Camping out for a few days can be an exciting opportunity. However, it can quickly turn ugly if you don’t have the appropriate camping gear. One of the most important requirements for camping is a tough, bear proof fridge/cooler, with Dometic Fridges being a popular option for campers.
Dometic Fridges are not always bear proof, but they are tough and durable. They are made of thick polypropylene plastic, which is an extremely durable material. However, a determined bear might still be able to get into the fridge.
Read on to find out more about bear proof fridges/coolers, the importance of bear proofing your food storage, and some of the best bear proof coolers on the market.
Are Dometic Fridges Bear Proof?
To be considered bearproof, fridges or coolers are expected to have a thick padlock on two sides. If this padlock isn’t used, bears can, and will, open the fridge/cooler to get at the food.
Dometic Fridges are not completely bear proof, although they are durable enough to use for camping. The fridge’s tough plastic might hold off a bear for a little while, but a truly determined bear could still breakthrough.
Campers have reported seeing bears who have learned to recognize the sight of a cooler or fridge. As a result, most campgrounds expect campers to leave the cooler at least 200 feet away (6.1 m) from the tent or leave it in the car. In both cases, the cooler should ideally be under a cover so that any passing bears don’t recognize the shape.
Bear Proof Fridge Alternative
Ideally, if you’re camping in bear country, you should invest in a good bear proof cooler/fridge. However, bear proof fridges can be expensive and difficult to get a hold of. Here are a few alternatives to a bear proof fridge.
DIY Bear-Proofing With a Regular 12V Fridge
One alternative that many campers use is getting a good 12V fridge and leaving it inside the car. This will work if your car is heavily armoured or large enough to withstand a bear. To be safe, you should cover your fridge with a tarp or blanket to make sure a bear can’t recognize its silhouette. You should also ensure that there are no grease stains or food crumbs in or around the car that could attract a bear.
However, keep in mind that bears can exert tremendous amounts of pressure. Most regular cars cannot withstand a bear for too long. A large truck or heavily armoured SUV might be capable of fending off a bear, but bears can crush a general van or sedan like a toothpick. If possible, consider investing in a proper bear proof cooler to be on the safe side.
Bear Proof Canisters or Bags
A bear proof canister is a cylindrical storage box made of tough materials. The best canisters weigh less than 3 lbs (1.3kgs). These canisters can store dry food items, frozen meats (for a short time), leftover food, or trash. Some canisters can also double as seats or stools if they’re tough enough.
Bear Proof Bags are usually made of a thick material that can withstand a bear’s claws. These are also designed to be hung from a tree during the night so the bear can’t easily take them away.
The downside to these options is the lack of cooling. If you’re planning to take a short trip without many perishable items, a canister or bag would be perfect. I would suggest getting this Frontiersman Bear Safe & Resistant Food Storage Container (from Amazon). It features a lockable lid and prevents food odours from escaping.
Best Bear Proof Coolers/Fridges
Below is a table summarising the properties of some of the most popular camping coolers and fridges.
|Yeti Tundra Cooler||Taiga Cooler||Kong Cooler||SuperHandy Cooler||Big Frig Badlands Cooler|
|Weight||10kg (23lb)||15.9kg (35lb)||10kg (23lb)||7.6kg (16.7lb)||10.8kg (23.9lb)|
|Capacity||45 Quarts(42.59 litres)||55 Quarts(52.05 litres)||25 Quarts(23.66 litres)||20 Quarts(18.93 litres)||45 Quarts(42.59 litres)|
|Ice Retention||5-7 days||5-8 days||7-11 days||5-10 days||5-8 days|
The Big Frig Badlands Cooler Bundle is the best overall. This 45qt (42.59 L) cooler allows you to pack enough food and drinks for your trip and retains ice for up to 8 days. It is also IGBC certified, making it completely bear proof. At 10.8kg (23.9lbs), it won’t weigh you down too much. However, it is on the more expensive side.
Best Budget Buy
The most affordable of these options is the Yeti Tundra Cooler. This 45qt (42.59 L) cooler is capable of retaining ice for up to 5-7 days, so you can enjoy your food for a full camping trip. It is also IGBC certified, making it the cheapest bear proof cooler option available.
Longest Ice Retention
The Kong Cooler retains ice for the longest time, lasting up to a whopping 11 days. This cooler is also IGBC certified; however, its capacity of 25qt (23.66 L) is much smaller than the other options. It is also the same weight as some of the 45qt (42.59 L) coolers.