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Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Bear Cannisters: How to carry them on 10/01/2007 12:37:27 MDT Print View

Hello all,

I'm curious: do any of you have any tips or tricks for carrying/packing a bear canister? I have to carry one in the Adirondacks (I have the Bear Keg), but I'm yet to find a way to do so that doesn't mess up my packing system.

It's a tough bit of business. Basically, trying to incorporate a 3 lb. plastic barrel into an inflexible light-weight packing system is bound to be a pain in the neck, but I'd like to hear what you think.

Thanks,
Dave

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Bear Cannisters: How to carry them on 10/01/2007 12:45:43 MDT Print View

I have a BearVault, and for me anyway, I like to just put it right-side up down into the pack on top of my loose quilt. It is obviously going to displace some gear if you're not used to carrying one. I carry all the food and cooking gear inside the vault and my tent and sleeping pad go on the outside of my pack, one on each side. Works for me.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Cool on 10/01/2007 12:51:28 MDT Print View

I've done that too. I've also tried lashing it onto the top and bottom of the bag. But I've had little luck with this. I'm not sure why though - seems like it should work.

You know, in the 'Dacks, the bears have learned to open the Bear Vault. Crazy, eh? They just unscrew it and eat everything. Smart animals, man.

Dave

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Really? on 10/01/2007 12:53:21 MDT Print View

I am unaware of any BearVault failures when they are "properly" used. They're awfully nice folks, too. The owners of BearVault, not the bears. ;-)

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Vaults and Robbers on 10/01/2007 13:05:50 MDT Print View

>> I am unaware of any BearVault failures when they are "properly" used.

You think the bears are getting in because people aren't screwing on the lid tightly?

The Rangers at the DEC Interior Outposts in the 'Dacks actually keep a stash of bear cannisters at their posts for people who forget theirs...or bring Bear Vaults. It's regarded as common knowledge that, if you use a Bear Vault, there's a fifty-fifty chance you won't be eating breakfast.

It might be a bunch of backcountry bull, but it makes you wonder. It's like the bears actually have culture and can pass on aquired knowledge. I can almost picture them holding classes and whatnot...

The Bear Keg has worked well for me, but I bought it before I saw the light. It's the heaviest bear cannister on the market. Grrrr.

Edited by Ramapo on 10/01/2007 13:13:48 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Vaults and Robbers on 10/01/2007 13:28:59 MDT Print View

Do these BearVault failure anecdotes refer to the newer, orange-label BearVaults? As far as I know, this version has overcome the failure problems suffered by the earlier editions.

It would be good to know if there have been further problems.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
orange-label BearVaults on 10/01/2007 13:40:48 MDT Print View

Unfortunately, I don't know if the rumor spreaders are differntiating between new and old Bear Vaults. I'm headed up there this weeken though, so I can check.

Dave

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: orange-label BearVaults on 10/01/2007 14:18:30 MDT Print View

Thanks Dave, that would be great!

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Bear Cannisters: How to carry them on 10/01/2007 14:43:36 MDT Print View

I use a ULA Catalyst which is cut wide enough at the top to lay the cannister in horizontally rather than vertically. To me, it was one of the better selling points of the pack, since it meant I didn't need to substantially change the way I pack. It keeps my gear balance even and prevents me from needing to attaching anything to the outside of my pack, which I absolutely loathe.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: orange-label BearVaults on 10/01/2007 17:34:21 MDT Print View

Dave and Rick,
I just checked the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group's list of approved canisters. I have always considered it the gold standard when evaluating canisters since they test canistrers against the world's most accomplished canister cracker, the infamous Yosemite Black Bear before releasing them into the field with conditional approval status for a year. Currently two BearVault canisters, BV350 and BV400 are approved. All other BearVault canisters are forbidden in those areas of the Sierra where canisters are required. This might be a good standard for you to use when deciding which canister to use, because if the Yosemite Black Bear can't crack a canister you can be pretty sure your breakfast will be there when you wake up in the morning. Another precaution might be to slap one of those "Contents insured by Smith and Wesson" bumper stickers on the side of your canister. They can read, you know....

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
BV400 = no dinner on 10/01/2007 21:41:12 MDT Print View

Rick, looks like you're onto something:

http://www.adk46ers.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=47&func=view&id=519&catid=8

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
The latest information from BearVault: on 10/01/2007 22:05:56 MDT Print View

Since 10 August a single bear in the Marcy Dam area has learned to open
BearVault BV350/3400 models. It does this by pushing in the bump with its
incisor tooth and unscrewing the lid. As of today, this bear is the only
bear in the US that has managed to open BV350/400s since their introduction
in June 2006. However it can open them at will and so BearVaults should not
be used in the Marcy Dam area until new lids are available.
In an effort to improve our product, test lids were sent to the rangers in
the High Peaks area to distribute to hikers who were heading to Marcy Dam.
The hope was by giving hikers and rangers test lids, we would increase the
chances of getting an interaction of the new lids with this very talented
bear. The problems is there were only 12 test lids available. The idea is a
hiker would use the test lid and then return it to the rangers along with
any information on interactions with bears at Marcy Dam.
If you are one of the hikers with these test lids,please contact us with
your experience at sales@bearvault.com Also, if you are done with the test
lid, please pass it on to another hiker who may be going to Marcy Dam (if
you know of anyone) or return the lid to the rangers with your input. Input
from this testing is crucial for the design of the lids for 2008.


The new lids will be backwards compatible with BV350/400 and will be
available for a free swapout next spring upon successful testing of these
lids with this bear.


Your help with this testing will ensure the new lids pass muster with the
Marcy Dam bear. So far we have had one report of the Marcy Dam bear
attacking the test lids and not getting in.


Thank you for your help.
Jamie and Cindy

Jamie Hogan
(BearVault) - F
BearVaults status on 10/01/2007 22:18:26 MDT Print View

There have been no problems with BearVault BV350/400s outside of one bear's area at Marcy Dam in the Adirondacks.

Since 10 August a single bear in the Marcy Dam area has learned to open BearVault BV350/3400 models. It does this by pushing in the bump with its incisor tooth and unscrewing the lid. As of today, this bear is the only bear in the US that has managed to open BV350/400s since their introduction in June 2006. However it can open them at will and so BearVaults should not be used in the Marcy Dam area until new lids are available.

In an effort to improve our product, test lids were sent to the rangers in the High Peaks area to distribute to hikers who were heading to Marcy Dam. The hope was by giving hikers and rangers test lids, we would increase the chances of getting an interaction of the new lids with this very talented bear. The problems is there were only 12 test lids available. The idea is a hiker would use the test lid and then return it to the rangers along with any information on interactions with bears at Marcy Dam.
If you are one of the hikers with these test lids,please contact us with your experience at sales@bearvault.com Also, if you are done with the test lid, please pass it on to another hiker who may be going to Marcy Dam (if you know of anyone) or return the lid to the rangers with your input. Input from this testing is crucial for the design of the lids for 2008.

The new lids will be backwards compatible with BV350/400 and will be available for a free swapout next spring upon successful testing of these lids with this bear.

Your help with this testing will ensure the new lids pass muster with the Marcy Dam bear. So far we have had one report of the Marcy Dam bear attacking the test lids and not getting in.

Thank you for your help.
Jamie and Cindy

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Vaults and Robbers on 10/02/2007 14:06:28 MDT Print View

Dave,
Have you checked out the Bearikade "Weekender". It's made from carbon fiber with aluminum end caps, has a capacity of~650 c.i., and weighs 31 oz. according to the manufacturer. This makes it the lightest canister this side of the Ursack, which is also an option you might consider. The Weekender is very pricey to buy, but the company rents them for a very reasonable price($5/day for the 1st 3 days, and $2.50/day thereafter; shipping is $14 to theeast Coast zone). As far as I know, they have never been broken into by a bear. Their URL is bearikade.com. Good luck, whatever you choose. You're facing a very formidable critter.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Wow! on 10/02/2007 14:16:37 MDT Print View

Tom, thanks for the heads up on the Bearikade! That thing looks perfect. Except for that price tag anyway.

Just compare the specs of the weekender to the Bear Keg that I have:

Weekender:
Weight: 1 lb. 5 oz.
Volume: 650 cubic inches
Dimensions: 9" diameter base by 10" length
Price: $225 (I wouldn't have money left for food)

Bear Keg:
Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.
Volume: 716 cubic inches
Dimensions: 9" diameter base by 14" length
Price: $79.99 (with free muscle spasms in your lumbar region for good measure)

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Skeptical of the Bear Vault status on 10/02/2007 14:26:08 MDT Print View

You know, I don't want to start trouble, but I'm not sure I'm buying the story that there's only one bear that knows how to open the Bear Vault cannisters. My last trip to the 'Dacks I met two hikers from seperate groups who reported having had their Bear Vaults broken into. One had been camped illegally on the Northern side of Algonquin and the other had been staying at the Feldspar Leanto. Both break ins were reported as having happened on the same day. This casts the "one bear near Marcy Dam" story in a pretty dubious light.

I fully expect the Bear Vault people to defend their products and I do hope they get the problem with the Bear Vaults fixed. But I think the best thing to do is to avoid using Bear Vault products. Every time a bear has a successful encounter with a hiker's food stash, that bear's risk to hiker safety increases and so do the odds that the bear will need to be killed.

If you want to protect the bears, use cannisters that work. Even if they weigh over three pounds.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Wow! on 10/02/2007 17:33:21 MDT Print View

David:

To make an apples to apples comparison, you really should compare the Bear Keg with the Bearikade EXPEDITION model (they're the same size 9 x 14 and approximately equal volumes)

Bearikade Expedition MKII

The Bearikade Expedition is the choice for longer trips or larger groups. It can supply a group of 3 for 3 days. If used as a personal unit, it can supply you for up to 9 days.

Specifications:
• 2 pounds 5 ounces
• 9" diameter base by 14" length
• 900 cubic inch volume
• Bearikade Expedition $275.00

Regarding costs - as with any gear, ask yourself how many times you reasonably expect to use it. Once or twice? Rent it. More than that? Buying makes sense.

My Expedition fits vertically in my Mountainsmith Auspex and the rangers at Yosemite/Sequoia/Kings Canyon NPs are happy.

Bon chance

Edited by wandering_bob on 10/02/2007 17:38:14 MDT.

Matt Brodhead
(mattbrodhead) - F

Locale: Michigan
Bears: they're going to learn just as fast as us on 10/02/2007 18:37:11 MDT Print View

Bears are "smart". It is going to be hard to find a permanent solution to this problem because they are going to continue how to learn to open newer and newer models of kegs, etc. It's going to be extremely hard to develop something humans can use and carry, and yet something that is "bear proof". I hate to be a pessimist, but I really can't see it happening. They are going to learn just as fast as we do.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Yeah... on 10/03/2007 10:31:01 MDT Print View

...good points.

That's a better comparison, Bob. And I use a bear cannister every month, so I should buy a lighter one when I can afford it. The Bearikade looks like the one to get.

And yeah, we should expect the bears to learn. But we still need to protect them from our outdoor enthusiasms.

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Bear Cannisters: How to carry them on 10/03/2007 10:57:31 MDT Print View

This probably won't help much, but I carry mine horizontally at the top of my McHale Popcan pack. The pack is desinged wider at the top specifically for this.

I have a Bearikade Weekender, and I can get up to 6 days worth of food in it. Also, the weight you quoted for the Weekender is a little off, the actual weight of my mine is 933 grams (2 lbs 0.91 oz).