The prototype Bearier 700 bear canister from Camp 4 Outdoors.
Bear canisters. They're increasingly required in Western parks, but can be heavy and awkward to pack. Backpackers often wonder, couldn't I make a lighter/easier/more packable version on my own?
While few go much farther than pondering those questions, designer engineer Zac Rubenson went and produced his own prototype canister. He had the modular Bearier 700 canister on display at Outdoor Retailer.
Rubenson said he tackled the issues common to other bear canisters to make one that's lighter weight at less than two pounds, easier to access, expandable, and easier to pack.
The Bearier 700 is two polycarbonate halves (production models will likely be a translucent color) that can be carried separately while hiking. Backpackers can split them up between hikers, or carry the halves separately in or on their packs, for easier access and packing while hiking. A mesh cloth will keep food and smellables contained when the canister is apart.
You open the canister by pushing down on one metal tab, up on the other, and rotating the halves. I managed to do it on the second try.
If you need more than 700 cubic inches capacity, the Grub Hub expander will add another 300 cubic inches of space. Rubenson says his canister will have the widest opening for easy access.
Half of a Bearier 700 lashed to a pack for hiking.
The Bearier 700 isn't approved as a bear canister, yet. Rubenson's company, Camp 4 Outdoors, is currently seeking approval through the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. But, at less than 2 lbs, if the Bearier 700 passes the National Park Service's bear test, it could be a contender for the lightest canister, space-to-weight.
For comparison, a Garcia Backpacker's Cache weighs 2 pounds 9 ounces and offers 603 cubic inches. The Bearikade Weekender weighs 1 pound 15 ounces and offers 650 cubic inches.
Rubenson, along with J.J Ganjei and Max Vanderwyst at Camp 4 Outdoors, hope to have the Bearier 700 on the market by May 2011, pending bear canister approval.
Weight: less than 2 lbs
Capacity: 700 cubic inches; the Grub Hub adds another 300 cubic inches
Expect MSRP: $109.95; Grub Hub probably $60 additional; also will be available as a complete set
Zac Rubenson and J.J Ganjei (in costume) showed us the Bearier 700 at Outdoor Retailer:
The Grub Hub expander adds 300 cubic inches to the Bearier's 700 cubic inches.