Expert Review: Yeti 65L Tundra CoolerPublished on 06/25/2022 · 7 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the cooler, which I purchased with my own money in July of 2019.
All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the cooler, which I purchased with my own money in July of 2019.
The Yeti 65L Tundra cooler is a perfect-size, sturdy, solid cooler for longer trips with one or two people or weekend trips with a lot of people. It keeps my food and drinks really cool and also doubles up as a camp chair or card table when need be.
About the gear
- Model: Yeti Tundra 65 L
- Size: 65 L
- Experience: 25+ of hiking and camping
- When I bought it : July 2019
- Days tested: 200+ days
- Where I’ve used it: Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado California
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer, Winter, Fall, Spring
- Weather conditions I’ve used it in: Rainy, windy, snow, 100+ degree days, mild temps
- Used for: Used as a primary form of refrigeration on a 2+ month stint of living out of my truck, and also used to hold just bevvys and a few dinner things for shorter trips with a lot of people.
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for a sturdy cooler that would keep my food cool without requiring me to go into town to buy ice everyday when I was camping in the summer months. I also wanted something bear proof because I knew that I would be camping in areas with bear danger and didn’t want to have to worry about taking extra steps to protect my cooler from bears.
Why I chose this gear
I chose this gear because I know Yeti makes great products that last a long time. My housemate at the time had the 45L version of this cooler and my dad had the 85L and I knew they worked really well and were really sturdy. I wanted something in between these two sizes because I thought the 45 was too small to use if I was living out of my truck and sometimes not going to town for a week or so, but I thought the 85L was too big to carry by myself. I didn’t really consider any other brands, just was trying to decide on sizing between this and the other Tundras, but in the end, I settled on the 65 just because it seemed to be the most practical for me.
What I love about it
- Durability: This cooler is so durable. It has really taken some beatings, everything from being left out in the heat all day, getting snowed on, getting really muddy, to my boyfriend forgetting to clean it out for a week after we got home. It still works just as well as it used to and doesn’t have a weird smell or anything inside.
- Stability: This thing is really built to be stable. I stand on it, sit on it, use it as a cooking platform, you name it and I have never been worried that it will break or anything like that. It is supposed to be bear proof so I think that says a lot because if it can withstand a bear, it can probably handle me standing on it.
- Leakage: I have never had this cooler leak except for user error times. There have been a few times when letting the water out that I don’t screw the plug all the way back in and find that it has leaked in the car. But aside from that, no issues. The plug has a silicone cover on it to ensure it’s an airtight seal and if you needed to order a new plug, they are about $6 on Amazon, so I know that even if it did start to leak or have issues, with a replacement plug, it would be an easy fix.
- Ease of use: It is really easy to use and clean. It has a basket on top that you can put any products in that you don’t want sitting in the cooler (bananas or things that might be open and are in danger of getting waterlogged, and it closes with rubber pulls.
- Car Camping: This is great for car camping. It basically doubles as a seat for two people or a table to play games on because it’s so big and sturdy, and it keeps everything you'd need to make a good car camping meal nice and cool.
- Temperature Retention: Temperature retention on this is great. I will mention I got the white color and I think that helps a lot, the darker colors I have noticed just going with friends, seem to soak up heat a bit more and don’t keep things as cool. It’s also really important to make sure you aren’t getting in and out of it all the time and mostly keeping it closed, or else your food won’t stay as cold, but in general if you keep it closed and have ice in there, the Yeti 65L does a great job retaining temps.
- Versatility: I will say this is really versatile just because it can be used as a chair, table, step ladder, etc.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Packability: This cooler is huge, it’s not packable at all. When building out the bed of my truck I built it especially to accommodate this cooler because I knew it would basically be my fridge, but had I not done that or if I had a regular car instead of a longbed Tacoma, I think I would have a hard time getting this to fit in with the rest of my gear.
- Backpacking: I would never take this anywhere that’s not car camping because of its size and that it requires two people to carry it when full.
- Other: Dirty - this cooler gets really dirty or rather looks really dirty really quickly because it’s white. I have had great luck cleaning it with a magic eraser and getting it to look just like new, but it just feels worth mentioning! I still think I went with the right color because of the temperature retention, but overall it’s something to keep in mind.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this gear was on a climbing trip in 2020 to Colorado. It was a little stressful because it was in the late summer of COVID so I was trying to stay out of grocery stores as much as I could and the climbing area was down 30 miles of really terrible road, so it wouldn’t be easy to go back and forth if we had forgotten something at the store or needed ice. We camped here for about a week and on the last day there was still ice in the cooler. It was so impressive and so nice to be able to have a cold drink after a long day and make fresh veggies that had kept well in the cooler instead of relying on freeze dried meals.
Value for the money vs. other options
I will say that this cooler is not cheap. I paid $375 for it whereas an Igloo or Coleman cooler this size would probably be $100 at most. But you absolutely get what you pay for. I have used a few cheaper Coleman coolers and they keep your food cold for a day or so but especially in the summer, you are going to need to buy ice everyday. When you factor in the amount of money you will save on both ice and gas on going to and from the grocery store to restock ice, and the time you will save on being able to just load up the cooler and go to your destination without worrying that your food will go bad, $375 is well worth it to me and I would pay it again for sure.
The Yeti 65L Tundra is an awesome cooler that will keep your food and drinks cool without the hassle of worrying about restocking ice. I have used this for week long trips with fewer people and weekend trips with a lot of people and it has never let me down. The white color is perfect for reflecting sunlight, and the size and durability of the cooler make it great for doubling as a camp chair or table. Though it’s on the pricier side, it will save you time and money in the long run. Plus, it’s a great place to put all those outdoor stickers you’ve been hanging on to but aren’t sure where to put.