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I've been a fan-favorite for RTIC Outdoors for several years, and the experience has been pleasant.

Along with the superb quality control, one of the main highlights that drew me to RTIC was its huge inventory.

Their selection of coolers is so big that sometimes, choosing the right one for your needs seems like a Herculean task.

Two popular RTIC models many outdoor enthusiasts seem to have a hard time picking are RTIC 45 QT and 65 QT.

It is understandable since they share a lot of similarities. However, there are also striking differences between the two.

I've used both, and in the RTIC 45 QT Vs. 65 QT guide below, I'll compare them and help you determine which option is best suited for your needs.

Main Difference Between RTIC 45 Vs. 65 Coolers

Here're the main differences between RTIC 45 and 65 coolers:

Capacity: The main difference between these two coolers is their name. The RTIC 45 holds 40 lbs. of ice or 36 cans. On the other hand, RTIC 65 holds 40 lbs. of ice or 64 cans.

Serving:  The RTIC 45 is ideal for solo overnight trips, while the RTIC 65 lasts several days.

Weight & portability: Both coolers are great, but the RTIC 65 QT is much larger and heavier. The RTIC 45 is easy to handle single-handedly, but getting the 65 off the shelf or from a truck needs a helping hand.

Size and Cost: The size difference translates to a difference in the price. The larger RTIC 65 model is generally more expensive than the RTIC 45.

My Choice
RTIC 45 QT Hard Cooler
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RTIC 45 QT: Is Ideal For & When?

The RTIC 45 is, in my opinion, the most versatile option in the RTIC line of coolers, mainly because of its size.

With a 40-pound capacity, the RTIC cooler is small enough for most of my uses, including holding my lunch and drinks and serving as a drink bin for tailgating parties.

Yet, it's big enough to hold my day's lake-size fish catch or even support a friend and me for 2 to 3 days in camp.

Regarding size, it's also decent and fits perfectly on my passenger seat. 

Other coolers are too wide and usually take up the bulk of my space in my Subaru, but this one fits perfectly.

I've no problem using it at the back of my SUV when I g shopping for groceries or stocking up on frozen stuff.

And despite the decent size, I find it manageable for a single person to tote around the beach, park, or camping.

Overall, the RTIC 45 QT is a decent option for road trips, BBQs, on the boat, or tailgates. It ticks the boxes for most outdoor enthusiasts.

RTIC 65 QT Hard Cooler
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RTIC 65 QT - Is Ideal For & When?

When I head out for ocean fishing, I always tag along with my RTIC 65. 

Also, when I need to head out for camping or a picnic with my family of five, nothing comes in as handy as the RTIC 65.

It's the perfect size when you need real estate for storing foodstuff and drinks for a group of four to five people.

In fact, the 65-quart range is what most families gravitate towards.

The 65-quart size can serve you in almost any situation, from hunting, fishing, and picnics to tailgating.

Overall, it's a great cooler if you think you'll need a bigger cooler size but are not yet ready for the big boy's league.

But one thing I won't sugarcoat is the RTIC 65 feels heavy. It weighs 34.9 pounds, but when you add 20 lbs of food and drinks, you'll realize how bulky it can get. 

Also, the weight makes it challenging to maneuver with the cooler.

My Choice

Honestly, both coolers are great, at least for my needs. Your camping and outdoor need will determine which option is perfect for you.

However, I would go for the RTIC 45 QT if I were to pick between the two.

I have a soft spot for the RTIC 45 because it's an all-arounder. It checks on all the boxes of ease of use, performance, size, weight, and capacity.

It has a nice capacity for solo adventures or with a partner. It's also easy to carry, and even my wife doesn't seem to struggle much.

The simplicity, ease of use, and decent capacity make it my favorite choice.

RTIC 45 and 65 Cooler Features

Here're the similarities between RTIC 45 QT and 65 QT.

Rotomolded Construction

One of the striking features of RTIC 45 and 65 is their rotomolded construction. 

As a result, it's a cost-effective method of producing large plastic parts.

The main benefit of the rotomolded construction on the RTIC coolers is that they are hard-wearing and rugged.

The construction is good, and I've had mine dropped a couple of times and kids slamming it on the ground, and it hasn't broken or anything.

Simply put, durability is a one-less thing to worry about with RTIC coolers. It can take on anything you throw at it and will serve you for several seasons without compromising its structural integrity.

3" Thick Walls

A major highlight and key selling point with these RTIC coolers are their 3" thick walls.

The thick walls translate to superb ice retention capability and are perfect for those who want to avoid frequent trips to the gas station for ice.

It works amazingly and is handy for keeping your ice longer and storing items cooler. 

Once all the contents are chilled, it becomes like a little mini-fridges, and the temperatures inside are so cool.

Of course, don't expect the RTIC coolers to keep ice for a week for a long trek across Sahara, but you won't be draining water and buying ice daily.

Based on my field tests and use, I've no doubt you could squeeze 4 to 5 days out of these coolers.

If you pre-chill your foodstuff overnight, pack things tight, and limit your usage only when needed, I can see you getting up to 6 days.

It's probably not gonna happen in 90-degree temperatures and the cooler in direct sun. Still, it's achievable if you keep the cooler shaded and in mild temperatures.

Along with the 3" wall, the other feature that makes a huge difference with the RTIC's insulation is the handles. 

The handles are heavy-duty and thick, which helps keep the lid tightly shut. It's key to keeping the ice from melting because it doesn't allow hot air in.

Non-Slip Feet

Both coolers are rugged, and I love the grips and non-marking abilities of the feet.

The non-slip feet allow me to use the cooler on the swim pad of our boat, and I don't have to worry about it sliding. It doesn't move even if not tied to a moving boat.

I also don't have any issue keeping it in the bed of my moving truck, and I don't feel like I was ever on any road where I needed to tie it down.

But if you need to tie down the cooler, which I highly doubt, you'll appreciate the built-in tie-down holes under the lid.

V-Drain System

The double drains are handy for quickly emptying the cooler's contents without opening the lid. They also make cleaning the cooler much easier.

I've not had any issues with the drain, and it's hard to complain about it. 

But if I had to nitpick it, I do like that with other drains, you simply push the button, and the water starts coming out. The drain is controlled.

Whereas with the RTIC models, the water starts pouring out in all directions. 

But again, this is just a gripe and not a big deal.

Bear Protection

I've camped in bear country for several seasons and left the RTIC coolers outside overnight a few times without issues.

While the RTIC coolers aren't bear-certified, it's nice knowing they're bear-resistant. 

The combination of sturdy construction, lock bar, T-latches, and molded tie-down locks will keep your foods and beverages from the prying bear claws and teeth.

Traction Lid

Both RTIC 45 and 65 are more than coolers. They also double as step stools, tabletop, and cutting boards.

Their sturdy traction lid lets you set veggies, drinks, dishes, prepping food, and other stuff without breaking down. 

I love that I've rarely had anything slide off, even if the cooler isn't quite set on a level surface.

When I use the cooler on my drift boat, the traction lid doubles as a towering seat when I remove the actual tower seat in summer when fly fishing.

Heavy-Duty Rope Construction

I'll tell you, the RTIC 45 QT and 65 are already on the bulky side, and once you fill them with drinks and ice, they're going to get a little heavy. 

They may be challenging to carry.

Fortunately, RTIC understood this, and they made their options more portable by including heavy-duty rope handles.

It makes it much easier to take both coolers anywhere, especially when you need a helping hand. The rope handle is also great when you don't want to bend down to pick up the cooler.

In addition, there're also molded side handles. I use them to move the coolers around 9 times out of 10. They're handy when lifting the cooler from chest height on my truck and down to a picnic table.


If you want an expensive status symbol, RTIC isn't the brand to go for.

However, if your interests are in buying something decent and a functional cooler that won't drain your kid's college fund, you can't go wrong with the RTIC brand.

See, I usually balk at buying something expensive, knowing I can get an alternative with equal cooling performance (Hello Yeti). 

I also recommend RTIC coolers if you've no intention of getting a Wally Worth cooler for $50 to have it torn up in a few months.

Read also: 3 Places to Buy RTIC Coolers