Grizzly Coolers are built to withstand even the most extreme parts of being out in the wild. As their name suggests, Grizzly hard-sided coolers are bear proof and built using impeccable designs that prevent weak points from reducing the lifespan of your cooler.
They may not be the most well-known or the most extensive, but Grizzly is located in the United States and produces only top of the line coolers for those who need more functionality than just a tailgate. Let’s take a look at the entire Grizzly line to see how it stacks up against the competition in our Grizzly Cooler Review 2018.
Best Grizzly Coolers for Most People
The Grizzly 20 quart is an excellent personal sized cooler that can hold an accurate 20-quart load. It has a roto-molded plastic exterior with pressure injected insulation for even coverage with no weak spots. There’s a drain spout even with this small of a size, and the handle is reinforced to withstand some hard use.
They’re dry ice compatible and use bear claw locking hinges to reduce air leaks and keep temperatures consistent. It’s certified Grizzly proof by the IGBC and is crack resistant even at the hinges.
What Customers Like:
- plenty of color choices
- Grizzly proof
- true 20-quart load
- on the heavy side
- the handle is awkward for solo carrying
The Drifter series uses ballistic polyester and ripstop material for a waterproof and tear resistant exterior material. EVA foam insulation keeps things cold and multiple pockets help you organize all your stuff.
The padded handle is good for a solo carry, and the soft-sided cooler is a lot lighter than their roto-molded coolers. The removable hard liner helps keep ice in place, or you can take it out for more accessible storage (or to use ice packs).
What Customers Like:
- removable hard liner
- plenty of storage
- a little large for a lunchbox
- the liner is tricky to remove and put back in
Everything Else: The Entire Grizzly Product Line
Grizzly’s Coolers come in three different options, hard-sided, soft-sided, and a brand new factory direct offering aimed at lowering the price for entry-level buyers.
Hard Sided Coolers
The hard sided coolers are roto-molded, creating a sturdy exterior that resists cracking. The mold is rotated as plastic is being poured, creating a more even application with fewer weak spots. It also has better housing for the insulation.
Insulation is pressure-injected for maximum coverage. Combined with a gasket lid, there are no leaks or temperature inconsistencies. The interior capacity is accurate to the name of the cooler, and there are plenty of options for sizes.
All Grizzly’s hard-sided coolers are certified Grizzly proof, so those of you hiking out in bear country can rest easy. Even if a bear gets its hands on your cooler, it can’t get inside. You’ll probably still be able to use your cooler the next weekend, provided the bear didn’t toss it off a cliff or down the river.
Grizzly’s design is classic, with rounded edges and few areas where you could snag your clothing or bruise your shins. They can be used as seats in a pinch, and the hinges are reinforced to handle heavy use. It has molded-in handles for easy solo or tandem carry, and full-length drain channels make the coolers easier to clean out.
Soft Sided Coolers
They don’t have as many options for their soft-sided coolers, but the 12-quart and 20-quart Drifter option is useful for lunchbox styles or weekend trips. They use really tough exterior material that resists tears and is completely waterproof. The ripstop fabric prevents snagging, and seaming is heat treated in the inside to prevent leaks.
The outside has pockets to store smaller items such as silverware, and side pockets for water bottle storage. It also has places to attach a carabiner for wrangling all your peripherals. The handle and the shoulder strap are padded to be more comfortable.
The larger size has a removable hard liner for when you need to use ice, and it can hold several days’ worth of food. The smaller size is right for a meal and maybe a few snacks. The interior is food safe and resists both odors and mildew.
Their newest cooler line is a 45-quart choice that’s built to be even tougher than the original Grizzly. It features the same roto-molded exterior with pressure injected insulation, plus little extras like nonslip feet and a different latching system that’s supposed to be easier to manipulate.
The most significant difference is the Kenai is sold factory direct only from Grizzly. It reduces the cost big time but offers the same ice retention and performance as other coolers from Grizzly. You may not have the same flexibility in color or capacity, but if you need an all-purpose cooler, you’ll get this one a little cheaper.
Grizzly Coupons & Promo Codes for 2019
Grizzly doesn’t have any promotions going at the moment, but we’re waiting for them to expand their Kenai line to offer more affordable options. You could also check with your individual seller for deals on specific coolers around times like the holidays.
You don’t need just your lunch. You need something that can hold a few game fish, some beers, and food for you and your partner as you head out. You need something for your tailgate and your friend’s brand new pontoon. The 40 Quart should do just the trick.
The 40 quart uses the same roto-molded plastic as all the others in the hard-sided cooler section to create a genuinely durable cooler that resists cracking even if you drop things regularly. It’s on the heavy side, but it keeps your temperatures consistent.
Inside, pressure injected insulation creates a barrier with no weak spots keeping your food and ice cold for up to seven or eight days depending on the conditions outside. All the hardware is reinforced, and the handles are molded into the side to make carrying easier.
The interior is food safe and resists both odors and mildew. No slip feet on the bottom prevents your cooler from toppling all over the place.
These coolers use the same smooth edges and some of the most popular high-end coolers. They come in a variety of colors (our favorite is the bright red), and they use a matte material that resists scratching.
The lid uses a gasket style closure and seals to prevent air leaks and make the contents fully bear proof. Latches are sturdy and bear claw style, but they might take some strength to operate. There isn’t a wheeled option but molded-in handles are comfortable for carrying the cooler in tandem, which you’ll need to do unless you have some serious muscle power.
A large drain spout makes cleaning easy and prevents tipping. If you’re gone for a really long time, you can drain water and top off with ice each week without having to rearrange much of what’s inside.
All hinges and hardware are reinforced to withstand constant use, and the cooler can be used as an extra seat if you run out.
Using The Cooler
Most people do a little prep work before using their cooler to make sure they get maximum ice retention. The night before, fill your cooler with ice and close the lid. In the morning, drain off any water and top off with ice.
Insulation in coolers like these slowly absorbs the ambient room temperature. If you store your cooler long term in the garage, the insulation may take a few hours to cool back down once you add your ice, reducing the amount of time you have with ice retention. If your cooler starts off ice cold, you’ll get much better results.
What Customers Are Saying:
Most customers are pleased with how well the Grizzly holds on to the ice and how easy it is to transport. Those little details make long-term or extreme camping just a little bit easier.
“I bought this cooler to do dispersed desert camping in the southwest. I just came back from a five day trip to New Mexico. It held its ice for six days even though I opened it repeatedly. I finished the last beer on my front porch.”
It even prompted some users to write reviews when they don’t usually do things like that.
“Ok I never write reviews, but this needs one. Bought it last Wednesday here. Got it Friday. Put ice to the top in it and filled it with water and other drinks for work. Kept it in the bed of my black pickup all week. Air temps between 64-84. The truck sat in the sun all week! Ice is at least half full!”
Overall, users are impressed with both the design and functionality of the Grizzly.
Grizzly doesn’t have the accessories of some other companies. If you’re looking to make sure your interior stays organized, you may have to pick up some aftermarket things for that. You can find shirts and tumblers, plus a few other ways to show your Grizzly fandom, but specific cooler accessories are minimal. We’re hoping to see Grizzly expand that in the future.
Coolers Like Grizzly
Grizzly has some competition, so let’s see how all that stacks up.
Yeti is the reigning champion of roto molded coolers, but is that position deserved? They have tough exteriors in a wide range of capacities, far more than Grizzly. They also have accessories that help organize the interior and help with tie downs.
Yeti and Grizzly have comparable ice retention, and the latches are similar styles that could be difficult for weak hands to open. They’re bear proof and have an equivalent price tag on the higher end of the budget.
Grizzly does a better job of reducing the overall weight of the cooler. It isn’t going to be as lightweight as that budget Coleman option, but it does edge out Yeti in the weight department. The finish is also more varied with brighter colors than what you’ll regularly get with Yeti. If you want a cooler that stands out visually and is easy to spot, Grizzly is probably your best option.
Yeti has far more options for capacity and styles, so if you need flexibility, your best bet is Yeti. You can find ultra-small options all the way up to a giant tailgate option that should feed a party of 30. Keep in mind that Yeti’s numbers don’t correspond precisely to quart capacity, but overall Yeti should satisfy your need for more flexibility.
You need a cooler that can withstand some abuse on your trips, but you can’t quite manage the price tag of Grizzly. An RTIC could be a good option. It’s consistently about a third cheaper than comparable coolers because RTIC is direct to a consumer brand. They cut out the retail middleman so that you can save.
RTIC coolers come in a smaller range of sizes but overall have the same capacity as Grizzly. They have roto molded exteriors with pressure injected insulation for fewer weak spots and better coverage. Hinges and latches are reinforced, and the coolers are bear resistant. They may not stop a determined Grizzly, but they should stop curious bears.
Get an RTIC if your budget is screaming at you every time you open the website for Grizzly. You get a durable cooler that resists cracking but won’t ruin your budget. Plus, RTIC coolers ship directly from the factory, so you always know that the one you’ve got is authentic.
If you’re hiking in frequent bear territory, you should go ahead and spring for the Grizzly. It’s better protected and won’t open even with determined bears. It protects you, and it protects the bears. Also, if you need a much larger option, the behemoth Grizzly (400 quarts) has a far bigger capacity than RTIC’s largest option (65 quarts). We can’t imagine having a cooler that large, but for those of you who need it, there’s no other option.
We give Grizzly 4 out of 5 stars because it really does rock with what it has, but we’d like to see a few more capacity options in between small and large sizes, plus more accessories. It’s a stripped-down cooler meant to withstand terrible weather and bear attacks, so you should be able to head out on your extreme camping trips and come back with your cooler in one piece.
We love the color variety because sometimes we want a cooler to stand out and be easy to spot. And for those of you who have trouble finding a cooler large enough, you can invest in their 400-quart option and be in drinks for days and days.
The soft-sided coolers are good options as well, and their brand-new factory direct Kenai should open the line up to budget shoppers soon. There’s only one option, but with time, you may end up with several options for that line.
Make sure you prep your cooler beforehand and you should get to enjoy your food and drinks for days before you even must think about ice at all.