Wild Ideas Bearikade Weekender

rated 5.0 of 5 stars (3)
photo: Wild Ideas Bearikade Weekender bear canister

Specs

Price MSRP: $288.00
Reviewers Paid: $10.00-$288.00
Weight just over 31 oz
Volume 650 cubic inch
Diameter 9 in
Length 10.5 in
Best For The Bearikade Weekender is just the right size for 2 people to escape for the weekend. If used as a personal unit, it can supply you for up to 6 days.

Reviews

The Bearikade line of bear canisters from Wild Ideas…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $288+ship

Summary

The Bearikade line of bear canisters from Wild Ideas are by far the lightest weight for the volume you get. Bearikades are the only carbon fiber bear canisters approved for use where canisters are required. The Weekender can hold enough food for two people for 3+ days, or up to 7 days for solo use.

Pros

  • Lightest volume-to-weight ratio
  • And…strongest material strength-to-weight ratio
  • Approved for all areas that require bear canisters
  • Virtually indestructible
  • Strong resale market

Cons

  • Expensive to purchase

This is a review of the Bearikade Weekender bear canister by Wild Ideas. The Bearikade, available in three standard sizes plus custom sizes, is the only product they make and/or sell. You can find them at www.wild-ideas.net. I am not affiliated with Wild Ideas in any way.

Bear canisters are required in many wilderness areas, so even though they are heavy they are a necessary evil in order to visit during at least some of the year at all or parts of places like Yosemite and much of the Sierra Nevada, Glacier, Grand Teton, RMNP, Olympic, Denali, and increasingly in the East like in the Adirondacks (there’s even a section of the Appalachian Trail here in Georgia where bear cans are seasonally required).

The Bearikade line of bear canisters from Wild Ideas are by far the lightest weight for the volume you get. All Bearikades are made from a cylinder of carbon fiber composite, with the lid, bottom and other hardware made from aircraft aluminum alloy. Bearikades are the only carbon fiber bear canisters approved for use where canisters are required.

The Weekender, reviewed here, is the middle of the three standard Bearikade sizes and the most popular size (the Scout is smallest and the Expedition is largest). The Weekender is the closest of the three in capacity to other canisters on the market like the Garcia, Counter Assault, and BearVault BV500. You can also get a Bearikade in custom sizes in 1/8” increments of height all the way up to 18 inches (which nets a 1,124 cu in volume).

The name “Weekender” is deceiving – it refers to the fact that two people can get 3+ days of food inside. For solo you should be able to get about 7 days of food in it, plus you don’t need to pack your first day’s and night’s food inside, so it’s good for up to a solo 8-day trip (that is assuming about 100 cu in per day, which means careful food planning and reliance on dehydrated meals).

Weekender specs:

  • 10.5" height
  • 9" diameter
  • 650 cu in capacity
  • 31 oz weight

That’s more volume than the standard Garcia canister while shaving more than three-quarters of a pound and 1.5 inches of height. Compared to the BearVault BV500 the Weekender is only 50 cu in smaller but it’s a full 10 oz lighter and two inches shorter.

The lid is attached to the canister via a short metal cable. On one hand it’s good that the lid can’t get separated from the canister, but you may not want/need it. You could unscrew the cable from the lid, but it is riveted on the other end to the canister so you would have to cut the cable (or leave the cable dangling) if you want the lid separated.

The Bearikades are super strong. The carbon fiber walls feel hard as steel and have absolutely no give in them. And yet the walls are much thinner than the walls on other bear canister brands, so the interior is wider, allowing more volume per unit of height. The lid attaches by way of 3 quarter-turn screwheads that each turns a bolt that “grabs” a rivet-mounted bar just under the lid. You can open and close it with anything thin and fairly sturdy like a coin, knife blade, etc. You can see the precision engineering and attention to detail throughout the Bearikade’s design.

The Weekender fits inside of my 52L Zpacks backpack and should fit inside of most/all backpacks of about 45L and larger. Even with the Weekender inside, there’s still enough room in my pack for all my gear. It also can be strapped to the outside of your pack. Like other bear canisters, the Weekender can serve dual use as a stool, so if you normally would carry a chair you can carry the Weekender instead for roughly an equal weight trade.

There are reasons to use a bear canister even in areas that don’t require it. As mentioned, carrying a bear canister also means carrying a sturdy stool. In addition, bear canisters are easy – you just set it on the ground an appropriate distance from camp, there’s no hassle with hanging a food bag. Bear canisters also keep out other critters that can defeat a bear hang (rodents, crows, etc).

Bearikades are expensive, the Weekender costs $288+ship. But, there are practical reasons to see this as a worthwhile investment. First, a Bearikade can last for many years, and if you would have carried the additional 10-13 ounces of weight that another brand would weigh, for hundreds or even thousands of miles over a decade or more, then for many (especially ultralighters) the cost is well worth it.

Which brings us to the second reason it could be a worthwhile investment: there is a strong resale market for Bearikades. I have seen used Weekenders that are in good shape sell for $260 or more, or 90% of retail, so you can get most of your money back out of it. And it’s not an item that will sit on a backpacker’s “for sale” forum for long, usually if priced right a Bearikade for sale on a UL forum will sell within minutes of posting.

If the price is too steep for you but you still want all the benefits of a Bearikade, Wild Ideas does offer rentals directly, and there are a few other places you rent them as well.

The Weekender:
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You can see the woven carbon fiber composite:
P1000570.jpg
Using it as a stool (photo from the Wild Ideas website):
Capture.jpg
Looking straight down into the canister. You can see the attachment points on the top rim, the depth and width of the interior, and the overall craftsmanship. Yes, each Bearikade comes with a unique serial number:
P1000576.jpg
This is a close-up of the underside of the screwheads. You can see the bolt has an opening and curved slot, the bar inside the canister’s upper rim gets locked onto it:
P1000575.jpg
Here is a close-up of one of the attachment points. You can see the locking bar underneath the hole:
P1000573.jpg
OK, this photo is probably overkill, this is the camera inside the canister looking up at the attachment mechanism. It’s actually very cleverly designed:
P1000572.jpg
Open it with a coin, knife blade, or anything thin and rigid:
P1000578.jpg
Some shots from the backcountry:
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P1000209---Copy-2-.jpg
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Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Excellent review, JRinGeorgia! Thanks for taking the time to share this info and pictures about your Bearikade.


3 years ago
FlipNC

Thanks JR...I've been considering an alternative to my pair of BV canisters as they are a tight fit in my current favorite pack. Will give this one a look.


3 years ago
G00SE

Great review. Thanks for posting it!


3 years ago
Dr. Bryan Ryles

Thanks for the great review, JR. I have the BearVault BV 500, and will now consider making a change! I can always use 10 oz lighter!


3 years ago
JRinGeorgia

P.S. all: I noted how the resale value is strong on these, that works the opposite direction as well -- you usually can find a used one for sale, especially right after thru-hiker season (early Fall). Many people who do a thru-hike not year after year but as a one-time big event will turn around and sell their Bearikade right after.


3 years ago
Waldy

Great review! I'm thinking of getting the Scout as most of my trips are solo. JRinGeorgia, can you point me in the right direction to find used Bearikades?


3 years ago
JRinGeorgia

Look in backpackinglight.com and whiteblaze.net, both have sub-forums for buying and selling used gear. You have to check them frequently because, as I said, Bearikades usually go really fast. Also good to acclimate yourself to these two communities so you can become familiar with who the "regulars" are and then try to buy from them. These one-to-one buy-and-sell forums run on trust, nobody polices them in case of a dispute. Most sellers will expect you to send funds to their Paypal before they will release the item, so caveat emptor.


3 years ago
Twig

Thank you for all the very helpful info. If I do the PCT, this will probably be my choice!


3 years ago
Charles Brodeur II

At last posting on their website this was not IGBC CERTIFIED, and if it has been is NOT APPROVED FOR YOSEMITE; the most frequently visited, so research before you buy. Second consideration I gave was the exorbitant cost. Compared to my $77 BV500 it's $211 higher; four times the price. And for that less capacity and being opaque. A great concept, but IMHO, THIS IS FOR THOSE HAVING TOO MUCH MONEY.


1 year ago
Dr. Bryan Ryles

Charles, it has been approved for Yosemite, as I've used this now twice for section hiking the JMT and a hike of Lake Merced. It is also approved for Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs, as I just returned from there and was Wilderness Center approved by the rangers. It is expensive, but I've found it actually fits better then the BV500 (of which I've had two). However, the opening is less user friendly then the BV500, as narrower because of the lip as JR indicates. And, despite the cost, it really does fit in smoother in my HMG pack then the BV500, as a result of the design.


1 year ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for sharing this current info, Bryan! I hope you'll consider writing a review of yours as well.


1 year ago

Good customer service. I rented directly from Bearikade.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: rented it

Summary

Good customer service. I rented directly from Bearikade. The price per day is reasonable. They mail/ship it to you and don't charge for shipping time.

The review above was very complete. I have nothing to add but what is above.

Would you believe that I found mine at a THRIFT SHOP,…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $10

Summary

Would you believe that I found mine at a THRIFT SHOP, for only $10?

I love it!

Pros

  • Three seals!
  • Rubber seal keeps the odors in...
  • ...keeps rain and dew out!

Cons

  • What weakness?

The people in my backpacking group are envious!

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Well that sounds like a bargain!


3 years ago
JRinGeorgia

Score!


3 years ago
pineapplefish56

Sometimes you just get lucky... and I lucked out BIG TIME! When I went to the check-out, they thought it was some kind of a basket.


3 years ago

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