Gear Review: YETI Tundra 45 cooler

Yeti Tundra 45L

Are all coolers created equal? I think we all know the answer to that question. But that said what makes some coolers cost $10 and others over $1000. Well in this review I am going to share some of my insights that I learned this summer as well as an in-depth review of the Yeti Tundra 45.

I have had the pleasure to be using the Tundra 45 for most of the summer. It has been all over Utah from Fly Fishing the Green River to Camping in Escalante. Every trip that I went on the temperature was always above the 60s at night and in the 80s and 90s during the day.

So before I get into the review of the Tundra 45, I like to talk about the question I posed earlier; “what makes some coolers cost $10 and others over $1000?” Some might some a cooler is a cooler and you shouldn’t pay too much. And in some cases I would agree with that statement. If you are only going to use a cooler once in your life, then go to Walmart and buy the cheapest cooler you can find. Actually you ought to just buy one of the Styrofoam coolers for only a few bucks. It will keep your drinks cool for the day. But it will probably be broken by the end of the day as well.

That being said, for me the number one reason to pay more for a cooler is durability. When looking to get a cooler, think about how often you are going to be using it. What types of activities will you be doing with it; boating, rafting, car camping, etc. And where will you be taking the cooler. If you are going to be using a cooler most weekends during the summer, it is worth paying more for a cooler that will last year after year.

The next reason to pay more is for insulation. The more insulation a cooler has the cooler it will keep the products inside. Just like if your house has more insulation it will stay cooler or warmer with less energy use, the more insulation your cooler has the longer it will hold ice.

The last reason for me is the size of the cooler needed. If you only need a cooler to hold a 12 pack, there is no reason to spend a ton of money on a cooler. But if you are feeding a family for a week or group for a weekend, size matters. I truly believe you get what you pay for. With those points made, let’s get into the review of the Tundra 45.

First off this cooler is built to last. The body of this cooler is built using the same process that is used to build whitewater kayaks. Wikipedia says this about Rotational-molded parts, “Rotation molding produces hollow forms with a constant wall thickness. Polymer powder is tumbled around inside the mold to produce virtually stress free parts.” Being constructed without using glue can only mean fewer parts to fail.

yeti_45lidAlso the Tundra 45 has a full-length integrated hinge system for added durability while opening and closing the lid. A rust-proof aluminum rod connects and holds the body and lid together. Another great feature of this cooler are the lid latches. Called the T-Rex™ Lid Latches, these latches make securing the lid a breeze. One nice feature of latches is how my 3 and 5 year old were able to latch and unlatch the cooler easily by themselves. Also if you are going to be using this cooler in bear country you can also secure the lid close with locks in the integrated padlock ports and make this cooler bear resistant.

So this cooler is tough but does it do what a good cooler needs to do? Does it hold ice and keep things cold? Well in short it does work. YETI has put a full 2 inches of insulation in the walls of the Tundra 45. But insulation thickness is not all that is needed to keep ice. You need a good tight fitting lid or seal and that is what YETI has done. They call this feature the ColdLock Gasket. This is a full frame, freezer quality gasket that seals around the entire lid to trap cold air in and keep hot air out.

A couple of the other features that I loved about this cooler are the drain port and BearFoot non-slip feet. The draining system of this cooler works efficiently. You can partially unscrew the plug and drain unwanted water from the cooler or take the plug all the way out. It also seals tight so you don’t have to worry about it leaking all over inside the car. The BearFoot feet are great to keep the cooler in place. The first time I used the cooler I didn’t notice the rubber feet before I started to load it in the truck. After I set it up on the tailgate, I wanted to just slide it into the truck. Well, it wasn’t that easy. I had to lift it up and move it forward. At first that was a little annoying but then while driving from Salt Lake to Capital Reef National Park, I didn’t have to worry about the cooler sliding all around the bed of the truck. I love the feet now because the cooler stays where I load it. There are also tie-down slots for added security when the ride might get rough.

Two types of handles make transporting this cooler easy as well. There are integrated recessed handles that work great when carrying the cooler by myself. But the DoubleHaul handles make it easy for two people to carry. These handles are two nylon ropes with a textured foam grip that is comfortable to hold.

So what is my final say with the YETI Tundra 45? I love the cooler. The design is great, it keeps ice and it will last. I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a cooler for a lifetime or one that can take some serious abuse. I don’t know if I would buy one if you are only going to be using the cooler once a year on a family picnic. But for guides, rafters, weekend warriors and anyone else who wants a tough and great cooler, I say buy.

One thing that I would suggest before your next outing with your cooler is take some time and watch a few videos on how to properly pack it. Knowing some of the secrets will help any cooler keep ice longer. Below is the information right off YETI”s site on the Tundra 45 and below that is a video from YETI about preparing your cooler.


• One-piece, roto-molded construction is extremely durable just like a whitewater kayak.

• YETI®’s proprietary PermaFrost™ Insulation is pressure-injected, giving you exceptional thermal resistance for unmatched ice retention.

• T-Rex™ Lid Latches, with patent-pending technology and molded-in keepers, keep your lid securely closed and are built to last.

• The YETI® ColdLock™ Gasket minimizes unwanted air exchange, locking out heat while sealing in cold.

• NeverFail™ Hinge System includes a full-length, integrated hinge that is selfstopping and will not break.

• FatWall™ Design features extra-thick walls designed to house added insulation for maximum ice retention

• BearFoot™ Non-Slip Feet, are made from non-marking rubber and help keep your cooler where you put it and up off of hot surfaces.

• InterLock™ Lid System enables lid to interlock with the cooler body, creating an essential form-fi tting barrier between your contents and outside elements.

• AnchorPoint™ Tie-Down Slots are molded into cooler body for solid mounting

• DoubleHaul™ Handles, with textured grips and marine-grade nylon rope, make carrying a loaded cooler easier for two people.

• Integrated LipGrip™ Handles make solo carrying easier, save valuable space, and won’t get in the way.

• Vortex™ Drain System has a screw-in, gasketed drain plug that allows for easy draining while partially opened and guarantees leak-proof reliability.

• BullDog™ Strap Guides allow for your cooler to be securely racheted down while being hauled or transported.

• Constructed of food-grade material that is Dry Ice Compatible™ and UV-resistant.

• Integrated padlock ports make it easy to bear-proof your YETI®

• MSRP: $299.99

Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.