I always use my Yeti cooler when camping because it keeps my food and drinks cold for multiple days at a time.
However, the last thing I need is a bear or racoon smelling what's in my cooler and getting it it and eating all my supplies. Yeti coolers are both bear proof and racoon proof…but are they completely smell proof so the animals don't recognize there is any food in them in the first place?
Yeti coolers are NOT smell proof. Although they’re highly insulating, animals like bears and racoons can still easily detect the smell of food and drinks through the thick walls. You can prevent them from accessing your food by using a bear canister, bear bag or using bear proof locks on your Yeti cooler. Otherwise, leave your Yeti in the car.
By taking these measures, you can have enjoy a worry-free camping experience, knowing that your food won’t be eaten by animals.
Can You Make Yeti Coolers Smell Proof?
You can’t make Yeti coolers completely smell proof but you can make them inaccessible to animals by using a bear proof lock or keeping the cooler in the car. Alternatively you can keep food in bear canisters or bear bags so that animals cannot easily smell or access the food.
Animals that usually break into coolers (like bears and racoons) have a keen sense of smell and can easily smell food, even through thick hard Yeti cooler walls. Yeti coolers also aren’t 100% airtight and allow some food smells to escape.
Keep Your Yeti Cooler in the Car
Leaving your Yeti cooler in the car overnight is the easiest and most effective way of making sure no animals get to the food inside.
Not only will the combination of the Yeti cooler and the seals on your car doors keep animals from smelling the food but the car will also make the food inaccessible to the animals even if they can smell it – meaning they are much more likely to move on elsewhere faster in search of other food sources.
It’s also a great option if you don’t feel like buying a bear canister, bag or investing in a bear-proof Yeti cooler that locks.
Use a Bear Canister
A bear canister is a durable food container that’s virtually impossible for bears and other animals to open (although they can still smell the food inside).
They come in various sizes and you can buy one that fits into your cooler for perishable food or one to keep out of the cooler.
For instance, BearVault Canister from Amazon is a whole 10 quarts so you can store lots of food in it. It also doubles as a camping stool.
Grizzly (IGBC) Tested and Approved as bear resistant food storage. The same quality, design, and bear worthiness as classic BearVaults, this bear resistant container defies other wildlife too.
Fits sideways in most mid or large backpacking packs.
Use a Bear Bag
Bear bags also don’t shield food smells from bears and racoons but they’re tamper proof. They usually come with a kit that allows you to hang it from a tree to make it difficult for bears to access.
If a bear or racoon does get their paws on it, they’ll find it impossible to tear or open the bag.
Cixaior Bear Bag from Amazon is a great example because it has a large 10 liter capacity (plenty for a short camping trip) and is also waterproof.
The Cixiaor bear bag kit is perfect for camping, hiking, backpacking, back country fishing, etc. Anytime you have the need for a bear sack, you can use this kit to hang your food & gear safely on a branch.
Invest in a Yeti Tundra Cooler and Bear Proof Locks
If you don’t want to mess around with bear canisters or bags or leave your cooler in the car overnight, you may need to consider investing in a bear-proof Yeti cooler, like the Yeti Tundra cooler.
Yeti Tundra cooler are certified bear-proof by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) because they’re highly durable and you can lock them on both sides with padlocks.
Remember that only once the cooler is locked with 2 Yeti-approved padlocks is it animal proof. Otherwise a bear or racoon may open it.
Keep what's inside your cooler safe from hungry bears (and humans) with these bear proof locks. The extra-long shank Master Lock Padlocks fit perfectly onto Yeti Tundra coolers and have be thoroughly tested in both controlled bear simulations and with wild grizzly bears.