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Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:48 pm
by waypoint
I haven't backpacked in the high sierras for a long time, and notice that there is now a bear cannister requirement for several areas. What are the pros and cons of the containers that are on the park services "approved list" ?? Any feedback or advice on this topic is greatly appreciated.


Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:30 pm
by Bearman
The cons are that they are all 2+ lbs.

The pros are that they protect your food and can make a nice seat. I've only used the Garica one because you can rent it for $5 at Yosemite and other places.

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:30 pm
by freestone
Next week I am going in at Horseshoe meadows to try and summit Langley and bear canisters are required so I got a Bearikaide Scout. Its very pricey but light weight and compact. Here is a review ... 0Estrella/
BTW, Bearman may have it backwards, the canister rules were put into effect to protect the bears from us, and our food. Nuisance bears are dealt with... which does not bode well for the bear trying to live in his native habitat.

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:59 pm
by trav867
I researched this quite a bit before buying one. I ended up buying the BearVault in both sizes.

I havent tried the Backpackers Cache, but it's 45oz, has a small opening, and its not clear. The CounterAssault is basically the same thing but a bit larger and in yellow, and somehow, a pound heavier. They both look completely bomb-proof.

The BearVault has a decent space to weight ratio- 700ci of storage for 41oz. For me, major pluses are its large screw top opening, and its clear construction. It looks like the offspring of a 5 gallon water jug and a nalgene bottle.

The carbon fiber Bearikade is the lightest (30oz for the regular size) and has a large opening, but it's not see through, and at $275 it's prohibitively expensive.

Some ranger stations rent the bearikade for about $10 a week so it's probably worth calling to see if the station you're getting your permit from has them. Otherwise, I would highly recommend the BearVault. Aside from being 41oz, it has worked flawlessly for me and it is only $79.95 from REI.

Hope this helps.

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:32 am
by Cloudy
I have both the Bearikade and the Backpackers Cache - aka "the Garcia". Both perform the function for which they were designed. The Bearikade is hugely expensive but relatively light compared to the others. I ditched the annoying chain that attaches the lid to the body. The Garcia is relatively cheap (when compared to the Bearikade) but quite heavy and has a ridge that runs around the center of the canister that can dig into your back. I carried it for quite awhile and one time had a Yosemite bear look at it and keep on walking... In ALL cases (IMHO), they are too heavy and a clumsy addition to your load.


Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:13 am
by cmon4day
I use the Bear Vault. Although its somewhat heavy, I like the large opening and see through capability.

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:29 am
by waypoint
Thanks for all the input everyone, I have been leaning towards the BearVault but came across this message at REI:

"It has been discovered there is a bear in the Marcy Dam area of the Adirondacks that has learned to open BearVault food containers. Until further notice, BearVault advises that their product should not be used within 20 miles of the Marcy Dam area of the Adirondacks."

Looks like Yogi and Booboo are up to their old tricks...

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:34 am
by SPeacock
I've been using the Bearikade for several years. I like its size (expedition) and weight and clean lines. Makes a great foot/butt stool and can wash clothes in it as well. I like that it holds about 50% more than the Garcia and lighter weight. As I get older I am willing to pay more for ounces saved. I'm not sure what the utility is of a see through side except to tempt a bear to hang around to just salivate at what it is missing.

The only minor annoyance with the Bearikade is you have to use a separate tool such as a quarter to open/close it. Bears don't have pockets so probably don't have spare change.

Make sure the Berikade will fit in your pack. The bigger one is smooth sided and probably is too big to fit on the outside of an internal frame pack.

We have been able to store 8 days food for two in it. Ingenuity, persistence and a heavy hand helps. If room left over in the can, it is a great place to store things like clothing to save pack space. You can compress the heck out of them in the can.

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:24 am
by trav867
I think it's worth mentioning that with proper clean up and food storage techniques, the odds of a bear getting anywhere near your bear canister are slim. There is a ton of info on the net about this so I wont go into it but simple things like making dinner and doing dishes earlier in the day, then hiking another mile or so to camp will go a long way to keeping bears and rodents away. Also, avoid campsites with a lot of other campers because you can't control how they cook, clean up, and store their food.
I like the see through sides of the BearVault because I during the day, I keep things besides food in there, and its nice to glance in and see where my stuff is rather than totally unpack the canister to get to a specific piece of gear.

Re: Which Bear Canister?

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:17 pm
by DriveFly44
I have the bearvault and it is great for many of the reasons already listed above. Wouldn't let the report about the bear keep me from buying it. Here's some info on it......

In 2007 one or more bears at Marcy Dam in the Adirondacks learned how to open BearVault models. The bear(s) opened the lids by pressing in the snap on the lid with its incisor tooth, unscrewing the lid past the housing lock and then opening the unit. There were no problems with BearVaults outside of this area.

In response to this a new lid was developed for 2008 which had two snaps on the lid which both required being pressed in sequentially- this is the model BV450/500. Testing was conducted during June and July 2008 at Marcy Dam and Lake Colden. We now have the test results. Surprisingly, the bear(s) pressed in the first snap with its incisor, rotated the lid and then pressed in the 2nd snap with its incisor and opened the lid.

The DEC believes that this behavior is unique to this bear(s) as they have not had any incidents of this type of failure of BV350 and higher models outside of this area. They also are doubtful that this behavior will migrate to other bears and BearVault has seen no evidence of this happening. There have also been no problems whatsoever with BV350 and higher models anywhere else in North America.

Accordingly, BearVault recommends against using BearVault canisters in the Lake Colden/Marcy Dam corridor and the Johns Brook valley as these are within the bears' territory. You can freely use BearVaults elsewhere. If this area is your main area of backpacking recreation, return your BearVault to the place you purchased it and use another product. If this area is an occasional location for your backpacking recreation and you wish to continue using your BearVault outside this area, then make arrangements to use an alternative product when you are in this area.

BearVault will be conducting limited testing in this area in 2009 of another lid design, however 2009 products for sale will be the same as the 2008 product due to not having any issues outside of this area.