YETI Tundra 45: Portable and Reliable Cooling Solution

YETI 45 Cooler: Best Rotomolded Cooler for Adventurers

Sep 20, 2023

For people who love the outdoors and regularly go on camping, fishing, and hiking trips, having a best rated cooler would improve your life by orders of magnitude. Filling it up with ice, you can bring along your cool drinks and fresh food without having to worry about spoilage.

After all, what could possibly be better than a cold beer after a long and hard walk or a day out on the lake?

The best rated coolers reviews we have for you here today will help you learn more and discover a lot about the best ice chests available. First, taking the center-stage, we have some YETI 45 cooler reviews for you to peruse. Arguably the leading cooler at the moment, it deserves to be first in our review.


The YETI Tundra 45 is among YETI’s fastest-selling coolers. 


Value for money
Easy to clean

It has excellent ice-keeping performance thanks to the multiple layers of hefty insulation. According to several product tests, this cooler can keep its internal space nice and cold for several days at a time.

You can use conventional water ice packs for cooling, but this YETI ice chest is also compatible with dry ice.

The Tundra 45 has a freezer-grade ColdLock gasket around the lid. It further improves ice-keeping ability by minimizing air exchange from the warm air outside.

The cooler’s lid is thick and durable like the sides. You can actually sit on it and use the cooler as a makeshift bench without worrying about damaging it. The cooler has T-Rex latches to keep the lid sealed shut when not in use. The latches are easy enough to unlatch, but it requires some effort to re-latch them.

The lid is connected to the cooler’s body with an aluminum rod. It is rustproof, so you can use it on boats and fishing trips without worrying about rusting.

   ➜ RELATED: YETI Tundra Haul Cooler: Is The Wheeled Design Worth Your Upgrades

On the exterior, the Tundra 45 is protected by a shock-resistant, rotomolded, plastic casing. This is actually the best selling point of the ice chest.

YETI did not showcase the Tundra 45’s apparent durability in words alone.

It’s tough enough for the Grizzly Bear Committee— an organization formed to protect and research grizzly bears— to certify it as “bear-proof.” In other words, the cooler can go head-to-head against a bear (being tossed, mauled, and knocked around by the bear trying to get inside of it) and the cooler will emerge relatively unscathed. You can be confident that even if you rough-handle it by throwing, kicking, dropping, or tossing it around, the cooler will maintain its durable structure and work as you would expect.

Disclaimer: we do not recommend you try to damage or test its durability. While the cooler will be fine, it’s not guaranteed that the things you packed inside wouldn’t be damaged.

As its name suggests, the cooler can hold about 45 quarts. That’s ample space to carry food and drinks for two to three people for a day or two.

What we are not particularly happy about in our YETI Tundra 45 reviews is that the cooler’s size is a little bit misleading. From the outside, the cooler looks large and seems like it would be able to carry a lot within it. However, when opened, the empty compartment turns out to be anti-climatically small. The 3-inch insulated walls eat up a lot of usable space inside the cooler.

They do give the cooler excellent ice-keeping ability so it’s not a total loss!

Once the ice has melted into a puddle at the bottom of the cooler, there’s a screw-in gasketed drain plug for you to drain out all of the water with minimal effort.

For carrying, the Tundra 45 has recessed handles for when you have to lug around the cooler by yourself. There are also haul handles on the cooler’s body for two people to carry. This is the recommended way to transport the cooler. When filled with ice and contents, the cooler can be quite heavy.

Additionally, the cooler sits on rubber, non-slip feet to keep it from sliding when your truck or boat floor is wet.

Yeti cooler 45 quart

YETI cooler 45 quart Via: Amazon


  • Ample capacity
  • Excellent insulation
  • Rotomolded body
  • Bear-resistant
  • Compatible with dry ice


  • Doesn’t come with many features
  • Smaller internal volume than expected
  • Expensive


Durable Rotomolded Design

The 45-quart YETI cooler is made from rotomolded polyethylene (PE).

Rotational molding (or “Rotomolding”) is the name of a special manufacturing process. The plastic parts and items produced using this process are known to be much more durable, stronger, and last longer than those made using conventional processes. 

Other than adventurist coolers, the rotomolding process is also used to manufacture whitewater kayaks, which must be able to withstand tremendous forces and impacts. You can rest assured that even in the most extreme conditions, this YETI ice chest will be able to keep up with you.

This cooler is available in many different colors. The YETI Tundra 45 cooler Navy variant, for example, has an eye-catching blue that’s going to separate your cooler from your friends’ coolers.

Yeti cooler 45

YETI cooler 45 Via: Amazon

PermaFrost™ Insulation & ColdLock Gasket

The big secret behind the Tundra 45’s ice-keeping performance is the PermaFrost™ insulating material. It is a proprietary formula of polyurethane (PU) insulating foam, injected into the hollowed-out spaces inside the walls of the cooler that later expand to fill it up.

PU is used because it is one of the best heat transfer-resisting materials out there. It can drastically slow down the process of the cold air inside of the cooler becoming warm.

The ColdLock gasket, which further limits heat transfer, is the final part of the answer as to how the Tundra 45 can retain ice so well.

Be aware that the PU material inside the walls makes the cooler heavier. It’s a worthy sacrifice for great insulation, in our opinion.

Bear-Resistant Parts

On the outside of the cooler, every part is designed to be as robust and damage-resistant as possible. The hardy design gives it the strength to be able to withstand a full-on bear attack.

There are two noteworthy weak points that could compromise the entire cooler if they were to be broken. First, are the latches and second are the hinges.

   ➜ RELATED: How to Get Smell Out of Cooler in Very Easy to Use Steps

In response, YETI made T-Rex latches. They are made from sturdy rubber and are securely bolted into the cooler. As a result, it would take many powerful strikes delivered accurately right on the latches themselves to damage them. It’s unlikely that a bear or an accidental drop would be able to do that kind of damage.

The latches can last for many years. But, here’s the kicker: they are replaceable. When they run their course, just switch them out for new ones and you’re ready to go.

With the hinges, as we mentioned before, the Tundra 45’s lid is connected to the body using an aluminum rod. Other than being quite strong, the rod is also rust-resistant. It has two hinge pins so the cooler shouldn’t ever break when stressed.

There won’t be any trouble with the cooler when you bring it down to the seaside or out to your favorite river fishing spot.

Carrying Handles

You can haul the YETI cooler around two ways.

The first (and most obvious) is with the Double Haul handles positioned on either side of the cooler. Rather than the weak plastic handles commonly found on other coolers, the Double Haul handles are made from polyester rope. The YETI Tundra 45, however, uses polyester ropes. While it’s certainly not as durable as straight plastic handles, these rope handles are much lighter. Since the polyester material is military-grade, you can expect the ropes to last for a long time.

To make it easier for the user to grip the cooler, there are sliding rubber handgrips on the handles.

When you have a friend to carry the cooler with you, the Double Haul handles will work best. But when you’re alone, dragging around the cooler, the alternate method is going to be a better option.

The second way to carry the cooler is with the LipGrip handles. These aren’t distinctively separate components like the Double Haul handles. Instead, they are integrated directly into the cooler’s body. Each handle looks like a recess that you can fit your fingers into.

The advantage to this is that the LipGrip design allows you to fit both of your hands inside and take hold of the cooler. Thus, when you’re transporting the cooler on your own, it makes the job significantly easier.

Vortex Drain

When the ice in your cooler thaws into a puddle at the bottom, the Tundra 45’s Vortex Drain can help you empty it quickly and efficiently.

A nice thing about this drain is that it’s not merely a friction fit like in other coolers. Instead, the plug is threaded. With the threaded design, the plug is more secured and can provide a better seal for the cooler. In addition, it gives you better control over the draining rate, as well. You can open it slightly to gradually drain out the water. On the other hand, you can take out the plug completely to rapidly empty the cooler.

Though the Vortex Drain can do its job very well, you will still find a few droplets leftover. Make it a habit to wipe down the cooler’s bottom with a dry towel every time you finish using it.

An unfortunate thing about the plug is that it’s not attached to the cooler. It would be nice to have a small lanyard on the plug. Since it’s quite small, it can go AWOL quick if you’re not careful.

BearFoot Feet

This is one of the many reasons why the Tundra 45 (and many other YETI ice chests) is so popular with anglers. YETI coolers tend to have very grippy feet that make them the perfect companion both on boats and onshore.

According to some anecdotes, the silicon BearFoot feet can grip the floor very well and make the cooler so stable that many anglers have used it as a casting platform.

Other than wet floors, the rubber feet also work on all other common surfaces. From hardwood, carpet, and tile, to cement floors, the feet on the YETI cooler 45 generally do a fine job at literally keeping itself grounded.

   ➜ RELATED: How to Pack a Cooler - Everything You Need to Know on Using Your Cooler for Camping

AnchorPoint Tie-Down Slots

If you regularly bring your cooler along with you on trips, these AnchorPoint slots will be highly beneficial. With some rope and using your smart knots and tying techniques, you can strap the cooler solidly to whatever you want. It can be the truck’s floor, somewhere on the boat, or even the back of your motorcycle.

Some Alternatives to Consider

If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel like the YETI Tundra 45 is the perfect cooler for you, we still have a few more YETI ice chest reviews for you to consider!

See if the following would better suit your needs.

#1- YETI Tundra 65

Arguably, the most common reason for a cooler to be deemed unsuitable by customers is because it doesn’t have enough capacity for their needs. While the Tundra 45 is quite spacious, for people who go on long expeditions and need to carry sustenance for many people at once, it probably won’t do.

That’s where the YETI Tundra 65 is going to come into play.

Yeti Tundra 65

YETI Tundra 65 Via: Amazon

True to its name, the YETI Tundra 65 has expanded capacity up to 65 quarts. You can comfortably carry fresh food and cold drinks for 4-5 people for several days.

Other than the enlarged internal volume, the Tundra 65 is basically the same as the Tundra 45. It still has the same rotomolded body style, the heavy-duty PU insulation, and the bear-resistant parts (latches, hinges, etc.).

However, the Tundra 65 also inherits all of the flaws of the smaller version. That includes a smaller true volume compared to the outer size of the cooler. Considering the fact that the Tundra 45 is already considered to be quite expensive by most, it goes without saying that the Tundra 65 is even costlier to own.

#2- YETI Tundra 75

The YETI 75 is the largest Tundra-series cooler that YETI sells. Because of its high price, most average consumers wouldn’t choose this cooler. This is in spite of the fact that YETI has tried long and hard to make it appealing to the majority. The 75-quart Tundra cooler seems to be a hit mostly among professional users who really need the extra carrying capacity.

Tundra 75

Eas Via: Amazon

With that said, the Tundra 75 can carry enough supplies to last a large group for a long time. Thus, for the grandest of expeditions, this cooler is going to be a nice fit among your group.

Since it is virtually the same thing as the Tundra 45 in terms of features, we’re not going to repeat what we all now know that it has. However, bear in mind that this cooler is very heavy even when it’s empty. When it’s stocked with ice and contents, you’re going to need two very strong people to carry it. We really don’t think that anyone can solo-carry it very far once it is filled.

Unfortunately, despite the apparent weight of the cooler, YETI didn’t make it any easier to carry. The YETI 75 would’ve been much more positive had they added a simple set of wheels.

Tundra 75 is heavy to carry

YETI 75 is heavy to carry Via: Amazon

#3- YETI Tundra 35

Last but not least, is the YETI Tundra 35. In contrast to the two aforementioned coolers that have expanded carrying capacity, the Tundra 35 is the smallest and least expensive YETI cooler on the list. It’s going to be an awesome cooler for those who need a lightweight and compact best rated cooler to carry around on a visit to the outdoors.

Yeti Tundra 35

YETI Tundra 35 Via: Amazon

With the Tundra 35, you will still enjoy all of the benefits of a Tundra-series cooler. That means the heavy-duty design and the strong insulation.

So the YETI 35 vs. 45… which one is better to buy?

Since it’s at a more reasonable price point than all of the coolers here (including the YETI Tundra 45), we recommend this one for those seeking a cooler for small parties and occasional, non-serious uses. Consider the Tundra 45 if you need extra carrying space. However, we think that the Tundra 35 can suit the needs of most average consumers.


Along with these YETI 45 cooler reviews, we hope you have found yourself a nice cooler to buy. YETI is one of the most reputable names on the market and we’re quite certain that you won’t be disappointed when you purchase one of them, as long as you know the pros and cons.

Happy shopping!

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