Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Bear Can Cheating?


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Chris Kopp
(Chris_Kopp) - F
Bear Can Cheating? on 12/14/2008 22:54:05 MST Print View

I'm asking for a bear can for Christmas and am trying to decide which to ask for. I'm only considering those approved by SIBBG and have narrowed down the list to:
Bearikade Weekender
BearVault BV450
Bear Boxer

The Bear Boxer is the lightest (good) and holds the least (perhaps bad??) and is the cheapest (good).
So, my question is if I had the Bear Boxer on a long trip and was unable to have all my food in it at the beginning could I be fined for not having in all my food in the canister? Or, is it OK (kind of a loop hole) to be able to produce an approved bear can from your pack regardless of size, even if not all my food fits in?

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Luck of the Draw on 12/14/2008 23:11:47 MST Print View

Hi Chris,

Most likely depends on the ranger you cross paths with and where you are. At Tyndall the ranger asked and I told her no, it didn't all fit, and she kindly explained the location of the nearby boxes to put my excess in and confessed that she had the same problem the year before when she hiked the JMT. Others seemed to be trawling for violations.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Bear Can Cheating? on 12/14/2008 23:13:15 MST Print View

The regulations/laws specify how you must store your food in bear country, not what you must carry. Carrying a bear cannister is irrelevant if you are not using it to store all of your food.

So it's only a "loophole" in that you might be able to fool a ranger that all your food is inside the canister. But it wouldn't stop you getting fined if anyone worked out what you were doing, because it is against regulations. Not "OK"!

More importantly, "cheating" won't fool the bears either.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Bear Can Cheating? on 12/15/2008 06:43:26 MST Print View

Beyond worrying whether or not you'll get fined for carrying food outside of the can, you also have to think about what you're going to do with that extra food. Even if you think the authorities are overzealous requiring a can over a well-placed bear bag or an Ursack, surely the problem of bears getting your food (and beginning to view hikers like you as meal-tickets) is one that you recognize. That means you would still have to use one of those methods to protect the rest of your food. Compared to the risk of getting a fine plus the hassle of placing two food protection system, I'd go with a larger can.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
bears on 12/15/2008 10:27:02 MST Print View

RooooooOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAhhhhh!!!!!bbera

Summertime, you need it more than a tent.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Bear Can Cheating? on 12/15/2008 10:27:46 MST Print View

The Bare Boxer is, essentially, a small version of the Garcia Canister, with a redesigned lid. I have a Garcia and love the way it's shape slides easily into my pack. However, due to the shape of its lid, it's difficult to get stuff into and out of. I also have two Bearikades, the Weekender and the old original, which is 2 1/2" longer. The Bearikades are easy to load to the max and are the ones I always carry.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Bear Can Cheating? on 12/15/2008 10:43:17 MST Print View

If it were me, I'd get the container that met my needs most adequately. If I had a (unusual) trip where more than the first day's food didn't fit in the canister, I'd probably just hang it appropriately.

Does that meet the letter of the law? No. Do I understand that rewarding bears is very bad and must not happen? Yes.

I'm far more concerned with the latter than the former but that's a personal decision we all have to make.

Edited by Pivvay on 12/15/2008 10:44:23 MST.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Just do it on 12/15/2008 11:41:36 MST Print View

It's not a "personal decision". It's the rules - just follow them, for everyone's sake.

As long as the food is stored in an approved container when it's not on your person, you're fine. If you're using a BearBoxer because you can fit some of your food in it at night and know you'll be able to put the rest of it in a locker, then no worries.

If you're using the BearBoxer to say you're carrying a canister but actually plan hang or leave out food at night, you're breaking the rules and putting bears and other backpackers at risk.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Bearikade weekender on 12/15/2008 11:54:16 MST Print View

I used the Bearikade weekender on a JMT thru-hike in 2005. It is light, easy to pack and fits in many, though not all, backpacks. I painted a fluorescent orange stripe around the circumference of mine to make it easier to find. I sold it after my hike and bought the Ursack. Maybe not the smartest sale now that Ursack is not allowed. Even though the Bearikade is expensive, it is a very high quality unit and I would purchase one again.

There used to be a post on the net with excellent ideas on packing a Bear can. The author claimed he could fit 20+ days of food in it. I don't have the URL, but it may still be around somewhere. Your choice of food and how you cook play into your ability to fit your food in the can.

I had rangers ask about my can but never made me show them. Not sleeping where you cook, keeping things clean and opening and closing the can quickly kept me from any bear encounters or problems. Get the Expedition model if you need even more room.

Brian OKelly
(losthillsguy) - F
Do the right thing! on 12/15/2008 14:07:47 MST Print View

I just returned from a JMT hike this summer. We stayed at all the classic bad bear camps. We did not have ONE bear encounter the entire trip. 20 years ago you would have had to defend your food almost every night. Thanks to compliance by backpackers, the bears are being saved and IMO the canister program has proved to be successful.

Sure, you might be able to get away without storing your food in a canister, but that is thanks to those who DO store their food properly.

Get the Bearvault 450, get a good nights sleep, and know you are doing the right thing. It also makes a great stool in camp.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Do the right thing! on 12/15/2008 14:12:46 MST Print View

Brian what backpack did your canister fit inside?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Do the right thing? on 12/15/2008 14:15:33 MST Print View

From what I've read, if they were doing the right thing, the Ursack would be approved.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Bear Can Cheating on 12/15/2008 15:02:33 MST Print View

I use the Bearikade Expedition at 37oz. and 900ci. It was a bit pricey at the time but it has payed for it self over the years instead of renting the heavier and only 600ci capacity that the parks provide. The Expedition is longer then the average bear canister which makes it a excellent camp chair too.248


Always bring your bear canister in Yosemite!!!!!

Edited by Creachen on 12/15/2008 15:03:40 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Bear Can Cheating on 12/15/2008 15:11:58 MST Print View

I cannot sit on my cannister because it makes my butt hurt.

I have the Bearboxer and love it for overnighters where cannisters are required. Longer trips then the Bearvault Weekender. If no requirements then my Ursack.


Folks never skimp on bear prevention with your food. I rarely see bears but I always have my food protected.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Just do it on 12/15/2008 15:40:42 MST Print View

It is a personal decision. You break the rules, you deal with the consequences. A ticket is different than a fed bear.

It's the same as if you CHOOSE to speed in your car. What the rule is trying to prevent is accidents and killing a person. If you get caught speeding you get a ticket regardless of if you actually hurt someone.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Just do it on 12/15/2008 16:03:19 MST Print View

> It is a personal decision. You break the rules, you deal with the consequences.

Unfortunately, as with speeding, you may not be the only one who has to deal with the consequences.

As everyone has pointed out, if your food is not properly stored you are risking others' safety and bears' lives. For the sake of what... a few ounces?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Bear Canister Article on 12/15/2008 17:09:53 MST Print View

Dave Neumann, was this the article? It was linked to on the PCTA website. Anyway, it's a good article IMHO.
www.pcta.org/planning/before_trip/health/canistercare.doc

I am not a lover of bear canisters, but I will always use one where required. Where not required (most of the places I hike), I use an Ursack with OP sack liner. Hanging is not for me. I am a lousy thrower--couldn't hit the side of a barn if I were inside it. The jerky motion needed for throwing starts up arthritis in my shoulders. That's especially true since it takes a dozen or more attempts!

Chris Kopp
(Chris_Kopp) - F
Thank you for the bear canister feedback! on 12/15/2008 21:49:00 MST Print View

Thanks for the feedback!
To clarify, I am very careful with how I treat food storage in bear country and try to do the right things to prevent bear incidents. I definitely don't want my actions to result in a dead bear. I didn't want to make myself look like I was one of those people that leave their food sitting out or sleeps with their food.
That being said, I wish there was a better bear can (that was approved). My experiences are limited to the rental Garcia's so maybe I'll like the BearVault or Bearikade better. If I knew I was never going to be in the areas with mandatory can rules I'd get the Ursak but I am absolutely in love with the Sequoia backcountry so I will go for the bigger, more responsible canisters.
Again, thanks for the input.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Bear Can Cheating? on 12/16/2008 17:21:51 MST Print View

Well is a ranger going to search your pack? Do they even have the right to?
Do I have to open up my bear canister every time I want to eat a cliff bar?

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Re: Bear Can Cheating? on 12/16/2008 17:41:57 MST Print View

I've know of rangers in Sequoia/Kings Canyon who wanted to "see" your canister.