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Bears and canisters

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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:05 pm

You have to think about food differently when using a bear cannister for long trips. Bulk is an issue. For example, if taking pasta, macaroni is bulky whereas spaghetti broken into 3 inch pieces can be packed fairly well. Cuscous is particulary low volume. The difference with 10 breakfasts of oatmeal versus 10 of Malt-o-Meal is a significant reduction in bulk. A bag of gorp packs with lower volume than trail bars (for the same calories). Almonds pack better than walnuts. Anything with corners do not pack well in a round container. So for every food type, there are many variations of bulk. I am able to get 9 days of food in my Bear-i-Kade weekender - and still have 2,600 calories per day. You also have to re-pack everything in plastic bags. I also use the Lipton "Sides" but take a pin and poke a hole to let air out and then squish them and put a piece of tape over the hole. Just about anything commercially packed with swell at altitude. When all does not fit in the pack, I take out the least necessary items (such as sport drinks) and hang in a tree. Another trick is to plan your hike so you can utilize the bear boxes for the first two nights. When I do this I can actually do a 12 day trip with my bear cannister. It took me a while to come around to accepting the bear cannister. Now if pack manufacturers would just design packs to better handle the cannisters! PS. My wonderful children gave me the Bear-i-Kade for Christmas. Let your family know you want one - put it on the list to Santa.



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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby richlong8 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:59 am

I have used the Bear Vault the last few years, no incidents, and up to 12 days of food. I have found its neccessary to repack everything in ziplock bags, as others have noted, and get the excess air out of the bag, so it doesn't take up too much room in the canister. The other trick is once I have it packed, and it doesn't seem like there is enough room, I compress the contents by banging the bottom of the can on the ground, or living room carpet, before I leave, and this settles the contents down further, so I can fit everything in. I am no expert, but it works for me, the canister is very sturdy, and in not danger of breaking by banging it, and I have been fortunate to have no bear incidents. I do not miss suspending a bag from a tree, and the Bear Vault makes a decent camp seat. I just wish it was lighter, but its comparable, or lighter than the others as far as I can tell. I set it apart from my pack, and tent so any marmots will keep thier distance as well, hopefully. I hear more stories of hikers getting packs chewed by marmots than bear problems, if the hiker is at least a day out from the trailhead.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:53 pm

12 days of food in the Bear Vault!
You must have a slower metabolism because I eat like crazy especially once my
mountain hunger kicks in after 3-4 days.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby richlong8 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:05 pm

12 days is really pushing it- that was my longest trip, and I remember coming down the last day with one quarter of a power bar, and a small, stale piece of jerkey! And admittingly, I was not eating the last couple of days the way I should have, trying to conserve food.
9-10 days is my normal long trip length, and the canister works good for that. On that 12 day trip, I was rudely surprised by fish being eliminated by the NPS in LeConte Canyon to save the frog, and I had no fish to eat in the evening. I was pretty hungry when I got to my car at South Lake, believe me!But I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.....
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby vaughnm » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:43 pm

Richlong8 said
" The other trick is once I have it packed, and it doesn't seem like there is enough room, I compress the contents by banging the bottom of the can on the ground, or living room carpet, before I leave, and this settles the contents down further, so I can fit everything in. I am no expert, but it works for me, the canister is very sturdy, and in not danger of breaking by banging it..."

I had two Bear Vaults, used them for about 4 years total of about 40 days on the trail, and both of them cracked. Came back from one trip and one of them had split across the bottom. The other one has a series of tiny cracks all on the bottom edge. Looks like a cracked windshield.
So, I bought a Bearikade.

Mike
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby richlong8 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:09 pm

Wow, thanks for the heads-up, I probably have that many days, or a few more on mine. I will keep an eye on it. those things are not cheap. I am using the large size one, weighs about three pounds. I don't remember the model #. I think I have read they had some quality issues with the smaller one.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby gdurkee » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:21 pm

I was rudely surprised by fish being eliminated by the NPS in LeConte Canyon to save the frog,


For clarification, this is a bit misleading. Frog habitat is being restored -- and fish removed -- only in a side lake basin of maybe 4 lakes, above 10,800 feet or so in Upper LeConte Canyon, west of the JMT. Lots of fishies on the JMT itself.

http://sierranaturenotes.com/naturenotes/StekelMYF1.htm

g.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby richlong8 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:21 pm

This is what seems to be the case, that it was only the upper part, {above the waterfall?}... I am now finding out from this forum. Thanks to all!
But its not what I was told by those working on the project the day I was there, a couple of summers ago, and the ranger at the bottom of LeConte gave the same information, that they are "removing all the fish, until you get to the area where the Bishop Pass trail intersects the Muir Trail"..... which now appears to have been misinformation. It could have been ignorance on the ranger's part, he seemed like a nice guy, who directed us to some good holes downstream of Dusy Creek confluence with the Kings, but obviously, it was deliberate misinformation on the part of those killing fish in the upper canyon. Why would they do such a thing if their motives and mission are pure? I can't say, its their problem,isn't it, but they initiated the conversation with my partner, and I, and we took it at face value, and we knew nothing about the frog projects until that moment. I know about it now, and I keep close tabs on where the work is happening, or scheduled to be happening, in planning my trips.
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Re: Bears and canisters

Postby ERIC » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:06 pm

Ok, back to the original topic. Please reserve the frog/fish talk for the threads dedicated to that discussion.

Thank you. :thumbsup:
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