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Thread: Bear proof cannister questions

  1. #1

    Default Bear proof cannister questions

    Any one ever use food cannisters for backpacking?
    Does anyone have a reccommendation for a particular one?
    Do they fit easily into a pack?
    Are they required for ANWR?
    I will be hiking north of the continnental divide, so there are no trees to hang sacks and i was wondering if these cannisters are worth bringing and if they do indeed work. I have researched some cannisters and have also come up with a so called bear proof sack called the ursack anyone ever use this? I need a container that will accomodate enough food for 2 people for 10 days. From what i have read the cannisters only hold enough food for six days for one person, so this means i need 2, This takes up a lot of valuable space in my pack. I have in the past just used a stuff sack but this trip is to remote to chance having critters take off with my life line. if anyone has any info or thoughts i would appreciate it .
    Thanks,
    Bushwaker

  2. #2
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    Default BRFC info

    Here's some information from Gates of the Arctic NP, a little south of your destination. http://www.nps.gov/gaar/planyourvisit/foodstorage.htm

    Follow the links on bear resistant food containers and you'll get more advice, including this link from an interagency grizzly bear group: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/wildlife/igb...tcontainer.pdf

    They do add weight and take up space, but they work (and make decent camp stools!)

  3. #3

    Default Bear Vault Solo

    I use the Bear Vault Solo & have crammed 6 days of food in it. It fits well in my small 55 liter backpack. I just heard from Denali Nat'l Park rangers that it is approved for Denali. I'm happy about that since the times I've gone in to Denali it has been hard fitting a Garcia in my pack (and heavy!!).

  4. #4
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Default

    I use them when going to Denali, but don't use them when I went to ANWR. You can borrow them for free from the Visistor's Center in Coldfoot for hiking in the Brooks. They do add weight and are bulky but I can fit a lot of food into one. If I had the money I would invest in a bag, even if you can't hang it. You can put it away from your camp over night.
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    Default Bar Container

    I would check out the Ursack. Though mine has never been challenged by a bear, it has kept rodents out of my "stash" while camping above tree line. Even with the aluminum insert (if you are concerned about your food getting crushed) it is still lighter and easier to pack than a canister. I like my food, this keeps my food safe. Two thumbs up from me. www.ursack.com

    Mtn Wx

  6. #6

    Default thanks

    Thanks to all,
    I realy like the ursak concept. I hate the idea of using up dead space with the vault, however once one canister is empty it would be nice to put wet ultra lite waders in the vault. I do think though that iam going to get the ursak.

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    Default More than weight to consider

    I noticed that at least some models of Ursacks are no longer allowed in Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP in California (detailed in the second link below). Apparently black bears are opening them up. Not sure I'd trust North Slope browns to be dumber.

    From the first link below, an Ursack review gave me pause:

    "Most of the food in the bags was mutilated, and it acquired a foul smell. The aluminum inserts did improve the amount of food that survived intact, but the insert also created a safety hazard where it was punctured or ripped apart creating sharp edges or small pieces of sharp metal mixed in the mutilated food."

    "All of the Ursack TKO tested remained intact during the testing. The primary damage was small micropunctures from the canines causing thread separation. Additional damage included some seams losing one layer of thread, pulled and lose threads, partial failure of grommets, abrasion, and formation of fuzz from tiny broken fibers. The bags continued to remain intact even after the cumulative damage testing though the density of micropunctures did increase and the bags did lose 0.7 to 1.9 % of their weight. The vapor barriers were punctured and some were severely damaged. Aluminum inserts became tightly wrapped around the food and some inserts were punctured. One was ripped into smaller pieces. Marmots were not able to penetrate the Ursack, but some small animal (believed to be a mouse) did chew a hole through the Ursack twice."

    http://www.ursack.com/sibbg_abstract.htm

    http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisi...ontainer-2.pdf

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    Default

    Ursacks are not allowed in the Eastern High Peaks region of the Adirondacks in NY State because they're not 'bearproof' ... only Garcia and Bear Vault canisters are allowed in the area now. So if they're not good enough to use down here in the east, I'd be leery of using one in the Alaskan backcountry.

  9. #9

    Default

    I recommend canisters over sacks; they may be a few ounces heavier, but unlike sacks they're actually critter-proof. Even the high-tech kevlar and spectra sacks can be chewed through by animals as small as mice, and to my knowledge not a single brand of sack is certified for use in parks that have bear issues. I camp a lot in the Southeast every summer and have always used canisters even though they're not required. You don't have to bother hanging them, but some models require a coin or screwdriver to work.

    Canisters are bulky, and I found it's best to try one in your pack before buying one; my pack is about 3,200 ci and it fits fine, but my pack is unusually wide. As they empty over the course of a trip you can put other aromatic items in a canister like your mess kit and toothpaste.

    The best canister I've used is made by "Wild Ideas", and it's very light. Very expensive, though. They can build custom sizes, so if you need something extra large they can hook you up. It might be easier to buy two smaller ones made by cheaper brand names, and just have each person carry their own food.

  10. #10
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I recommend canisters over sacks; they may be a few ounces heavier, but unlike sacks they're actually critter-proof. Even the high-tech kevlar and spectra sacks can be chewed through by animals as small as mice, and to my knowledge not a single brand of sack is certified for use in parks that have bear issues.
    Ahhh, I did not know that. I thought the kevlar ones were kritter proof but had not done much research on them.

    It might be easier to buy two smaller ones made by cheaper brand names, and just have each person carry their own food.

    That's what we do. Every one carries their own food though we may share and combine during meals. We also carry our trash in them.
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  11. #11

    Default

    Yeah... it's weird hearing how bears have a tough time getting into ursacks, yet how mice and other little guys can chew through them and eat your cookies with no problem. It's kind of like finding out that kevlar vests will stop bullets, but not needles. Their website and other forums say that adding the aluminum insert will make them much more chew-proof, but then they're so bulky and heavy that you might as well use a real canister.

    I found canisters to be a hassle at first... it's by far the largest thing in my pack, but in a way it turned out to be a good thing since it taught me to make up for it by packing wisely. No more kitchen sink for me, and with practice I found it was easy to pack 6-7 days of food into a "6 day" canister. It will be interesting to see what solution people come up with in a decade or two.

  12. #12
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default new and improved soft shell bearproof sack

    A guy I know is working on a softshell bearproof sack that uses high voltage shock to deter bears. They are currently testing it and awaiting certification, and it should be available this June. Here's the link, below. I think these will do really well, just scroll down to the products link and they have a video of the thing in action too.
    http://www.wilderness-solutions.com/index.htm

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    Default missing the point

    I think many people are missing the point of carrying a bear resistant food container (BRFC). The most important reason to use them isn't to keep your food safe, it's to prevent bears from aquiring a taste for human food. Once a bear gets food from humans, it is much more more likely to attack other humans. When you go backpacking and leave your food out where a bear can get it, you are putting the backpackers who come after you at risk. There is a reason why nobody has ever been killed by a bear in Denali NP, while many people have been attacked near Anchorage.

    I personally use a Garcia. It weighs just under 3 pounds by itself. I always use it, even when trail backpacking in the woods. I consider it as essential as my sleeping bag and tent. If you pack wisely, you can fit 7 days worth of food in them. And yes, they make a fine seat.

  14. #14
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Yea but when I am several days out, I also need to protect my food lol. It would suck hiking for days with no food.
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  15. #15

    Default my reason

    I understand that bears can associate humans to food but unfortunately my main concern was keeping my food safe as i will be a considerable distance from any road and would not like to go hungry for five days until i can hike out. I am still researching the cannisters and most likely will end up with 2 of them. or one can and one sack, depends on room in packs.
    thanks,
    Brad

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    Default

    What's the proper way to secure a bear canister like the BearVault? If I just leave it on the ground, will a bear push it out of sight? I was told to keep it 50 yards from the campground, is that a fair distance or is it too much?

  17. #17
    Member northernalberta's Avatar
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    Default

    This is what I use, I think somebody mentioned it earlier in the thread.

    http://www.rei.com/product/624081

    It's identical to what they loan you in Denali. It fits sideways in my 71 litre overnight pack, and tends to take up about 1/3 of the space. I can get about 5-6 "man-days" (does that make sense?) of food into it.

    The way it works is you just set it on the ground at least 75-100 yards from where you're sleeping. Bears can't run off with it; they don't have opposable thumbs. And it's too big for them to carry off with their mouth, and they're typically not intelligent enough to roll it in one direction for any distance. So the worst they could do is get frustrated and flick it down a hill, and you just have to go retrieve it the next morning.

    You're also supposed to bag your food inside it, to prevent odors from getting out and also to add another layer of rain proofness. Also, place it upside-down in the tundra; that way rain can't run inside of it.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by northernalberta View Post



    Bears can't run off with it; they don't have opposable thumbs.
    A good reason not to use the Ursack too. They may or may not be able to open it but out on the tundra without a tree to hang them from, the bears sure as hell can carry it off a long ways and leave you SOL.

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    Default Why use BFRC's again?

    Quote Originally Posted by xanto View Post
    I think many people are missing the point of carrying a bear resistant food container (BRFC). The most important reason to use them isn't to keep your food safe, it's to prevent bears from aquiring a taste for human food. Once a bear gets food from humans, it is much more more likely to attack other humans. When you go backpacking and leave your food out where a bear can get it, you are putting the backpackers who come after you at risk.
    So Xanto, what you're really saying is that we should be using BFRC's to prevent bears from acquiring a taste for humans...
    Which is, of course, still a noble objective.

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    Default Adfg...

    I would contact the field office if I were you. Go to ADFG homepage and find the region you are visiting. You should find phone numbers and email for the area field office and area biologist. I have found them to be most helpful when planning remote trips.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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