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Bears and canisters

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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby gregw822 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:14 pm

Well...I don't know about the size of your pack, but mine certainly won't hold two canisters. There are very few campsites where I cannot cache some of my food in double odor-proof sacks in a place that is out sight for a bear. The first time I lose food to a bear I will revise my strategy, but I've been at this for many years without a hint of trouble.

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Postby kgw » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:15 am

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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby AnotherSteve » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:08 am

I don't take a lot of freeze dried food - I tend to dehydrate sauces and hamburger, take real spaghetti, etc. So I need more room. I am a big fan of the Wild Ideas canister. It holds a lot more - for me a weeks worth of food - and is a lot lighter. It costs a fortune but can be rented. Fits easily in my pack and makes an ok seat for cooking. See link below.

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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:49 am

that nytimes article is several years too late - that bear's been doing it for a while.

Bears along the JMT will drag off packs even if there is no food or smell in them, just to investigate them. They will be easily driven off if they have not yet gotten food. We had canisters and woke to one big black licking a bear vault - he walked through camp and tested a number of nonfood items in his mouth. I slept with the pack in my hammock the rest of the trip. Kind of a pain, but it didn't get dragged off. Bears in Yosemite break into cars to check what's in that plastic bag. You don't know what they are interested in until they check it, and it's not always got to do with smell.

Bearikades are great - the largest canister is only a few ounces heavier than the second largest. It's on my Christmas list.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby Cross Country » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:59 pm

From the beginning to 2008 I counterbalanced my food more than 200 times. Not once did a bear get my food. I believe, and it's my experience, that when done properly it's nearly fool proof (score 250 -0).
Some principles upon which this country were founded are to make laws and rules function within the objectives. Making people carry bear canisters does not fit this (but I admit that neither do drunk driving laws, and not many would be in favor of repealing those. I wouldn't). To me, however bear canister rules (laws) are not the same as DD laws. I don't approve of the way the canister rules are applied. People are forced to carry them, if I understand correctly, when there should be obvious exceptions to this application. I realize I read like a libertarian here, but I'm not. For example if someone were to plan a trip on the Rae Lakes Loop, at times the rules should be excluded. There are a sufficient number of bear boxes on the loop. Please do me a favor and don't advance the "what if" argument. It's nearly the lamest argument in existence. A minor point is that bear canisters are an affront to my civil liberties. Recently I was at Roads End obtaining a wilderness permit. The man in front of me was talking to the ranger about his extensive knowledge of bear canisters. This degree of brown nosing while trying to impress this particular ranger (and maybe the rest of us) made me want to puke. What low self esteemed he mut have had.
Some people in some situations don't need bear canisters and as it turns out I never did in any situation. It's not because I'm so super. I'm not. I just belive thats the truth.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby markskor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:08 am

Mr. Carter,
Been reading your recent posts here, and while the majority have been, well let us say, for the most part - somewhat informative, this last one though is pure tripe.

The Sierra bear canister laws, (how did you put it?) ..."It's nearly the lamest argument in existence. Bear canisters are an affront to my civil liberties." Here is the thing, these so-called bear canister laws, surprisingly enough, have nothing at all to do with YOU and your precious, lost, civil liberties; these laws are designed solely to protect the bears. It would be nice if they (the bears) were still around for our grandchildren's grandchildren. Of all the tried bear/food protection strategies, the can is the proven most effective way to limit our interaction with the bear, and coincidently, has the lowest impact on our Sierra. When used correctly, it effectively protects the best interest of the bear, but does lay the burden solely where it belongs - on the visiting hiker. Too bad.

Part of this rant deleted by author-
To add, I am sorry if my passion/rant offended anyone.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby balzaccom » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:22 am

Good reply Markskor

The rules about bear cannisters are not to protect us or our food. They're to protect bears.

And I will almost match the OPs notes. I have used a bear cannister for every single trip in the Sierra over the past few years. Never had a problem. Score? About 120-0. (In fact, we almost never saw a bear--and when we did, the beat did not associate us with food.) But that should be the point. If you are hiking in the woods and have to protect your food from bears on a regular basis, then somebody is doing something wrong. And the bears are the ones who will pay the price.

Here's a real case in point, from personal experience. We were camping at the Manzanita Lake campground a few years ago, tent camping with the kids in our Volvo. Since there were no bear boxes, we put all the food in the car for the night. A mother bear with cubs climbed up on top of our car and ripped the sun-roof partially off. Never got any food, but did a ton of damage to the car. We did everything right, but others had conditioned those bears to find food in vehicles, and the bears had become a huge problem. (you can read thw whole story on our website..)

The next year, Lassen installed steel bear boxes, and now they don't have a problem. None. I know that some campers feel that this is an infringement on their rights to camp the way they feel is best.

Too bad. The bears are going to live through it this way.

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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby dave54 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:34 am

Hey Markskor

Give carter a break! (lower case 'c' intentional. Name capitalization is a sign of respect). He said he is an expert and therefore exempt from the all the rules and regulations all us mere mortals must follow. Perhaps one day, with enough experience, we will be the super mega-packer like carter, then the bears will completely leave us alone too. :lol:

The regs aren't just to protect the bears. They are also protecting the next backpacker that uses the same site. Bear behavior escalates. Stealing food from a cache can and has turned into attacking a child eating a snack. Bears also pass on their skills to others. Sometimes I think they have their own internet site where they pass on tricks and tips to other bears. As soon as one bear learns how to defeat a bear proof trash can or cannister, the knowledge spreads to other bears faster than political sex scandal.

As for the hanging method -- carter has been lucky if, as he claims, it has always worked for him. I watched a FS video once in Montana (2003) of two black bears working in tandem -- one climbing out on a limb lowering the food bag closer to the ground where the other could grab it. It does not stop other critters (mice, squirrels etc) either. There is nothing quite like having chew holes in every food package to make the rest of the trip more pleasant.

I have also personally seen a bear box (3/16" steel) in the Absorkas peeled open like a banana (1988). Of course, that was a grizz, not a black bear, but it still lowered my confidence in bear boxes.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby JWreno » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:59 pm

In 2008 my wife and I carried two Bearikade Expeditions. We had no problem
putting 12 days of food in the cans. The expeditions have more room than the
heavier bear vaults. They are expensive but I consider them an investment that
I will enjoy for 25+ years. We hung balanced bags for about 8 years but I got
tired of loosing sleep chasing away bears 2 or 3 nights each trip.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:09 pm

I know were talking mostly about bear cans here, but is there anything you all do espcially for your pack to make sure it's not taken at 2am? We had this happen once about 10 years ago up at Evelyn Lk; my friend left his toothbrush in the pack. Not sure if that's what prompted the bear to take it, as i think they also see a pack as a potential food source.

I've taken to tying off my pack frame to a tree or rock at night with my pot handle threaded through the rope to the pack. pile of rocks strategically placed outside the tent for thwarting such attempts.
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