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? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days
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George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 08:46:11 MDT Print View

Who has experienced sharing one bear canister for two hikers for 4 days? Canister size, type of food, etc.

Planning our food for a Sun-Sat Yosemite trip.

Staying at backpackers campground with car access from Sun pm to Mon am and after leaving trail Friday pm to Sat.

On trail:
Mon (first day food) outside canister in pack.

Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri (no dinner)
Total almost 4 days in canister.

Food routine:

AM: Hot tea and snack bars

Between: Snack bars/nuts/dried fruit

PM: Freeze dried (bought in bulk and then packaged ourselves for dinner for two) and hot tea

For replies: the more details the better : ) Thanks

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Try experimenting on 05/03/2010 09:48:26 MDT Print View

The short answer is probably no - but if you and your hiking partner are very, very small eaters you might be able to pull it off. Here is how you can experiment.

The Garcia (rent in park for $5 per trip) holds 650 cubic inches or approximately 2.5 gallons.

The biggest can, Bearicade Expedition (buy or rent from Wild Ideas,) holds 900 cubic inches or about 3.5 gallons.

So if you want to put 8 days of food in the Garcia you have 1/3 of a gallon or just over a quart of space per day. Can you fit one days worth of food in a Nalgene? If you can it might work.

Remember that all your smellables have to fit in the can, including toothpaste, sunscreen etc.

Re: ? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 10:31:34 MDT Print View

I went to the lumber yard and bought a 2' section of 8" diameter SonoTube (used for forming concrete columns), which I cut into 14" and 10" pieces to simulate the Bearikade Expedition and Weekender, respectively.

So now I can test "canisters" in packs, as well as determine just how many days of what I can get in which.

But, for a JMT trip, I got 5 days into a Weekender with a little room left over. Freeze dried, even when repackaged, is bulkier than dehydrated (which I had) so it is hard to guess. You Might get it done.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: ? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 10:54:10 MDT Print View

Hi George,

Extrapolating from my experience I believe you could do it with a Bearikade Weekender, provided you're scrupulous about your menu selection and vacuum seal or otherwise minimize the bulk. I've done two-man, eight-day Sierra trips with two canisters, and I carry a Weekender.

Should be simple with the larger Expedition.



Re: Re: ? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 10:57:52 MDT Print View

"...provided you're scrupulous about your menu selection and vacuum seal or otherwise minimize the bulk..."

Personally, I would "lose pack" into ziplocks that will conform as they get layered in. Vacuum packaging that I have used is rigid and leaves a lot of "unused" space.


Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Bearikade canisters on 05/03/2010 11:00:34 MDT Print View

The Bearikade folks were kind enough to make me a custom sized canister between the size of the Weekender and Expedition a few years ago - they just averaged the two in terms of cost and charged me that. It turned out to be 800+ cubic inches.

Worked like a charm...


Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: ? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 12:12:47 MDT Print View

Have done 2 peeps/4 days with both a Bearvault and a Bearikade Weekender, using similar menus. Did not require repackaging of the FD dinners, which can gain you a little more volume.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Bearikade Expedition on 05/03/2010 12:54:00 MDT Print View

On my PCT hike, I could get just about 7 days of food into my Bearikade Expedition. Of course, I was eating about 4000 calories a day. For people with normal-human-sized appetites, I suspect 8 days of food should fit just fine. Worst case scenario, you have a bit of overflow food for the first day or so and you just stash it in the rocks somewhere at night (I did this and nothing was ever taken).

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 13:08:58 MDT Print View

I managed to get 10 1/2 days of food for one into a BV-500 for the Muir Trail Ranch to Whitney Portal leg of my recent JMT hike. I did not use any freeze dried food and chose my meals for high calories and minimum bulk rather than flavor. My meal plan was for about 2800 calories per day and the diet was strong towards couscous, rice and crushed angel-hair pasta; anything with little air space and 100 cal/oz or more. I took a lot of nuts, nut butter, pemmican and other calorie-dense food. Getting all of the food into the bear can was difficult and I relied on the threaded lid to compress the small amount of food protruding above the rim of the BV. For me, 2800 calories per day is probably about 1000 cal/day less than I needed so I lost somewhere between 3 and 4 pounds on that stretch of trail. I started the hike with a bit of a midrift "reserve tank" so just figured I was carrying part of my food in a different place. It was probably not the most healthful diet I have ever been on but it worked.

Edited by Rincon on 05/03/2010 13:09:39 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 13:41:31 MDT Print View

Purchase about 15 pounds of Robertson's Shortbread Cookies, and grind them up. Line the inside of the bear canister with one large plastic bag, and pour in the shortbread crumbs.

You will get the maximum food calories into the limited volume. The good news is that you will never run out, because after three or four days of those crumbs, you won't be able to eat anymore.


George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
thanks - going ahead with 1 can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 18:28:25 MDT Print View

Your “probably no” is why BPL forums are here: to find a lighter and simpler yes. : )

Cool idea for testing various canisters in packs.

Appreciate your extrapolation. Will consider the Bearikade Weekender.

Note: I have the green Ursack with metal liner that I got a while ago when they were acceptable and the BV450 Solo. BV450 is 2 lb 1 oz for 4 days (I’ve had 3 days with plenty of room). The BV500 is for 7 days at 2 lb 9 oz. That is what got me thinking about 1 canister for two peps x 4 days (8 days).

Customized! Never would have thought of that. Hope I can work out a way with regulars.

@Greg, Paul
Thanks - good tips and Paul - has done it with Bearvault and Weekender.

You're an animal! : ) We’re older and don’t eat that much. Besides, there are three more others going on the trip and they are traditional backpackers. No high mileage days on the schedule.

You did it, too. Fantastic. We have a bit of those 'reserve tanks' too.


Done the 1 lb of cookies but with Oreos. After two days began experiencing hallucinations. By the 4th day I chatted with the gods. It made me bald and turned my mustache white. Want to avoid doing any more damage. Thanks for the idea.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
I've Done It on 05/03/2010 18:42:54 MDT Print View

I took a group from Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney to Portal a few years ago. We planned for 4 days of food, sharing a canister between 2 people. We repackaged everything we could, and took calorie dense foods. Since we were only hiking a max of 15 miles a day we did not take more than 2,800 calories. It was fine for such a short trip. We actually finished the trip a day early and had food left over.

Since that trip, I have been learning about better, more calorie rich foods, and could probably get more in the canister.

Edited by scottbentz on 05/03/2010 18:44:09 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: ? Options: 1 bear can for 2 x 4 days on 05/03/2010 22:23:36 MDT Print View

Sure. It's not 4 days food- rather 3 nights.

Garcia will be tight but doable. 6 night's food x 1 adult, or 4 night's food 1 adult + 1 child has been as much as I'm able to fit in a Garcia.

The big Bear Vault is slightly bigger but with a much bigger lid opening so it should be no problem. Bearikade Expedition is much bigger.

I find that the first couple days of a trip I'm not super hungry anyhow. The main issue is that packaging and packing are critical for a bear can. Otherwise you end up with wasted air space.