TECHNOLOGY

Look Out, Yeti: OtterBox Is Getting Into the High-End (and Bear-Proof) Cooler Market

OtterBox’s new line of high-end, heavy-duty coolers promise to keep ice frozen for up to 14 days and protect food against bears.

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BY Emily Canal - 10 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

OtterBox is well-known for its smartphone and tablet cases, but the Fort Collins, Colorado-based company is applying its concept of durability into a new market: Coolers.

OtterBox's new line of high-end, heavy-duty coolers promise to keep ice frozen for up to 14 days and protect food against bears, the company announced yesterday. The products, which range in quart size, will cost between $250 and $400. But the idea of an expensive and "bear-resistant" cooler is already on the market and doing very well. Yeti, an Austin-based company, has been making similar coolers since 2005. Prices fall between $250 and $300 for most coolers, but its 85-gallon Tundra 350 goes for $1,300.

Yeti, which is rumored to go public this year, is currently valued at $5 billion--with sales approaching $450 million. Ryan and Roy Seiders founded the company after realizing a need for durable coolers that also acted as platforms for fishing. The brothers carved out a market for pricey coolers, but OtterBox could bring some competition to that market.

This isn't the first time OtterBox has pivoted its business. When Curt Richardson launched the company in 1998, it specialized in waterproof electronic cases without anticipating the launch of smartphones and society's addiction to snapping selfies. When iPods launched in 2001, OtterBox quickly developed a new line and saw a spike in sales. The private company has maintained a low media profile, but Forbes reported that OtterBox fetched $575.5 million in revenue in February 2013.