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Bear can in an Arc Blast?
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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/09/2014 10:43:39 MST Print View

So packs SAYS you can fit a Bearikade in the arc blast, but if you look at the dimensions, it is only 6.5" wide (for the 52L). One of the things I learned after hauling my Bearikade in a ULA circuit on the JMT last year is that while the pack is nice n big, it wasn't very deep and that meant I had a lump of a bear can in my back. It was my only real complaint with the circuit….

I'm toying with trying one of the arc blasts for this year's JMT thru, but those dimensions have me worried.
Those of you who rave about the arc blast - HONESTLY, how does the bear can carry??? I'm trying to get my total base weight under 10 (including the can) for this year, and the massive weight savings of the arc blast is one of the only ways I can do it.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Bear Vault works fine on 02/09/2014 10:59:43 MST Print View

I have an Arc Blast, and the first few hikes I took it on involved a bear can carry. I have the Bear Vault 500, which is 8.7" in diameter, by 12.7 inches tall. It carried ok, I didn't really notice it much. Initially, it did press into the space behind the net arc, I could feel it against my back, but it wasn't terrible. there was enough space to pack my rain-gear around it.

The height is the biggest issue, I think. It has to ride above the cross bar, and there weren't a high number of rolls on the top. The Bearikade Week-ender should work ok, it is shorter than the Bear Vault 500, but I don't know about the Expedition. Somewhere there is a thread about Custom Bearikades, and the 12 inch height being the most popular. Might hit the sweet spot between the 2 sizes, and give you the capacity you need for a thru-hike, without being too tall for the bag.

The pack I had before the Blast was a SMD Traveler panel loader. I carried the bear canister inside the pack. I much prefer the Arc Blast for the carry, it doesn't dig into my back like the carry with the Traveler did. I do rather miss the panel loading feature, but the suspension on the Traveler would bug me each time I wore it until I got used to it again.

One little caution: My pack was the original design, 52 L size. I did send it back for the modifications of the 2nd cross bar and the different design of the mesh back. I'm pretty sure I had a bear can carry after the mods with the second cross-bar, but I can't remember for sure.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Bear Vault works fine on 02/09/2014 11:25:01 MST Print View

Diane, it has to ride ABOVE the top crossbar? That's an awfully high place for the heaviest thing in the pack......

I do have the weekender already and I am certainly NOT going to shell out any more money for another one of those.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Not the top... on 02/09/2014 11:57:19 MST Print View

but the middle cross bar. See, I told you I had one of the original designs, before they modded it. It rides above the middle of the arc, vertically. Your Week-ender is 2 inches shorter than my BV 500. It *might* ride cross-ways, but you'll have an easier time of carrying it vertical than I do with my can, your top should roll down just fine.

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Re: Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/09/2014 13:26:44 MST Print View

I just ordered a Bearikade 12" for my JMT thru this summer and am waiting on delivery so I can "practice" packing with it in my Arc blast. As far as weight up high, put your puffy and down bag in it while hiking and your heavier stuff down lower. (just a thought)

Rob P
(rpjr) - M
Bearikade and Arc Blast on 02/09/2014 15:55:20 MST Print View

Very interested in this thread, as I'm contemplating a JMT thru for either Sept. of this year or Sept. of 2015.

I've been trying to figure out which size Bearikade to use, but have also been thinking seriously about getting an Arc Blast as well. I've read somewhere that the 12' custom seems to be a good size for the JMT.

Brian, definitely post when you get your canister regarding fit, etc….that would be much appreciated. I'd love to get an Arc Blast as well but if it doesn't' carry the canister well I might have to go in a different direction.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
bears on 02/09/2014 16:17:08 MST Print View

I have a weekender and arc blast ... it goes past the top crossbar (newest addition, originally there was only middle bar) and then fits above the middle cross bar .. rests on it, if you will, since the pack becomes too narrow at that point for can to go lower..... plenty of room once it's in to close top, but it's not the most efficient use of space. I've talked with Joe a few times regarding bearikade strategies .....

A few options if you can't get everything in the pack:

1) take your clothes bag or tent or similar out, close pack with bear can in it and then use the top strap to cinch the extra item to the top. You could also lash an empty weekender to the top of the pack as well, but probably easier to lash a soft item that will have an easier time staying put. At any time, the top 1/2 inch nylon lash webbing can be threaded out and replaced with longer webbing, if needed ... hadn't occurred to me, but Joe pointed that out ... if you ever need to lash an item that is too big for the current webbing length....

2) some have ordered custom arc blasts with a wider top part so the can fits sideways .... I have had a couple 52 liter arc blasts and one 60 liter, which I returned quickly... my gear fits really in nicely and snuggly in 52 liter, the extra width on 60 liter just added room sideways in the pack, which resulted in a sloppy carry for me, there was no upside for me personally, which would be the issue I would have with a custom bear can arc ...

Also, the beam stay sections in the pack have extra tape on them to help fortify them a bit since they may have items rub against them, but I would still keep an eye out for rubbing where bearikade meets middle stay, just to be safe at first ... I had my pot shift and it rubbed against one of the side stays on my first arc and it rubbed a hole in the pack .... just keep an eye on that stay that the can will be resting on ...not a fault of the pack or design, but a weakness of cuben fiber ...

Edited by tracedef on 02/09/2014 16:24:00 MST.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Bearikade and Arc Blast on 02/09/2014 16:19:00 MST Print View

Yes it absolutely does HAVE to go above the crossbar. It fits without the impression it is about to explode - unlike my small exos 48. However the spaces are a bit awkward. You definitely want to do "cloud packing" for this case - if you want to use this combination then volume is as important as weight. On the other hand it is pretty amazing it fits at all. I used to can a garcia in my Jam for years, but not for the JMT or week long trips.

Does anyone want me to take a picture of this? They don't even have one on the zpacks site, and it was one thing I personally wanted before I bought an arc blast last year. I recall several emails with then trying to get a very precise description of how it fit.

I will probably go with the more comfortable Kalais when I in fact will have a fully loaded berikade weekender on me. Otherwise the arc blast for several days, with room in the berikade for my stove and some other things. Then the fit and weight distribution is perfect.

Edited by millonas on 02/09/2014 16:35:38 MST.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/09/2014 16:32:33 MST Print View

Hi Mark. That would be great if you took a picture! There seems to be a lot of interest in the Arcblast and the Bearikade combo. Almost all of my hiking is in the Sierras, and my Bearikade is a way of life now! I have had the Osprey Exos 46 before, and didn't like the way my bear can fit in it at all. Way too much wasted space even with stuffing loose items in the voids. I sold it for that reason alone! Thanks in advance if you throw some photos up!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/09/2014 16:43:23 MST Print View

OK, I will within the hour - looks like my camera battery needs a recharge.

In the meantime, I am worried about the berikade "bouncing" on the crossbar for a long trip. The arc blast is a bit delicate in this department, and having a 15 lbs fully loaded berikade hammering on top of it with every step might be an issue. Even if it is above I would be worried about the stuff compressing underneath, and then the berikade is not merely above the crossbar, but hitting it. That sound like a bad thing. So far I have not used the arcblast with the can for any longer trips since I got the Kalais at the same time.

I will probably go with the heavier Kalais.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Pictures of ArcBlast 52L with Berikade Weekender on 02/09/2014 17:14:33 MST Print View

With Berikade weekender (1 1/2 inches shorter than the 12" Berikade) sitting on the cross bar of the Arc Blast 52L. Top of can comes up to where the frame ends when sitting right on top. Note odd shaped triangular pockets to fill.


Closed with one twist of the top - not so much extra space on the top maybe 2" barely closed. With 12" Berikade assume no extra room on top.


Closed with official U. of Chicago Gargoyle bookend sitting in top of canister.


Side view.


Edited by millonas on 02/09/2014 17:19:57 MST.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/09/2014 17:26:33 MST Print View

Thanks Mark! Nice Gargoyle ya got there;) !

I would probably be a bit worried about wear on that crossbar from the can as well. I put a piece of duct tape on the inward curved part of the Exos as a preventative wear measure, which helped.

Edited by rp3957 on 02/09/2014 17:28:54 MST.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/09/2014 18:17:49 MST Print View

In the arc blast's case that crossbar was not designed to take a shear force, and I would be worried, especially with a full bear can, that not just the cuben would tear, but the whole crossbar would rip off. I wouldn't want the bear can "resting" on it ever! I just can't think of a surefire way to prevent this. It is especially the bumping the crossbar would take when, say, going down a 2 feet step in the trail.

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/10/2014 18:42:20 MST Print View

Hmm. Joe's website says "All standard Bear Canisters, including the Bearikade Expedition and the BearVault 500 will fit in the upper half of this pack standing on end. " It seems from the photos and discussion here that the Expedition would fit, but that the roll top would not close? That doesn't sound like it would "fit." I'd like to hear Joe's input on the fit as well as the issues of (1) shear force on the cross bar; and (2) abrasion wear on the pack material between the cross bar and bearikade.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Joe's email reply on 02/10/2014 18:54:24 MST Print View

I emailed Joe about this and here is his response:

"All three of the pack sizes will fit a standard bear canister standing vertically.

The arched frame creates a couple inches of gap between the pack and your back at the center. That should be enough to keep the bottom edge of the canister from digging into your back.

The top edge of the canister will be above your shoulders where it isn't an issue.

You can adjust the flex of the frame as much or as little as you want. I like about 2.5" of flex, but it also carries well straight so you can experiment. If you don't arch the frame you could carry a foam sit pad between the canister and your back for padding.

Best regards,

Joe Valesko"

Stephen Adams
(stevemkedcom) - MLife

Locale: Northwest
Arc Blast on 02/10/2014 19:18:55 MST Print View

I did the PCT last year with an ARC Blast and the Bearicade expedition through the Sierras. I was barely able to close the lid with it on end in the top 2/3's of the pack when i started. I strapped my tent to the outside of the pack at the bottom and rolled my Neoair around the Bearicade. after a couple of days I was able to start putting other things in the Bearikade like my stove and some cloths then I had no problem closing the top. Like others said put a piece of duct tape where the Bearicade rubs the crossbar. I never felt it on my back the entire 250 miles I had to carry it.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Bear can in an Arc Blast? on 02/10/2014 23:25:56 MST Print View

No, I don't have an expeditions, just the weekender, but I think it is clear that it will fit, but barely. If you like I can add an artificial extension of the right length on there and take another picture. Though whether you consider the minimum rolling "closed" or not may of course be in the eye of the beholder.

But for the other reasons I am worried about it. Like I was saying, if the can is physically touching the cross-bar (i.e. you haven't stuffed enough underneath this to make sure it does not happen). I think this might possibly have a disastrous effect - might bend or knock the crossbar out of its "socket". If you really need an expedition I fear you may be pushing this pack out of its range. Just get another pack and be done with it. Or maybe get ZPacks to make you one with a bit longer collar. But I guess it worked for Steven.

Just to repeat, I get the part about the rubbing of the can, but that is not my main concern by a long stretch. I'm worried about the perpendicular loading on the crossbar. Using duct tape is not going to do anything to fix that. The crossbar's only job is to hold the vertical bars apart, and it is attached in some slots. These slot are just some thin webbing sewed together into the right shape. I think another question to ask Joe is if he thinks there might be a problem - other than wear on the cuben - with the full weight of an filled expedition sitting on top of this bar.

From my point of view, and I'm looking right at the crossbar mount here, this may be a weakness for using a bear can, long term. Though again, it seems Steven made it work ok.

But of course the sticking into your back issue is just not going to happen on this pack.

Edited by millonas on 02/10/2014 23:50:45 MST.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
It fits but on 02/11/2014 06:59:58 MST Print View

Sounds like it fits but it's not ideal and may decrease the longevity of an already relatively "fragile" pack.

I wish zpacks would make a blast with more traditional hoop stay.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: It fits but on 02/11/2014 09:00:41 MST Print View

You could probably get Joe to make you a Blast to take a hooped stay if you got the stay from elsewhere.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Can on 02/11/2014 10:49:01 MST Print View

FWIW, I think that as long as a little extra tape is placed on the resting bar to prevent rub through from the can, you're good to go. I've triple checked the strength of the bar and the 1/2 inch nylon webbing component fastener that fastens the carbon fiber bar to the frame and they're probably one of the strongest parts on the pack. I cannot even imagine a scenario where a bear can would produce enough force to break the bar or dislodge it ... I really thing the bar breaking is a non issue apart from the pack getting run over by a car, whereas the rub issue could possibly be an issue. The bar area is already fortified with extra tape by zpacks, but adding a little more as Stephen and others have suggested couldn't hurt and.....