Eureka! Terra Cotta Canoe Barrel

Specs

40L 60L
Dimensions 16 x 19.5 in / 40 x 50 cm 16 x 23 in / 40 x 58 cm

Q&A

Have a question about dry packs? Get answers in the gear selection forum.

Reviews

Gear barrel, barrel pack, canoe barrel * NOT A BEAR-PROOF…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $50 CAD

Summary

Gear barrel, barrel pack, canoe barrel

* NOT A BEAR-PROOF BARREL *

This is a 64L food-grade (HDPE) "total-opening" cylindrical plastic drum with screw-on gasketted lid. Manufactured by CURTEC, and originally used for transporting pharmaceuticals. When they are retired, EUREKA! takes these barrels, cleans them, and gives them a second life as a canoeist's gear barrel.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Buoyant (it floats!)
  • Rigid/Strong
  • Contains food odours
  • Cylindrical (not tapered)
  • Full-width mouth
  • Screw-on lid
  • Large volume

Cons

  • NOT bear-proof
  • Harness sold separately
  • Uncomfortable
  • Very heavy

Trailspace.jpg
The size and weight of gear barrels make them less than ideal for long-distance backpacking on dry land. But being waterproof gives them a distinct advantage on water, ie. when canoeing/portaging. Many brands sell a harness that is compatible with these barrels, and makes them more comfortable to carry on your back (sold separately).

Ease of Use (10/10):
On the topic of "ease of use", the following features stand out to me compared to barrels from other manufacturers:

The screw-top lid means there's no metal strap that can get lost or damaged (or opened by crafty raccoons), and I find it's much faster and easier to spin the top and engage the threads than it is to fiddle with the metal belt-clamps of other brands of barrels.

The full-width mouth and straight (not tapered) sides mean that larger items can be added or removed from the barrel more easily, and you can get your whole upper body in there when you need to dig for that elusive spork that dropped down to the bottom of the barrel.

Features (10/10):
I already mentioned the "ease of use" features that set it apart from its competition. But as a barrel, it also has some distinct advantages over other types of packs. It's waterproof like a SealLine pack, but rigid and strong so you're not likely to accidentally pierce it with a tent pole or a stick or a knife. It's easy to hoist into a tree if you're using it as food storage.

Construction & Durability (10/10):
Gear barrels typically start their life as commercial shipping containers for foods or pharmaceuticals, so they're all manufactured to an industrial standard. They are durable and strong, and they can take just about any abuse you can throw at them... but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security regarding bears—these are not bear-proof containers, and should still be hung in a tree where they are safe from those hungry, rage-filled, 8-10 foot tall, furry, walking can-openers.

Conditions:
I have used mine for one season so far, and I thoroughly appreciate everything about it. I have used it in summer/fall, canoeing in the Canadian Shield (mostly Algonquin Park). I expect I will see many years of dutiful service from this barrel. I don't think it will disappoint.

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

I hadn't seen these before, so thanks for the review, DECKEL! Do you ever use a universal carry strap with yours? Also, if you have some pics showing your own barrel in use, those would be helpful to see. Thanks!


3 months ago
DECKEL!

@Alicia_MacLeay - I've used the EUREKA! universal barrel harness, which works equally well with the blue tapered barrels or the barrel listed here (and cinches down to fit either 30L or 60L or anything in between). I'll add a photo of the gear in action.


3 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks, Deckel. It's a cool concept to see these barrels being repurposed.


3 months ago

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.