If you’re going to be camping in bear country you want to know are Yeti coolers certified bear proof and what do you have to do to ensure that your Yeti is safe from bears?
Yeti coolers are certified bear proof or bear resistant by the IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee). This means the product has withstood grizzly bear attacks for 1 hour or longer without the bear successfully getting into the cooler. It’s important to note however, Yeti coolers are only certified bear resistant when they are locked with 2 padlocks. Without the padlocks bears can get into the cooler by ripping off the rubber latches with their teeth.
Let's have a look at Yeti's bear proofing in more detail and learn more about how you can protect your food, and your cooler, from bears.
Yeti’s Bear Proof Testing and IGBC Certification
In order for a product to be considered “bear resistant” and to be certified as being bear proof it must withstand a bear attack for 60 minutes.
In the wild bears will rarely spend this long on an item and will tend to get bored and move on after just 5 minutes or so.
To test this coolers are placed in an enclosure that contains bears. The cooler is filled with food that is desirable to the bears and the food is also rubbed on the exterior of the cooler to make it smell desirable to the bears and to encourage the bears to try and get into it.
They will then film the bears trying to get into the product and if the bears are unsuccessful after 60 minutes then the product is deemed “bear resistant”.
Below you can see some footage of bears trying to get into a Yeti cooler (unsuccessfully).
Yeti coolers have gone through this testing and you can see some example footage of a Yeti cooler being tested by bears below:
Click here to see the full downloadable list of bear resistant products tested and approved by the IGBC.
Where To Buy a Yeti Bear Proof Cooler
All Yeti hard sided coolers are bear proof and can be purchased through local specialty stores, through Yeti's website on on Amazon
Are Yeti Soft Sided Coolers Bear Proof?
It's important to note that Yeti soft sided coolers are NOT certified bear proof like the hard sided coolers are.
So if you want to keep your soft sided coolers safe from bears you'll need to take some extra steps.
See Yeti Soft Sided Coolers on Amazon (affiliate link)
What To Do To Keep Your Yeti Safe From Bears
There are a few things to do to keep your Yeti safe from bears.
The first thing to do is to ensure that your Yeti is padlocked on the two front corners. Without these locks your cooler isn’t actually bear proof and bears have been shown to be able to get into the Yeti.
These locks are affordable and can be purchased from Amazon or any hardware store.
See 2 x Bear Locks on Amazon.com (affiliate link)
On top of that there are some extra things you can do to keep your cooler safe from bears
Tie It Up
This is the easiest way to keep most large predators out of your cooler. Get some parachute chord and find a tree with a sturdy branch about 20 feet or so high.
Tie a rock or stick to one end of the rope and throw it over the brand. Tie the other end to your cooler and then hoist it into the air and tie the loose end to the trunk of the tree.
Hide Your Cooler Under a Tarp
Bears are smart enough to recognise coolers and chances are they have gotten into a non-bear proof one in the past. So don’t leave your cooler out as a shining beacon inviting the bears to have a go.
Instead hide it under something like a tarp. Even if you’ve got your cooler in your car make sure you hide it, otherwise bears will attempt to break into your car to access your cooler.
Don’t Leave Food Lying Around
It’s pretty easy to forget a little piece of candy or some jerky that you were munching on but left for later. While these little pieces of food are unlikely to attract bears, ensuring all food is put away securely gives bears no reason to inspect your campsite and means they will get bored and move on faster than they otherwise would.
Can Bears Get Into An Unlocked Yeti?
Grizzly bears have been shown to be able to get into a Yeti cooler.
This this test by popular mechanics you can see that the bear was able to get into the Yeti by removing the rubber latches with it’s teeth.
So yes is it definitely possible for bears to get into Yeti coolers if you fail to lock them. This is why it’s vital that you lock your cooler in order to keep it safe from bears.
What Species Of Bears Are Yeti Coolers Safe Against?
Yeti coolers are tested with Kodiak (Grizzly) bears, and if you know anything about bears you know that the Grizzly bears are the most aggressive kind.
So while not tested or certified against other types of bears it’s safe to assume that Yeti coolers should be able to withstand attacks from any bear.
Once bears get into something and realise that they can't get any food out of it they usually give up within just a few short minutes and then move on to try and find something easier to access.
What To Do If a Bear Attacks Your Yeti Cooler?
If I bear does discover your Yeti cooler and decides to have a go at it just leave the bear.
Obviously trying to stop the bear or draw attention to yourself is borderline insanity and you don’t want to aggravate them or have them focus their attention on you and attack you.
If they happen to discover your cooler just leave them be. They will have a go at it, likely cause some damage to the exterior with their claws or teeth and maybe even break the rubber latches or handles.
But those items are easily replaced…your face on the other hand not so much.
Do Yeti Coolers Get Damaged From Bear Attacks?
Yeti coolers are built strong, but yes if a bear decided to attack your cooler you should expect some damage to be done to the cooler.
The most common damage you will see is scratches and dis forming of the exterior plastic from the bear’s claws or teeth.
In some cases bears have ripped through the outer layer of roto-molded plastic and exposed the insulation of the cooler but rarely will they make it all the way through to the inside of the cooler.
It is also likely that the rubber latches will be ruined by the bear as well as potentially the rope handles. These items can easily be replaced so it's not that big of a deal.
Does The Yeti Warranty Cover Bear Attacks?
Yeti coolers have a five year limited warranty, however, this warranty only covers manufacturing defects, it doesn't cover damages caused through wear and tear or damages caused by bear attacks.
So if your cooler is attacked by a bear and damages to the point where you can no longer use it you will need to buy a new cooler. Whilst this can be expensive it's still better than the bear getting into your cooler and hanging around in your campsite and attacking you.
What Other Coolers Are Bearproof?
There are lots of other coolers on the market that are bear proof, in fact most roto-moulded coolers these days are certified bear proof with a similar locking system to the Yeti cooler.
Some of the more popular bear-proof coolers at the moment are listed below.
These coolers are extremely similar to Yeti but are sold for a fraction of the price. If you want something that looks and feels almost identical to a Yeti then RTIC is a great cooler at a great price.
These coolers are similar to Yeti but are extremely cheap and are sold for under $100 at Walmart. They are also certified bear proof when locked at the front.
The ice retention of Lifetime coolers isn’t as good as Yeti but for the price they charge you get really good bang for buck.
This is a newer entrant to the roto-moulded cooler market. They are certified bear resistant and have some of the best ice retention of any cooler out there.
They also have a very unique feature where the cutting boards can be used as both dividers for the cooler as well as a side table for preparing food. This is a very practical idea which I absolutely love.