The RTIC 30 can backpack Cooler rivals far more expensive options for a fraction of the price. With extensive ice life, sleek looks and the most comfortable strap system of any pack we have tested to date.
If you are looking for a competitively priced cooler that can hang with the industry leaders when it comes to the core tenants of a backpack cooler – long ice life, comfortable straps & 100% waterproof
Ice Retention Tests
The primary reason for using a cooler is to keep food and drinks below a certain temperature for as long as possible. The FDA recommends that when refrigerating food you should keep the temperature below 40° F to ensure food safety standards are maintained.
In the graphic below, you’ll see the internal temperature of the RTIC backpack cooler over the 66 hours of our testing. A data point is plotted every hour of the test.
The RTIC BP Cooler was able to stay under the 40° F cut off point for 57 hours which is just under 2.5 days.
Design, Construction & Durability
The RTIC Backpack Cooler is a large, boxy bag with one large internal compartment.
The bag features an array of carry strap options including:
- Thick padded shoulder straps with waist and chest straps
- Double top straps to carry by your side
- Extra durable side handles for improved maneuverability
- An optional Single shoulder strap
This backpack cooler has an additional ultra durable baseplate to protect from skids and scrapes during use.
The material has lasted really well despite regular usage.
Comfort While Carrying
This is yet another category where the RTIC performs very well. The cooler has two shoulder straps with thick padding throughout, a similarly padded waist strap and a vertically adjustable chest strap.
Due to its large capacity the backpack does become fairly heavy when full. When properly positioned to sit high on the back it remains comfortable to carry, even over long distances.
The cooler also has two sturdy side handles for lifting and two top level carry straps with a velcro joining handle.
For additional comfort there are two large vertical back pads and one horizontal lower back pad that runs the full width of the bag. All 3 pads are over 1″ thick and in conjunction with providing cushioning support they stabilize the pack making it sit against your back in an ideal position.
The RTIC strap system is the most sophisticated of any cooler we have tested. The only model that has a similar combination of comfy straps, thick back padding and hip/chest clips is the IceMule Boss.
- Wide, flip-top lid is secured by a 100% waterproof zipper that keeps exterior water out and interior liquids/melted ice in.
- The heavy duty nylon shell is laminated to increase its toughness and ability to keep the cooler waterproof/leakproof
True Can Capacity
How many cans will it hold? A key deciding factor when choosing a cooler. Manufacturers make claims that can sometimes be confusing, does the number include ice, is that using special cool packs? We test our coolers to give you can totals for different can sizes and varying levels of ice included. So how many drinks can the RTIC hold?
Their website states 30 cans plus a bag of ice, so let’s put that to the test.
12oz Skinny Cans (Truly, White Claw etc)
Value For Money
While the RTIC is by no means a cheap cooler, it offers fantastic value for money. Especially when compared to brands like Yeti, Otterbox and Pelican, RTIC can rival those brands in features, ice retention and build quality but costs almost half as much.
The company has gained a reputation for being able to manufacture quality coolers at a reasonable price. The RTIC slogan is ‘Overbuilt not overpriced’ and it’s impressive how accurate that statement seems to be. We simply have to give the RTIC backpack cooler the highest possible score for this category.
Real World Performance
I really like the RTIC Cooler, it is a huge bag that can keep your food and drinks cold for almost 2.5 days!
I found the bag to be functional and look good during use.
My only issue with the backpack cooler is that when you use it for an extended period of time in direct sunlight the outer material gets incredibly hot and becomes slightly deformed. You can see that in the image below.
RTIC Backpack Cooler vs Tourit Voyager
Both Tourit and RTIC are brands that attempt to offer customers Yeti quality products at a lower price point so it makes sense to compare these two very similar coolers. The bags are similarly priced and offer many of the same qualities that are usually only found in more expensive coolers.
Below is a list of the differences between the RTIC and the Tourit coolers:
RTIC Backpack Cooler
- Larger capacity
- More padding on backplate and shoulder straps
- Side carry handles
- Top carry handles
- Padded waist strap
- 3 days ice retention
- Double stitching on all key areas may last better over time
- External side pockets
- Front strap system is better than the RTIC elastic setup
- Detachable single shoulder strap
- Better looking bag
- 2.5 days ice retention
Get the RTIC if ....
Get the Tourit if ....
Performance Over Time
- Quality feel
- Slightly sticky zipper but included lubricant works quickly
- Thick insulation
- 3 days of ice life
After 2 Weeks
- No new issues
After 1 Month
- No change – Bag is holding up well after multiple uses.
- Zipper lubricant re-applied at 1 month point.
After 3 Months
- No change in performance.
- Slight wrinkles in top edge of the cooler.
- Some scuff marks.
- Rainbow trout hat courtesy of Dovehook.
If you’re looking for multi-day ice life, complete waterproofing and the most comfortable strap and back pad system we have tried then the RTIC backpack cooler is an excellent choice. When combined with the competitive pricing this cooler should definitely be on your shortlist. The only drawbacks would be if you’re looking for a pack with a smaller form factor or less boxy feel.
If you want something in a similar price range but less boxy, take a look at the Hydro Flask Backpack.