Camping Coolers, What Really Makes a Cooler Bear Proof? - Cooler Critic

Camping Coolers, What Really Makes a Cooler Bear Proof?

When looking for a cooler, you may find that there are a lot of high-end companies claiming to have bearproof coolers available. Considering how large and tricky bears are known to be, you have to wonder whether they are really able to keep a bear out or not. We are here to tell you the full truth about camping coolers and what really makes a cooler bear proof.

What Does Bear Proof Really Mean?

There are a lot of cooler companies claiming to be bear proof and there are food storage containers that backpackers use to protect their food. With bear resistant food containers, you will usually find a lock on it that can only be opened if you use a coin or a key. Coolers today use T-locks or flattened locks that are supposedly able to keep bears out. You are supposed to take notice of IGBC certification if you want to know for sure whether it is bear proof, bear resistant, or not.

What Does IGBC Certified Mean?

IBGCThe IGBC stands for Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. They are a company dedicated to ensuring the recovery of viable grizzly bear populations and their habitat. They work alongside a variety of US Forest Services and National Park Services to achieve keeping bears safe and ensuring a life for the bears that is suitable for them. They recommend and encourage hikers and hunters to avoid drawing the attention of bears by packing foods that will not appeal to them or by using bear-resistant containers. The idea of a bear-resistant cooler is to ensure that you don’t have to worry about hanging your food high in a tree or near a food storage container. The IGBC will put their seal on coolers that have been tested to ensure that they are able to withstand the persistence of a hungry Grizzly.

Are Latches Enough or Are Locks Necessary?

Cooler companies want you to purchase their product. Therefore, they also focus on the idea of bear resistant. The part that most cooler companies do not advertise is that bear proof coolers often require you to use a lock alongside the locks that are on the cooler. That is why many, such as the Yeti bear proof cooler styles, have holes that go through from the lid to the base. The only possible exception to this rule is a Pelican cooler that has a push and pull lid lock. When you consider the weight of a bear, their jaw strength, you may still choose to lock it up with a padlock to ensure your food is kept safe.

What Makes a Good Bear Proof Cooler?

When choosing a bear proof cooler, you have to choose wisely. Some are not as bear resistant as they claim, and therefore even a cooler with lock will not protect your food as well as it should. For that reason, here are some that have proven themselves to be able to back up their claims and how they have achieved it.

Yeti Tundra Bear Proof CoolerYeti Tundra: The Tundra has a roto-molded construction that can withstand the weight of a Grizzly who may be trying to get in. They have T-Rex lid latches and lid gaskets that are able to close your cooler up tightly enough that odors will not easily escape. You can secure it closed with a lock on each end of the cooler. Tundra Pricing Here⇒


Engels Coolers:Engel Deep Blue  This cooler is also able to handle the weight of a bear. It is certified to be bear resistant because of the roto-molding being seamless. It also uses silicone gaskets and marine grade compression latches. It also has a place for locks on the lid. Engel Pricing Here⇒


Pelican Camping CoolerPelican Elite: The Pelican Elite is the best camping cooler according to some. It has a seamless design and even the drain plug is leak proof so that no odors escape. There is a locking area on the front of it, but many feel it is inaccessible by bears because of the push and lock latch. Pelican Pricing Here⇒

To ensure that your coolers are truly bear proof, you may want to use your option to lock it. A cooler with lock is better than any without when it comes to bears. Take a look at the best lock for your bear cooler; the Master Lock Python.

Master Lock Python Adjustable Locking Cable

MasterLock For CoolersThis lock is adjustable and will securely close any cooler. It is 5mm thick and made of steel. The cable is vinyl-coated so that it will not damage your cooler. The locking mechanism is a pin tumbler and opens using a key.