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Bear Canisters, Bear Vault, Bear proof containers, Bear keg, Bare Boxer, Bearakide ….
These are many ways that you can keep your food and smelly things safe from bears. Depending on the park that you are visiting and kind of camping, will affect the kind of bear canister you decide to carry your food in. If you are canoeing, you will probably take a bear barrel as it is waterproof and won’t need to be carried far. If you are backpacking in an area highly frequented by bears, check out one of the bear proof containers.
Bear facts: A bear can smell up to 1000x what a human can!
Best Choices (bear proof containers):
· Below is a list of proper bear canisters that are approved for many places with black and grizzly bears. The next bear proof containers are actually bear proof containers and ‘tested on bears’.
§ Black bear canister that holds enough food for 3 days for 1 person.
§ 275 cu inches (4.5L), 1.6lbs, price $50
o Backpackers Cache
§ Black bear canister holds enough for 6 days for 1 person.
§ 730 cu inches (12L), 2.7lbs, price $63
BearVault SOLO Bear Vault
§ Clear bear vault two sizes hold enough for 4 or 7 days of food for 1 person.
§ 440 cu inches (7.2L), 2.1lbs – smaller bear vault, price $67
§ 700 cu inches (11.5L) 2.9lbs – larger bear vault, price $72
§ The Bear vault has tool free operation and a wide opening.
§ Dark grey colour. Three bear proof containers - sizes for 4-6 days, 6 days and 12 days
§ 500 cu inches (8.2L), 1.75lbs, price $195.
§ 650cu inches (10.6L), 1.9lbs, price $225
§ 900cu inches(14.7L), 2.25lbs, price $275
§ Custom sizes also available.
§ Rental program available.
Counter Assault Bear Keg
o Bear Keg
§ Bright yellow bear canister , holds 6-8 days of food for 1 person.
§ 716 cu inches(11.7L), 3.4-3.6lbs, price $65
§ Clear bear proof containers for 3 and 7 days of food for one person.
§ 300 cu inch(5L), 1 lb 5oz, price $85
§ 650 cu inch (10.5L), 2lb 4oz, price $90
§ Lid can be used as a cooking pan.
NO-FED-BEAR Bear Canister by UDAP
o UDAP NO-FED-BEAR
§ Black bear canister holds food for 1 person for 4 days.
§ 503 cu inch (8.2L), 2.4lbs, price $63.
Prices are current as of 2012
Other Alternatives to Bear proof containers :
· Ursack – bullet proof fabric- keeps your food safe from bears. Lighter weight than many of the canisters. May not be allowed in some parks, but will keep your food away from bears.
· Bear Barrel
– 30 or 60 Litre plastic barrel made by Hooligan Gear. These are large blue waterproof barrels. Used with Ostrom outdoors barrel harness. The 60L are quite heavy, but have padded straps that help make them more comfortable to carry. These are often used on canoe camping trips. Bear barrels are not bear-proof like the above, but are bear resistant. I have had no bad encounters with bears and this container in areas that bears do frequent.
Waterproof Blue Barrel
SealLine Clear Dry Bag
SealLine Dry Bag
· Air Tight Bag - if the bears are not a huge problem, then you may be able to use an Air tight bag such as a seal-line waterproof bags. Clear ones are nice because you can see what the food that is inside without having to open it.
· Olive barrels – this model is what bear barrels are based on. They are smaller than standard bear barrels but you can fit 2 or 3 in a square pack. These are not tested on bears.
· Bear poof food lockers - many camp grounds that have problems with bears will have containers so that you can store your food.
· Coolers ARE NOT bear proof. Do not leave these out in the open.
Keep in mind, that no method is perfect at keeping bags safe from bears. They are smart animals that will try anything to get food. I have seen a video of a bear climb a tree and then jump onto a rope which was holding someone’s food pack. So don’t think that just because you’ve hung your food that it’s 100% safe. It is not.
Several methods of keeping food, garbage and smelly items away from bears:
· You can hang your food pack away from your camping area between two trees. Some parks such as Yosemite do not allow hanging of food on interior camping trips.
· If you are on a canoe trip with multiple canoes, I have heard of people putting their food pack in one canoe and anchoring it away from shore, tied to a rope so they can pull the rope and retrieve the canoe. This can only be done if you have multiple canoes for two reasons. 1) if the bear gets your food, they will also be near the canoe. 2) if a bear gets your food from the canoe, the canoe may be damaged and may not be in a condition to get you out of the wilderness.
· Leave your food on an island away from your campsite. I have done this once when there was a small island not too far from camp. We paddled to the island, left the food and then camped on the main land. Bears can swim, but you will be safe to watch from a distance.
· Strap your bear barrel to a tree away from camp.
· If you know that the area where are you camping, and there is very little chance you will come across a bear, you can put your sealed food container under a tarp, away from your tent or canoe, so that you have a readily accessible escape route.
· Many areas that are prone to bears have bear containers on the campsites so that you can safely store food.
· If you are car camping, keep your food and anything that has a strong scent.
What do you use to stay safe from bears? Have you ever encountered bears? Did this work? Share your bear story here!
Other Bear Articles that you might be interested in: