We've compared the best Marine coolers in the world before, but since then another company, Pelican, has come out with a new line of super-coolers—and they’re even rated bear-proof. We are not making this up: The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee actually certifies certain products as “bear resistant” to meet food storage regulations in national forests, and only a handful of coolers make the grade.
Once Pelican sent us a 65-quart model to test out, we weren’t surprised that it could stand up to the onslaught of North America’s largest predator. This thing is tough. Really tough. Still, we at boats.com hate to take other people’s word for it on such matters, so we arranged for a real-live bear-test of our own, and shot this video of a 65-quart ProGear Elite under assault from several different large and very scary grizzly bears. See for yourself just how it stood up.
In all seriousness, this is one heck of an impressive marine cooler. Its two-inch-thick polyurethane-insulated walls and gasketed hatch do such a good job of insulating that when fully packed, it will keep ice for over a week. You should be aware, however, that this hefty construction also makes for quite a load. The 65 quart model weighs 48-lbs, so carrying it when fully laden is a two-person affair, unless you can get one of your bears to help.
Every piece and part of the cooler is up to seriously heavy-duty saltwater use. The dual-hinged handles are as ruggedly built as we’ve ever seen on a cooler. Hardware is all stainless-steel. The press-and-pull latches dog the top down, operate smoothly, and are easy to open. There’s even a lockable hasp. Bears or no, throwing this cooler against a tree, bashing it with limbs, and generally beating the heck out of it has no ill effect. And Pelican knows it—they offer a lifetime guarantee on the ProGear Elite coolers.
A few details I was particularly impressed by include nonskid raised feet, which thankfully don‘t slide on or mark up fiberglass nonskid. There’s a molded-in ruler on the top for measuring your catch. And the drainage system is a cut above, with an angled bottom and a threaded plug that’s designed to fit regular garden hose threads. The cooler also has tie-down holes, and a tie-down kit and snap-on cushions are available. Add them, and this cooler can serve as seating no matter how big and heavy your fishing buddies may be.
ProGear Elite coolers are available in 35, 45, 65, and 95, 150, and 250 quart models, and their prices are surprisingly reasonable when compared to other premium coolers. That 65 quart model, for example, MSRPs at $359.
For more information, visit Pelican. (Or, go to Kodiak Island like we did. Sort of.)