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Carrying a BV 500
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Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Carrying a BV 500 on 02/06/2012 22:13:50 MST Print View

I will be hiking the SHR this July and I was wondering if there is a way to avoid carrying a bear canister while on the trail to cut weight...? I do not have the map set yet so I cant really identify where the trail dips into national parks, so I figured I would pose the question here.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Carrying a BV 500 on 02/07/2012 08:46:27 MST Print View

From Andrew Surka's website

Bear canisters

Bear-resistant canisters are mandatory in most places throughout the High Sierra, including many places through which the SHR passes. I hate bear canisters. They are heavy (1 lb, 15 oz for the lightest model, the Bearikade Expedition from Wild-Ideas), they are an added expense, and they are uncomfortable to carry (their cylindrical shape fits awkwardly in small packs, and their hard sides inflict bruises if not cushioned correctly). Moreover, I would argue that canisters are not necessary if you practice good bear country techniques: do NOT camp where you cook, do NOT carry overly smelly foods or items, and do NOT camp in established sites or near popular trails; DO stealth camp, DO carry your food in odor-proof bags, and DO burn your trash every few days in order to minimize odors. Bears are most problematic in high-traffic areas, which the SHR purposely and mostly successfully avoids.

However, if you are caught by a ranger and you are not carrying a canister, you can receive a hefty fine. Rangers do patrol the backcountry, though in lower frequency than they used to (thank you Bush administration), and they regularly do canister checks on passing hikers. I’m not aware of any guaranteed technique to avoid a fine, e.g. by raising legal technicalities against warrantless searches or questioning law enforcement jurisdictions, etc. Therefore, my recommendation is to carry a canister—not to protect your food from bears, or to protect bears from you, but to protect yourself from rangers. If rangers were not out patrolling, I would not take a canister and I would instead rely on the effective techniques I have described above. Buzz and I both carried canisters.

For more information, visit the following land manager websites: Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Inyo National Forest.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Bear Canister on 02/07/2012 10:31:13 MST Print View

Well thats what I was afraid of. Thanks Anna!

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
Re: Carrying a BV 500 on 02/07/2012 16:25:55 MST Print View

I did the southern portion of the SHR last year, and after looking at the maps, I did believe that technically, you could leave the vault at home. If your mileage per day is at a certain point, all of your campsites could theoretically land outside these boundaries. (refering to the cannister regs only; there is still bear/food practice necessary) We finally decided on a compromise. We both carried the Solo version, and with only one re-supply planned, we worked out that we could meet all the regulations, and still limit our weights. This way if we decided or were delayed in an area within those regs, and had to camp, we were being smart with regards to the bears. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear!

But ultimately, with the appropriate planning, and conditioning, I believe you could leave the can home.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
BV on 02/07/2012 16:40:14 MST Print View

Good to know. I just ordered the map set and i will be going over it to see if we can be strategic with our campsites to save weight. thanks for the info.