Bear canisters

11:05 p.m. on February 6, 2013 (EST)
25 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

Is ther a preexisting thread on what's available and best? What about how to be safe whilst carrying food in beer country?

11:58 p.m. on February 6, 2013 (EST)
880 reviewer rep
301 forum posts
12:21 p.m. on February 7, 2013 (EST)
244 reviewer rep
5,245 forum posts

Beer country? is that like the Genesee area of midwestern New York?

Most parks that have bbear problems offer free or rentable food canisters. In places like Denali, Yosemite, Grand Teton and Yellowstone (places I hike) they are manditory. Yosemite and Denali charge $3 a day to use theirs while Teton and Yellowstone let you use them free.

I personally don't like the solid plastic ones as my pack is narrow and they don't fit very well. One a recent trip in the Tetons last summer I had to carry my tent and pad on the outside to make room for the 2 bear canisters I needed to do the hike I did.

There is a company that makes bag called the Rat Sack. Its s fine tuff wire mesh bag with a tightly sealable top. The animal can still chew the bag tho and it works best to hang out of their reach. They are basically indestrucable but not smash proof!

12:40 p.m. on February 7, 2013 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
430 forum posts

Since I backpack in areas where they are either required or highly recommended, over the years I have accumulated three different ones - Garcia, Bearvault, and Bearikade.  Each has its points.  These days I prefer to take the Bearikade, but that privilege came at a high price.  They aren't cheap, and it took me a long time to build up to the point where I bought it.

6:53 p.m. on February 7, 2013 (EST)
4,404 reviewer rep
6,007 forum posts

Having made a lot of use of different ones, my in-the-field experience, along with a number of other people's is that the Bearikade is the best. It is the lightest for the volume and has a fairly wide opening when the lid is removed. It is, however, the most expensive. Having used everything from various hanging methods to on-site steel vaults provided by the park service, the Bearikade goes with me and also keeps mice and rats out (some of the installed lockers have small drain holes that mice have managed to crawl through, sometimes gorging enough to remain trapped inside until I opened the door). The Garcia and Bearikade require a coin (quarter-size) to open, where the Bear Vault uses a screw-on lid with various versions over the years as they have found that bears seem to find ways to get the lids off. Bears are very smart, especially the ones here in California (rumor has it that many of them go to the Yosemite Bear Institute to train in bear bag retrieval and opening canisters - beware if a bear approaches and asks for "spare change, preferably quarters?")

The various canisters do not have an infinite life. A few years ago, I got a notice from Garcia (manufactured not too far from me over in the Central Valley of California) that they had found that 15 years or so of exposure to the sun at high altitude (like you find in the Sierra), the resin used in the plastics deteriorates and becomes very brittle. This will affect all the plastic canisters, if they are exposed to sunlight over time. I have taken to keeping my canisters inside a very light-weight ditty bag, which has a handle that can be attached to the outside of my various packs. Hopefully, this will slow the effects of UV on the plastic (carbon fiber composite in the case of the Bearikade). I occasionally still use my original Garcia, keeping it out of direct sunlight.

11:22 p.m. on February 7, 2013 (EST)
30 reviewer rep
560 forum posts

Give them the quarters. It will only confound them. They don't have pockets. will size the Berikade to order...for a price.  It is a mystery how it costs that much to make one of their cans.  Cut a length of expensive piping to size and glue on a top and bottom. The lid is nicely could be expensive.

3:05 a.m. on February 8, 2013 (EST)
25 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

The parks in CA that I frequent (ie:Yosemite) don't accept cloth bags.  I have used the park lockers in the past with not too much bother.  When I hit the lotto, I'll be back for the made to size/order Berikade.

Friend of mine has a bear vault - so ...big.   Looking at doing a 2 week jaunt soon and thought it was time to get set up.


10:48 a.m. on February 9, 2013 (EST)
30 reviewer rep
560 forum posts

When using the (sometimes) provided food lockers (bear cans) it is easier to find  if your food is in a different colored bag than all the rest.  If you have a date on it, it is less likely to be 'recylced' when the park people go through to get rid of aged contents.

You can pack food with you that does not fit in your personal canister so long as it too is protected at night or when you are gone from camp.  Lockers are given priority to through hikers.

Staying safe is usually associated with good camp clean up, and commonsense. Keep smells locked up.  Black bears in the Lower USA parks will not hijack you while on the trail.  They are generally shy creatures who are better than racoons at getting food that is unprotected.  Racoons are meaner too.

Most bears respond to noise and shouting with waved arms.  Don't throw rocks to hit them.  They get the same kinds of wounds humans get when hit with a rock.

If ever there is an argument over whose food that is to be, let it have it and tell the ranger the details.  Don't attempt to get it back once it is theirs.

Humans pose no interest other than the food they bring along.  If there were more than the very rare incident, you can bet there would be no more bears.

Depending upon where you travel, there are various rules on the level of protection needed for food storage.  These are outlined on the administrative websites of which agency is in control of the land.

1:59 p.m. on February 9, 2013 (EST)
25 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

I am much more afraid of raccoons ( urban ones over wilderness).

6:36 p.m. on February 9, 2013 (EST)
30 reviewer rep
560 forum posts

If one animal I'm afraid of it is a skunk (urban or wilderness).

May 25, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: New Backpacker.. 15 Degree down bags... SD Ridge Runner, Kelty Cosmic.. Suggest others? Newer: Looking to give the hammock gear a shot
All forums: Older: ASOLO Fugitive GTX size men's 9.5 Gore Tex Newer: A sobering reminder to be prepared when venturing into the backcountry, even if only for a day hike