Bear Resistant Food Containers

1:29 a.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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What type of parks, regions require the Garcia type of food containers. I've always bagged the food. After making a spontaneous not thought out purchase of a Garcia I sort of regret even spending the sale price. Looking for some rope online I ran into a link for the Ursack. Much lighter and potentially less bulky option. There video of a bear attacking the bag is a good testimonial. But there seems to be some limitation based on their website where you are allowed to use this bag. So where else am I limited to a hardshell food container?

2:01 a.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Significant portions of Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon require canisters on this approved list:

http://www.sierrawildbear.gov/foodstorage/approvedcontainers.htm

A lot of the national forest areas around those parks also have the same requirement.

Possibly as soon as next year, all of Sequoia/Kings Canyon will be canister-required. Yosemite can't be far behind that schedule.

11:17 a.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Yosemite requires bear containers (either canisters or in-place steel bear boxes) for all backcountry areas for overnighters, and requires use of the in-place bear boxes (lockers) for drive-in campgrounds. That requirement has been in place for quite a few years. Canisters are not required for climbers on wall climbs when more than a pitch above the ground, but they do for the night-before bivy at the base of the climb (you do have to carry a pooptube on the wall with you, though).

Popular parks which require canisters besides Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon include Yellowstone, Glacier, and Denali. As lambertiana mentioned, Inyo NF, which borders Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon, also requires canisters. The rangers do check on the trail, and the citation is more expensive than the typical backpacker can afford.

Contrary to what Ursack is promoting, bears can get into Ursacks. As I noted in another thread, a couple of ranger friends of mine in Yosemite have shown me pictures of torn Ursacks and handed me one Ursack that bears have torn open. There are some areas, though, that the locals apparently have not yet learned the technique.

12:14 p.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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"Canisters are not required for climbers on wall climbs when more than a pitch above the ground" ... at least until the first Ursa ascent of the Nose route...

1:44 p.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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do the bear cans really work? I have been considering getting one so I don't have to figure out how to hang food each night (which is not always easy), and I always have a camp stool.

I have been wondering if they really are worth the extra weight...

5:33 p.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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second gear asks

Quote:

do the bear cans really work?

Short answer - yes.

Longer answer - there are some provisos that mostly depend on the user.

Worth the extra weight? - where the rules require them, definitely (if only to get the trail permit and avoid the rather large fine, besides which in those areas, the bears are highly likely to get your food). If you are in an area where the bears have not yet learned to bring down bear bags, no. They also keep raccoons, mice, squirrels, marmots, and other critters away from your food, which bear bags won't (I have lost food to mice and marmots, and a hiking partner lost food to raccoons).

7:42 p.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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I am still using a bear bag. My backpacking trips are limited to the Appalachians, so that is the only area I have any experience in. I can say that we have more little critters than you can run off in one night. I swear we have millions of raccoons and opossums. Most of the time I take my dog along and his presence seems to curb the nightly invasions.

However I would like to get with the times and get a bear can, which one would you guys recommend?
Thanks

1:41 a.m. on May 29, 2008 (EDT)
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Trouthunter - It all depends on what you want and how much you are willing to spend. I have a Garcia and a Bearvault BV400. The BV400 is lighter and larger capacity than the Garcia. But a bear in the Marcy Dam area of the Adirondacks in New York has figured out how to open them (and this was after the lid was redesigned when at least one bear in the Rae Lakes area of Kings Canyon learned how to open the original design). They have done a second redesign of the lid, hopefully that will solve the issue. I think the Garcia is a more proven design.

If I had the spare cash right now I would spring for the Bearikade, it is a lot lighter. But you pay for that privilege.

11:01 a.m. on May 29, 2008 (EDT)
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I second lambertiana's recommendations.

8:23 a.m. on May 30, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks, I just visited the Wild Ideas website, I liked the smaller weekender. You are right it is pricey, I do value your opinions and will probably get one before my next trip.

Also, has anyone ever experienced condensation inside the can? I do repackage my food into ziplocks and vacuum packs before I leave the house, but most of the areas I go to are very damp and moisture is a concern.

11:56 a.m. on May 30, 2008 (EDT)
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trouthunter asked

Quote:

has anyone ever experienced condensation inside the can?
No, even when temperatures overnight were much lower than when the container was last opened and closed. I package everything in plastic bags and such before putting them in the canister, including any fresh veggies and fruits, which probably prevents the condensation problem. I would guess that if you left something unwrapped, like an apple or lettuce, or put something damp in without putting it in a ziplock, like a damp towel, you would get condensation on the walls of the canister. But you should put things like that in bags anyway to help reduce the odor that critters can smell from literally a mile away.

8:10 a.m. on May 31, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks lambertiana and Bill S for the info. I am quite meticulous when it comes to repackaging and cleanliness.
Bill S you are right about critters smelling things a mile away. Being surrounded by raccoons is really cool the first couple of times, and then it starts to become a pain. I am convinced that even the smell of trail mix wafting through the air as we hike gets noticed.

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