a fishing boat or are subject to frequent hauling on and off the back of a pickup, they will still last a long time.
- They are bear proof. Even if an inquisitive bear finds your camp, he still won’t be able to help himself to your supplies
- They drain quickly and easily, a very important feature. As the ice melts over time, you will periodically need to pour off the water that collects in the bottom. The drainage system helps with this.
- They are closed with heavy-duty rubber T-latches. This ensures that they are easy to open or close but when shut, are firmly secured.
- They are cheaper than their competitors. RTIC is a direct-to-customer company. This allows them to cut down on overheads and pass the savings onto their customers.
Features And Benefits
Let’s have a closer look at the features of RTIC coolers to see what makes these iceboxes stand out from the crowd and help you decide if they might be the right cooler for you. I will be focusing on RTIC’s hard shell coolers but will also mention the soft coolers the company produces.
It is worth noting that RTIC recently lost a legal case against Yeti who claimed that RTIC coolers had copied their design. RTIC has agreed to redesign the offending coolers and the new versions will be launched in time for the summer. It is possible the new designs will differ considerably.
Reviews Of RTIC Coolers
RTIC 20 Soft Pack
RTIC 30 Soft Pack
RTIC 40 Soft Pack
Aside from my own experience of these coolers, I’ve also scoured the internet to see what other people think of RTIC coolers and whether they consider that they really are as good as their higher-priced models produced by their competitors.
It seems to me that the vast majority of people who have purchased an RTIC cooler are happy with the product. A recurring theme in the many reviews I’ve come across state that people are pleased with the exceptional value of the product compared to the other premium coolers available.
Most people seem to be saying that the cooler performs as well as could be expected at a cheaper price point. However, I did come across several comments claiming that RTIC coolers are not able to get anywhere near their stated 10-day ice retention claim and the ice needs regular replacement.
Here are also two positive reviews from YouTube:
So what are the alternatives to RTIC coolers? This depends on what it is about the RTIC that attracts you, the premium cooler performance or the low price. If you are in the market for a premium cooler, you will probably have to pay a premium price.
You might want to check these camping coolers out!
Why are RTICs cheaper than their competitors?
RTIC is a direct-to-customer company. Customers buy RTIC coolers direct from the company which means RTIC can cut overheads and pass the reduction on to their customers. RTIC don’t use traditional sales channels and advertise using social media and word of mouth. This also helps to cut costs.
Where can you buy RTIC coolers?
As RTIC is a direct-to-customer company, the only official place to buy these coolers is the RTIC website – although there are also some unofficial sellers offering new and used coolers on sites like Amazon. You won’t be able to buy a genuine new RTIC cooler from a retail outlet.
Where are RTIC coolers made?
RTIC coolers are designed in the USA and manufactured in China
How do you clean an RTIC cooler?
RTIC coolers are easy to clean and you don’t need anything special to clean them. You can clean them using warm soapy water. If there are any particularly stubborn stains, you can also use warm water and bleach.
How long is the warranty?
The warranty period for RTIC coolers is 30 days.
How long do you have to wait for delivery?
If the cooler you order is a backorder or pre-order, it will be shipped when it becomes available. If it is available right away, shipping time will depend on the model and you can find information about this on the product page of the official RTIC site.
Be aware that due to the legal case, many of RTIC’s older models are no longer available and you will have to wait until the new line of products becomes available. This may affect shipping times over the coming months.
I think RTIC have been a welcome entry into the premium cooler market. We have become used to the high-end performance of some of the established brands like Yeti, Grizzly and Orca but sometimes we balk at the price we need to pay to obtain one.
I have mentioned a few issues and one of my biggest concerns is the 30-day warranty. I would think that a company that was sure of its product would be willing to back it up with a longer guarantee than just a month.
However, for me, I think RTIC’s coolers represent an excellent value option and people who want a high-quality cooler but were formerly priced out of the market now have a choice of affordable cooler. For people needing a premium cooler at a sub-premium price, RTIC is a great solution.