Bear Bagging vs Cannister

12:58 a.m. on August 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey so I was just curious as to what people prefer for bear bagging, I usually just use a little pulley system I have developed for bear bagging and am used to this method.


I was wondering however if people prefer to use a bear cannister.

Basically just figuring out what people do and what they recommend


Tulley

1:10 a.m. on August 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Good question! I typically use the bear-food-pulley systems that are at some of the campsites that I have gone to.

Does anyone on here use the bear canisters and ar they heavy and/or cumbersome? Are they more convenient than using a pulley system? Any inputs?

4:25 p.m. on August 18, 2010 (EDT)
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I do not own a canister as bear bagging still works in the mountains I backpack in. I like to use a limb around 20 ft. high and set my bag at least 10 ft. out on the limb away from the tree trunk. I use the PCT method now (Google it) and my whole system is about 13 oz. that's rope, carabiner, & bag.

I am going to get a canister at some point, if for no other reason than all the raccoons we have where I camp locally in the coastal plain. I have in the past used a locking plastic cooler for this, but last year they chewed the corner off of one.

I know several members here who can tell you all about canisters. My understanding is they weigh between 2 -3 lbs.

4:52 p.m. on August 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Approved canisters (some aren't approved) are mandatory in many areas in the West. My Bear Vault canister is no longer approved for SEKI, but the newer version is. If you are going to a NP, check the rules. You can be fined and booted out of the park, if the Rangers see you without an approved canister.

Here's a very basic overview of canisters-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear-resistant_food_storage_container

Detailed info on approvals can be found here-

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/30876.html

http://sierrawild.gov/bears/

There are other posts on canisters in the archives.

7:16 p.m. on August 18, 2010 (EDT)
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I often do something similar to trout, but I have developed my own little pulley system with a lightweight pulley, a stuff sack etc, but I was curious if others find the bear cannisters easier even in places where they are not required.

10:19 p.m. on August 18, 2010 (EDT)
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I havent backpacked anywhere that requires a bear cannister, so I dont use one. I keep my smellables in a "scent proof" plastic cannister and I hang that on the best tree I can find ( in LA it is not always easy to find a very good hanging tree). I try to get at least 6' from the tree trunk (provided I can find a limb low enough that allows me to do this) and hang it at least 8' above the ground and 3' below the branch. In areas with better trees (read that as something other than slash pine) I try to hang more like the PCT method.

9:32 p.m. on August 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Of course bear canisters are easier to use, but they have a weight penalty, and can be challenging to attach to, or place in, your pack. I use canisters only when mandated.

The PCT bag method is ok, but has some drawbacks. Heavy food loads are difficult to hoist with the rope dragging over the tree limb. The act of hoisting the food bag will damage the cambium, if the chord cuts through the bark. Additionally the cord can get stuck in the notch it carves in the bark. Lastly, and ironically, many areas (including much of the PCT) lack trees suitable for a bear proof food hanging, using this or other traditional tree hanging techniques. If the bag isn’t high enough, or far enough away from the tree trunk, or other points a bear can reach from, the food will be in peril.

I describe an alternative hanging method in a prior post: If you like the idea of attaching an object to the hoist rope that won’t pass through the pulley/carabineer, that feature can be borrowed from the PCT technique and adopted to the method I describe, using a little imagination.

One last point is a cautionary note when selecting the weighted object used to throw the cord over the limb. Some tubes on the web show the camper stuffing a sack with rocks. Many times the weighted object gets stuck beyond reach. You wouldn’t want to leave a stuff bag behind. On this note, make sure the knot you use to attach the weighty object permits detaching the rope, should it become lodged in the branches beyond reach.
Ed

3:45 a.m. on August 21, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey Ed, that picture and your previous post is actually almost exactly what I do! And i thought i was so original when I was out there :P Thanks for the help!

7:30 a.m. on August 21, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey Ed, that picture and your previous post is actually almost exactly what I do! And i thought i was so original when I was out there :P Thanks for the help!

I haven't done anything original. I thought I invented dirt, but OGBO seems to have beaten me to that also:)
Ed

5:47 p.m. on August 21, 2010 (EDT)
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You guys have brought up some good pros and cons for canister and against canister! I have personally used the hanging method like Trout described but have seen these canisters in all sorts of ads in magazines and just wondered what the deal was. To my knowledge they are not required where I am, therefore I have not heard much about them.

8:24 p.m. on August 23, 2010 (EDT)
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Since I do all of my backpacking in areas where at least part of my route is in a canister-required area (SEKI), I have no choice. I have a Garcia, Bearvault, and Bearikade. Obviously, the Bearikade is preferred, since it weighs a pound less than the Garcia and 9oz less than the Bearvault.

Having hung food in the past, I find the canisters to be very convenient. I don't have to go through the trouble of hanging anything, or worry about getting the line snagged, etc. And they make a handy stool. The Bearikade weighs 1lb 15 oz.

9:33 p.m. on August 23, 2010 (EDT)
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lambertiana said:

"And they make a handy stool. The Bearikade weighs 1lb 15 oz".

I must admit that is a good argument for canisters, some people carry stools that weigh that much, probably not the experienced backpacker, but still a good point.

11:10 p.m. on August 23, 2010 (EDT)
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Hmmm interesting thread. Almost all of my backpacking these days is in bear country of some sort. A canister may not be "required by law", but to me, even though I've been trying hard to reduce my (pack) weight:), it's worth the peace of mind when I'm sleeping each night to know it's highly unlikely a bear (or any other creature that goes bump in the night) could get to my food (and subsequently set themselves up for an untimely demise... e.g. "a fed bear is a dead bear"...).

My primary worry now is, "will a bear play with my canister so I'll never find it in the morning"... this was especially a factor on a recent backpacking trip to Yosemite...

Oh that reminds me, I need to go buy some florescent paint :)...'

Just how far/long will a bear play with a closed canister, anyway, before they give up?

3:59 p.m. on August 24, 2010 (EDT)
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A friend of mine had a bear carry a canister for about half a mile. Unless I am somewhere that requires it, I will be hanging my food. Done properly, there isn't much chance of anything but an extremely clever rodent getting into it.

12:19 a.m. on August 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm curious ... how did he find the canister again? Did he follow the bear? :)

12:28 a.m. on August 25, 2010 (EDT)
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In areas where canisters are required, bears get used to them and do not play with them for very long. Last year I had a bear knock over my canister (and the canisters of the two other people who were with me) and then walked away. I think it was checking to see if they were closed properly. They have learned that if the canister is closed properly, they can't get in, so they just move on after a cursory check.

I always make sure my canister is not on a steep slope above a cliff or body of water, so if a bear knocks it around it won't be lost.

10:16 a.m. on August 25, 2010 (EDT)
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He found it off the trail as he was heading back to the trailhead since he didn't have any food to continue his trip. It was a little worse for the treatment, but still intact.

2:16 p.m. on August 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I have reflective tape wrapped around my bear canisters. I have never had a problem with a bear carrying one off. Since I pick a location that is among rocks or logs, I haven't had a problem with it rolling down a slope.

A large fraction of my backpacking and other backcountry travel is in areas where canisters are required, namely the Sierra. The reason they are required is that bears throughout most of the Sierra know how to get bearbags down, even with wire cable hangings and counterbalance. A friend of mine who is a ranger in Yosemite has a limb that a bear chewed off some 20-25 feet above the ground and 8 inches in diameter hanging on the wall in her office - the bear was after a counter-balanced bear bag.. My brother-in-law lost all his and his son's food to a bear that figured out how to bounce a counterbalanced hang off a cable that had been strung between two good-sized trees in the upper reaches of Lyell Canyon (they were a full 2 days hike from the traihead, with no food). The Sierra bears (not just the Yosemite ones, which have figured out which cars are the easiest to break into) can get into UrSacks and in at least one region (Rae Lakes) know how to open the older models of Bear Vault.

But as lambertiana points out, in areas where bear canisters are required, the bears quickly learn that it is too hard to get at the food. So they move on to people using bear bagging or leave the food in their packs - the easy pickings.

12:45 a.m. on August 26, 2010 (EDT)
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I first used a bear cannister on a Sierra hike 10 summers ago. I was hooked and have used it on every hike since whether required or not. I always found hanging a bear bag a tedious process. Now I always have a convenient stool and reasonably clean food preparation surface.

I've never seen a bear come near it, but it does keep smaller critters interested for quite some time.

9:09 a.m. on August 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I haven't hiked anywhere a canister was required, which gives a lot of freedom. I have used the PCT system. Mainly, I have been happy with my Ursack.

The Ursack holds a lot of food yet is still pretty light. The inner bag or odor protection sack does a good job of restricting smells. Not only have bears not messed with my Ursack (and eastern NC is loaded with black bears), I don't have a problem with raccoons, mice, or other camp robbers.

This is my third year with it and I probably should replace the OP sack, just to be on the safe side (doesn't cost much, what the heck).

Ursacks are not acceptable everywhere that requires some kind of bear protection. Not sure why. My experience is, animals just don't notice it. I don't know how well the Ursack would keep an animal out for the simple reason that it has never been disturbed yet.

The usual provisos apply -- store it away from camp, don't cook in the area where you will store it, and fer chrissakes don't spill your soup on it.

12:08 p.m. on August 27, 2010 (EDT)
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...Ursacks are not acceptable everywhere that requires some kind of bear protection. Not sure why. My experience is, animals just don't notice it. I don't know how well the Ursack would keep an animal out for the simple reason that it has never been disturbed yet.

Two problems with Ursacks that have shown up - first is that they are flexible. This means that when the bear decides to play with it, items inside can be burst or broken. In the case of liquids, the bear squeezing and stomping on the bag results in the fluids and powders oozing out of the "seal", letting the bear smell and taste the mixture, encouraging more aggressive behavior. Ursack tried to remedy this with an aluminum insert (which gets you back to a canister, except that the insert is not as rigid or strong as a canister, and the insert doesn't fold up small like the original sack).

Second thing is that in certain areas, the bears have learned the weak points of the Ursack and managed to tear them open. Ursack attempted to remedy this by using thicker and stronger kevlar fabric. The Yosemite test bears (a group of rogue bears that were exiled to the Sacramento and Fresno zoos because of repeated offenses in Yosemite) have so far been able to get into all the modifications.

It should be noted that the test bears have been able to get into a number of the test containers as well, and bears in the Rae Lakes area have been able to get into older models of the Bear Vault (current models of the Bear Vault have been successful at keeping the bears out). Currently, there are 3 canisters that are approved for Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, and Glacier NPs and Inyo NF, plus several other areas - Garcia, BearIKade, and current Bear Vaults. But Garcia has sent out a notice that well-used canisters older than a certain age which have been exposed to UV (i.e., used at altitude in the Sierra and elsewhere) can become brittle. So a bear batting these around can crack them. I don't have the notice at hand, and don't remember the current cutoff date, except to recall that my older one is on the list (abt 1995).

10:16 p.m. on October 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Bill - Your recommendation on a canister brand?

11:08 p.m. on October 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Cleric -

My basic recommendation is that you check with the rangers and land managers for the area you are about to enter to see what they recommend or is on their approved list. Of the ones currently on the approved list for the Sierra (both the NP and USNF), Yellowstone NP, and Denali NP, my personal first choice would be BearIKade (most expensive, but lightest for a given capacity and seems most durable), Garcia (heavier for the capacity, but dependable opening and locking), and 3rd, Bear Vault current models (they have 2 sizes - bears in the Sierra and Adirondacks have been known to get into the older models of Bear Vault, though BV has had a replacement program). I noticed in the 'Daks a couple weeks ago that the rangers there are using the term "bear-resistant", which does acknowledge that, bears being as intelligent as they are, they might just be able to figure out how to get into just about any container.

I currently own a Garcia (older version, should be replaced due to UV aging) and several Bear Vaults left over from evaluations. I haven't quite decided to spring the bucks for the BearIKade (I borrow a friend's from time to time).

One thing I am curious about from one of whome's comments - he refers to the PCT method of hanging. However, the PCT goes through Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP, Inyo NF, and Yosemite, all of which require use of approved canisters. So how are the PCT thru-hikers getting away with hanging their food.

Another comment - I have never lost any food to a bear. However, I have several times had small rodents get into my counter-balance bearbags, including a couple times with the inverted cone shields. The canisters, on the other hand, not only keep the bears out, but also mice, marmots, raccoons, chipmunks, ground and tree squirrels, ants, etc etc.

8:24 p.m. on October 4, 2010 (EDT)
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..bears in the Sierra and Adirondacks have been known to get into the older models of Bear Vault, though BV has had a replacement program). I noticed in the 'Daks a couple weeks ago that the rangers there are using the term "bear-resistant", which does acknowledge that, bears being as intelligent as they are, they might just be able to figure out how to get into just about any container...

..One thing I am curious about from one of whome's comments - he refers to the PCT method of hanging. However, the PCT goes through Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP, Inyo NF, and Yosemite, all of which require use of approved canisters. So how are the PCT thru-hikers getting away with hanging their food...

I guess the term “PCT bag method” is a hold over from days gone by, like cranking up the old automobile.

The Bearicade looks nice, but given its $price, I’ll have to settle with my heavier Bear Vault. I do wish they made a larger version, however, taking a hint from Wild Ideas. Perhaps it’s a materials limitation.

About the Bear Vault replacement program: are you aware of the details? I checked their web site, but could not find any infornmation describing a replacement program.

Ed

12:50 p.m. on October 5, 2010 (EDT)
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Ed,

I found out about the replacement program when the bears around Rae Lakes in the Sierra started getting into the Bear Vaults. This is in Kings Canyon and adjacent to Inyo National Forest. The company and the USFS and NPS had a number of the new canisters there for exchange. I contacted the company directly to ask about it and they did a direct exchange. I think it was the 350 model and earlier, with the 400, 450, and 500 being ok. Best bet is to contact them directly.

2:49 p.m. on October 5, 2010 (EDT)
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I have hung, used bear cannisters and also used bear fences. In most areas I travel, the bears are not habituated. In those areas food is triple sealed and put in the bush, off shorelines and game trails. I've never had a problem, nor have others I know who travel in these remote areas of YT and NWT.

Cannisters work well, if the bears are habituated. They are heavy and use up valuable space. Bagging takes time and some skill. The trick is to use two lines. One strung between two trees with a second used for the hoist. The latter involves the use of a 'biner or a small rescue pulley.

Prevention is, IMHO, the most important part of bear encounters. I would rather not have the bears in camp at all, regardless of whether I have hung the food or used a cannister. What this means is being scrupulous with your food and smells. That means triple bagging everything in zip locks, and using foods, soaps, etc. that are less attractive to bears. They like toothpaste, so even some toothpaste on the ground can attract them.

In areas with habituated bears, not hanging your food in the usual food hanging tree can also be a benefit. Bears learn just like the family dog, and once they figure out that that thing hanging in the tree probably has food in it, they'll go for it, and make your night miserable.

12:03 p.m. on October 6, 2010 (EDT)
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To save your pitching arm for late innings, here is a way to get your bear line up over a high limb.
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/574683122TVwmEV

Shoot the light fishing line over the limb, then attach it to your heavier line and pull it up!

12:54 p.m. on October 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Rambler,

But what if my tent stakes are the curved, semi-cylindrical kind? Your tubular stakes fit in round holes in the wood. Can you recommend a half-circle drill? Sort of shaped like this - )

And was that an acorn you used for the weight?

2:30 p.m. on October 22, 2010 (EDT)
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I know people who hike on the A.T. who always use their food bag as a pillow, and have done so without incident for years. I always cringe when I hear that. On the other hand I have always hung my food bag  out of camp and always prescribed to the proper hanging methods. This though has always workedfor me here in the east. As a lightweight backpacker I refuse to go any where that I would have to carry one of those heavy tubs.

12:39 a.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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I developed a bear hang that can lift an entire pack, but the weight of the system was prohibitive.  I say that because when I went out with a group we would just hang our backpacks up, and must say that you get a sense of accomplishment from a good bear hang.  Also, anyone coming around will admire your skills.  I have seen many funny videos on YouTube of people throwing everything but the kitchen sink up into a tree, in an effort to get the line up there.  I have yet to try it out, but since I am going to take a pack rod with me next year, I am going to use that and my spincast to flip a line up there first.  If I lose a bit of fishing line...no problem, but if you snag you bear line your are done.  As far as line goes, I use the 1/4 inch Amsteel Blue, which is really strong and light.  Now all that said, it is a royal pain to get all that done.  Especially if you are late to make camp, and the sun is dropping fast.  I bought the smaller Bear Vault and plan to get a Ursack too.  My thought is that I will put the bear canister in the Ursack and then tie it to a tree.  Not sure if the canister will fit into an Ursack, as i have yet to check it out.  I seriously doubt that a bear or any other creature could drag off the canister then.

However, one time while walking down the trail I saw a bear sitting on a log with a notebook computer in his paws.  He had logged on to this site and was taking notes. LOL   Then again, it could have been the mushrooms.  :)

2:06 a.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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I developed a bear hang that can lift an entire pack, but the weight of the system was prohibitive... 

A lift system need not be heavy to do heavy lifting: just a length of parachute chord, a somewhat heavier rope, and a carabineer (or rescue pulley if you want to lift a huge load).  My 4/16/2010 post (above) links to a description of a lift system fitting this requirement. 

It is nice to be safe, but a bear bag and canister combo is not necessary.  The bears don’t walk off with the canisters, and very few have been successfully breached.  You are much more apt to be struck by lightning, than see your canister disappear or get broken into.

Ed

9:45 a.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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A lift system need not be heavy to do heavy lifting: just a length of parachute chord, a somewhat heavier rope, and a carabineer

  I use a biner and para cord only. Mil-spec para cord has a breaking strength of 550lbs,  so you could hoist 50lbs of food and have a 10/1 ratio.  I always have at least 100 feet of cord with me, regardless, so I am even carrying extra weight for the hanging system.

Of course, this is in areas that do not require a canister.

1:06 p.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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I made a mistake on my last post, and that is that I use 1/8 inch Amsteel blue cord, not the 1/4 inch.  This stuff is really great and it has a breaking strength of 2500 lbs, is lightweight and has very little stretch.  Put a heavy hang up, with multiple packs or meat from a deer hunt and most cord this small will stretch like crazy.  Not this stuff!  It's tougher than wire and it floats. 

http://www.samsonrope.com/index.cfm?rope=192

 

7:30 p.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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I prefer not to use the hard canisters, but the soft ones and hang my food. But I have not since Alaska in 2006 hiked anywhere that bears were a problem.

10:49 p.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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All it takes is one.  Not too long ago here in Colorado a man shot and killed a 700 lb bear, supposedly a black bear. That is one huge bear to run into, not that you ever would, but it does not hurt to be careful and prepared.  The reason for the canisters is to protect the bear.  It keeps them from getting accustomed to going into camps.  It has worked in the places where they require it as fewer bears are put down because of it.

11:41 p.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
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For 20 years I hiked the Grand Canyon during the fall, winter and spring. There are no bears inside the canyon.

Up in Jackson Hole in 1996 a friend and I were staying at a high alpine lake in the Gros Ventre range. While away from our camp on a dayhike a young Grizzley Bear tore up our tent, I suppose looking for food. It came back the next morning at sunrise and almost came into the tent with us as we layed in our sleeping bags. Our food the day before and then was hung in a tree. This bear had obviously become familiar with tents meaning a possible food source. It ruined the tent that I had had for 27 years. The bear looked very malnurished when we saw it in the morning. I knew it was the same animal because when it ran it went the same direction we found much of our gear strewn the day before when we came back from the day hike.

The Tetons and Yellowstone have bear boxes in all the backcountry camp areas. A bear box is a steel square box about 2x2x3 feet. It has a simple latch.

In the Grand Canyon where there are rodents like ground squirells, skunks, ringtailed cats and mice they use ex-ammo boxes in the backcountry campsite. Otherwise in remote sites there is no where to put food above the ground as there are few tree's below the rim, just short brush. Even the Ravens in the canyon can be a nuisence.

In Glacier in Montana the backcountry campsites are often surrounded by tall chainlink fences because the bears are so numerous.

12:36 a.m. on December 30, 2010 (EST)
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Gary,

Wow...really?  Glacier has that many bears.  Yeah I have yet to even see a bear, but since I already have a vault I am trying to find a way to pack it.  I was going to try to design one, but when you see just how hard it is to get one certified by the authorities it dulls ones enthusiasm.

11:38 a.m. on December 31, 2010 (EST)
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Many of them have to be of very hard plastic materials, like Nalgene bottles. A soft bag would have to be made of something like a bulletproof vest to stop the bears teeth and claws after being chewed on for maybe hours. There are those rat sacks or whatever they call them, but they only keep the animals from actually getting to the food not crushing and mashing it as a big bear could do. And if the bear could get the bag into its mouth it might eat the whole ratsack!

In Yosemite countless bears have been found with their jaws ripped out of its socket when the bears tried to bite open what they thought was a can of food, instead it was a fuel canister, which would explode when pierced by the bears teeth.

In another bear cannister post at another part of Forums, I show how I use plastic 5 gallon pails that once had mayoniase or pickles from restuarants as food cache containers in the Grand Canyon where there are no bears, just rodents and ravens. The animals could if they wanted to chew thru the plastic but being they cannot smell anything thru the material they don't. I used the pails to cache food in places before doing multiweek hikes like one I did in 1999 for four weeks and 256 miles below the rim.

I also have made pail panniers for my bike tours as the buckets with the bail left on can be used as water buckets, coolers,tables,chairs and what I made them for hard panniers to haul my touring gear in.


Square-5-gallon-food-cache-buckets.jpg
5 Gallon exmayonaise buckets


Pail-Panniers.jpg
My pail panniers, I also have two more that go on a rack in the front, removed when not touring.

5:15 a.m. on March 17, 2011 (EDT)
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air tight duffel, hoisted between trees.

Duffel, e.g. Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage - Expedition Dry Duffel/s

or Watershed duffel

10:04 a.m. on March 17, 2011 (EDT)
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The past two summers for Yosemite I have rented the Bearikade, both sizes.  In Expedition the largest I have carried 8 days worth of food.  I groaned when I learned the canisters were required, but the Bearikade worked very well and fit inside my pack (Granite Gear Vapor Trail).  Using it as a stool, however, it flipped me over once, so that was it.  Not worth it.  It worked great as wash tub for my clothes, however (no soap).  When it started to empty out as the food was consumed, I packed gear into it to help balance my pack which is also convenient.

What I really liked about it was the company shipped it to me a few days before I left home, so I could pack it and experiment with how to carry it.  Better yet, at the end f my hike, I just took it to a post office and sent it back as is.  No need to put it in a box.

http://www.wild-ideas.net/index2.html

 

(BillS.  I used a fishline weight as a weight.  The slingshot is way over powered and prone to tangle just like a fish line and wrapping around lofty limbs)

1:36 p.m. on March 18, 2011 (EDT)
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In bear bagging, how do you get the bear in a bag LOL :)

12:01 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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In bear bagging, how do you get the bear in a bag LOL :)

No problem! Momma bear sends cub up the tree to bring the bag down (preferring  a counterbalance), cub grabs onto the bag and brings it down, momma opens the bag, and stuffs the cub inside for you.

6:29 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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During this past weekend's outdoor session of our High Adventure Training course, one of our students noted that there is a bear in the Marcy Dam area of the Adirondacks (where I was last September during my New England High Points training hike tour) that has learned to open the current Bear Vaults. The bear is apparently known as "Yellow Yellow" (from the paint markings used to identify problem bears). I called Bear Vault to inquire about the situation, and had this information confirmed (it is also on the Bear Vault website). The bear uses her fang to press the first tab of the BV450 and BV500, rotates the lid and does the same for the second tab (the BV350 and BV400 have a single tab). The Bear Vault rep said that at present (including the Sierra), the BV350 and later models are still ok. The BV200 is the early model that was figured out by bears in the Sierra.

The rep said that they would post a note here on Trailspace when the newest version has completed certification and is available for sale.

5:58 p.m. on March 23, 2011 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

During this past weekend's outdoor session of our High Adventure Training course, one of our students noted that there is a bear in the Marcy Dam area of the Adirondacks (where I was last September during my New England High Points training hike tour) that has learned to open the current Bear Vaults. The bear is apparently known as "Yellow Yellow" (from the paint markings used to identify problem bears). I called Bear Vault to inquire about the situation, and had this information confirmed (it is also on the Bear Vault website). The bear uses her fang to press the first tab of the BV450 and BV500, rotates the lid and does the same for the second tab (the BV350 and BV400 have a single tab). The Bear Vault rep said that at present (including the Sierra), the BV350 and later models are still ok. The BV200 is the early model that was figured out by bears in the Sierra.

The rep said that they would post a note here on Trailspace when the newest version has completed certification and is available for sale.

maybe I should have him along for my hikes so that I can get mine open.  :)

November 23, 2014
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