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Bear Canisters

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:51 pm
by millertime
I did a few searches on the forum so forgive me if this topic has been covered. I've read all the reviews on REI about the BV500 and the Bear Keg. I've always hung my food in Tahoe with no issues but in the eastern sierra that isn't an option in some areas. What I am wondering is can they fit food for 2 people + a boxer for 5 days. And if anyone has a preference between the two or another option I'm all ears.

Re: Bear Canisters

Posted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:34 am
by balzaccom
We've done five days in our bearvault 500, but that doesn't include the doggie chow. The first night's dinner doesn't have to fit---so you can carry that separately in your pack. And that leaves just three dinners left--the last day you'll be back out the trailhead. four breakfasts, and four lunches. I don't know how much dog food you carry, so that would be the limiting factor.

Re: Bear Canisters

Posted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:21 am
by rayfound
I think you could do it... but it'd be a squeeze with the dogfood.

Re: Bear Canisters

Posted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:53 am
by AlmostThere
If you haven't used a bear can before, it'll be tough. Some of us changed the way we did food when we started using them. I've seen the larger bear vault packed full of cup a soups and cans - for an overnight. That just seems unnecessary....

If you have doubts, you can get the larger Bearikade via rental by mail, and get around the whole problem. You'll get it a few days before you start the hike (they only charge for the days you are actually hiking).

Garcia 2 lb 12 oz 614 cu in
Bare Boxer 1 lb 6 oz 275 cu in
BearVault BV500 2 lb 9 oz 700 cu in
BearVault BV450 2 lb 1 oz 440 cu in
Bearikade Weekender 1 lb 15 oz 650 cu in
Bearikade Expedition 2 lb 5 oz 900 cu in

The Expedition is the largest and it is lighter than the bigger BV (not to mention bigger). You will need a large enough pack to put it in, but it would fit vertically in my 60L.

The way I usually pack stuff is in small freezer bags. Has to be food that will flow together and not leave air gaps - roll all the air out, seal the bag, set the can on its side and start stacking it in like cordwood in the bottom until it's full. Then chock in powerbars, lara bars, tea bags, coffee packets, sugar packets, etc. Then set the can upright and put in tortillas, flatbread, those little Orowheat sandwich thins, pita, whatever is flat and layers in, then add in any items that don't take well to compression. I have packed in a little platy of rum, a larger platy of wine, a few eggs in a hardsided container.... for longer trips one needs every bit of space, so I would be adding another layer of ziplocs with meals in, GORP, etc for this area. anything vac sealed should be repacked at home. There should be a little space left for the rest of the stuff - trash, hygiene items, any fish bait. And the first day of food doesn't need to ride inside the can or ever go in at all, remember.

Re: Bear Canisters

Posted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:11 pm
by millertime
Just rented a Bearikade. Thanks for that advice guys!

Re: Bear Canisters

Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:43 pm
by bheiser1
I think AlmostThere described it well. It really depends how you pack it. In my case, I have been using just packaged freezed dried backpacking dinners, oatmeal for breakfast, various snack bars, and such ... and when I factor in insect repellent, sunblock, etc, I find I can barely squeeze 3 days (3 dinners, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches) into my BV450. So I guess I could fit more in if I were more creative in my packing. The downside, I think, to packing too much in, is you have to repeat this exercise multiple times thru the trip as you unpack and re-pack for each meal...

Re: Bear Canisters

Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:33 pm
by rlown
i would have probably rented two weekenders, one for each pack, esp if you don't plan to repackage your food. They aren't that heavy, and it gives you more room for the boxer food.

Guess it still comes back to how you pack it. If you rented the expedition, and you don't repackage (assuming freeze dried pro packs, for instance), you'll be out of space before you know it. Boxer (don't know the size), but my 85lb lab eats 2 cups of food a day. The 18 lb Jack Russell, well, maybe 1 cup (he's always running around though). With more exercise, they'd probably eat more.

Definitely pull out your first day's food into a seperate container.