I probably need to stop talking about Coleman, the family cooler who saves the day in The Bear. But not yet. He was a big part of my life while writing the novel.
Coleman continues to be a part of my life as he’s developed a bit of a real life following among readers.
My sister took a photo of this cooler on the left–an Igloo brand cooler–in Waterton Lakes National Park last summer. A bear got into the cooler.
As you can see, this is a newer, plastic cooler and the bear was able to crack it open. I’m not sure what kind of bear it was, but I guess a grizzly judging by the size of the marks.
I wrote a few blog posts about finding and testing Coleman (part 1 and part 2). He was a hero in The Bear because he is heavier than the new ones and made of metal. While hard to lift, it’s a material that is harder for a bear to get purchase on with teeth or claws. Keep in mind that the bear in the novel had other things to eat. If he’d really wanted to get the kids out, a bear probably could.
Since I’ve been touring with the book, I’ve had many conversations about coolers. A lot of people still have an old metal cooler because they are strong and last longer. I’ve heard about a lot of strong memories associated with family coolers (many mothers have cut many apples on them). I love this. A relationship with a cooler should be for life.
I was in Denver last week and did a reading at the Tattered Cover Book Store on Colfax. It is an amazing place and the crowd was equally so. There was, of course, some cooler talk.
The day after, while visiting friends in Boulder, I happened by a camping store and saw the “Grizzly” (pictured on left). It’s a cooler that has been through IGBC Bear Resistance testing (which I don’t know anything about), so it is advertised as bear proof.
The company who makes the cooler is marketing it to hunters, but what about parents who want to hide their kids? All it needs is a few holes for air.