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Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness?

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Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:31 pm

Tried to search online, no luck of approved canisters for the Inyo NF. Headed out for four nights Friday out of Mammoth Lakes to Silver Pass and Purple Lake area and I'm sure I'll need a bear can. Any recent info on whether I can use my Bearicade Weekender or do I have to use my Garcia Machine? I have an older Ursack TKO, but don't think it makes the grade anymore. Was nice this summer just hanging food in Glacer NP on the cables.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby hikerduane » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:43 pm

I see part of my trip beyond Purple Lake will be into the Sierra NF, which means I can't use my TD 12-10 stove, right? I'll have to bring an old MSR classic I guess.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:35 am

I had an extensive talk with the ranger at the Mono Visitor Center this summer. I gather that the authorities cannot outright ban the newer Ursacks. I do not recall that the Bearikade has ever been specifically banned from the Sierra, although it is not approved for the grizzly bear regulations. To get around the controversies regarding specific brands of bear cans and the Ursack issue, in the Sierra you have to have your food "bear-proof". For example there is plenty of evidence supporting the failure of hanging food in trees. I would think, however, that the burden of proof would still be on the authorities. Very fuzzy. If you use a Ursack and get cited, you need to be prepared to defend that it is bear proof. Since the Ursack is designed to be tied to a tree so the bear cannot run off with it, this implies that you cannot use an Ursack above timber. In summary, it is all fuzzy right now due to ongoing law suits and temporary settlements. Probably the most foolproof method would be to rent a bear can from the FS. They then could not say that their bear cans are not bear proof! Personally, I just tell them what I use and if they object, ask to see the regulation that specifically bans the method I am using. I think you would get into trouble if you lied, and what you were actually carrying was not what you said it was, and you get stopped.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:47 am

I have a Bearikade, Bear Vault solo, and a Bare Boxer - none of them were rejected by the NF rangers, or any other ranger, in any jurisdiction in California.

Grizzlies are huge - much bigger than black bears, in many cases - and a bear of that size jumping on a carbon fiber tube would no doubt break the walls. Black bears have occasionally bitten the tabs off Bear Vault lids (in the East) and one bear in SEKI did "CPR" to deform the can and pop the lid off the threads.

I would hesitate to use an Ursack anywhere on the JMT, and definitely would avoid it in Yosemite or in the lower elevations of SEKI. Persistent bears you can't easily drive off could get a taste through the fabric, and then you'd be standing guard all night, or unable to drive the bear away before it tore through it -- which despite what anyone claims has happened - I've seen plenty of pictures....
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby robow8 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:45 am

I see on Yosemite's and SEKI's websites that they don't list the Bearikade Scout as approved. Anyone use a Scout without any problems there?
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby longri » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:35 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:Since the Ursack is designed to be tied to a tree so the bear cannot run off with it, this implies that you cannot use an Ursack above timber.

Ursack says in their FAQ that it is designed to be placed on the ground like an ordinary canister.

I prefer to anchor mine. And trees aren't the only way to do that.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby longri » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:38 am

robow8 wrote:I see on Yosemite's and SEKI's websites that they don't list the Bearikade Scout as approved. Anyone use a Scout without any problems there?

All of the custom in between sizes of the Bearikade are also not specifically listed. One time I asked about that as well as about the Scout. They seemed surprised and said it was just an oversight.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:04 am

The knot that is shown to be used on the Ursack is supposed to tighten when the Ursack is pulled. This is why I assumed that it was designed to be ahchored to a tree (or otherwise tied to something stable). A bear may roll a Bearikade a short distance (needs to be placed so that a bear cannot roll it into a lake or down a cilff), but a bear might just haul your Ursack a long ways! So, does the Ursack "work" if a bear runs off with your food and you cannot find the sack? I would think design criteria would include not loosing your food.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby markskor » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:22 am

longri wrote:
robow8 wrote:I see on Yosemite's and SEKI's websites that they don't list the Bearikade Scout as approved. Anyone use a Scout without any problems there?

All of the custom in between sizes of the Bearikade are also not specifically listed. One time I asked about that as well as about the Scout. They seemed surprised and said it was just an oversight.

Maybe not be still pertinent but...
Somewhere long past, I attended an official Bear can symposium - Went under the name something like SIGGMA? - whatever - It was the agency that used to sanction bear can use Sierra...now gone.

There, somebody mentioned that in order to be safe/legal, the minimum dimension of the can had to be 9 inches + ...They said the minimum span that a bear cannot exert enough force to crush a can. This could explain the 8 inch Scout not being listed as legal?
just my 2¢
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby longri » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:43 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:The knot that is shown to be used on the Ursack is supposed to tighten when the Ursack is pulled. This is why I assumed that it was designed to be ahchored to a tree (or otherwise tied to something stable). A bear may roll a Bearikade a short distance (needs to be placed so that a bear cannot roll it into a lake or down a cilff), but a bear might just haul your Ursack a long ways! So, does the Ursack "work" if a bear runs off with your food and you cannot find the sack? I would think design criteria would include not loosing your food.

Again, according to the Ursack FAQ:

http://http://www.ursack.com/faq/ wrote:
Q: Won't a bear carry the Ursack away if it is not tied to a fixed object?

A: Probably not. The SIBBG rangers tested the Ursack Hybrid in both the summer of 2004 and 2005 to see whether a bear would carry it away. They even put a tracking device in it as part of the testing procedure. The results, so far, are that bears are leaving Ursacks very close to where they found them.


I'd still tie mine down when possible. But I don't worry too much about it, especially above tree line where the odds of a bear encounter are a lot lower. Rodents are a bigger concern.
Last edited by longri on Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby longri » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:51 pm

markskor wrote:They said the minimum span that a bear cannot exert enough force to crush a can. This could explain the 8 inch Scout not being listed as legal?

Maybe, maybe not. I was originally going to send an email to Wild Ideas and ask them but I talked to a couple of backcountry rangers instead. They're the ones who would be writing the tickets. The two I asked had never heard of the Scout model and said it would be fine.

I don't actually have a Scout. I thought about buying one but the weight savings was pretty small over the Weekender. And although it is a lower volume it's still 9" in diameter. The diameter is the main problem with carrying these rigid mini-barrels in a small pack.
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Re: Which bear canisters are allowed in John Muir Wilderness

Postby freestone » Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:24 pm

I have used a Scout since they came out, maybe 10 years? No one has ever questioned it.
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