I've owned my RTIC tumblers and bottles going on 7 years now and I love how they keep my drinks cold for a long time. Even 7 years later they still work just as well.
The more ice you place in them the longer they stay cold and at first it may seem like a tempting idea to put your RTIC tumbler or bottle in the freezer to create one large chunk of ice that will last even longer than cubed ice.
But that may not be the best idea as it can actually damage your RTIC and ruin the vacuum insulation.
No, you should NOT put RTIC tumblers or bottles in the freezer. As the liquid inside freezes it expands which can stretch and warp the stainless steel and can result in the vacuum seal being compromised and your tumbler or bottle losing its vacuum insulation.
Placing it in the freezer empty or with already frozen ice inside (and no water) is ok as no expansion will happen and RTIC products can easily handle the cold temperatures of your freezer.
It's the pressure from the expanding liquids that can do the damage, not the freezer itself. So if you want to keep your RTIC tumbler or bottle cold (like people do with frozen glasses) then that's fine or if you want to store already frozen ice in there in the freezer that's fine too.
The vacuum insulation will slow the transfer of heat. So it will take longer for drinks inside an RTIC tumbler or bottle to get cold and freeze compared to a regular bottle that has no insulation.
However, it won't stop heat transfer completely and eventually the inside of your RTIC will be exactly the same temperature as the inside of your freezer.
It IS ok to put your RTIC bottles and tumblers in the fridge. Drinks will take longer to cool down in these compared to non-insulated drinkware but it will still get cold.
I find it takes 24+ hours for a bottle of water to get fully cold in the fridge when inside an insulated RTIC bottle vs 2-4 hours inside a glass bottle.
Can I Put The Tumbler Or Bottle In The Freezer For Just A Little While?
Yes, you can place RTIC tumblers or bottles in the freezer for a short period of time in order to chill your beverage.
The smaller the bottle or tumbler the less time you should leave it in there.
You want to make sure you don’t leave it in the freezer too long that your drink starts to freeze as the expansion can potentially damage your RTIC tumbler or bottle.
Will Leaving My RTIC Bottle/Tumbler In The Freezer Just Once Ruin It?
Leaving your RTIC tumbler or bottle in the freezer is unlikely to damage it if you catch it early before the liquid has fully frozen.
Pressure increases the more your drink starts to freeze and it will expand upwards first before expanding outwards (which is what can break the vacuum seal).
If you’ve left your drink until it is fully frozen then whatever damage has been done is done. I
t’s possible your RTIC will be fine after freezing water or drinks in it and I’ve frozen water in other tumblers without issue.
However, if you get unlucky and the expanding ice does break your vacuum seal then you cannot fix this issue and RTIC only have a 90 day warranty so that'll likely mean you'll need to buy a replacement. For me, this just isn’t worth the risk.
To make my drinks extra cold I fill my RTIC with pre-made ice and then I fill it with cold water from the fridge (not water from the tap). Doing this my iced water lasts me around 24-48 hours before it starts to get warm.
Can I Put My Tumbler Or Bottle In The Fridge?
Yes. It’s perfectly fine to put your RTIC tumbler or bottle in the fridge. Fridges generally don’t get cold enough to freeze things and the insulation in RTIC tumblers and bottles means it takes longer for the fridge to cool down the liquid inside anyway.
Some fridges set to the lower or lowest temperatures will sometimes allow ice to form. This is especially true for items in the back or close to the vent where the cold air comes out.
Keep your RTIC in the door or near the front of the shelf in your fridge and you should be fine.
Will Putting My RTIC Tumbler Or Bottle In The Freezer Void The Warranty?
If you put your RTIC tumbler or bottle in the freezer and it breaks, that will be considered “misuse” and not be covered. However, it’s not likely that RTIC will know that you put it in the freezer unless you tell them.
RTIC’s policy only lasts 90 days, anyways. If it’s outside that period, they won’t replace it and you’ll have to buy a new one.