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852 Yeti - Tundra Cooler 2013-09-04

During our 2012 summer trip, a bear broke into our vehicle while camped at a National Forest Campground. When we arrived at the campground there were no special bear warnings posted. Oh, there were the generic bear warnings that are on the kiosks of most National Forest Campgrounds, but nothing more. In fact the bear deterrent rules were not enforced at the campground. At many of the sites in the campground food and cooking gear was left on the tables overnight. We didn't have any food, coolers, water containers, or cooking gear outside of the car. Everything was locked inside the vehicle for the night, as was suggested in the National Forest information. Well, the bear broke into our car.

At that time, we had an older Yeti Cooler. the cold cooler had funky latches that were difficult to close, so we just let the weight of the lid hold it shut. It is impossible to know what the bear smelled that enticed him to raid our vehicle, but we were determined to bear-proof our car.

After doing a bit of research, we began using odor-proof storage bags for food and we started looking at a new Yeti Cooler. The new version of the Yeti, the Tundra, was bear resistant. With locks on the corners, the Tundra became a vault. The video on Yeti's web site shows bears trying but not being able to break into a cooler! That's what we wanted.

The Yeti Tundra cooler was expensive, but so was repairing the damage after a bear breaks into your vehicle! Then, in the spring (2013) we saw that REI was selling Yeti Coolers. We were able to use our yearly REI dividend and discount to make the Tundra 65 more affordable. Soon we had a great cooler that was bear resistant and had a great seal around the lid that reduced the food odors coming from the cooler.

For a few Yeti Tundra notes ...

As my friend Jon would say, the Yeti Cooler is a thing. Meaning, it is a noteworthy cooler.

Lifting the cooler, it feels sturdy.

You can sit on it, stand on it or use it as a table. the cooler has great carrying handles.

The lid has a "Never Fail" hinge system.

To help keep things cooler, the Yeti has thick insulated walls and a gasket like seal around the lid.

The cooler has rubber, non-skid, feet.

Unique rubber latches, stretch to secure the lid.

On the front two corners are holes to thread and secure a lock - making the cooler bear resistant.

Yeti sells a cable to lock the cooler to a ring or object. We used a bicycle lock cable with two eyes and attached one eye of the cable to a fixed object and placed the other eye on the same lock used to secure the cooler. It worked great.

We purchased a small cooler to fit inside the Yeti. The cooler had two parts: a rigid plastic liner and a soft shell cover. The small cooler was our ice holder. We filled the liner with ice (preferably a block of ice) and left the lid open to the smaller cooler. The ice cooled the Yeti but we had no melted water in the bottom of the cooler. The drain of the Yeti probably works well, but we never used it.

We did not leave the cooler outside, even though it is bear resistant. It wasn't worth the effort to try and convince the campground host that is was not an ordinary cooler.

A wire basket in the cooler provides a location to protect softer food items.

After a summer of use, we had no bear incidents. Of course this was the first year that we could remember, that we did not even see a bear. Did the cooler have anything to do with no incidents? Probably not, but it gave us piece of mind. The Yeti was also just a great cooler. We only used one block of ice for every three to four days. The Yeti probably saved us close to $100 in ice, we did not have to buy!

Happy Yeti Tundra Cooler trails


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