Dometic In Bear Country

Discussion in 'Electrical & Mechanical Issues' started by Randy, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Randy

    Randy Ranger Donating Member

    We are headed to heavy bear country next week and are concerned about keeping the Dometic in the galley. Is closing the galley at night safe enough?

    I was considering keeping it in the truck at night and running it off of the car battery. Can anyone tell me how long it can be run this way before deleting the car battery to the point that ihe car won't start?


  2. Brian & Lucy

    Brian & Lucy Novice

    Provided you keep a clean galley free of food other than what's in the fridge and nothing particularly odorous, and a clean campsite, I personally would feel safe leaving it in a locked galley. A determined bear won't care if it's in the galley or your trunk...they'll get in. If it's a patrolled camp area, I'd ask the ranger for a local opinion. If you're somewhere like Yellowstone where there are many other campers likely not as diligent, the bear will move on. The opposite could be true as well...depends on your trip and time of year.

    I have a Snomaster fridge that I leave on in the car 24/7 over multiple week trips with no issues, some days only using the car for 30 minutes or less. It draws about 2.5a/hr and I notice no impact on my ability to start the car. I follow a lot of people that use dometic's in their Jeeps/4Runners with no issue either, though occasionally hear of dead batteries. Often because the battery was near the end of it's life more than the fridge being the primary cause. Nice thing about it being in your car is food/beverage is always with you when you leave base camp behind. We liked being able to run into town to buy food and putting it directly in the fridge. We now keep all food/fridge in the car. I'd recommend testing that before your it for 12 hours overnight, or whatever you think will make a good compare to your trip.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
    Tom & Diana P likes this.
  3. gregangsten

    gregangsten Novice

    I've had my trailer in both Yellowstone and Yosemite. Rangers in Yellowstone assured me that they don't have quite the bear problem that Yosemite has (or maybe had?). They said it would be OK in the locked galley but you won't hear that from a ranger at Yosemite where they are adamant about using bear boxes. It's true that bears will rip open a locked car trunk or beat your car to death trying if they smell food in there and I've seen plenty of photos of just that.
    That said, I have left the fridge in the trailer in Yosemite camping a few times because I think the bears have been trained not to bother since the people have been trained not to tempt them. You are taking something of a chance though.

    I bought a second, deep cycle high capacity battery to extend the time I can be off the grid. Later, I bought a solar panel but if I know I'm going to be stuck in the shade, or if I am going to bear country I bring the battery. The Dometic goes in the bear box with it plugged into the battery outside the box and the cord squeezing between the box doors.
    Tom & Diana P and AlCat like this.
  4. Randy

    Randy Ranger Donating Member

    Nice to know the Dometic will fit in the Bear Box. That may be the way to go. I ave a long 12 Volt extension cord.

    Good to know you can run it off the car also. I may eventually put a 12 volt outlet in the bed of my truck. Will definitely be checking in with the ranger when we get there.

  5. gregangsten

    gregangsten Novice

    Off the subject a little, but Brian and Lucy, does that SnoMaster fridge fit in the space in the trailer? I had to replace the circuit board for the 2nd time in my Dometic this summer and now I find it working but will not get cold. I think I've had it with this fridge and that Snomaster, though pricey, looks worth it. Anyone else using one?
  6. fishbisquit

    fishbisquit Novice

    We just got back from a 2 week trip with a few nights in heavy bear country including a little boondocking in bear country. We chose to move all food into our car at night. It only took us a minute to transfer food every night. No issues at all. My guess is that we would have, and you'll be fine leaving in gallery. It was our impression that bears ripping into hard sided vehicles in not nearly as common as it used to be. Decades of rangers educating campers to keep clean campsites, clean vehicles and store food properly have really helped minimize bears breaking into hard sided vehicles. Having said that, my wife and I both slept a little better knowing the food was not in the teardrop with us.
    Have a great trip!
    Tom & Diana P likes this.
  7. Jenn

    Jenn Junior Ranger

    Randy, It would be great if you would report back on what you did and what your experience was.

    Yes, the rangers in Yosemite are adamant about moving everything to Bear Boxes. Better safe than the other.

    In Wyoming at a National Forest campground a bear gave a go at trying to get into my galley but gave up pretty easy. Sadly the claw marks have faded from the aluminum.
    Tom & Diana P likes this.
  8. pbaker2225

    pbaker2225 Junior Ranger Donating Member

    On my trip starting in August for over a month I carried my fridge in the car. You can set it so it shuts off before draining the battery. Since I was traveling alone and didn't need the full capacity of the fridge I froze two of those Cashew jars from Costco and put them in the fridge. I kept the fridge set at 27 degrees and left it in the car at night. That way when the battery tender shut it off it turned into an ice chest. Over the day while driving the ice was refrozen or at least kept very cold and not thawing. I always carry an ice chest for things that I don't want to freeze. The temperature on my Dometic can't be trusted not to freeze the veggies. I really enjoyed being able to fully utilize the Galley without having to move the fridge. In place of the fridge in the galley I Used a Tote for extra paper towels etc.
    hiadventurer likes this.
  9. Brian & Lucy

    Brian & Lucy Novice

    SnoMaster does not currently have a fridge that fits in the galley due to height, though new shorter sizes are coming so I will test and report back when available. (US import lead happens to be in my city)

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