The last thing you want, after buying an expensive Yeti cooler, is to have it stolen from the back of your truck, inside your car, from your campsite or wherever you leave it.
To make sure your Yeti cooler is safe from theft you need to lock it properly with something no ordinary thief can break or cut. Locking a Yeti cooler so it stays exactly where it is meant to be is something you need to do properly or your cooler might get stolen.
To properly lock a Yeti cooler combine a locking bracket with a hardened steel chain + lock and secure your cooler to something tough. The Yeti locking cable is easily cut with bolt cutters, something thicker and stronger is required to properly secure your cooler.
Remember, your cooler is only as secure as its weakest link so you need to make sure you have a good locking bracket, a good chain, a good lock and it needs to be secured to something that isn't easily broken.
How To Lock a Yeti Cooler To Stop It Getting Stolen
Yeti coolers are designed so you can lock them down to your car, truck, boat or anywhere you like so they can't be stolen but so you can still open the cooler and use it like you normally would.
Locking a Yeti cooler properly to stop it getting stolen involves a few different things:
- Cooler Locking Bracket
- Locking Cable/Chain
- Something to attach your cooler to
To bear proof a cooler or lock it from being opened at all (to secure what's inside your cooler) requires completely different locks at we'll talk about that later.
For now we are looking how to to secure your cooler to your truck, car, boat, tree, pole or wherever so no one can run away with it.
Let's look more closely at the different parts you need.
1. Cooler Locking Bracket
On each side of the Yeti cooler is a rectangular slot hole which Yeti call the “AnchorPoint”. While technically you could attach a lock directly to here its quite deep so this would be impractical.
Instead you need to get yourself a Cooler Locking Bracket. This is a thick piece of metal that slides down through the hole and provides a place for you to attach your lock and chain/cable to.
These aren't expensive. Yeti's version sells for around $12-$15 and is a good option. It's got a hole at the bottom that is about 10mm in diameter.
However, if you want to secure your cooler properly I recommend the Maccaann & Essin Locking Bracket as it has a much larger 7/10 inch (17mm) hole so you can fit thicker locks that are harder to break, making your cooler more theft proof.
Things to consider for your Cooler Locking Bracket
- Is the bracket thick enough that it can't easily be broken or bent
- Is the bracket resistant to rust
- How big is the hole in the bracket (will determine how large a lock you can use)
- Once installed is it impossible to remove the bracket?
2. Locking Chain or Cable
Once you've got your bracket in place you then need to use either a chain or locking cable that loops through the Cooler Locking Bracket and around something strong so people can't run away with your cooler.
You might wrap it around a thick metal strut in your truck, car or boat or you might wrap it around a pole or a tree or something people can't easily break to take your cooler.
Remember you cooler is only as secure as its weakest link and often the metal cable or chain is the weakest link.
This is especially true for the Yeti Python Locking Cable which can easily be cut with bolt cutters and stolen. In fact there are many stories of people losing their Yeti's even when it's been secured using the Yeti brand locking cable.
Check out these stories from Deny Lock's website:
“My brother buddy Kyle had his Yeti stolen from the bed of his truck while locked with Yeti’s cable lock. We reported to local police but never saw his beloved Yeti again”
“I was on vacation in Panama city Beach Florida had my cooler in the back of my truck, using the cable lock that yeti sells. What a joke! They cut the cable and took my yeti 65! It Sucked”
Recommended Chain For A Yeti Cooler
While no chain + lock is perfect some are definitely more theft resistant than others.
When locking a Yeti cooler I personally recommend the Kryptonite New York 1210 12mm hardened steel chain + 14 mm U lock as a good option for securing a Yeti cooler almost anywhere. This needs to be paired with a Maccann & Essin Cooler Locking Bracket to ensure you have a big enough hole to attach the lock.
The stronger and thicker your chain the less likely it is to be cut or broken and your cooler stolen.
Most cooler thieves aren't extremely sophisticated. Common techniques of stealing coolers involve things like:
- Just grabbing it and running away
- Using bolt cutters to cut your chain
- Using a sledge hammer, wrenches or drill to break the lock
- Using a hack saw or angle grinder to cut the lock or chain
Any padlock and chain or cable will stop the “grab and run” technique but only the best chains and locks with prevent against everything else.
Here are some things you want to look for in a good chain
There are different grades of metal and some metal is harder than others while some metal is softer.
Bolt cutters can more easily cut through softer metals and have a lot more trouble cutting through hardened steel.
Look for chains of hardened steel (often called manganese steel) as these are much harder to cut through.
The thicker the chain or cable the harder it is going to be to cut through.
Thin metal chains can but cut with little effort while extremely thick chains often can't be cut with regular tools or will take too long to cut through it just isn't worth it for the thief.
They are better off going to find something easier to steal
Length + Movement
You want to make sure your chain is long enough so you can secure your cooler around something strong and unmovable.
You want to make sure it has loose movement too. This makes it easy to wrap around things but it also makes it hard for a criminal to keep it steady so they can cut it easily.
The Kryptonite New York Chain
Kryptonite are well known in the bike lock industry as they make some of the best bike locks on the market that are the hardest to break.
The Kryptonite New York 1210 is a chain that is made from hardened manganese steel that is 12mm in thickness. Not the thickest option out there, but thick enough that it's extremely difficult to cut through.
It's got a protective nylon cover so it won't scratch everything it touches.
It also comes with a 14mm U lock that is extremely hard to pick or break. At this point the easiest way for someone to steal your cooler is to actually cut away the side of your Yeti cooler to get the locking bracket out.
So it'll basically make your cooler as secure as it can possibly be.
You'll want to pair it with the Maccaan & Essin locking bracket as I mentioned because this has a 17mm hole which is large enough to fit the shackle of the lock.
The standard Yeti locking bracket might not have a big enough hole for this lokc.
An Alternative Way To Lock Your Cooler: Deny Locks
Deny Locks are another super robust alternative to lock down your cooler and stop it getting stolen.
It uses a unique and patented locking mechanism that bolts directly into the bed of your truck, car, boat or wherever you're storing your cooler.
It uses a thick steel rod to secure your cooler in place and can't be easily cut with bolt cutters and can't be easily broken with a sledge hammer.
If you're going to be keeping your Yeti in the same spot all the time (eg. back of a truck) then this is a great option for you.
But the locking base has to be bolted into place and is unable to be moved around. So it's not the most versatile locking option if you want to keep your cooler secure in multiple different locations.
Still, it's an incredible locking system and one of the most secure on the market.
Other Locking Cables/Chains For Yeti Locks
For something simpler and cheaper you can go with the Yeti Locking Cable + Bracket set.
It's not the most robust solution and the cable can be cut with bolt cutters but it will protect your cooler from people just picking it up and running with it.
It's a good affordable solution for lower risk situations if you don't want to make the heavy investment into a more expensive lock and chain.
Lastly you'll want a strong lock to secure your cooler. The stronger the lock the better.
Ideally you'll want a lock that is thick enough and strong enough that it can't be cut with bolt cutters.
Ideally you'll want something that can't be easily cracked open with wrenches, sledge hammers or any of the common tools thieves use to break locks.
Again this is why the Kryptonite chain with 14mm disc lock is so good. It's resistant to being broken with a sledge hammer or double wrench technique and it's made from a hardened steel crossbar that is extremely difficult to cut with a hack saw or angle grinder.
Alternatively just go with the biggest and baddest lock you can find (or can afford) and make sure it fits through the hole in your cooler locking bracket.
4. Something To Attach Your Cooler To
Lastly to securely lock your Yeti cooler and stop it being stolen you need something strong to attach your cooler to.
If you've got your cooler in your truck or car then this might be one of the metal struts.
If you're camping you may want to attach your cooler to a tree, a pole or to your car.
Again your cooler is only as secure as your weakest link. Make sure people can't get the chain/cable off the item you secure your cooler to in any easy way.
How To Lock a Yeti Cooler To Make It Bear Proof
Locking a Yeti cooler for bear proofing purposes (aka stopping bears getting into it) is a completely different situation and requires different locks to stopping people from stealing your Yeti cooler altogether.
Yeti coolers are only bear proof if the 2 front corners are secured with locks. If they aren't then bears are able to rip off the rubber gaskets and get into your cooler.
Locking the front corners of your cooler means that the cooler can't be opened by bear, but it also protects your cooler from prying human hands as well.
When locked no one will be able to get into your cooler and steal your beer, food or prized game.
To bear proof your Yeti cooler you'll want the right sized bear proof locks. These are locks that have a shackle at least 2.5 inches in length and a maximum thickness of 10mm.
Yeti sells a set of bear proof Master Locks which are actually pretty affordable and come in a 2 set. However, if you want to save a bit of money and avoid needing to keep track of your keys then Desicu make a long shackle combination lock.
Don't worry, no bear is going to be able to crack the combination.
Both of these locks work fine and you can choose either for the job. If you're super serious about locking your cooler lid tight check out my article on the best Yeti lock alternatives for some even better bear lock options.