An Overlanders Dream - Dalton Highway
The Dalton Highway in northern Alaska is a dream destination for Overlanders! 415 miles of mountains, wildlife, and adventure at the top of North America requires equipment that is versatile and tough. No matter what this wild road threw at me, my Grizzly Coolers were up to the challenge. It was amazing to see the different outdoor cooler features shine, in varying terrain, as different scenarios presented themselves. One thing is for sure, on a trip like this you have to be certain your food is fresh and secure.
Day 1: Tiedown on the Dalton
The Dalton Highway in northern Alaska is a 415-mile long Overlanding DREAM. At its start just north of Fairbanks it takes about 2 seconds to realize this is probably the most beautiful highway in the country. It’s also one of the most rugged!
With all the huge potholes and silty slide-offs you encounter on the Dalton I had the issue of making sure my gear was tied down on the rig. At just about 80 miles in I know there’s a series of very steep hills that truckers have named “The Roller Coasters.” The last thing I need is to lose my Grizzly 100 off the back and be stuck with no provisions for the journey.
Every Grizzly Cooler comes with the 2” TIEDOWN SLOTS feature so you can be sure to keep your Grizzly where it belongs, no matter what the terrain. The 2 LOCKDOWN HOLE feature is another added security measure, ensuring you don’t get 50 miles down the road and realize “bandits” from your last rest stop, stole all your goods!
There are very few places to stop for provisions along this stretch of wilderness. Tie-down that Grizzly at the beginning of the trip and be ready to hit the road!
Day 3: Keeping It Cool In Alaska
To traverse the entire Dalton Highway you need to be prepared and have provisions for the whole trek. In its 415 miles there are only 2 small towns and it is basically impossible to restock your cooler. Keeping your provisions fresh is paramount.
It’s noon on July 7th and I’m at mile 56 of this epic Journey. Here the recklessly wild Yukon River meets the road with stunning views. The Trans Alaska Pipeline suspends over the river and reminds us what this road was originally built for. I have to admit when I planned for Alaska I didn’t expect to be near the Arctic and see temperatures hit 75 degrees F. A couple of weeks at the top of the world requires a cooler that can be up to the challenge.
Every Grizzly hard-sided cooler is equipped with multiple features to keep its contents fresh for your whole adventure. Grizzly Coolers exceed the levels of Ice Retention set by other cooler companies. Here’s why…
- PRESSURE INJECTED: All hard-sided coolers are injected with up to two inches of polyurethane foam.
- SILICONE RUBBER GASKET: Our lids seal with a silicone rubber gasket to keep cold air trapped and extend the longevity of your ice.
- DRY ICE COMPATIBLE: When your adventure requires dry ice, you can be sure your Grizzly can handle it.
Day 5: Bears and Brooks
The Brooks Range is easily my favorite part of the Dalton Highway Overland experience. It’s in these mountains that towering white-capped peaks flow down into sparse evergreen forests and tundra. To the west is Gates of the Arctic National Park and to the east Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is where I park my rig for a few days and venture on foot into wild Alaska.
A topographical map and a compass are a must up here. There is a lot of space to get lost in while you glass for caribou and photograph moose. It’s also a must to protect your belongings and camp from the mighty Grizzlies that roam these northern reaches. These bears are always looking for food to store fats for an 8-month winter that is right around the corner. I’m planning on them NOT devouring my stash. How do I keep my rations safe?
This is where a Grizzly cooler shines, with features on every hard-sided outdoor cooler that are perfectly designed to keep the bears out.
- IGBC CERTIFIED: Our coolers have been tested with bears and the coolers won.
- BEARCLAW™ LATCHES: The Bearclaw latches are a Grizzly exclusive design. Easy to use, interchangeable, and they retain a bear grip on the lid.
- ROTOMOLDED: Grizzly hard side coolers are made from rotationally-molded LLDPE plastic and designed for optimal durability! They can handle getting knocked around.
Day 7: Tough For the Turn Offs
Everything about an Overlanding adventure on the Dalton Highway requires toughness. Road and weather conditions have tested me and my rig daily. Persevering through tough conditions has its reward though, the most amazing wilderness that a person can see from any highway in North America. It’s worth it.
Grizzly makes their coolers TOUGH! The durability of their hard-sided coolers gives me a worry-free experience when it comes to keeping my food safe. The ROTOMOLDED design means that the cooler is ONE PIECE made of LLDPE plastic! This ensures optimal durability. The INTEGRATED HINGE is molded-in, has a stainless steel pin, and has an interlocking design to withstand the most rugged situations. The lids are not coming off!
I need tough. As if the Dalton isn’t tough enough, I want the ability to turn off and explore glacier-fed streams, rocky scrambles, windswept tundra, and more. The durability of my gear gives me the ability to go further out! Grizzly works to solve my problem of durability by making coolers that are tough enough for any adventure.
Day 8: I've Seen It Both Ways
Overlanding the Dalton Highway has brought me to its highest point, Atigun Pass, the only road pass through the Brooks Range. Some enjoy this pass because of the unmatched views, others come to search for gold. That is if there’s room in your rig for a sluice box, rocker, pickaxe, shovel, pans, and… the list goes on. Where do I keep all that gear? For me to have room for all this adventure equipment I need multipurpose gear, tools that work multiple ways.
Grizzly offers some “both ways” features with their hard side coolers. I find myself attaching the SLICK FEET when traveling with the cooler in the bed of my truck, making it easier to slide it off the back. I go with the GRIP FEET anytime I’m camped and my cooler is sitting for extended periods of time on the tailgate. I don’t need any spills!
Grizzly’s DUAL HANDLE SYSTEM allows you to haul your cooler your way! Built in MOLDED HANDLES are just right for lifting the cooler straight up and maneuvering it quickly around camp. When the cooler is packed and you need a little extra help to swing it into the truck, the ROPE HANDLES feature allows you to gain the momentum to complete the task. Whatever your preference is, it’s nice to have both options. Grizzly makes life a little easier with these “BOTH WAYS” features, leaving you more ready to enjoy the adventure.
Day 10: A Long Drive For Some Good Fishing
This amazing highway ends in the largest oil field in the US at Deadhorse, AK. Here you can dip your feet in the Arctic Ocean and have one heck of an adventure fishing. Anglers here fish for whitefish, Arctic grayling, Arctic char, trout, burbot, pike, Dolly Varden, and of course multiple species of salmon in rivers all along this wild byway.
Fishing isn’t the only goal of this Overlanding experience but it sure adds to it. How many people can say they drove all the way to the top of Alaska, the top of the World, to catch some fish?
I brought an extra cooler along just for the fillets. The arctic ocean provides the ice! Grizzly hard-sided coolers not only keep the catch fresh, but they also come with an embossed ruler feature so I can document just how big that Arctic char really was. Chances are I won’t be driving this far for another anytime soon! Let’s get it right the first time.
Day 12: I'm Getting Drained
To be able to say I’ve been to the summit of the Dalton Highway is a dream come true. Leaving Deadhorse and making my way south I’ve tried to extend my trip by finding more turn-offs to make camp. My goal on the way back is to camp by waterfalls, snag a few more trout, and take in more wilderness views.
It’s day 12 and honestly, I’m getting pretty tired. I’ve definitely lived this trip to its fullest potential. Today I found an amazing spot to camp and rest. I just have to get to it! I’m leaving the vehicle and pitching a tent about a quarter-mile away. 25 feet up a scree-covered slope is the perfect overlook. To accomplish this climb I need things to be as light as possible.
The 2” Drain feature allows my Grizzly outdoor cooler to become as light as I can make it by draining the excess water. While leaving the water aids in ice retention, draining it out makes it so I can more easily get this thing to my camp. Since I’m pretty drained, I’m draining the cooler. It’s worth it for these views!
The Dream Of Overlanding The Dalton Highway
The dream of overlanding the Dalton Highway has become a reality. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I kept a few different journals along the way, spending my evenings documenting the sights, sounds, and smells of adventure. Recording the multiple features displayed on my Grizzly Coolers proved to be valuable. I found myself appreciating simple aspects of each cooler that I never paid attention to before. You can be sure that when it comes to my next adventure, wherever it is, I’m going GRIZZLY! ADVENTURE GUARANTEED!