Bear canisters/vaults

10:23 p.m. on June 2, 2015 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

I know what they are and that's about it, I've never needed one as hanging has always worked for me so far. I'll take all suggestions. I've looked at the previous reviews and the only one I've ever seen is at REI, how the heck do you get one of those in your smaller packs and for extended solo trips is a single larger one or two smaller ones better. I'll list a few of my packs to aid in your suggestions. 1 Gregory- palisade 80, 2 North face- terra 60, 3 Gregory-serrac 45, 4 Gregory- Z40,  plus a couple others. I figure better to spend the money on vault than risk paying a fine and still having to buy one. No stores in Augusta, Ga. even carry them so I'll have to order online or just take what ever they have available at REI next time I head up. So your suggestion will be a deciding factor.

8:08 a.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
2,017 reviewer rep
396 forum posts

For extended solo trips a single large one is better, it's lighter than 2 smaller ones, and I don't think you would find much advantage in packability to having two smaller ones.

First thing you need to do is decide which size is best for you -- if you want to own only one and foresee some extended trips then get on that can hold several days of food and on shorter trips you'll just have more bear can than you need. Or, get more than one in different sizes -- just as you have different packs for different needs, different-sized bear cans are optimized for different needs as well.

The Bear Vaults that REI carries are good and popular choices. Good price, wide mouth to get at contents easily, clear body to see contents easily, lighter weight than the Garcia. Potential disadvantage is some find opening the lid to be a challenge.

1:08 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
40 reviewer rep
560 forum posts

The largest bear cans made are from

They are also the most expensive.  I've have owned a Bearikade Expedition since they opened for business and love it. It has been batted around a few times and has enough 'badges of honor' to allow me bragging rights.  It is just a thing that goes in the pack now even if I'm not in bear country.  It keeps the other critters away.  All of my pack damage has been by rodents.  I can pack enough food for two for 7 days of a 9 day trip (first and last day not included).

Wild-ideas also rent them.

In the Sierra (and perhaps other places), you can rent a Garcia (smaller yet) cannister where you pick up your wilderness permit.  Call ahead...

I've often thought that the bears can also see what is inside the Bear Vaults.  You need to carry a quarter with you to open the Bearikade.

Another reason bears can't open it.  No pockets to keep spare change.

You might want to check out this source - here at Trailspace:

2:23 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
5,530 reviewer rep
1,136 forum posts

I carried a BV 500 in a 50L Osprey Atmos on the JMT last summer. I had to put it in vertical on top of some stuff in the bottom of my back, then pack more stuff around it, but it went OK. I was in a big group so we divied up the cooking gear, but I managed to fit the tent and mattresses for my wife and I in there along with my personal clothing etc. Another 10L would be smart if you're going solo for more than a few days, unless you go UL all around in which case a Bearikade is the thing.

9:49 a.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
703 forum posts

Yeah, we use a BV 500 with our GoLite50 packs.  It only fits vertically, but there's room on the sides for other stuff.

We pack sleeping bag and pad on the bottom, then the BV with tent and clothes stuffed around it.  The only thing on top is lunch and maybe a fleece for the trail...

12:06 p.m. on June 5, 2015 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,426 forum posts

Many national parks now require them in the back country. I have only used them when in those parks that lend them out for backpacking trips. Most of them from my experience do not fit well in the packs I have used.

I think they should have one flat side instead of being a tube, as in Yosemite and Zion I found they roll away very easily on smooth granite and sandstone ground surfaces. I almost lost one in Yosemite when it rolled down into Yosemite Creek after I accidently knocked it over after taking it out of my pack while setting up camp.

8:51 p.m. on June 5, 2015 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

JR- do you know if the bv are approved for NC ? I've done the majority of my hiking in Georgia so they were never required there and the last 3 years I've mainly been up around the shining rock  area. appreciate your comments in this article. your right about the weight cost of using 2 of them, didn't think of that. I was more thinking of how much room in the pack and what I'd have to sacrifice to make it fit.

Big Red- I assume you mean by another 10L that you are talking about the pack? I'm definitely not UL (I'm a kitchen sink guy)  but am working on reducing weight more for longer trips than anything else. Got my last attempt at UL down to 37 pounds total weight before food and I thought it was a feather 

8:19 a.m. on June 6, 2015 (EDT)
2,017 reviewer rep
396 forum posts

Approval is up to each particular jurisdiction, the particular national park or whatever. Having said that, testing is rarely done by each separate jurisdiction, they tend to follow the approvals of a couple of agencies that do testing (Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group and Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee). And those agencies have settled on a handful of approvals, including the BVs, and then aren't especially motivated to do fresh rounds of testing to approve more -- once they built up a decent selection of approved canisters there isn't much in it for them to do more.

I'm not aware of anywhere that requires bear canisters that does not allow the Bear Vault. Even in the Adirondacks when Yellow-Yellow was alive I believe the BV was simply "discouraged."

So...I would think BVs would be fine for anywhere in NC.

10:20 p.m. on June 7, 2015 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

JR and gang.- thanks I've listened and think I'm going to try Bare Boxer Contender 101 for a starter. reason as follows (unless you guys can give me a better reason. let me know what you think) I'm coping my post from other post.---drove back up this week end and volunteer ranger told me it had to be canister. They had one they let me look over that I'm going to give a try (Bare Boxer Contender 101) I'm not overly confident in it but it is the right price, $55 and a manageable size. Its Bottom side appears easy to crush so I'm still going  to hang it when I can. I also looked at the BV- 450 that Ashleigh mentioned at REI it was the only one they had. it's too big for pack below 50L and the catch tabs looked to me like they would wear our pretty easy. The Bare Boxer Contender 101; (spelling is correct by the way) specs as follows- wt. 1.6lb, diam. 7.4 in. length 8in. vol. 275 cu. in. and according to their site it is approved by IGBC and SIBBG 

8:01 a.m. on June 8, 2015 (EDT)
2,017 reviewer rep
396 forum posts

The down side of the Bare Boxer is its capacity, make sure it will be large enough to hold the amount of food and smellables you would take on trips (keeping in mind that the first day's/night's food doesn't need to go into the canister unless you plan to leave your pack unattended).

Do not hang a bear canister -- the one way they can be broken open is from a sharp blow, like falling from a tree. Then they can crack open like an easter egg. It shouldn't be easy to crush, that's what was tested that got it approved for use in the first place. Plus, whatever you would use to hang it would then become something a bear could grab hold of to carry your canister off, another design element of the canisters themselves is that a bear can't get purchase to pick it up. Those in fact are the two things that make a bear canister successful in thwarting bears, a bear can't crush it open and it can't carry it away, so upon its first encounter with a canister it will try and try all night but get nowhere, eventually get frustrated and let it be, and, most importantly, because they are so smart it will learn its lesson that bear canisters, no matter how tempting they smell, are a waste of energy and it will learn to leave them alone.

I've carried my BV450 in a 45L pack with over a week's worth of gear no problem. That was before I was UL, but still was somewhat light.

2:21 p.m. on June 8, 2015 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

Thanks good info

12:11 a.m. on June 20, 2015 (EDT)
1,477 reviewer rep
1,347 forum posts

speacock said:

The largest bear cans made are from

They are also the most expensive.  I've have owned a Bearikade Expedition since they opened for business and love it. It has been batted around a few times and has enough 'badges of honor' to allow me bragging rights.  It is just a thing that goes in the pack now even if I'm not in bear country.  It keeps the other critters away. 


Mmmm, yes, thanks Steve :-).

9:14 p.m. on July 27, 2015 (EDT)
248 reviewer rep
36 forum posts

I do most of my backpacking trips in the Adirondack High Peaks, and you are required to use a canister. On top of that, they specify that you use the Garcia Backpacker's Cache and not a BearVault.  This past winter I started wanted to upgrade my backpack and eventually settled on the Osprey Anther 70.  It's really more space than I need, but once I throw my canister inside that extra space is much appreciated.  Part of my would like to buy the carrying case for it, and see how it holds up attached to the outside of my Osprey Stratus 34.  I find that pack to be more comfortable to the Anther (probably due to the pack weight and I don't pack as much in it).

3:52 p.m. on August 3, 2015 (EDT)
40 reviewer rep
560 forum posts

You are welcome Bill.  Was good meeting you over a zero day meal from Subway. 

January 29, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Emergency Beacon? Newer: A question for the experts - who can explain to me ...
All forums: Older: Had to find the answer. Newer: surprise backpacking trip