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Packing the bear can

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Packing the bear can

Postby balzaccom » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:50 am

Thought you might enjoy this from our blog:

It's not a science, but more like an art.

Step One: First you have to get all of your food together: the freeze-dried dinners, the soup packets, the instant oatmeal and cocoa, the energy bars and the gorp, the dried fruit and salami, bread or crackers. It all has to go into that little plastic barrel.

Step Two: Take everything out of its pre-packaged wrapper. Pour the freeze-dried dinners into zip-lock bags, so they take up less room. Open the dried fruit packages, squeeze all the air our of them, then re-seal them with their finger seal. Remove all extraneous paper wrappings, cardboard, etc. If you are taking bread, squeeze it down into a much smaller dimension, and then put it in the freezer over night. It will take up less room, and stay fresher that way.

Step Three: take the first night's dinner and set it aside. It doesn't have to go in the can, nor does the first day's lunch or snack. Whew! That makes it a little easier.

Step Four: imagine all of this fitting into that little plastic can. And imagine how you are going to use this stuff. Start by putting a couple of days' breakfasts and dinner down into the bottom of the can. You won't need these for the first few days, and it's better to get them out of the way.

Step Five: Now stack all those energy bars around the side of the can. This is the most efficient use of space for these bars, and this waythey are more or less easy to grab. As you stack them in there, use more breakfasts or dinners to hold them in place.

Step Six: now it's time for the stuff in the middle. Take your salami, cheese, and anything else you are going to eat for lunch and pack it in the middle of the can. You'll need to access this stuff every day, so there is no point putting it in the bottom.

Step Seven: Toss in the last breakfast--that's what you'll need first thing in the morning on the second day, and it makes sense to put this on top. Hooray! It all fits perfectly!

Step Eight: Inform your wife that the bear canister is now packed for the trail. She asks if you want to put the toiletries in there as well.

Step Nine: Take the sunscreen, moisturizer, insect repellent, toothpaste, and face cream from your wife. Go back to the bear can and start shoving it in. With a little bit of luck and some brute force, you'll be able to wedge this stuff in between the salami and the cheese, and maybe shove one down the side with the energy bars. That last tube of face cream is just going to get mashed on top...and let's hope it doesn't jam the lid when you try to unscrew everything.

Step Ten: Inform your wife that the bear canister is now packed for the trail. She asks if you remembered the bread.

Step Eleven: Take the bread out of the freezer. Unpack the entire can and start again, shoving things together even harder. Forget trying to keep the noodles in once piece. Sacrifice the crispy crackers and turn them into powder to gain more space. Mash the bread into a solid ball, then shove the final toiletries on top and jam the lid in place. Slowly screw the lid down, listening for structural failure in the bear can.

Step Twelve: Inform your wife that the bear canister is now packed for the trail. She asks if you remembered to put the soap in.

Step Thirteen: Put the soap in a side pocket of your pack, along with the last two energy bars, a tube of neosporin, and the raisins your wife just bought at the store.

Step Fourteen: Inform the ranger at the trailhead that all your food and odorized items are in the bear can.

Step Fifteen: Start hiking. Hope for the best. Inform your wife that next time, we'll have take less stuff.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/



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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:56 am

Step 6 is not necessary. That goes in my day pack for the day's lunch, right on top inside my pack.. And you don't have to pack your first meal in the can.

Step 10-13 is probably the most important.. :D
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:10 pm

I have a few steps in between involving rum or wine, and omit the part about the wife, since I don't have one. But it sounds pretty familiar...
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:13 pm

Rum doesn't go in the can. The 151 just sits there at night, in it's 32 oz nalgene container, taunting them. Has anyone seen a bear up high out of the campgrounds this year?
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:31 pm

Last step - first night - remember that something you REALLY needed is on the bottom, dump can and start over! Seems like I can never avoid this last step.

In all seriousness, I pack the can a bit differently. I have my can labeled - "heavy" and "light" on opposite sides and then pack all the dense stuff on the "heavy" side and all the fluffy light stuff on the "light" side. The "heavy" side goes next to my back. Unfortunately, the bear can does not fit horizontally in my pack. The weight distrubution within the cannister really makes a difference in comfort of carrying. Also, regardless of regulations, I am never going to pack DEET or soap in my bear can. Just the hint of soap smell on my food nearly nausiates me. I do not take soap, anyway - just wipes. I put these items outside the tent.

As for putting stuff in the freezer, I wonder if this is best. Everytime I put the can in the refrigerator, condensation forms inside and my expensive freeze-dried stuff tends to soak up the moisture. Damp food spoils faster.
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:05 pm

rlown wrote:Rum doesn't go in the can. The 151 just sits there at night, in it's 32 oz nalgene container, taunting them. Has anyone seen a bear up high out of the campgrounds this year?


Ah, I like your assumption that it's meant to go in the can... it's just part of the process of packing. :nod: :D
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby quentinc » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:07 pm

Yeah, the idea that bears are going to break into your tent to get to the DEET is pretty comical. I remember back in the days before bear cans, when the rangers were telling people to hang anything with odor, including dirty socks. A bear is going to break into my tent for dirty socks?? How about my feet, should I hang those too? No way they're going to fit into my Garcia. ;)
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:22 pm

I've started leaving the DEET sitting on a rock near the canister. Waiting for a bear to touch it, or melt his wristwatch with it.... You aren't supposed to put it inside, right? Says so on the Bear Vault instructions, NO DEET!
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby gary c. » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:25 pm

It says no DEET on the can but the rangers will try to tell you that you have to put it in there.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:55 pm

gary c. wrote:It says no DEET on the can but the rangers will try to tell you that you have to put it in there.


Of course they do. Never seen a bear touch it, tho. Or coffee, or denatured alcohol, but they do have an appreciation for fish bait.
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:04 pm

RE:13
Soap! SOAP?! We don't need no stinking soap!!
(Even biodegradable soap.) :threaten:
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Packing the bear can

Postby balzaccom » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:20 pm

A couple of clarifications.
DEET doesn't get packed in the can...but the all natural insect repellent my wife likes does go in there.

And yes, soap. A tiny bottle of Dawn that gets used for everything from greasy pots to dirty hands.
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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