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Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/13/2014 22:18:51 MDT Print View

There have been a few blog posts, and so on, over the past decade on a method for optimal efficiency in packing a bear can for a very long stretch that involves filling in the empty spaces with grain of some sort. Couscous was mention often, but I was thinking of trying dehydrated basmati rice. If I'm remember correctly people were claiming they could get 10+ days of food out of a Garcia can in this way

I was wondering if anyone has tried it, and what advice, suggestions and experiences they could relate.

I admit I laughed at the idea the first time I heard about it, but now it seems more reasonable in light of possibly needing to get an even bigger can (possibly exchange my weekender for and expedition) and throwing my whole dam pack system off. :-/

Also, the basmati might work well when supplemented with all the trout I intend to catch.

Edited by millonas on 03/13/2014 22:22:47 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/13/2014 22:31:26 MDT Print View

Mark,

I think some of this depends upon how people cook and what they like. I have no problem with repetitive meals. So I am fine with emptying 3 or 4 of each MH into a Large ZipLock (Chili Mac, Lasagna, and Spaghetti), which means 3 ZipLocs for all dinners. I transfer the required amount into a meal size freezer bag or similar for each meal. I can throw 20 packs of Instant Quaker Oats into one large ZipLoc and do the same each morning. Then I pack in as much of the daily stuff (usually bars and jerky). The void is filled with nuts and raisins. Sounds boring, but works for me. I also carry instant coffee in a ZipLoc.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/13/2014 22:56:28 MDT Print View

milonas,

You have a new user name and avatar. I hope those are Blackwing 602's in the coat pocket.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/13/2014 23:09:03 MDT Print View

I don't think that I would ever fill my bear canister directly with bulk food like rice. I have been known to put about five days worth of instant rice into an underfilled zip lock bag and throw that into the bear canister. I was planning for a nine-day trip one time, so that meant eight days worth of food in a Garcia.

I've moved to lighter bear canisters now, so the Garcia may never see another grain of rice.

One guy figured it out. He bought about ten pounds of Robertson's Shortbread Cookies, ground those up with a rolling pin, and poured all that into a bear canister. Maximum calories with no wasted packaging space. No cooking required.

When I go now, I will carry three or four meals worth of instant rice in one bag, two or three meals of couscous in a second bag, and three or four meals worth of instant quinoa in a third bag. Then there are all kinds of miscellaneous soup bases and veggie flakes to cook those with, plus meat and cheese snacks and dried fruit. A unique mixture goes into each cooked meal. But at least half of the bear canister is occupied by three or more big bags.

Also, I pack the bear canister from the bottom to the top. The stuff on top is likely to be eaten first, and the stuff on the bottom is eaten last. That way, I don't have to keep repacking the thing.

--B.G.--

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/13/2014 23:15:48 MDT Print View

@nick,

Yeah, I might change it again, since Mr. Fox looks a bit like he is lecturing, when in fact he is trying talk his way out of trouble with his wife, who has just caught him red-handed coming back from goose thievery that has been specifically forbidden by her.

Also his folded up burglar hat looks like a beret - never a good look.

The advice about combining meals is a good one, especially as I've been experimenting with making my own. Having 3 x 3 different meals might be plenty of variety. I'm going to try and see if I can get 9 days in a weekender, and if not I will contemplate my options.

" He bought about ten pounds of Robertson's Shortbread Cookies, ground those up with a rolling pin, and poured all that into a bear canister."

Or maybe I'm thinking some pounded up logan bread - though I would probably be a diabetic by the time I got done. Maybe you could bake the whole batch INSIDE the can at home and just scoop it out with you spoon as your go.

Edited by millonas on 03/14/2014 00:22:16 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/14/2014 04:48:42 MDT Print View

Bob, that's about what I do. The bear ball gets wett sometimes anywy. Dew is a bitch with potatoe flakes.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/14/2014 12:26:54 MDT Print View

I forgot about condensation - I was so happy about the o-ring seal in the Bearikade. Yes, that could be a mess with potato flakes. Guess you would need an extra long spoon. :-)

I have been thinking more about this a bit since those posts and the big bags approach does seem the best of both worlds. The only (very slight) compromise for optimum packing then is separately storing the "fixings" in small bags. It is also nice for the fishing strategy since that way you have the most choice at dinner time. I'm going to have to try this out at home in terms of the packing.

Who the hell knew I would also need a "food system" in addition to all the other systems! If only the bear can could be multi-purposed in a constructive way. Maybe I could leave 1 stake behind and use it to pitch my tarp. If only ballast was an UL requirement!

Edited by millonas on 03/14/2014 12:39:22 MDT.

Desert Dweller
(Drusilla)

Locale: Wild Wild West
Filler for bear can on 03/14/2014 13:02:25 MDT Print View

Oh heck guys, just fill the can with Lotus, Biscoff, Cruchy Spread and call it good! :-)





http://www.amazon.com/Lotus-Biscoff-Spread-Crunchy-Ounce/dp/B006ODLCGI/ref=pd_sim_gro_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0YRG4ZCDJPP2MEA1D7JK

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/14/2014 13:08:42 MDT Print View

"If only the bear can could be multi-purposed in a constructive way."

Very easily, a bear canister makes a good camp chair. If you happen to have one brand that has metal end-pieces, then you can use it as a stove platform. Although you probably won't get both of those at the same time.

You can use it as a tom-tom drum for waking up others in the morning. You can empty out the food and use the empty canister as a water drum for carrying water across the desert. You can leave the food in your pack until you make it to camp, drink the water, and put the food back in the canister.

--B.G.--

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Using the "filler" method with a bear can on 03/14/2014 15:07:01 MDT Print View

So you would stuff all of the food packages in there and then pour in rice to fill the spaces? What happens when you take all of your food out in the evening? The rice would all be at the bottom and then... I'm confused here.

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Filler method on 03/14/2014 15:41:50 MDT Print View

How many days food are you planning for? I have the Weekender and have managed 9 days--8 days in the canister and carry the first days food in my pack. As Nick said it depends a lot on your food choices and the packaging. Just about everything should be repackaged except probably candy/protein bars. Also getting the air out of bags is important. I put a pin hole at the top of each plastic bag to ensure there is minimal trapped air.
I picture filler material as making a mess but I guess if I were to do it I'd pack and extra bag and after the second day throw all the loose stuff in it.
Then there are the extreme methods. 1. Pulverize everything with a hammer. 2.Go for the calorie dense method and fill your canister with peanut butter--you could probably get about 20 days worth of calorie requirements in the can. 3. Someone reported trying the protein powder diet and had to bail pretty quickly.
My problem is that I get bored with food easily so I'm constantly bouncing around with different food that I can manage to like when I'm out for more than a week.