YETI Tundra 45 Cooler, 35 Quarts

Last updated date: December 5, 2019

DWYM Score
9.3


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We looked at the top Large Hard Coolers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Large Hard Cooler you should buy.

Overall Take

The ability for the YETI Tundra 45 Cooler, 35 Quarts to keep ice for more than a day means that you can often rely on it for weekend-long excursions if you plan properly. The construction is rock-solid as well, so you can toss this chest cooler in the bed of a truck or a boat without fear of damaging it. In our analysis of 151 expert reviews, the YETI YETI Tundra 45 Cooler, 35 Quarts placed 2nd when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note December 18, 2019:
Checkout The Best Large Hard Cooler for a detailed review of all the top large hard coolers.

Expert Summarized Score
9.1
25 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
46,645 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Yeti's cooler was the top performer in our tests, with better insulation and ice retention than any competitor we've reviewed. The sturdy design made of rotomolded plastic makes it a good pick for durability, too.
- CNET
June 21, 2018 | Full review
The fastest draining cooler at :40 seconds with no residual water.
- Amazing Ribs
The Yeti Tundra 45 is certified bear proof. Yep, slap locks on the two front corners and neither man nor beast stand a chance of getting in.
- Pro Tool Reviews
September 3, 2016 | Full review
Excellent insulation, super durable, easy to use, great size
- Outdoor Gear Lab
May 9, 2019 | Full review
Yeti makes a robust product which serves more than just a cooler. It makes a good foot stool and improvised table, seat, or casting platform. An item of true quality, you will surely enjoy saving countless bags of ice through the summer with its ability to maintain ice for days.
- Coolers On Sale
It comes with an internal basket allowing you to separate contents in your cooler and the two large handles it has on either side makes it easy for two people to carry.
- Globo Turf
Many reviews have tipped the Tundra 45 to retain ice for longer as it has more capacity.
- Coolers Junkie
August 30, 2019 | Full review
Not only is this cooler strong and durable, but the handles and lid system also impress. The cooler has an interlock lid system, which generates a form-fitting barrier against the heat.
- Byways
I recently purchased a yeti tundra 45 cooler but when it was sitting in my kitchen and the ice melted there was a puddle of water on my floor and the drain plug was screwed tight
- ABT
Another great feature is that the extra-thick FatWalls of the cooler contain proprietary PermaFrost™ insulation to ensure amazing resistance to outside temperatures.
- Best Advisor
We've had our Yeti Tundra 45 for a year now and it's been fantastic for keeping food and drinks cold through road and camping trips. The 45 is a limited to about a weekend for 2 people and my only regret was not getting a bigger one. Just ordered a new Haul with the Charcoal rerelease to match so we should be in good shape for a while.
- Williams Sonoma
Yeti, however, has taken things in the opposite direction. In fact, they built the Tundra 45 so strong that it can withstand a bear attack. Think about that for a second. They designed this cooler so that a massive apex predator won’t be able to steal your food inside.
- Fishing Picks
Yeti Tundra 45 is a great companion out in the wild as it is bear proof certified. So no matter how big or strong the bear is there is physically no way, unless it opens the lock, it can open or break the cooler.
- The Smartest Buyer
In addition to impressive insulation and extreme durability, the Yeti Tundra 45 offers some nice extra features that provide added convenience to this cooler. The No Sweat Design keeps the cooler dry on the outside and does not attract moisture in hot environments.
- Top Rated Coolers
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.
- Open Air Life
Fill it up with a variety of drinks and ice. For this test I used chocolate milk, Hiball energy drinks, Alta Palla lemonades, and some local microbrews. The Tundra 45 claims a 26-can capacity, we fit 30 cans plus three bags of ice.
- Explore Big Sky
July 2, 2016 | Full review
You could fit the amount of ice in a cup, but hey, there is still ice in there and it has been 10 days! That is a week, plus 3 days! So the Yeti has done extremely well in this ice test.
- The Cooler Box
Although an interior basket is available, I found a plastic food-storage container that fits inside perfectly and keeps contents dry.
- Expedition Portal
August 21, 2017 | Full review
In all seriousness there are unlimited uses for a Yeti cooler that don’t just stop at hunting and fishing. I’ve used this Yeti for tailgating, camping, a day at the lake, as a step stool, and as a seat.
- BassGrab
Having grown-up camping in the Yellowstone and the Idaho wilderness, I’ve always been hyper aware of bear safety. For this reason, I love the fact that the Yeti coolers are bear-proof. Yes! You can use the Yeti as a bear-box.
- Rascals On The Road
June 1, 2017 | Full review
The double haul handles are very durable, and the drainage system is efficient and easy (though you hardly have to drain it, because the ice stays frozen for so long). You get a small dry goods basket that rests in the top section of the interior, and the lid snaps such securely with rubber t-straps.
- Practical Travel Gear
September 29, 2016 | Full review
It is certified bear resistant, but you shouldn’t expect it to give perfect protection to your goods against a full-sized brown bear or Grizzly. Like all other Tundra models from YETI, this comes together with a dry goods bag so you won’t risk getting your food damp.
- Notting Hill Carnival
July 11, 2019 | Full review
The Tundra 45 is the best medium-sized cooler because of its versatility and durability.
- The King Live
This cooler is also bear resistant, up to 1500 lbs of bear abuse can be endured, as long as it’s closed, latched, and locked.
- geartacular
February 6, 2018 | Full review
It is certified bear resistant, but you shouldn’t expect it to give perfect protection to your goods against a full-sized brown bear or Grizzly. Like all other Tundra models from YETI, this comes together with a dry goods bag so you won’t risk getting your food damp.
- Young Choppers
July 11, 2019 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Yeti's Tundra coolers are surprisingly light on features, and they're smaller than the names suggest, with the "45" model we tested holding just 38 quarts. The roped handles and bulky build also make it a little unwieldy to carry.
- CNET
June 21, 2018 | Full review
A flood of leakage when turned its side, but it didn’t leak when it was laying top (lid) down. When dropped from the truck, the cooler leaked heavily, again while lying on its side, but had only minor abrasions on two corners and the lid.
- Amazing Ribs
In all honesty, the $349 price tag is steep for a cooler.
- Pro Tool Reviews
September 3, 2016 | Full review
If the price is too intimidating, we feel you.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
May 9, 2019 | Full review
The biggest complaint with all Yeti coolers is the price. Let’s face it, they aren’t cheap.
- Coolers On Sale
Heavy when filled, more expensive
- Coolers Junkie
August 30, 2019 | Full review
totally disappointed does not retain ice for more than two days and the gasket licks
- ABT
Basket for dry goods takes too much place
- Best Advisor
Extremely disappointed in this after the money I spent on it. Filled it up with up and drinks, drove 3 hours in my air conditioned car and when I arrived at my location there was nothing but water in the cooler....every piece of ice had melted!!!!
- Williams Sonoma
In rare cases, the unit may not insulate much better than other models
- Fishing Picks
The price may be a little steep for individuals that sparingly use coolers.
- The Smartest Buyer
More expensive than similarly sized coolers
- Top Rated Coolers
Yeti, they are expensive
- The Cooler Box
My only gripe has been the larger drain and dribbly plug; I would prefer a smaller, generic type to reduce drip.
- Expedition Portal
August 21, 2017 | Full review
It is heavy
- BassGrab
When it comes to carrying the Yeti, I can’t do it on my own. Granted, I’m not the strongest gal, but at 23 pounds for the Yeti Tundra 45, I can barely move this thing when it is empty. Fully loaded with ice and food, it takes both my husband and I to lift it into the bed of our truck.
- Rascals On The Road
June 1, 2017 | Full review
Costly compared to similar-size coolers
- The King Live

From The Manufacturer

YETI HARD COOLERS YETI Tundra coolers are the stuff of legends. They're built for whatever Mother Nature throws their way, which is surprisingly a long list of incredibly dangerous creatures and weather patterns. But no sweat — these outdoor coolers are more than up for the challenge. From the backcountry to the BBQ get-together, your YETI Tundra is ready for any and every outdoor adventure. YETI Tundra the best cooler in the world Tundra TECHNOLOGY & FEATURES FATWALL DESIGN Extra-thick walls hold up to two inches of insulation for unmatched ice retention. PERMAFROST INSULATION Pressure-injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam in the walls and lid makes sure your ice stays ice. ROTOMOLDED CONSTRUCTION Makes it armored to the core and virtually indestructible. tundra collage Yeti Tundra Family

Overall Product Rankings

1. Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler, 5 Quarts
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 19
2. YETI Tundra 45 Cooler, 35 Quarts
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 25
3. Igloo Polar Cooler, 120 Quarts
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 5
4. YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, 52 Quarts
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 20
5. Igloo Playmate Pal Cooler, 7 Quarts
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
6. Coleman Removable Liner Cooler, 9 Cans
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 16
7. Igloo Profile Cooler, 16 Quarts
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 2
8. Igloo BMX Cooler, 25 Quarts
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 7
9. Coleman Excursion Portable Cooler, 9 Quarts
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 3
10. Coleman Wheeled Cooler, 50 Quarts
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 24

An Overview On Large Hard Coolers

Nothing enhances a hot summer day like an ice-cold beverage or some refreshing food like chopped fruit. If you find yourself outside in areas where there isn’t electricity or the availability of a refrigerator, you will need an insulated cooler that can keep these cold treats cold during a hot day.

Coolers are made in soft varieties that are convenient to collapse and pack away when they aren’t in use, or the cooler can be hard and constructed of rigid materials that give them more durability and strength. We are focusing on hard coolers and their benefits in this buying guide where we will break down some of the common differences in the varying styles and sizes you can find online, so you can make an informed decision on which hard cooler will work best for you.

A cooler ultimately needs to keep things cold. The best way to set yourself up for success when using a cooler is to put drinks or food in it after they are already cold, whether that means they were in your freezer or refrigerator or simply purchased from the cooler-section of a local store. The addition of ice will then make the internal temperature of the cooler drop even further, setting you up for the best results in your quest to keep your drinks cold.

The insulation of the cooler is now the main factor that works at keeping the cold inside and the heat outside. Generally, a thicker cooler will have more insulation in it, since they are designed to have a bigger buffer of air or insulating materials between your cold items and the outside air. As heat tries to enter the cooler, the greater layers of insulation will make the process much slower. If you are hoping to have ice and drinks last for multiple days in your hard cooler, you will want to look for really thick coolers that have been proven to perform at the highest level. These coolers will often be very rugged and well-made like the YETI Tundra 45 Cooler that reportedly can keep ice inside for days when properly used.

The size of a cooler makes a world of difference when it comes to how and where it can be used. If you are taking your own lunch with a few drinks out to a remote spot to have a secluded meal, you could have great luck using a Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler, 5 Quarts that will hold a decent amount of food and drinks for one person without becoming a heavy burden that takes up unnecessary space. These smaller hard coolers work well for simply packing some drinks with you when you’re outside working in the heat of the summer or playing at the beach as well. If you want something a little bigger, maybe for that picnic for two that you’re planning, or just to fit more drinks inside, there are bigger varieties that still have a sturdy and solid handle attached like the classic-looking Igloo Playmate Pal 7 Quart Personal Sized Cooler. Coolers like these are fun and convenient to grab when you’re on the go.

Some of you might be shaking your head because you need a cooler than can hold enough food to feed a small army, hold refreshments for a children’s soccer team or sustain a whole family for a weekend of camping. Hard coolers come in huge sizes as well, often being able to hold enough weight inside that it will take two people to lift it. With a large hard cooler like the Igloo Polar Cooler (120-Quart, White), you will have a lot of space to drinks, food and ice inside without having to do any mental gymnastics to make it all fit. These coolers have sturdy handles on each side that are easy to use when the cooler is weighted down and there is even a drain plug built-in at the bottom to allow for easy drainage when the ice finally melts away. Other models offer features like a set of wheels on one end so you can still move the heavy cooler by yourself if you’re up for pulling it along behind you.

DYWM Fun Fact

The portable ice chest has been around since the middle of the 20th century and has been a popular product since those early development years. Today, the technology of making some of the higher-end hard coolers is referred to as “rotationally molded coolers” where a process constantly rotates a mold while the plastics set in. This process effectively makes completely smooth interior surfaces that have no seams or flaws that could eventually lead to leaks or inefficiencies.

The Large Hard Cooler Buying Guide

  • Some coolers have built-in cup-holders on their lids. This handy feature could be useful when you’re using the cooler’s lid as a side table that you don’t plan on opening often.
  • Hard coolers with a short and wide stance will be very stable when placed on uneven surfaces. These proportions would be ideal for those of you who plan to use it in places where the ground might not be flat.
  • If you want your cooler to keep ice for a really long time, you will want to condition the cooler before using it. A simple way of doing this is to pre-cool the inside of the cooler with ice or something similar the night before you plan to pack your cooler with the actual food and drinks of your choice. The inside of the cooler will now start off in cold state so it won’t immediately transfer room-temperature heat into your drinks and ice. Condition your coolers and you’ll see a noticeable difference in how long they hold ice.