BearBolts: Quick Release Locks for Bear-Resistant Coolers

Anyone who’s read Winnie the Pooh knows that bears love honey. They also love hamburgers, hotdogs, cans of Coke, cheese, potato chips, deodorant, shampoo…you name it and they will probably eat it. If it’s in your cooler, they want it. And they are experts at getting it.

Which begs the question of how to keep bears and other creatures out of your cooler – but especially bears. One answer is BearBolts. Made by a company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, these are clever devices that replace padlocks for locking bear-resistant coolers closed. They don’t require a key or combination so are much easier to open than a padlock.


It’s important to note that BearBolts won’t do you any good if your cooler isn’t designed to handle bears in the first place. A number of companies now make coolers designed to keep bears out (see our guide to best bear-proof coolers for recommendations).

In the United States, the primary certification for bear resistant products is issued by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) through a cooperative effort among IGBC, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the US Forest Service, the Living with Wildlife Foundation, and the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. BearBolts are the only quick-release bear locks certified by the IGBC.

Bear Resistant Cooler
Bear-resistant cooler being tested for IGBC certification.

BearBolts are designed to slip through the receiver holes on coolers where a padlock would typically go, offering easy access to your food while also protecting it from bears.

While they fit many models, check the website to make sure they will fit your cooler. Unfortunately, the pin on the model I got isn’t long enough to work with my Pelican cooler, but the inventor of BearBolts, Christopher Marcotte, says he is considering releasing a larger size in the future.

Key Features of BearBolts

Wide Compatibility

BearBolts are adjustable and compatible with most IGBC-rated coolers available in the market. BearBolts feature a unique flat-sided lock and oblong side, providing a secure fit for various cooler shapes and sizes.

Keyless Locking System

The product offers easy access to cooler contents while providing a bear-proof. The design allows easy installation and removal, providing a significant advantage over traditional padlocks.

Durable Material

The bolts are made from precision-machined 17-4 stainless steel and hardened stainless ball bearings for increased durability. The receiver is made from corrosion-resistant 304 stainless steel, ensuring robust performance in extreme weather conditions.

Included Lanyard

Every BearBolt comes with a lanyard to securely attach the bolt to cooler handles or other locations, reducing the risk of loss.

Vivid Coloring

The bright red-orange color enhances visibility and allows for immediate visual checks of the cooler’s lock condition.


As someone who is already keeping up with too many keys, I was happy to see someone develop a device to lock up bear-resistant coolers that doesn’t require adding a new key to my ring (or dealing with the hassle of fiddling with a combination lock every time I want to get in my cooler).

They are made of high-quality, durable material and the machining is top notch. If you plan to get a set, make sure to check that they will fit your specific cooler.  

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