Testing Day finally arrived, May 20th 2022. This is a day I had been eagerly awaiting since the concept of BearBolts was created. A trip to the Grizzly and Wolf discovery center in West Yellowstone Montana.
As you may imagine I had been researching the testing program for months…watching video, reading the protocols, inspecting all the details of certified coolers.
Lisa and I loaded up the car with various coolers and gear to demonstrate BearBolts to the testing center on various coolers and cases. Ultimately, we would use a Yeti 35 for the test which proved to be a good decision. The goal is to test the bolts and not the cooler. It would be a bummer if the cooler let go before the bolt. We had my commuter car packed full of coolers and cases, then off we went.
The testing protocol requires 60minutes of grizzly contact time with the cooler and this means full on contact. The center carefully measures this time with video review. Grizzlies casually rolling the cooler around or playing with it does not count towards the 60 minutes. What I thought would be a quick 60 minute test turned out to take all day and part of the next morning.
During breaks in the testing cycle Lisa and I enjoyed walking around the beautiful town of West Yellow Stone and enjoying tastes at local restaurants and the creamery.
The center has eight bears at the time of testing. Bo, Coram, Condi, Seely, Grant, Nakina, and Sam. The keepers of the center bring them out in pairs or triplets throughout the day based on a rotating schedule. As they rotate throughout the day all the bears get contact time with the cooler. Sam is the Largest of the grizzlies on site at over 1,000lbs and due to his size and strength usually he does not participate in the cooler testing program. They like to give products a fair shot with average sized bears so Sam sits out. However, he did get a chance to take a crack at BearBolts and BearBolts won. The keepers mistakenly left the Bear bolt locked cooler in the enclosure during Sam’s rotation. I am proud to say BearBolts held up against SAM the strongest Bear at the center.
The morning of the second day of testing Randy declares the 60 minutes of contact time is accounted for and BearBolts passed the test!!!