If you've got a Coleman cooler or another cheaper brand like Igloo or Rubbermaid how do you lock it down when there is no obvious place to attach a lock or secure the cooler at all?
I've owned my Coleman Xtreme for 5 years now and while it wouldn't be expensive to replace it's still going strong and I don't want to have to replace it if I can avoid it.
The best way to lock a Coleman cooler (or similar) is to drill a hole and bolt an o-ring through your cooler with a security nut then attach your lock to the o-ring. Less secure methods include attaching a lock to the handle or hinge of your cooler
When locking your Coleman cooler you need to consider the weakest link – your lock is only as safe as the weakest part of the lock. So depending on how secure you want to make your cooler will depend on what method you use.
Most of the methods mentioned below only provide a minor amount of security. With a little effort the lock can be broken so anyone determined to get your cooler can.
But at least it will stop people just grabbing your unsecured cooler and running away with it.
Having a theft deterrent might be enough to stop someone stealing your cooler. After all it isn't worth a lot of money so hopefully people won't be going to extreme efforts to steal it.
7 Ways To Lock a Coleman (or Similar) Cooler
There are actually a variety of methods you can use to lock your Coleman cooler and secure it from thieves.
1. Bolt On a Bracket You Can Attach a Lock To
Security Rating: HIGH
Coleman coolers, and other cheaper brands, don't come with any brackets to attach a lock to and the parts of a cooler you can wrap a cable or chain around (the handle and hinge) can be easily broken or removed.
So if you want to secure your Coleman cooler in a way that no thief is likely to be able to steal it you're going to want to run an o-ring bolt all the way through your cooler.
The o-ring, or some other bracket, will be on the outside of your cooler allowing you to attach a lock to it. You'll want to use a wide washer on the outside to disperse the force of the bolt so it doesn't break the plastic as you screw it tight.
On the inside of your cooler you'll want to use a rubber washer, metal washer and to make it properly secure you'll want to use a security nut that isn't able to be removed with any ordinary tools.
The rubber washer will help provide water proofing so no water from your cooler leaks into your insulation. You can also add silicone around this point if you want to add more waterproofing.
For someone to steal your Coleman cooler it'll be easier for them to break your lock or cut your cable than it will be for them to remove a properly install thick o-ring bolt.
This is the most secure way I know to lock a Coleman cooler.
2. Run Cable/Chain Around The Handle
Security Rating: Low
For a quick and easy solution to lock your Coleman cooler you can run your security chain or cable through the handle of the cooler in order to secure it.
However, these handles are made of flimsy plastic and are easily snapped or removed with not much effort.
So while your lock and chain might be strong the handles are the biggest point of weakness and thus your cooler can steal be easily stolen.
Still it's a theft deterrent and it may be enough to keep low-end thieves or silly kids away from your cooler.
Extra tip: Make sure to run the cable through both handles. That way they'll have to break or remove both handles before they can take your cooler.
3. Run Cable/Chain Around the Hinge
Security Rating: Low
A slightly better option that running your cable through the handle is running it through the hinge of your cooler.
The hinge is usually a bit stronger than the handle and slightly harder to break.
However, on Coleman coolers these hinges are usually just screwed on and so anyone with a screw driver could remove the hinge, take out your locking cable and then steal your cooler.
Still it's a theft deterrent and people may decide your cooler isn't worth the effort or they may not have a screwdriver on them.
To increase the security of this method you could purchase some security screws that can't be undone with a regular screwdriver. Remove the regular screws and replace them with security screws so the thief can't remove the hinges easily.
4. Glue On a Bracket You Can Attach a Lock To
Security Rating: Medium
If you don't want to go to the effort of bolting an o-ring through your cooler, or you're too nervous about damaging your cooler then another option can be to use a strong glue to attach a bracket onto your cooler that you can then run a lock through.
The larger the surface area of the bracket on your cooler and the better glue you use the harder it is going to be for someone to rip it off.
5. Screw On a Bracket You Can Attach a Lock To
Security Rating: Low-Medium
Instead of bolting or gluing a bracket onto your cooler you could simply screw one on.
This has similar vulnerabilities to the hinge method. You can use security screws to make it harder to remove the bracket but the thief may just be able to rip the screws out of your cooler and run off with the prize.
6. Run a Locking Bracket or Chain All The Way Over Your Cooler
Security Rating: High
A more extremely method of locking a Coleman cooler would be to shape a large metal bracket or chain mesh and run it over the top of your cooler and have it secured either to the ground or to a chain lock attached to something.
In my opinion this is pretty impractical as you wouldn't be able to open your cooler and use it while it was locked as the metal bracket or chain would need to run around the entire cooler.
7. Lock Your Cooler In Your Car (or Other Lockable Room)
Security Rating: Medium-High
Instead of trying to lock the cooler itself your best best might simply be to place the cooler inside your car, truck or a room that you can lock.
When it's out of sight it might not attract the attention of thieves and very few people would smash a car window to steal a Coleman cooler. They might smash the window to steal a Yeti, but not a cheap Coleman.
Place your cooler hidden somewhere in your car or another room and make sure it's locked up when you aren't around.