In this article, I want to talk about hard-cased coolers that are on the smaller side.
The two that I’ll look at are the Yeti Tundra 65 and the Yeti Tundra 45. These coolers lean more toward a shorter trip and are much more compact than other choices.
However, they aren't lacking in all the things that make Yeti hard coolers a great choice, from their anti-slip options to their nearly indestructible construction to all the accessories you can buy and fit right in.
I like these two because they are a great option for shorter trips and weigh much less than some of the size options on the market.
However, I wouldn't consider these to be in the same size class as each other. For example, the Yeti Tundra 65 is more of a medium-sized cooler, while the Tundra 45 is more of a smaller-sized cooler.
Main Difference Between Yeti Tundra 65 vs. Tundra 45
What makes Yeti Tundra coolers such an amazing staple for those who live the life of an adventurer is how uniform they are in production.
I like to have a few of these on hand because of their high-quality construction and because of all the attention to detail that Yeti puts into each of its products.
That said, there are only a few main differences between the Yeti Tundra 65 and the Yeti Tundra 45. The first one, of course, is size.
The Yeti Tundra has over 50% more capacity than the Yeti Tundra 45, with the Tundra 65 holding just over 57 quarts and the Tundra holding only around 37 quarts.
When this is measured in actual product, you're looking at over a dozen more cans in the Yeti Tundra 65 compared to the Yeti Tundra 45.
Next is pricing, where Yeti keeps it simple. Basically, the larger the capacity, the higher the cost. This is true here as well, but it's not much of a price difference.
For example, the Yeti Tundra 65 costs around $50 more than the Yeti Tundra 45, but has much more space.
What I Like About the Yeti Tundra 65
The Yeti Tundra 65 is a superb option when you need that right-sized medium-hard cooler. You can really maximize and stretch out how long everything lasts.
With some pre-planning, you can store up to six or seven days’ worth of cans, foods, and supplies.
Of course, this is based on how large the group is and the preference for rationing, but it's a possibility.
At 29 pounds, the Yeti Tundra 65 also weighs only six pounds more than the Yeti Tundra 45, but its rectangular shape makes it a bit more stable, which is a nice feature.
This is also a perfect option for those going on a weekend fishing getaway and planning to keep what they catch in a cool location for the duration of the trip.
Because it’s bigger than the Yeti Tundra 45, it handles ice management a lot better, so your ability to keep things cooler lasts much longer.
What I Don’t Like About the Yeti Tundra 65
I have mixed feelings about the Yeti Tundra 65. It doesn’t seem to fall into any specific category, as it’s right in between the medium to small sizes.
There are better options, for slightly more, that significantly increase capacity, and there are much more compact and stable choices.
On the other hand, if you can get it at a discount, this cooler could be a steal.
What I Like About the Tundra 45
Many people say that the Yeti Tundra 45 is one of the most popular choices.
I tend to agree with them. It's the largest of the smaller category, in my opinion, and is a fantastic option when it comes to getting away for the weekend.
You can fill it with beers and end up with the catch of the day when fishing. It's literally the perfect solo or duo-sized cooler and can generally be easily carried by one person.
What I Don’t Like About the Tundra 45
Not everyone can carry this by themselves. This is the weight class that starts getting heavier than some of the smaller coolers.
If you can handle it, though, it's a great weekender. If not, you’ll find yourself struggling at times to drag your haul back with you.
It also has a square-shaped design, which I’ve found means that it can tip over, as it's not as flat as the rectangular option.
Storage Capacity, Dimension, And Color
The number after the name doesn't represent the exact storage capacity.
Here are better specifications, so you’ll know if it will fit comfortably on your fishing boat, on a hiking trip, or in the back of your truck.
You’ll quickly see that they are only slightly different in some of their dimensions, yet the Tundra still comes out with a significant extra amount of storage.
Yeti Tundra 45: The overall carry capacity inside the Yeti Tundra 45 is 37 quarts, and it can easily hold 35 pounds of ice. Dimensions: 19.5” x 10.5” x 10”
Yeti Tundra 65: The overall carry capacity on the inside is 52 quarts, and it can comfortably hold up to 56 pounds of ice. Dimensions : 24.5” x 12” x 10.125”
When it comes to colors you do have a few to choose from, which I really like.
The Yeti Tundra 65 comes in seven colors.
The Yeti Tundra 45 comes in thirteen colors.
This is one of the things I like about these coolers. Granted, when it comes to hard coolers, I care more about functionality and durability, but an array of available colors helps with my purchasing mentality.
How many cans does a Yeti Tundra 45 hold vs. a Yeti Tundra 65?
This is always an important question. Keep in mind that the Yeti Tundra has a much higher capacity.
For example, the Yeti Tundra 45 can comfortably hold 28 cans with the proper amount of ice to keep them cool for around three days.
The Yeti Tundra 65 offers more ice efficiency due to its design and larger space, allowing 42 cans to remain comfortable and cool for up to about seven days.
Can I carry either the Yeti Tundra 45 or the Yeti Tundra 65 by myself?
The Yeti 45 is meant to be carried by one person, and many shouldn't have an issue with it.
This can be the case even with freshly caught fish or when the cooler is stacked to the brim with beverage cans for the trip. It weighs 23 pounds empty.
The Yeti 65 Tundra is a different story. It weighs 29 pounds empty and has a much larger carrying capacity than its counterpart.
It also has a rectangular design, so your arms had better be long enough to comfortably carry this cooler without any major weight issues.
As always, I would err on the side of safety and bring along a friend or three to help move this.
I have to say, the Yeti Tundra 45 is a great all-around option that pushes the limits on how much one can carry.
However, that doesn't mean people shouldn't consider the Yeti Tundra 65. It can be surprisingly spacious, but still feels at times that it isn't small enough for one person or big enough for long journeys.
Regardless, you'll enjoy the quality features that come with either one of these hard case coolers as you take part in long weekends of adventure.
Brandi Jangula is a writer born and raised in the Midwest. The Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota provide some of her favorite locations to hike and camp with her three adventurous boys. Brandi also enjoys cooking, reading, and attending her children's sporting events in her spare time.