In the market for a new hard-sided camping cooler? The RTIC 45 QT and 65 QT coolers have a capacity and price that’s on point. The tradeoff is these coolers are not lightweight. The RTIC 52 Ultra-Light Cooler is a better option if you’re looking to reduce your load.
Priced competitively, the RTIC 45 QT and 65 QT hard-sided coolers are multi-purpose coolers that make excellent companions for car camping. The RTIC 45 QT will supply about 2 to 3 people with about 4 days worth of food. Meanwhile, the RTIC 65 QT can feed your group for 4 days or more.
The thing I appreciate about RTIC is there’s no guessing about how much their coolers hold. It’s right in the name.
At 45 quarts, the RTIC 45 QT can pack in 40 pounds of ice or 36 cans. That’s enough room to store some burgers, brats, eggs, and veggie accompaniments for a couple of days. You can even toss in a couple of cans to get them ice cold.
If you have a larger group size, upgrade to the RTIC 65 QT. The 65 quart capacity breaks down to 70 pounds of ice or 64 cans. That’s roughly 2.7 cases of beer.
Dedicate the cooler to fizzy beverages on a hot weekend. Or keep the family fed and happy on a 3 days or more camping trip.
The drawback to creating durable hard-sided coolers with better ice retention is more weight. The RTIC 45 QT has a 29 pound empty weight. This is much lighter compared to the RTIC 65 QT.
The RTIC 65 QT will cost you an empty weight of 36 pounds. Filled to the brim with ice you’re looking at over 100 pounds.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t lift that sucker when it’s full. I’m saying you shouldn’t.
If you want to save your back, stick with the RTIC 45.
Now that you know the weights, let’s talk about portability. Obviously, the heavier the cooler, the less portable it will be.
That’s one strike against the RTIC 65 QT for this category. Yet, there’s more to consider.
For instance, the RTIC 65 QT is 32.25 inches long and 18.5 inches wide. The RTIC 45 QT is 26.5 inches long and 16.5 inches wide.
The smaller size of the RTIC 45 QT is more ideal for a single person to carry. The width alone makes it much easier to grasp the cooler by the molded or swinging rope handles.
The dimensions also cut down on bulk. This means the RTIC 45 QT travels better in a fully packed car, truck, RV, or campervan.
That said, both are mid-size coolers. Neither of them comes with wheels so you’re not likely to be carrying them on foot too far.
Which, if you’re only using these coolers for car camping, won’t be much of an issue.
The RTIC 45 QT and 65 QT coolers give you a good bang for your buck.
Both feature the same user-friendly design and robust technology. This includes good ice retention, a leak-resistant seal, non-slip feet, tie-down slots, and a slightly textured traction lid.
While RTIC claims ice will last for up to 10 days, this depends on a myriad of things. For instance, outside temperature, ice to food ratio, and that sort of thing.
Realistically, you’re looking at around 4 days before you need to pull the plug on the rapid flow drain system and replenish the cooler with a fresh bag of ice.
Bearing all that in mind, you’re getting a quality product for the price. The main thing you need to consider is how you value a cooler’s worth.
The RTIC 65 QT will cost you a few more bones for a higher storage capacity. On the other hand, the RTIC 45 QT is more compact which increases portability. Meanwhile, both have an attractive price that undercuts their competitors.
To assess other options, the RTIC cooler finder can help.
Finding a robust hard-sided cooler at a reasonable price can be challenging. The RTIC 45 QT and 65 QT fill that niche.
For a more compact option, the RTIC 45 QT is the way to go. Then there’s the RTIC 65 QT which has an enhanced storage capacity to keep food and drinks cold for happy campers.
Either way, both these mid-sized coolers are excellent choices for car camping and then some. The ice retention will last you about 4 days, give or take. Pair that with rugged durability and you’ve got a couple of great coolers at a phenomenal price.