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The new cooler revolution means more choice, more ice days, and better durability. Upgrades to cooler styling and functionality began with the YETI company, and soon RTIC cooler company began producing the same quality cooler for a lower price. Today, cooler companies have to produce portable, lightweight and insulated designs that gives customers three ice days, minimum. Since coolers aren’t just for hunting, fishing and camping and families own a cooler that gets used for tailgating, parties, road trips and more, versatility is key. We review soft and hard designs by comparing the RTIC and YETI coolers.

What Is the RTIC Softpak Cooler?

The Softpak is a brand name but the alternative to standard coolers is the “soft” or foldable cooler. The advantage of this design is that the cooler can fold or get packed down when not in use to save space. While space saving is a minor issue in the garage it can be an important issue in the car. Soft coolers have a bit more space for their size, and weigh less. Amazingly, this design keeps food and drink ice cold for almost as long as the rigid foam construction of a regular cooler. The RTIC Softpak comes in three sizes and has the same high-end specs customers have come to expect in RTIC cooler products.

Product Specs

The Softpak cooler comes in three sizes – 20, 30 or 40 – and the exterior look is the same for each. The 20 has dimensions of 14 x 13.25 by 9.25, comes in a dark charcoal color with black straps, and includes multiple straps for hand carrying or converting to a backpack. All straps are highly adjustable, and the exterior will not sweat. A waterproof zipper means the pack repels water. The 2″ of closed-cell, insulated foam construction is 100% leak proof and the Softpak will keep contents cold for a minimum of five days. This cooler has an internal capacity that stores 20 pounds of ice or 30 cans of your favorite drink.

Pricing

RTIC coolers run lower than their closest competitor, the YETI. The Softpak ranges from $120 (the 20) to $174. While this price may seem high for a cooler, these Softpak RTIC cooler products will last most – or all – of a lifetime. If used at home, they will last a lifetime. This may be the only cooler you will ever buy.

PRODUCT NAME

IMAGE

PRICE

RTIC Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

YETI Hopper BackFlip Cooler

RTIC SoftPak

RTIC SoftPak


RTIC Cooler

RTIC 20, White
  • Roto-Molded Construction, Heavy Duty T-Latches, Freezer Grade Gasket, Molded Tie Down...
  • Up to 3" of Insulated Walls, Non-Slip Feet, Integrated Locking System, Bear Resistant
  • Rapid V-Drain System, No Fail Hinges, No Sweat Exterior, Cool Lift Design, Molded Side...

Standard RTIC coolers are rigid and look much like old fashioned coolers like the Coleman line but are much better insulated. They are easier to open and close and don’t have tops that occasionally pop open when not looking. The RTIC Cooler translates into “hard cooler” and comes in five sizes, from 20 to 65. We review the 45, a mid-sized cooler perfect for road trips, office parties, and tailgating with the family.

Price: $$$

This cooler runs $ and can be found on Amazon and at sporting retailers.

Ease of Use:

This cooler comes with T-latches in heavy duty rubber for easy closure and for keeping the cooler shut in all conditions. A locker system that is intuitive keeps this cooler safe from marauding bears (or children), and the rope handles will last. Because it is rigid, this cooler makes a great step stool, camping table, or other flat surface. The weight is 25 pounds empty.

Interior:

The insulating properties of this hard cooler are incredible, with up to ten days of ice life. Because of this feature, the RTIC 45 can act like a portable freezer when fishing, camping, or driving cross country (or internationally!) and truly changes the way you store food. The insulation is closed cell, rigid foam and it resistant to punctures. Insultation is improved by keeping the cooler shut and limiting usage.

Design Quality:

Coolers have a simple design and nothing in the look of the RTIC cooler stands out except its obvious durability. The cooler has sturdy handles, two drain spouts for decanting extra water, and a top that stays shut. Its rope handles drop down and out of the way when not in use. We wish this cooler could be 100% bear proof, but the bear resistant rating is all we can expect of a cooler of this size.

It’s easy to use and carry and keeps food and drink ice cold for days, so from a design perspective it performs. We’d like more of a color range and the customizable features of YETI, but for chilling this cooler doesn’t disappoint.

Warranty:

RTIC has a 30-day warranty. We would like a longer warranty, especially since this highly durable product is unlikely to collapse, perforate, or stop chilling. RTIC is having some difficulty figuring out their warranty, which used to be 5 years and is now 30 days.

Pros

  • Keeps interior cold for over a week
  • Easy to carry
  • Strong construction makes a good table
  • Easy to open, close
  • Seals well
  • Great value
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Limited color choices


YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler White
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans...
  • Will keep your ice... well ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually...
  • All Tundra coolers feature T-Rex Lid Latches constructed of heavy-duty rubber and made...
  • The Tundra 45 dimensions are 25 1/2 in long x 16 in wide x 15 ½ in high with an empty...

YETI is the company that has revolutionized cooler ice days. Before YETI, we were all consigned to hoping our food made it more than two days, scouring the land for block ice which we knew would extend the cooling, and living in a world of watery ice cold water rather than ice. Although YETI coolers are expensive, we who camp and fish are eternally grateful they set the cooler bar a little higher.

Price: $$$

The Tundra 45 starts at $, so is pricier than comparable RTIC products.

Ease of Use:

Like the RTIC cooler, this one comes in a beefy exterior with sturdy rope handles. Many of its features mirror RTIC, but in fact YETI was the pioneer and RTIC the copycat. But RTIC has improved on a couple of use features: the rope handles of YETI are more bulky, and the YETI 45 doesn’t quite have the capacity it says it does, holding only 38 quarts. Still, this YETI has good capacity. At 25.5″ x 16 x 15.5 it holds up to 26 cans ,when the ice is balanced, to keep them cold. This workhorse can hold up to 40 pounds of crushed ice, and empty it weighs a little over 25 pounds.

Interior:

With 3″ of insulation, the YETI is thicker than the RTIC cooler and this takes up a little of the interior space. It keeps contents just as cold as RTIC and lasts for days. The ice retention of the YETI is mind-blowing for generations who grew up with coolers from even ten years ago. The ice doesn’t just keep food items cool; it keeps them cold for over a week.

Design Quality:

This cooler rivals the RTIC cooler; they have both mastered cooler design. Drainage holes, decent handles, and rigid construction compete. We love that YETI has five different colors, even if they are heavy on the pastel choices. But this cooler is a “45” and the capacity is more like 38, so we don’t know why YETI doesn’t go with the more accurate “40.” YETI doesn’t hold as much as its 45 RTIC competitor, but for keeping the ice cold YETI has a (slight) advantage. In terms of performance, the YETI design completely supports its ideal functioning by keeping its interior the temperature of an ice berg.

Warranty:

YETI is confident in its coolers’ performance and has a five-year warranty.

Pros

  • Keeps things cold for up to a week
  • Sturdy design
  • Rope handle construction
  • Stays shut
  • Waterproof
  • Spouts for drainage
  • Comes in several colors
  • Can order customized with sports team logos
  • Doubles well as table or stool
  • Long-lasting
  • Solid warranty

Cons

  • Not quite a “45”
  • Expensive


YETI Hopper BackFlip Cooler

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack, Fog Gray/Tahoe...
  • Part cooler, part backpack, the Hopper BackFlip 24 is the perfect reason to extend your...
  • DRYHIDE SHELL - The Hopper's high-density fabric is waterproof and resistant to mildew,...
  • COLDCELL INSULATION - Closed-cell rubber foam offers far superior cold-holding to ordinary...
  • HYDROLOK ZIPPER - The toughest, highest-performing waterproof and leakproof cooler zipper...
  • The BackFlip has an inside measurement of 12 5/8 x 6 ½ x 15 inches. Big enough to hold 20...

This soft cooler doubles as a backpack. You’d be surprised how handy this is. Remember when you made fun of backpack lawn chairs, then tried one? It’s incredibly convenient for music festivals, hikes to the fishing hole, and picnics. Owners find other uses for the BackFlip. We review the “24” which is a good carrying capacity and not too heavy for most users.

Price: $$$

The Hopper runs $ for the 24 capacity.


RTIC SoftPak

RTIC Soft Pack 20, Grey
  • RTIC 20 Soft Pack - Keeps Ice up to 5 Days (See details).
  • Holds up to 20 Cans Plus Ice.
  • No Leak Zipper.
  • Exterior Does Not Sweat.
  • Up to 2" of Foam Insulation.

Warranty:

Pros

  • Multiple, adjustable straps
  • Keeps food cold for 3 days
  • Lightweight
  • Nice look
  • Exterior Pockets
  • 100% leakproof construction
  • Easy open, easy load
  • Affordable
  • Great as carry-on luggage

Cons

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