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Bear Canisters
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Ryan Degnim
(rdegnim) - F
Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 16:34:05 MDT Print View

Hi, I am trying to get an idea of where most backpackers stow their bear canisters ( I will be using the 7 day bearvault canister). Do you find your packs accomodate them? Lash them outside packs? I am considering using bungees to lash to the outside of my pack.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 16:42:56 MDT Print View

In my pack.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 16:52:59 MDT Print View

In my pack.

Most bear canisters are smooth plastic, by intention. You might try to hang them with bungees or something, but I think you will find that frustration. They will slip off, dumping the canister to the trail. Some people have tried to fix this by attaching tape or fasteners to the outside of the canister. That gives the bear some extra purchase with teeth or claws, so it is not recommended.

I have an edge by owning one of the smallest and lightest canisters, so it fits anywhere in my pack without a problem.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 17:25:39 MDT Print View

In my pack. No other way.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 17:32:49 MDT Print View

I pretty much have to put my bear canister inside my current pack(s). I'd like to get an external frame pack so I can carry it with my pack without intruding on the main compartment.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 17:50:50 MDT Print View

Bob, which canister do you have? I'm into light and small, and my Bear Vault 500 is total overkill for one person on a short trip. Right now I'm experimenting with one of Lawson's draw string sacks inside an Outsak. Works great against rodents and birds, but of course not allowed where canisters are required.

By the way, when do you head to Alaska? I hope you have a great time, and that you share your foray with us when you return.

Mark Lucht
(Lucky489) - F

Locale: Southwest
Bear Canister on 08/10/2010 18:34:28 MDT Print View

I have the Bare Boxer contender. Its the smallest one I would pay for, and at only 40 the cheapest.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 18:41:37 MDT Print View

Gary, Bear Boxer. I have 4 days of food stuff in it for a trip in Kings Canyon tomorrow. They look like a Garcia but are much smaller and they are allowed all over. They are also nicely priced too

Edited by kennyhel77 on 08/10/2010 18:42:35 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 18:46:48 MDT Print View

Yes, Bear Boxer Contender. It is about one inch smaller in diameter and one inch shorter than anything else I've seen. Shortly I will use it on a three-day trip. I'm not allowed to divulge the destination in a public forum. However, you could look up names like Matthes Lake and Mildred Lake.

I flew to Alaska on July 16 and returned on July 29. I've only reported a few details of that trip. On one day at Brooks Falls, I had 29 brown bears in front of me, within 150 yards. For a photographer, that is a target-rich environment! The interesting thing was that the bears did not give a darn about humans except if you did something amazingly stupid. Between Katmai and Denali, I shot about 3000 photos filling 75GB of memory, and I am still trying to edit those down. Biting flies were bad, and I still have skin lesions where they got past all of my clothing and chemicals and headnets. At Brooks Falls, there is no need for bear spray or anything else beyond a little common sense, e.g. don't walk solo into the blueberry patch during the middle of berry season for the bears.


Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
also inside the pack on 08/10/2010 20:00:34 MDT Print View

I've started out on a long trip with a rig to keep the can outside the pack, and the trail taught me that this is a bad idea. The marketing materials for my pack said explicitly that one of the benefits of a particular closing strap over the top was to hold a bear can, but no way.

First off, the cans are smooth plastic. I managed to beat that by putting something around the can to add friction.
But the second and bigger issue is that a full sized bear can full of food is heavy, and can act as if it has a mind of its own. Too often it started slipping down one side or another of my pack, so it didn't take too long to figure out how to put more *other* stuff outside of the pack so the can could go in.

I'm not saying that it's impossible, just that even after a shorter shakedown hike (where it did seem to work), the trail convinced me that I need to keep the bear can inside.

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Bear Can = Inside on 08/10/2010 20:31:22 MDT Print View

This is my third summer living in Denali, and bear cans are required here, so I've got a fair bit of experience with them.

I've done the "can on top of the pack" thing, and it was just a pain. It was always slipping around, and my pack was super top heavy.

Instead, store the can inside your pack. It's more secure and distributes the weight better. After breakfast, I stuff the snacks I want on hand during the day in outside pockets, then put the can close to my back nearer the bottom of my pack. When I'm ready for dinner, I haul it out, take out dinner, then use it as a stool as I cook.

Edited by milesbarger on 08/10/2010 20:32:27 MDT.

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Bear Canisters on 08/10/2010 20:50:11 MDT Print View

Your pack is going to limit your choices. Unless your using a "big" pack you'll be limited to carrying the large bear vault vertically in the pack or on the outside. Last year I used a GG Mariposa Plus and carried the BV500 outside the pack on top tied down with the Y strap provided. I made sure to tighten the strap occasionally and never had much trouble with it slipping. A few days I carried it vertically inside the pack trying to adjust the load for more comfort. Bottom line is you can do it either way. Fortunately this year I'm going from Red's to North Lake and will be able to take my smaller Bear Vault (carried inside my pack).

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Bearvaults have dimples for this purpose. on 08/10/2010 21:34:16 MDT Print View

People have been saying that bear canisters are smooth plastic, but the OP says he has a bearvault, and bearvaults have dimples on them. (At least, my small-size bearvault does.) I believe the whole point of the dimples is to make it possible to lash the canister on the outside of a pack and have the straps not slip loose. I actually find it kind of annoying using my bearvault inside my UL pack, because I have to be very careful to position it correctly, or the dimples poke me in the back through the thin nylon.

If you have a certain kind of frame pack and a certain kind of canister, then it seems to me that putting the canister on the outside could be very convenient for access to your food.

Ryan, what kind of pack do you have?

Edited by bcrowell on 08/10/2010 21:35:01 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bearvaults have dimples for this purpose. on 08/10/2010 21:59:04 MDT Print View

I have a BearVault with dimples. However, I have not found any strap that can grab the dimples securely enough.

All of my canisters fit within my packs, and anyplace outside of the pack would create a balance problem.


Linda Alvarez
(Liniac) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Lashing a bear canister to a pack on 08/11/2010 00:22:10 MDT Print View

I've done both: when I have room it goes inside the pack. When I don't, I sometimes use a large lightweight stuff-sack designed for sleeping bags that has a piece of webbing sewn down it vertically. I enclose the can in the pack and use the webbing to lash the canister to the outside of my pack. It can be a little awkward--if it's too high your neck and head bumps into it annoyingly, but too low and out and it throws off your balance. As others have said, lashing it very snugly is key, otherwise it sloshes around and that's crazy-making. I agree it's easier to make room for the canister inside the pack, and sometimes that means I throw my other less bulky/awkward items in the extra stuff sack. The sack and additional straps for lashing it to the pack weigh a bit under 3oz so that sucks, but when strapping several pounds of food + can to your pack, sometimes that feels "in the noise." You could make your own version for less that that, I'm certain.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Bear Canisters" on 08/11/2010 00:35:44 MDT Print View

Seems like I read somewhere that you could store your food in a stuff sack in your pack where it conforms easily to the shape of the pack and sits in the right spot, then strap the empty canister to the outside of your pack.

Less awkward, and you just put your food in the canister in camp.

(I think it's funny that the word "awkward" is awkward to spell!)

Ryan Degnim
(rdegnim) - F
Re: Bearvaults have dimples for this purpose. on 08/11/2010 14:01:18 MDT Print View

Its a 4400 cubic inch Acend Sequoia Pack, a Bass Pro Shops Brand.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Bearvaults have dimples for this purpose. on 08/11/2010 14:18:02 MDT Print View

A BearVault ought to fit inside that pack without any problem.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Rubber bands! on 08/11/2010 14:27:59 MDT Print View

Rubber bands cut from inner tubes make for good traction and are easily removed for bear duty. You can slip pack straps under and around. Adds about .5oz each.

I need to come up with a booby trap that uses the rubber bands to snap the bear in the nose-- hoping he doesn't exit over/through my shelter :)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rubber bands! on 08/11/2010 15:17:03 MDT Print View

"I need to come up with a booby trap that uses the rubber bands to snap the bear in the nose-- hoping he doesn't exit over/through my shelter :) "

Let's think back to the Vietnam Era technology. Charlie could make a booby trap out of just about anything.

For your Ursine booby trap, I wish you luck. Arm it with porcupine spines.