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Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Bearikades on 03/27/2013 14:19:46 MDT Print View

It isn't unreasonable to spend the money on a Bearikade if you (a) have the money and (b) use it a lot, like on a thru-hike or if you live in California and are required or at least should take a canister for nearly every trip. If the canister is an integral part of every trip, get the one that has the features you like best. That said, Pete's numbers are something to consider: spending $169 to save 10 ounces; spending $152 extra to save 5 ounces.

I have a BV450 and BV500; neither gets a lot of use here in the PNW, where bears are not a problem like in Yosemite.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
bears on 03/27/2013 14:41:57 MDT Print View

I have the money its not like im going to have to eat ramin for a week or anything. For some reason, and I dont know why, its harder to shell out for this than any of my other gear. Maybe its that im getting it because I have to and not because ive researched it, I love it and I really really want it.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Hard to justify the cost on 03/27/2013 14:55:26 MDT Print View

I'm in the same camp as Pete. I needed 2 canisters for my JMT hike last year and went with Bearvault 500's that I got on sale for about $65 each. I saved more than $350 over the price of 2 Bearikades at the cost of 10 oz in weight to my pack and my son's. Bearikades are indeed nice, and if they were closer in price I would buy one, but I could not afford one Bearikade, much less two.

BTW: I found that opening a Bearvault became very easy and painless once I figured out how. Just take a small stick and push inward and counterclockwise just behind the tab on the lid. The lid turns just enough to get past the lock and opens easily from there.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re on 03/27/2013 14:58:49 MDT Print View

Another Californian here - I've had the Bearikade Weekender and Scout for 3 or 4 years now, and am as pleased as I can be with something I'd rather not be carrying in the first place. Since most of my trips are under a week and solo, I have not gotten the Expedition. I've used my Bearikades as a stool in camp, and as a platform for my stove. If any bears have messed with my Bearikades, I have had no evidence of it. I'm sure the stickers have had a lot to do with that! ;) But some sort of bear canister is required in too many good areas here in California, I figured I might as well get them. Plus when I go with another family member, I make them take the bigger, heavier canister!

Actually, I put bright stickers on them to help me find them in the morning!

Christopher *

Locale: US East Coast
Re: bears on 03/27/2013 15:09:00 MDT Print View

I agree that at the outset, regardless of branding or design, the bear-can appears to be one of those "I wouldn't take this if I didn't have to" decisions.

I expected to buy my bear-can, use it in the Sierra, and then sell it off. However, I hate hanging food ... I hate hunting for appropriate trees and apparently, despite years of clumsy practice, I suck at throwing and tying knots. In situations where I am out with a small pack for only a few days and I don't want to sleep with my food the bear-can has surprisingly become an attractive piece of gear, even in situations where it is not mandated.

Additionally, in the right frameless pack, the smooth sided Bearikade placed vertically has worked well in building some pack-structure ... kind of like a CCF pad burrito style, but in CF form.

Anyway, point being it might not become the throw away, sell-it-off, "I don't want to use it!" piece of gear it initially appears to be.

As to Erik's backcountry bling factor, I totally agree. Those darn kids with their SilNylon and rubber-soled shoes. Its strictly canvas and hobnail boots for me! (LOL. Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)

Edited by cfrey.0 on 03/27/2013 15:11:12 MDT.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
Best of both worlds! on 03/27/2013 16:12:04 MDT Print View

Bear Boxer Contender; less expensive and less weight than a Weekender. But it only holds 3 days of food. I expect four days could fit if you pack it well, which means 5 days of backpacking (first day of food outside the canister) with a 1.6lb canister.

I have both the Weekender and the Contender. I got my Weekender back in 2002 and it has been a good investment (2 JMT hikes). I can put 9 days of food into it, and have only had to replace the o-ring one time. Cut the chain off. Cut a sit pad to fit the top. No complaints.

Can't wait to use my Contender this summer!


EDIT: I fully agree with what Christopher above said about providing pack structure. A weekender sitting on a stuff sack of sleeping bag; very comfortable in forming a lumbar curve, as long as the canister is allowed to lean toward you (kinda away at the bottom).

Edited by geokite on 03/27/2013 16:17:03 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Bearikades on 03/27/2013 17:25:45 MDT Print View

Personally I have been thinking about getting a new can this season. I was thinking along the following lines as I have an old Garcia can (44 oz/614 ci) I have used for the past decade....

If I buy a Bearikade I would moat likely only want to buy 1 for obvious reasons. I might just buy the expedition size Bearikade (36.5 oz, 906 ci), this is only 5 or so oz heavier than the weekended (31.1 oz/656 ci), and at any rate would still save 1/2 lb over the Garcia. I would eat the extra 5 oz, and on shorter trips could pack other stuff in the can - someone was asking about any advantages and I suppose the extra wide opening would be one. I would probably build my kit around having that Bearikade inside, and in the center of my pack, as usual.

Also I would probably first do a lot of thought on how long the longest trip I would want to go on without resupply would be. Looks like because of the simple design it doesn't cost more, at least, to buy a custom length one. I could very well buy a shorter one.

So in short, figure out the max food volume/total pack weight you would put up with without resupply, and buy that size. Weight on these thing goes approximately as the surface area so the volume per unit weight goes up in proportion the length, as does efficient use of the extra weight. Then buy the largest can you would ever need and just eat the small difference in weight of the "optimal" size for your trip when you go on a shorter one. On shorter trips use the extra space to pack other things in the can and keep your bag compact for those trips, or even use a smaller bag for those.

You are still going to have to swallow the weight of the bear can, but at least this way you only need one can and the volume issue doesn't matter so much on shorter trips.

Edited by millonas on 03/27/2013 17:40:27 MDT.

Dirk R
Re: Bearikades on 03/27/2013 19:06:29 MDT Print View

As someone with first-hand experience with both Bearikades, Garcia and the BV500 I offer these thoughts....

First, the Garcia is the easiest to eliminate if weight and volume are requirements.

The Bearikade vs the Bear Vault becomes a more subjective question.

First, the one advantage that the Bearikade offers is the ability to get custom sizes. I've mentioned this before, but they were pretty easy to work with in the event you wanted something outside their normal product line.

You can find custom size information on their website here.

The downside of the bearikades is that that 90 edge at the lid can cut into lightweight pack fabric. This is a concern. I did send a missive to to the company, and when I get a reply, I will let you know. The Bear Vaults have rounded lids.

Despite the edge issue (which requires to pack carefully, I rather carry Bearikade because of the weight issue.. Having a quarter along helps with opening the lid, obviously, but I found that system preferable to the BV500 I've used. I am sure there are others who would find the opposite to be true.

But the BV500 is a very good canister and I don't think you'd go wrong either way. I think where you live and the style of packing you employ factors into this decision: I generally don't need a canister except for very few locations. In those cases (such as the Sierra) I would like to spend a greater time in the back country than resupplying, in which case, I choose my bigger bearikade and larger pack. If I were doing shorter trips (say, three days), I think the BearVault might shine here - certainly weight isn't as much an issue (you generally are carrying less food to begin with).

Happy Trails!


Edited by Dirk on 03/27/2013 19:50:33 MDT.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: canisters on 03/27/2013 19:11:09 MDT Print View

" I did not know that they only bought your food slightly more time than with out. I assumed(I know I know I should not assume)that they stopped bears from getting your food."

This is not really the case. Bear resistant canisters are a very strong deterrent to bears getting your food. There have been some unusual cases of bears getting them open, but except on rare occasions bears knock them around for a while then give up and look for an easier source. I have had many friends hike the JMT and while a few have had canisters knocked around, not one has actually lost food from a canister to a bear.

steven franchuk
Re: Bearikades on 03/27/2013 19:42:41 MDT Print View

I have the Bearikade Scout and my brother has the Weekender. I have used the Bearikade, Bearvault, and Garcia canisters. All are waterproof when placed on the ground upside down. The Bearvault is waterproof right side up the Garcia is not (no oring seal on the Garcia lide. Bearikades have o-rings on the lides and are probably water proof right side up. I always place my canister upside down on the ground when it rains.

The bearikades have the widest opening when compared to the bearVault and Garcia canisters. The bearikades use a lid latch mechanism similar to the Garcias. I have never heard of any black bears managing to open the Garcia or Bearikade latches. The one Bearikade that a grizzly ripped open is the only report of a Bearikade failure I have seen. For the weight Bearikades generally have the best internal valume to weight ratio while keeping the external size about the same to similarly sized bearvaults, Garcias and Bearboxers.

As mentioned the BearVault has been opened by one black bear and her cubs may know how to do it. BearVaults are the only transparent canisters on the market. Some like that feature but keep in mind that if you leave it exposed to the sun your food can get hot due to solar heating it's a great green house). I have not found anyone that likes the Bearvault lide latches. As mentioned earlier the only way to easiiy open a bearvault is with a credit card.

Garcias are the gold standard. To the best of my kinowledge no bear or grizzly has ever goten into one. However it has a very narrow opening which can make it difficult to pack and unpack. The thicker plastic walls also reduce the internal valume meaning you cannot pack in as much food.

"Bear canisters provide about 40 minutes of protection."

Not True. Since Yosemite started requiring the use of bear canisters backcountry bear problems ave very infrequent. Yosemite valley and its heavily used high sierra camps do occationally have bear problems. However in most cases it is because some people don't follow the rules and try bear bagging or carry no food protect at all. Most bears quickly learn they cannot get the food inside a bear can and then leave bear can users allown.

Edited by Surf on 03/27/2013 20:02:03 MDT.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Canisters on 03/27/2013 20:34:07 MDT Print View

I didn't read all the comments so I'm not sure if this was already mentioned...but the bearikade canisters are much more cylindrical so you're able to use all the space. I have a small bear vault canister as well and I find that I can't pack as much food in it as I can my bearikade scout. A bear canister is needed more often then not where I backpack so the extra expense for a little less weight was worth it to me. Just my .02c

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Bearikades on 03/27/2013 20:45:54 MDT Print View

"I have not found anyone that likes the Bearvault lide latches. As mentioned earlier the only way to easiiy open a bearvault is with a credit card."

Now you have. It doesn't take much if any longer to open one than it does to turn the 3 latches on the Bearikade. The easiest way is actually with a stick, pen, or any pointed object as I mentioned in an earlier post, not the credit card, although that works too. Just a quick, single push behind the tab on the lid to get it past the lock and unscrew the lid like you would opening a jar. You need a coin or a key to get into a Bearikade as well. It really shouldn't be an issue when deciding on a bear canister, as none of the 3 are difficult to open. Also, its transparent but tinted blue and the solar heating is not likely to be much worse than leaving a black container in the sun.

I don't think that anyone disagrees that the Bearikade is the best approved canister available for all the reasons you mentioned. I saw many last year on the JMT and I certainly liked them better than the Bearvault. The only real concern that I've heard is the cost, but that's a biggie. For some its not an issue, but for the average backpacker its difficult to lay out $250+ for a bear canister, especially if you will rarely use it again, if ever. This is even more of a factor when you can get a canister that will do the job just fine for just over 1/4 the cost (I bought 2 Bearvault 500's from a major retailer for $65 each). You are taking a 10 oz weight penalty, and it may be worth it to you to save that 10 oz if you can afford it, although there are more cost effective ways to save weight if you haven't already done them. But if you need more than one canister (I had to buy one for my son as well), the cost starts becoming prohibitive for most people.

re-sale on 03/27/2013 21:35:07 MDT Print View

So call me crazy for this, but I'm thinking of buying the Bearikade for (one) JMT trip this summer, and then selling it. I would like to have the bearikade and use it to shake out my gear / food packing ability well before my actual trip.

Since noone has mentioned it in this thread, what does a used Weekender typically sell for on these forums? If I could get 200 for a $250 can I would say it's worth it, and gives you more flexibility than the rental.

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: re-sale on 03/27/2013 21:42:00 MDT Print View

$200 shipping included, I'd buy a lightly used weekender. I want an extra for g/f for JMT this summer (which I'd probably sell right after myself).

steven franchuk
Try renting instead of re-sale on 03/28/2013 12:41:27 MDT Print View

You can rent a bearikade canister directly from the Bearikade web site.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Canisters on 03/28/2013 12:53:24 MDT Print View

I also find the BearVault "latch" marvelous and happy. I personally use either my finger or the back of my Baladeo pocket knife that's clipped in my pocket to push the latch. Most of my Scouts just use their fingers and the only issue is whether King Kong cinched the threaded lid or not. It can be funny watching someone in ragg gloves trying to get traction on that lid!

After years with a Garcia, I'd give it the Leaden Standard, rather than the gold one, if only to emphasize the weight without glam. Harder to open, harder to pack, harder to get things out of, harder to find things in, heavier... With BV's holding up to California bears, marmots and racoons just as well as any Garcia, the BV vs. Garcia issue is an easily-resolved one for me.

I love that we can rent Bearikades (and REI rents BearVaults), because it's an affordable way to get one if you don't use them often.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 03/28/2013 14:56:26 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/08/2015 11:47:16 MDT.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
[...] on 03/28/2013 15:33:39 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 04/01/2013 14:53:03 MDT.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Article comparing cost and volume on 03/28/2013 18:30:04 MDT Print View

Probably people get tired of Andrew Skurka getting quoted, but he did have a very good blog post on this very topic:

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: re-sale on 03/28/2013 20:58:38 MDT Print View

I bought my Weekender used here on Gearswap. The previous owner used it for a JMT hike. We agreed on a purchase months in advance. They don't pop up on swap much. When they do they go fast. For fairly close to the retail price. And why not. They don't get worn out by the average user.