RTIC Cooler Review - Does It Hold Ice for 5 Days?

Earlier this year, RTIC had a sale on their soft pack coolers.  My husband and I couldn't pass this deal up, and we managed to score an RTIC 40 Soft Pack cooler for $99.95.  It was $50 off.   We had been eyeing these coolers for months and didn't want to spend double that on a competitive brand.

The RTIC Soft Side Cooler features a waterproof zipper.
I do know that there are ways to make cooler covers to insulate a regular cooler.  For me, time is money.  If I am going to invest the money in materials and time to make do with an existing cooler, I might as well purchase another cooler.  Constructing a cooler modification just doesn't make sense for me logically or monetarily.  Consider this before going down the road to insulate a typical cooler. It might not be worth it for you either.

I read mixed reviews on Amazon and knew that this purchase was a gamble.  With summer camping season on the way, I wanted a cooler that would stand up to heat and serve as an overflow to our camper fridge.  So, how has the RTIC cooler performed thus far?

We have taken our RTIC 40 Soft Pack on 3 trips in a row.  We are pleased so far.  Size wise, we are able to pack this cooler easily into the back of our SUV with all of our other gear.  It also holds quite a bit of food.

RTIC has some tips on use and performance.  Here are some things to remember:
  1. Chill your cooler a few hours or overnight before you head out using ice to cool down the interior.   You can also cool by placing your cooler inside of a deep freeze.
  2. Use fresh ice to pack your cooler after the initial cool down or chilling process.
  3. Larger surface, solid ice will perform better over time.
  4. You can use rock salt at the top layer to improve overall performance.
  5. Fill your cooler with prechilled items.  Don't start with room temperature or hot items inside of the cooler.
The RTIC is a high-quality cooler.  For starters, it does not leak or sweat at all.  Even in high temperatures, we felt like the performance has been good.  On our Easter weekend, trip, temperatures were in the high 80's both days.  While I did add a little ice along the way and drain off some of the water, the food was really cold!  I had constant ice in the cooler.  There was never a time that I opened the cooler and everything was melted.

Day three of Easter weekend, kept ice all weekend and food really cold!  We kept our cooler in the shade outside.
I do recommend storing your cooler in the shade or cooler location if you are camping for several days.  Also, minimize the number of times that you open the cooler.  Many times, I reach in and get out something and shut in quickly to keep cold air in.  It is just common sense.  Most people have heard their mother say, "Don't stand there with the fridge open."  Don't stand there with your cooler open.  

I wanted to see if this cooler would hold ice for 5 full days.  We purchased a bag of ice and just placed it down inside of the cooler.  For this test, I did not do any pre-chilling.  

For day's 1 and 2, the ice was pretty solid.  Really no melting at all.

On day 1, we dropped a bag of ice into the cooler.

Day 2, the ice had started to settled but still had plented of ice.

For day three, there was about an inch of melted water in the bottom of the cooler.  But, there was still plenty of ice.

Day 3, plenty of ice.  There was about an inch of water in the bottom.
On day 4 about 1/3 of the ice remained with cold water in the bottom.  When I opened the cooler, cold air poured out.  This tells me that the insulation of the cooler holds well.

Day 4 left about 1/3 of the ice in the bag.
On day 5,  the ice had melted.  However, I had not prechilled the cooler before this process.  And, I did not add any ice over the course of the 5 days.  For these reasons, I don't think my cooler failed the 5-day challenge.  My cooler lasted 4 days with ice.  And I only had the cooler half full with ice to start with.  

Thick insulated walls around the cooler's interior.
What is my verdict?  For our family, the RTIC 40 Soft Pack is a good purchase.  I feel confident that any food stored inside of this cooler is safe.  If you are camping without a fridge, this would be a great cooler to store food inside for the sheer safety reason alone.  

The RTIC Soft Side Cooler has a strap and heavy duty hand straps.  This makes carrying easier.  However, it is still heavy when fully loaded.
The 40 soft pack cooler is large enough to store quite a bit of food but compact enough to easily transport.  It is a heavy cooler when loaded fully, but I can transport it on my own.  

Our family does a lot of activities that involve coolers.  This will also be a great cooler for tailgating and other outdoor activities.  In deciding, we took into account how much we would actually use this cooler.  For us, this would be 2 or 3 times a month.  

If you are considering a new premium cooler, the RTIC may be the cooler for you.  The price point is certainly more than your basic brands.  However, the craftsmanship that goes into these coolers is outstanding.  The performance is great.  There are a variety of sizes and styles to choose from as well.  RTIC has recently released new styles and products this spring.  

Do you own an RTIC or other premium brand cooler?  What are your thoughts on performance and use over time?  I'd love to hear from others that use this brand or other premium cooler brands.  

1 comment

Thank you for your feedback and comments. I always review before sharing with other readers. Have a great day!