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Yeti Tundra 65 Review

If you want the best insulation and the longest lasting cooler, look no further than this simple yet effective model.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $350 List | Check Price at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Excellent insulation, super durable, easy to use, great size
Cons:  Expensive, no leash for plug, smaller than claimed
Manufacturer:   Yeti
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 9, 2019
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SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 12
  • Insulation - 50% 9
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Portability - 10% 7
  • Features - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Yeti has long been a big name in the cooler world, and they continue to prove themselves worthy of the hype with the Tundra 65. This cooler proves itself in every test we can throw at it, easily winning our Editors' Choice Award. It has some of the best-performing insulation in the game and is intensely durable. It does everything you want from a chest cooler and more. With an included dry bin for sensitive items, handles that are comfortable and easy to use (even with sweaty palms…), and the right combination of size and shape for all your picnic necessities, the Tundra is likely the last cooler you'll ever need. Often imitated, but not outdone, this impressive cooler lacks only a leash for the drain plug to make it the ideal all-around cooler on the market.

If the price is too intimidating, we feel you. While the Yeti is the better cooler, according to our tests and evaluations, the RTIC 65 is a strong runner-up that costs a good chunk of change less and certainly worthy of consideration.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Yeti Tundra 65
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price Check Price at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$334.97 at Amazon$230.59 at Amazon$399.00 at REI
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$349.99 at Amazon
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Pros Excellent insulation, super durable, easy to use, great sizeExcellent insulation, great drainage, durable, compact designVery durable, less expensive than competitors, good insulation, comfortable handle gripsThe best wheels, very durable, comfortable to pull, useful accessoriesUser-friendly latches, large capacity, decent insulation, durable walls
Cons Expensive, no leash for plug, smaller than claimedTall narrow shape is hard to dig through, expensive, not our favorite handlesA bit large for one person, no leash for plug, latches are scarily stretchyNot amazing insulation, awkward latches, expensive, on the heavy sideHinge not most durable, awkward shape, expensive
Bottom Line If you want the best insulation and the longest lasting cooler, look no further than this simple yet effective model.Excellent insulation in a compact, durable cooler.A high-performing and durable cooler that’s a bit softer on the wallet.A wheeled cooler that is even more handy than you’d imagine.A solid cooler in an oddly shaped package.
Rating Categories Yeti Tundra 65 ORCA 58 Quart RTIC 65 RovR RollR 60 OtterBox Venture 65
Insulation (50%)
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9
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9
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6
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Durability (20%)
10
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9
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8
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7
Ease Of Use (15%)
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7
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5
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8
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7
Portability (10%)
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7
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6
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9
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3
Features (5%)
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5
Specs Yeti Tundra 65 ORCA 58 Quart RTIC 65 RovR RollR 60 OtterBox Venture 65
Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF) 6.5 days 6.5 days 6 days 4.7 days 5 days
Weight (lbs) 31.9 lb 30.6 lb 34.9 lb 40.5 lb 34.1 lb
Measured Capacity (quarts) 56 qt 56 qt 67 qt 60 qt 66 qt
Advertised Capacity (quarts) 65 qt 58 qt 65 qt 60 qt 65 qt
Days of Cold Beverages (Measured Days Below 50º F) 7.4 days 7.3 days 6.8 days 5.3 days 5.8 days
Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H) 30.75" x 17.5" x 16" 26.75" x 20" x 19.4" 32" x 18.5" x 17" 25.9"/40.25" x 20.75" x 20" 40.5" x 18.75" x 18.75"
Construction Rotomolded polyethylene Rotomolded Rotomolded Rotomolded Polypropylene shell, polyurethane insulation

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Go more places with the peace of mind the Tundra can provide.
Go more places with the peace of mind the Tundra can provide.

Insulation


It's hard to ask much more from a cooler than what the Tundra provides in insulation. Tied with the Orca 58, the Tundra lasted the longest in our insulation testing, holding food-safe temperatures below 40º F for 6.5 days and optimal beer temperatures of 50º or less for 7.4 days. Though it's not the only model, we tested that's rotomolded (most of them are, in fact), nor is it the only cooler with an integrated hinge and a freezer-quality gasket, these traits combined with an ideal shape help the Tundra to maintain colder temperatures for much longer. Unlike the visually similar RTIC, the Tundra is low and long without being too wide for one person to comfortably carry, and large enough to keep everything you want without being so big it loses cold air through a large surface area.


Yeti no longer makes specific claims of ice retention, as they admit that this number will vary greatly depending on what you do to prep your Tundra and what you decide to put in it. Considering we did not pre-cool these models to prep them during testing and made no effort to baby them with frozen contents, the 6.5 days this cooler kept its contents at USDA approved temperatures is even more impressive. When it comes to insulation, the Yeti Tundra is a seriously remarkable cooler.

Keep food fresh for longer in the Tundra.
Keep food fresh for longer in the Tundra.

Durability


One of several coolers in our review certified for use in grizzly bear country by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, the Tundra shares the limelight with the RTIC, Rovr, OtterBox, Orca, and Pelican. This impressively durable cooler has more tricks up its proverbial sleeves. It's intensely sturdy and even features a textured lid that makes it more comfortable to sit on when you're hot and sticky, as well as a more friction-friendly stepladder in a pinch. The integrated hinge has no problems overextending without breaking - though it does make some interesting noises. The often imitated rubber latches are the Goldilocks of thickness and flexibility, lending both durability and peace of mind that they aren't going to break when your toddler yanks on them.


Though most coolers we tested have a rubber gasket around the lid, the Tundra seals in the contents and leaks no air or liquid - we wish we could say the same for any of the rolling coolers we tested. It also has a rubber gasket around the drain to prevent leaking - and don't worry, if you lose the plug, you can purchase a replacement piece from Yeti. To torture these coolers, we left them in the hot sun on a scorching driveway for a whole afternoon to see what would happen. Though the lid of the Yeti bowed slightly during the warmest parts of the day, it quickly and easily returned to normal as the sunrays became less intense. While we didn't do any of the crazy things from Yeti's YouTube channel, our durability testing demonstrates the fantastic longevity of this cooler.

The Tundra features all around burly construction  including the hinges.
The Tundra features all around burly construction, including the hinges.

Ease of Use


Though it may take a few bouts of practice, the Tundra can be quickly opened with one hand when your other hand is full of things to stuff inside. It's also a simple, easy shape to facilitate loading and unloading. The lid stays open when you need it, yet closes easily with just the suggestion of a push. And unlike every other cooler we tested, it stays open without actually overextending the angle of the hinge - an important feature when your cooler is backed up against the railing on the patio or the side of the boat. It, like the RTIC, Orca and Engel, has two sets of handles: one set is hidden as indents under the lid, while the other set is an easily grabbed rope with moveable grips in the middle. This dual handle set makes it easy for one or two people to carry the Tundra, without adding extra bulk to the overall shape of the cooler, as seen in the awkwardly shaped OtterBox.


A dual-use drain makes emptying your soggy Tundra simple. Simply unscrew partially to let water seep out of the hole in the drain plug, or completely remove the plug for faster drainage - though if you choose to go the quick route, be sure you don't misplace it, as there is no leash to attach it to the cooler itself. Though there is a small lip in the drainage channel, it doesn't impede the water's departure from the cooler, which isn't the case of many of this cooler's competitors. The Tundra also comes with a dry item (or small item) basket that we find incredibly handy and can be easily removed and left behind when you do not need it. Our only real complaint with the usability of this cooler is that it's advertised to hold 65 quarts when in reality it contains just 56. Though that's a big difference, we do think the size of the Tundra is convenient. If you want a cooler that's actually 65 quarts, check out the RTIC.

Often replicated  we greatly enjoy the usability of these simple rubber T-grips.
Often replicated, we greatly enjoy the usability of these simple rubber T-grips.

Portability


As a fairly large cooler without wheels, portability is not this cooler's strong suit. At nearly 32 pounds when empty, we strongly recommend enlisting help to move this fully-loaded cooler. The Engel and Coleman are both much lighter, at 25.5 lbs and 11.9 lbs, respectively. The Tundra does have a great combination of a low profile without being too wide that helps it not bash against your legs too much if you are carrying it solo.


To help your partner and you co-carry this cooler, the Tundra comes with rope handles outfitted with special grips. These grips feel rigid like plastic while having that almost sticky, friction-like feel of rubber. Along with longitudinal grooves and adjustable placement, the Tundra's handles make carrying this full cooler less of a pain than it could be. All in all, it's a pretty decent system.

Thick  easy grip handles help you cart around this ice chest with the help of a generous friend.
Thick, easy grip handles help you cart around this ice chest with the help of a generous friend.

Features


At first glance, the Tundra looks super basic, but upon further inspection, it includes a lot of handy features. Non-slip feet help keep it from being bumped off the edge of the deck or scootched overboard. Tie-down points on either end can be used to secure it in the back of your pick-up truck for long hauls on 4 x 4 roads - and you can still open the cooler while it's tied down! Handily, you can pressure wash your Tundra or fill it with dry ice to make your food last. You can also easily remove the rope handles if you're semi-permanently installing it, and reverse the T-grips to slim down the cooler's profile a hair.


The one feature we wish the Tundra had is a leash for the drain plug, but alas. At the time of writing, Yeti backs their Tundra with a 5-year warranty, which is a helpful safety net, just in case. You can also purchase a bunch of different accessories to customize your cooler.

The Tundra includes a handy but simple dry storage basket.
The Tundra includes a handy but simple dry storage basket.

Best Applications


You'd be hard-pressed to find a situation in which the Yeti Tundra wouldn't meet your cooler needs. It packs great insulation into a durable and useful box. Unless you're looking to pack your cooler out a long way from your home or car, we think the Tundra is the best performing icebox available. If portability is what you want, you might consider a personal-sized cooler like the Igloo BMX or Yeti Roadie. Don't want to sacrifice size for portability? Check out our Top Pick for a Wheeled Cooler, the Rovr.

We think the Tundra is a great cooler for just about every vehicle-access adventure.
We think the Tundra is a great cooler for just about every vehicle-access adventure.

Value


The Tundra is not a cheap cooler. It will set you back several hundred dollars. However, for the seriously impressive performance and sheer usability and simplicity this cooler brings to the table, we think it's well worth the investment. If you can't quite bring yourself to spend that much, you might consider our Best Buy for a High End Cooler award winner, the RTIC 65, which also brings a lot to the table and is a bit cheaper than the Tundra. But if what you want is the best, we think that's the Tundra.

Conclusion


The Yeti Tundra 65 is an excellent all-around cooler and a no-brainer for our Editors' Choice Award. Many other brands imitate the features found in this seriously impressive cooler, but so far only the Yeti brings it all together into one complete package. With all the performance you could ask for, convenient features, and a simple, yet effective design, the Tundra is truly an excellent cooler.

Let the good times roll with your Tundra by your side.
Let the good times roll with your Tundra by your side.


Maggie Brandenburg