Experienced outdoor adventurers who like to take risks, as well as first-time campers seeking to build their collection of gear and safety equipment, can benefit from bear-proof coolers. Not only will they provide you with a greater sense of security, but it also ensures that your food is protected throughout the night.
There are countless coolers available in the market today, but to ensure that you and your cooler’s contents remain safe from bears, it is highly recommended that you invest in one which has been certified bear-resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC).
Investing in a bear-proof cooler is often necessary to follow the rules at many National Parks, such as Yosemite and Denali National Park and Preserve. With so much variety available on the market, it can be difficult to find one that meets your needs and fits into your budget.
After thorough research, we have assembled the best selection of bear-proof coolers that will serve you well while preserving these majestic national parks.
What is a Bear Proof Cooler?
A bear-proof cooler is a type of cooler that is designed to prevent bears or other wildlife from accessing the contents inside. These coolers are often used by campers, hikers, and hunters who are in areas where bears are present and may be attracted to the scent of food or other items.
Bear-proof coolers are constructed utilizing robust materials impenetrable to bears’ sharp claws and strong jaws. Contemporary bear-proof coolers must be made from rotomolded or similarly solid exterior constructions, such as heavy gauge aluminum with a secure lid having internal hinges beyond the reach of bears and airtight sealing that reduces odors emanating from within.
The cooler commonly comes with a strong clasp or locking device that requires manual operation, making it nearly impossible for bears to break into. Some versions may also have bolstered edges and hinges for additional protection against bear attempts to get the goods inside.
Finally, bear-proof coolers tend to be quite bulky and heavy. Because of their sturdy design, they are not the easiest items to pack for extended trips, but they are still essential to bring along with camping backpacks if you plan on carrying lots of food and drinks (especially to a National Park).
The Bestselling Bear-Proof Coolers Available on the Internet
YETI Tundra 35
The YETI Tundra 35 is a heavy-duty cooler that is rotomolded for extended durability and features an impressive capacity of 35 quarts – enough space to store up to 20 cans of beer or soda with plenty of ice. You’ll have no issue keeping all your refreshments chilled while you’re out camping, boating, or fishing.
Constructed from resilient and UV-resistant material, the exterior of the Tundra 35 cooler is designed to withstand any outdoor environment. The walls are thick and robust enough to protect against possible damage while its bearfoot non-slip feet prevent slipping on wet surfaces such as boats or trucks.
The Tundra 35 is equipped with YETI’s signature PermaFrost insulation, which allows your ice to stay frozen for an extended duration. The lid boasts a tight locking seal that prevents warm air from entering and cold air from escaping, while its heavy-duty T-latch ensures the lid remains secured despite rough handling or severe conditions.
Furthermore, the Tundra 35 is designed with built-in tie-down points to make it simple to attach securement straps and keep your cooler safely in place on any boat or vehicle. It also comes with a dry goods rack perfect for snacks and sandwiches that will remain crisp thanks to its distance from melting ice. It even comes with a built-in ruler for measuring fish.
Overall, the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler is a durable, high-performance cooler that is built to withstand tough outdoor environments and keep your food and drinks cold for extended periods.
Lifetime 90820 55 Quart High Performance Cooler
The Lifetime 55 Quart High-Performance Cooler is an outstanding choice for those who require a heavy-duty rotomolded storage solution designed to keep their snacks and beverages cold over prolonged periods. Its 55-quart capacity can store up to 60 cans worth of beer or soda, plus plenty of ice for days.
The exterior of the cooler is made from high-quality materials that are built to last. It features thick, UV-resistant walls that are resistant to damage and can withstand harsh outdoor environments. It is certified to withstand bear tampering for up to an hour.
It is also equipped with a secure lid that creates an airtight seal, preserving the chill and preventing outside heat from coming in.
Like all of the bear-proof coolers on this list, the Lifetime cooler has several features that make it a practical choice for outdoor enthusiasts like ourselves. For one, it has a built-in bottle opener and a pressure release valve to make it easy to open and close the lid. It also has molded-in tie-down points that make it easy to secure the cooler to your boat or vehicle.
The interior of the Lifetime cooler is insulated with thick polyurethane foam, which helps to keep your food and drinks cold for up to 7 days. The cooler also has an easy-to-drain spout with garden hose compatibility that makes it easy to drain melted ice or water from the cooler without tilting it over.
Overall, the Lifetime 90820 bear-proof cooler is a durable, high-performance cooler at an affordable price that is built to withstand tough outdoor environments.
Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler
The Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler is a heavy-duty, rotomolded cooler with a massive 70-quart capacity, meaning you could hold up to 48 cans of beer or soda, plus enough ice to keep them cold for an extended camping or fishing trip.
This extreme ice retention capacity is why the Pelican 70 is built with 2 inches of polyurethane insulation in the walls and lid, ensuring your food and drinks stay cold for up to 10 days. Additionally, this cooler’s 360-degree freezer-grade gasket creates a secure seal to keep the inside cold air from escaping.
Constructed with durability in mind and featuring a continuous layer of insulation, we think these coolers are ideal for any excursion. We love how they are lifetime guaranteed by Pelican to deliver superior performance every time. In other words, if “you break it, they’ll buy it.”
The exterior of the cooler is made from bear-proof materials that are built to last. It features thick, UV-resistant walls that are resistant to damage and can withstand harsh outdoor environments. The Pelican cooler also has molded-in tie-down points that make it easy to secure the cooler to your boat or vehicle. The anti-shear hinge system with a hinged lid also features a reinforced lockable hasp.
Thanks to its injection molding process, this bear-proof cooler boasts 30% less weight than traditional rotomolded coolers of a similar size without compromising performance. We agree that it definitely feels light for a 70 quart cooler, but we didn’t actually perform a weight comparison with other similar-sized coolers.
Additionally, the Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler has a built-in ruler on the lid for measuring fish, a built-in bottle opener, and four self-draining cup holders in the lid.
RovR RollR 80 Quart Wheeled Camping Cooler
The RovR RollR 80 Quart Wheeled Camping Cooler is a heavy-duty, rotomolded cooler with an 80-quart capacity, which is 120 cans and 20 lbs of ice (without the Deepfreeze dry bin installed).
We were impressed at this cooler’s extensive set of features, which is one reason why it won a Men’s Journal 2018 Gear of the Year award for “most feature-packed cooler.” Indeed, ROVR coolers are the most feature-packed in their class.
First of all, the RovR RollR cooler is brilliantly designed, with its large puncture-resistant wheels and adjustable handle which makes it easy to pull over any terrain with ease. The agile 9-inch all-terrain tires (mounted on five-spoke aluminum hubs) are notably fast and resilient to sand.
The RovR RollR cooler is also equipped with a unique cooling system and includes an exclusive Dry Bin to differentiate between ice and food. This helps maintain your dry goods over an extended period of time. The cooler is designed for storing food for large groups of people. With the deep freeze-dry bin installed, this remarkable storage device can hold up to 50 quarter-pound burgers, a full slab of ribs, and a gamut of bread, fruits, and vegetables.
This bear-proof cooler also has a built-in cutting board, which can obviously be used to prepare the copious amounts of food stored inside. The cooler also has a built-in bottle opener, and two cup holders in the lid. The RollR 80 also features multiple tie-down points, making it easy to secure the cooler to your boat or vehicle.
Whether you’re going on an outdoor adventure or hosting a weekend barbeque party, the wide variety of accessories offered by this bear-proof package will help you personalize your setup for any occasion, anywhere.
Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler
The Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler is a heavy-duty cooler designed for outdoor adventures, camping trips, and other rugged activities. It has a 50-quart capacity, which means it can hold up to 72 cans or 36 bottles, and it’s made from rotomolded polyethylene.
Like the ROVR and YETI models, Cordova coolers are constructed with just as much quality and certified by IGBC. However, the insulation of Cordova doesn’t quite measure up: its ice-retention lasts about 5 to 10 days depending on size but is largely eco-friendly in comparison, and does come with two inches of pressure-injected foam insulation.
Outfitted with a secure T-latch system, the cooler ensures that no intrusive critters can make their way inside. This ingenious top-facing latch allows you to access it in restricted areas and open it with no fuss. We certainly liked this unique feature. Plus, it features anodized aluminum handles with incorporated bottle openers for maximum resilience, extending out to each side rather than being molded like other models – making it both dependable and convenient.
Overall, the Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler offers great value for the money. They’re not the absolute toughest models around but still provide dependable bear-proof protection at a fraction of the price for similar-sized coolers. They also come with a great lifetime warranty.
What To Look For in a Bear Proof Cooler
Aside from being bear-resistant, here are some key features that make bear-proof coolers ideal for extended camping trips, fishing, barbeque parties, and other outdoor excursions.
When embarking on camping trips that last several days or more, having a means to keep your food cold is essential since stores may not be accessible nearby. For this reason, the best way to maintain optimal insulation while you camp is an undeniable must!
These are the must-have features for ice retention to look out for:
- Pressure-injected closed-cell polyurethane (PU) foam, preferably 2 to 3 inches thick – is the best type of insulation on the market.
- All areas of the cooler, from top to bottom and side to side have been reinforced with superior insulation for optimal ice retention.
- Opt for airtight or even insulated drain plugs to ensure maximum efficiency.
- Freezer-grade gaskets.
- Brighter colors.
When it comes to selecting the right camping cooler size, you need to take into account how many individuals will be joining on your trip. For a weekend away with 3 people, 60-75 quarts is usually sufficient; however, if you’re embarking on an entire week of fun in the sun or wilderness exploration then 100 quarts and up should be your go-to choice.
Every camping journey is unique, and the perfect bear-proof coolers should be versatile enough to adjust themselves to fit different circumstances. When searching for the perfect cooler, remember to take into consideration details such as additional space for extra padlocks or a locking system.
Don’t forget convenience features such as a comfortable shoulder strap for easy transport over long distances, or opt for more sturdy transportation via wheels and extendable handles. For ease of carrying, your cooler should be equipped with either molded metal or rope handles. Ideally, you should look for one that features a combination of both types so that it can be comfortably and securely transported.
Finally, even the smallest of hardware, like latches, drain plugs, and hinges should be exceptionally sturdy.
There you have it! With the information provided about these cool bear-proof coolers, you should be that much closer to finding a cooler that is perfect for your next outdoor adventure.
Shopping for a bear-proof cooler can be expensive, so it’s important to recognize your budget and the features you desire. Two key elements that determine price are capacity and brand; entry-level coolers offer great value in the range of $200 while bigger high-end models from renowned brands come at an estimated cost of up to $500 or more.