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Bear Canister help needed!!
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Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Bear Canister help needed!! on 04/13/2008 09:52:24 MDT Print View

Hi guys, a few questions I hope you can answer:
(A)Do you guys put freeze-dried food in your bear canister? (Does it smell?)
(B) What do you do with trash/used toilet paper? (I suppose you do not want to out this in the same canister?
(C) Do you need and extra odor-proof sack/bag in addition to the bear canister?
And a dumb question: If the bear canister is odor-proof, why not keep it in the tent ?
Thanks a bunch!

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
Bear canister on 04/13/2008 10:19:41 MDT Print View

Everything with an odor, including chapstick/lip balm, sunscreen, toothpaste, freeze dried food should go in the canister and away from where you are sleeping. Trash and toilet paper can be kept seperate.

Some use odor proof bags and bear canisters, but I have a tough time keeping the bags from breaking open after a few days unless I'm using an ursack. Usually I use an odor proof bag for trash.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Bear Canister help needed!! on 04/13/2008 10:24:17 MDT Print View

A) Yes, of course, that's what its for. I can't smell freeze dried but bears can and love to eat it.

B) I mainly use natural tp which avoids the worst of this issue. I just double bag any trash and use one canister for food and garbage.

C) I'm not a big believer in the odor proof stuff. It is very hard to keep all odors inside the bag for the duration of the trip. Even an oily finger print on the outside of the bag could attract a bear. If you could you wouldn't need a canister as you could just use the op sacks. The reality is the bear can smell everything. This is why I never sleep with my bear canister.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Bear Canister help needed!! on 04/13/2008 10:37:58 MDT Print View

Agreed on all the above; my trips are short and small enough that I do bag all the food items in odor proof bags and even store garbage on top in a trash compactor bag...BUT, my food plan usually involves no leftover food waste and no coffee grinds; at worst it's wrappers, napkins, and facial tissues. If it were otherwise, storing trash with your food might get, um, not so nice.

I also find an under-appreciated art is where to place the canister in consideration (C)...i.e., NEVER in or around the tent. So far I've been lucky enough to not had any run-ins, but I am always wary of a bear possibly batting the thing around, and I often camp near (but not right at the edge of) water...the last thing I need is my canister (I use the smaller BearVault) floating around, or sunken, out of reach, after a bear's batted it around.

So far I've had the good fortune of finding depressions, crevasses, and other features that wouldn't cause an investigating ursine to toss the canister into the drink. I've also decided to put bright yellow retro-reflective tape around the lid, so that it's easier to find in both daytime and dark in case it does get moved (or if I'm undercaffeinated).

Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Not odor proof with bears on 04/13/2008 11:12:35 MDT Print View

If you do the research you will see the odor proof bags are NOT completely odor proof for bears!
But we used them for our trash and waste...they are odor proof for us and it was wonderful for that.
Since we had more people on the hike we used one bear canister for the food, the other canister for the trash and scent related items, such as chap stick etc...

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Not odor proof with bears on 04/13/2008 16:06:34 MDT Print View

IMHO there hasn't been an odor proof bear cannister liner yet invented. The bear's sense of smell is better than any odor proof device you'd be willing to carry. In my experience bears have learned to recognize cannisters and leave them alone. I've not had a bear in camp since I started using a cannister. Raccoons, on the other hand, still believe they can figure out a way in, and will keep trying all night. The little bandits make a lot more noise than any bears I've ever heard.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Bear's sense of smell on 04/13/2008 17:03:53 MDT Print View

As I understand it, a bear's sense of smell is approximately seven times more acute than a blood hound's.

A blood hound's sense of smell is approximately 1000 times more acute than a human's.

Odor proof bags are cute and all, and they do keep your food dry in the event that it rains on your bear can, but, realistically speaking, you are never going to be able to hide your food from a bear's nose. Hence the big plastic can that weighs two pounds!

At most, an odor proof bag will decrease the strength of your food's odor. Hopefully this corresponds with a decrease in the"smellable radius" of your campsite. But who knows.

In my opinion this isn't something to mess around with, because, if you screw up, it'll be the bear that gets shot, not you. You're in their house when you're camping, so take every precaution. Being overly cautious protects bears from human error and carelessness.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Bear Canister help needed!! on 04/14/2008 12:55:58 MDT Print View

Cannisters are not required where I usually backpack, so I often just use a suspended bear bag, but the answers to your questions apply to either:

A. Yes, I always put freeze dried food in my cannister or bear bag.

B. Trash goes in an OP Sack in my cannister or bear bag. I am more concerned about the smell of food wrappers than the new packaged food. I do not transport used TP unless on a river trip where regulations require (and then a separate triple bag system).

C. I often put everything in an large OP Sack within my cannister or bear bag. Good for waterproofing, and I too believe it decreases the strength of food odors and thus decreases the "smellable radius" of my cache.

A little turn about on your last question... Why WOULD you keep a cannister in your tent (even an odor-proof one)?