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While there are many types of coolers on the market, if you’re planning to go camping anywhere in or around bear country, you need to have the best bear proof cooler. Bear-proof coolers prevent bears from getting into your food and also hold all the smells inside to help keep them away in the first place. Plus, they also work on animals that aren’t bears. If you’re in the market for one of these cooler, check out our bear-proof cooler reviews and ratings below.
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When you have food that needs to be cooler, you can’t rely on a bear hang like campers who exclusively eat non-perishable items. Having a bear-proof cooler can help prevent animals from wandering into your campsite, which is essential for a safe and fun camping trip. If you are planning on taking a trip into bear country, check out our reviews of the top five best bear proof coolers below.
The ENGEL ENG35 High Performance Hard Cooler and Icebox is the best bear proof cooler because it can hold ice for up to 10 days with proper preparation, and it’s made from the toughest materials to keep bears out.
With the ability to hold ice for up to 10 days, the ENGEL ENG35 High Performance Hard Cooler and Icebox is best-in-class from a functionality standpoint. Rotationally molded using two inches of high-density polyurethane insulation, this model is an IGBC Certified bear-resistant unit when both locks are used.
The structure is built to last many years, and this model is virtually indestructible. The air-tight gasket is constructed from silicone and accompanies the marine-grade adjustable compression latches. The entire unit is UV-resistant to help keep food fresh, beverages cold, and ice solid. During use, the Anvil Hinge allows the TruHold Lid to remain upright, and the tie-down points allow you to secure the unit to various vehicles. Engel is so proud of this product that they have an incredible 10-year warranty.
- Holds ice for up to 10 days
- Uses rotationally molded high-density polyurethane insulation
- IGBC Certified bear-resistant
- 10-year warranty
- Top handles are not as comfortable to grip as some competitors
The Yeti Tundra 35 Bear-Proof Heavy-Duty Outdoor Cooler is the best bear proof cooler because it’s large enough to hold 20 cans, making it a great cooler for day trips or road trips, and it can stay cold for 3-4 days.
Featuring a rotomolded construction, the Yeti Tundra 35 Bear-Proof Heavy-Duty Outdoor Cooler is incredibly durable and can keep drinks upright when placed in the internal storage space. It also delivers amazing insulation that can keep ice frozen for 3-4 days despite its small size. Featuring T-rex latch hardware, non-skid feet, and a vortex drain, this grizzly-proof cooler provides the ultimate level of convenience, food and beverage protection and post-trip draining capabilities.
This model is insulated using Permafrost Insulation with a FatWall design to ensure ice does not melt. The extra-thick walls further support insulation which providing cooler strength. The Coldlock gasket is equivalent to a refrigerator in that it blocks all heat. The NeverFail hinges are unbreakable so you may open and close the cooler is much as necessary.
- Durable and will last many years
- The rotomolded construction makes this model virtually indestructible
- Portable enough for a single person to haul
- Not very large
The Coleman 50-Quart Rolling Bear-Proof Outdoor Cooler is the best bear proof cooler because it has wheels and a telescoping handle, making it easier to transport than coolers that need to be carried.
The Coleman 50-Quart Rolling Bear-Proof Outdoor Cooler boasts a slick design that might cause you to purchase this model just for its look. As one of the best bear proof coolers available, this model is not just about good looks. From a capacity standpoint, the 50-quart internal space can hold up to 84-cans of your beverage of choice.
The seat lid is even functional with the ability to hold 250-pounds, which will come in handy when transporting other items on top. The insulation system is top-notch with the ability to last up to five days without the ice melting and, due to the airtight detail of this cooler, odors are locked inside while heat is locked out. Due to the high-quality materials and rust-resistant stainless-steel hardware of this cooler, it is an investment that will last for many years.
- 50-quart internal capacity (holds 84 cans)
- Seat can hold up to 250 pounds
- Stays cold for up to five days
- The insulation effectiveness declines as the temperature surpass 90-degrees
The Pelican ProGear Bear-Proof Heavy-Duty Outdoor Cooler is the best bear proof cooler because it has thick insulation that can keep ice frozen for up to 10 days and uses a freezer-grade gasket to keep the cold in and heat out.
With the ability to hold ice for up to 10 days, the Pelican ProGear Bear-Proof Heavy-Duty Outdoor Cooler is one of the best bear proof coolers on the market. Constructed with a freezer-grade gasket and two-inch internal insulators, the ProGear Elite will keep heat out and keep cold in. The unit also has an internal 45-degree tilt for drainage.
The dual handle system improves the transportation of the model and the press-and-pull latches add to the convenience and comfort, especially with gloved hands. The base boasts non-marking and non-skid raised feet with bottom plates to protect from scratches, even with rough handling. All hardware is constructed from durable and rust-proof stainless steel. Best of all, this grizzly-proof cooler comes with a material and craftsmanship lifetime guarantee with 90-day gasket maintenance.
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Dual-handle system to make transportation more comfortable
- Excellent insulation, even in temperatures higher than 90 °F
- Weighs 37 pounds empty
The ENGEL High Performance Bear-Proof Heavy-Duty Cooler is the best bear proof cooler because it is certified by the IGCB to be bear-resistant and uses marine-grade compression latches to keep the lid closed when it needs to be.
With a large jump in performance over many other models, the ENGEL High Performance Bear-Proof Heavy-Duty Cooler holds ice for up to 10-days. For those who are looking for longer trips in the rugged outdoors, this is the cooler for you! Featuring marine-grade compression latches and a silicone gasket, this cooler is airtight. The internal storage area will remain cool and not leak odors while the exterior will deflect heat.
The body is constructed from a two-inch-thick polyurethane while the Anvil Hinge holds the lid upright during use. This is a handy feature when attempting to dig through the cooler to find your favorite beverage. Also, this cooler is an IGBC-certified bear-resistant model that keeps your food and the local wildlife safe.
- Two-inch thick polyurethane foam holds ice for up to 10 days
- Marine-grade compression latches and a silicone gasket to keep it airtight
- Anvil Hinges hold the lid upright
- IGBC-certified bear-resistant
- Very heavy to carry alone
Features to Consider for the Best Bear Proof Cooler
Reading bear-proof cooler reviews is a great way to get a better idea for what available to buy. However, there are multiple technical features to consider when looking to purchase a bear proof cooler. Since the market is completely saturated with various types of coolers, you must pinpoint your exact requirements to find the best bear proof cooler to meet your requirements. Luckily, I have done the work for you by determining the top features of bear proof coolers you must consider while seeking the best product. These include:
The first thing to consider when choosing a cooler is how large you want it to be. If you like long camping trips, you’ll need a large cooler, but if you like to spend just one night in the woods, a smaller cooler will do nicely. Make sure you plan accordingly so you don’t run out of food or bring more than you could ever hope to eat and end up lugging it around.
When looking for a bear-resistant cooler, one of the most important things you can look for is certification by the IGCB. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is dedicated to testing products to ensure that they are truly bear-proof. When you purchase a product that says it is IGCB-certified, you can be assured that it has gone through rigorous testing to prove that it’s worth your money and can stand up to a bear in the event that one stumbles into your campsite. This is what sets your average camping cooler apart from a bear-resistant cooler.
The entire point of a cooler is to insulate and protect your food from spoilage. Therefore, the cooler’s ability to retain ice for long periods is an essential factor. Coolers commonly stay cold for as little to three days to as many as 10 days. Similarly to choosing your cooler’s capacity, you should look for a cooler that will last as long as your camping trips will be. Coolers that last ten days are typically the most expensive models, so you may want to save money by buying a cooler that doesn’t have the same longevity if you don’t need it.
The most important feature of any bear proof cooler is security. Remember, it is not just the animals who can cause damage to your cooler, it is also humans. Therefore, there are to essential segments to the security feature: skin and locking mechanism.
The cooler’s strength is judged based on the materials used to create it, so the product must have a durable skin that can last years. The most preferred material is a rotomolded thermoplastic coating that is strong and protects from UV rays. The locking hardware with durable latches and a premium gasket are a must for protection.
Benefits of Using Bear Proof Coolers
If you like to go to the beach for the day and keep your beers cold, then any old backpack cooler or soft cooler will do. However, if you enjoy trekking into the great outdoors, surrounded by wildlife, then finding the best bear proof cooler is a necessity. There are many benefits to using bear proof coolers including:
Durability is always one of the top benefits of using the best bear proof cooler. These units must be able to cross rough terrain which may bang against rocks, be dropped onto the jagged ground and be scratched by bears. For this reason, bear proof coolers are constructed from the highest-quality materials that can endure the heaviest impacts. This is also why you shouldn’t take your favorite old large cooler into bear country.
All the bear-resistant coolers we’ve featured on this list will keep ice frozen for at least three days, which is fairly standard for a short camping trip. If you like going on extended camping trips, you need to ensure that the cooler is able to last with you. You don’t want to accidentally get food poisoning because you were forced to eat food that spoiled after the cooler got too warm. Keeping your ice from melting is extremely important, whether it’s done with extra thick insulation or a few strategically placed ice packs.
Precautions of Using Bear Proof Coolers
While there are numerous benefits of using the best bear proof cooler when on your next camping or hunting trip, there are several precautions to consider.
Always ensure the cooler is closed with the hatches locked in place before leaving camp or going to sleep. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is easy to forget when your party is preparing to leave for the day. You could return to a campsite scattered with food containers and garbage.
Due to their durable construction, most bear-resistant coolers are extremely heavy, especially when full, so be careful when lifting one on your own. If it’s too heavy, ask someone else in the group to assist. Or, try to buy a cooler that has wheels for easy transporting.
In extreme heat, the ice retention on most coolers will decline significantly. If all the ice has melted and is no longer cold, do not need the perishable food inside. There is a good chance it has spoiled, so you do not want to get sick on your trip. You can help prevent this by chilling the cooler before filling it. This is proven to help keep your ice from melting as quickly.
Finally, if you’re camping in bear country, you need to be prepared in other ways. A cooler is a great investment, but you should also have a bear canister to store food that isn’t in your cooler and bear spray in case you come face-to-face with a bear. Being prepared could save your life, so you owe it to yourself to take every precaution available.
After all of this, we are confident that the ENGEL ENG35 High Performance Hard Cooler and Icebox is the best bear proof cooler currently available. We got to look at a lot of great coolers for these bear-proof cooler reviews, but this model stood out due to the ability to hold ice for up to 10-days and its overall functionality.
This grizzly-proof cooler utilizes two-inch-thick polyurethane foam to ensure the longest insulation, is IGBC-certified, features air-tight silicone gaskets with marine-grade latches and is constructed from the highest-quality materials. Sprinkle in the 10-year warranty and you can’t go wrong with this option. While many other coolers have similar features, Engel is one of the best names in the business, known for high-quality coolers.