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Thread: bear proof food containers

  1. #1
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    Default bear proof food containers

    Now that the Park Service has made bear proof containers a requirement in a growing number of management units, I'm wondering what practical options people are finding to deal with this - especially for group travel. I'm bringing a group up to float the Noatak River next summer - a four week trip without re-supply - and we would need 40 or more of those little black plastic units. (as I said above, "practical" is one of the criteria; the other is affordable). The Park can't guarantee they'll have some of their larger, metal barrels for us so I'm wondering where I can find them. I've heard some haz-mat handlers have them - if you have information on a specific source in either the Fairbanks or Anchorage area, I'd love to hear from you.
    Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 01-05-2008 at 18:55.

  2. #2
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Thumbs down those little black units

    cost over $60 apiece and hold only a little food..
    they are bulky and would not be my choice for travel for any extended time..
    I have some of these units for my guests to rent when traveling in the canoe system..
    I have used one one time,, and did not choose to use it again..
    sure a bear would not be able to get into the unit without considerable energy and time, but they are not my choice of container..
    How have we been able to survive this long without bear proof containers?
    Soon enough we will need to travel in our rafts, kayaks and canoes with Seat belts, Helmets, and bear proof containers, or face a stiff fine..
    sorry, but we have retards making these decissions...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/41265609@N00/526996756/
    These are the units that are so called approved.... I am embarrassed to say that I am a retard too for purchasing a half a dozen of them for my customers that feel strongly about using them while out in the system...
    funny... most people that want them do indeed look like the lady in the picture with the bear container..... She showed up in green rusted out Subaru too..

    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default really though

    we need to stop this madness..
    Approved Bear containers????
    anouther win for the Government ,,, here to protect us from ourselves,, and the bears,,,,,,,
    Maybe this is all because Timmy Treadwell could still be with us today if he would have only used ,,, Bear proof containers........ approved containers of course...

    This kind of stuff really does sicken me...
    please someone save us from ourselves..
    Max

    p.s
    I wonder what our presidential canidates have to say about this issue..?
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  4. #4
    Member Buck Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Barrels and boxes

    When I did the Noatak my gear was cached for a few days, and to make sure the bears didn't rip everything up I had the Pro Pioneer and misc in a 55 gal. steel barrel and my food and the rest of my stuff in a smaller steel barrel on loan from Gates of the Arctic. I bought the other steel barrel from Arctic Fire and Safety in Fairbanks and I'm pretty sure they carry smaller ones, too.

    I also have used the large size army surplus steel ammo cans. I believe I bought these at GI Joe's Surplus on South Cushman. The ones I have were originally used for 20mm cannon shells. I wire the handles down if leaving them for very long. I've never heard of a bear getting into one, although they probably aren't officially approved.

  5. #5

    Default

    We use a 15-gallon drum model for 8-10 day field trips for work. Usually crew members of 2-3 people. We pack mostly dry goods and pack them tight, but the 15 gallon model lasts us with food to spare for that length of time. I'll check and find out where we get those containers as I know they sell larger models as well.

    My wife and I used the regular sized "bear keg" this year on a 2.5 day trip. We learned a few things about what to pack next time and what not to pack. Still, for two of us we were able to bring food for 3-4 days. I was pretty upset when I figured we paid almost 3x as much for the "bear keg" as we do at work for a 15-gallon trip with locking ring that holds much much more food.

    But like you said, this sized container does you no good given your trip logistics.

  6. #6
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default giant rodents

    Bears are just giant rodents that take advantage where ever they can.
    If they stagger along and find easy food in or around a tent,, they are smart enough to put the two together and when they see a tent again,, then he assumes he will find food.... These giant Lemings are mischief times 10 when they get their mind made up about something.. If a bear I mean giant Leming ,,finds a backpack with food then he hangs out around places like Bird creek and takes them at will......lol
    I tell you .. a bear comes around my camp thinking he can even poke around, I make it worth his time...... I mean I really yell and stuff like that..... Now Strahan has had some encounters with giant squirrels similar to what we are talking about... you just have to stand your ground and if asking nicely won't work,, then you may need to call the Guys at ADF&G or the Fed officers to come in and convince that Giant Lemming or Squirrel to leave ,,by using fire crackers, or if need be,, God forbid,,, rubber bullets..
    While working in a think tank at Berkley some years ago,, we decided that we can live in harmony with our furry friends.. we need to respect these Lemings and step aside when we are in their territory...
    I think the rules around the parks initiating these bear container rules were also talked about and decided upon at the same Berkley think tank.
    The decission to enforce the use of bear containers would have been put into law years ago, but much of the grant money that was to go toward the giant rodent and man getting along study was smoked up..
    of course it was medically approved pot.... with a prescription from Elvis Presley's old doctor...

    ......Peace Out...
    Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 01-05-2008 at 20:55. Reason: Huh?? Dude???
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default None...

    You dont need bear proof containers to float the Noatak River. It goes through Gates of the Arctic and the Noatak Preserve and to my knowledge, neither require you to have bear proof containers. I have heard/read that the more populated parks require them, but so few people get to where you are going, I can not imagine it being a requirement. You may want to read up on that at specific websites about that area. I have floated two tribs of the lower Noatak about 80 miles north of Kotzebue. Both rivers were in the Noatak Preserve. This is the first I have heard of about using containers. Get a couple bear bells and attach them to all your food bags. Keep them 100 yards or so from the campsite at night (when the size of the gravel bar allows it). I like big waterproof bags for my food bags. The $15 Ozark Trail (brand) yellow bags from Walmart are ok, but for a 4 week trip, you may want to invest in a higher quality dry bag. Let me rephrase that, get high quality dry bags.

    http://www.rei.com/product/600276

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...+bag&noImage=0
    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.

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Info from NPS...

    Here is what was on the NPS about bear containers in Gates of the Arctic. The below attached info is a list of suggestions of how to prevent a bear from getting into your food in my opinion. And it is something you definately want to avoid. Many bears are put down because people fed them or they learned to associate food with people. It is our responsibility to ensure that does not happen. I am simply saying that I dont think it is "required" to have a bear proof container to carry all your food in. If that was the case, on your month long float of the Noatak, you would need to stuff a 55 gallon drum full of food and ride the drum down the river. I would love to see you squeeze that into a 185. Responsibility, yes. Requirement, no. My thoughts only of course. Dig a little deeper and see what you find out. The ADFG folks will be maning the Kotzebue office starting in Spring. Contact them and see what they tell you. They are great folks to deal with from my experiences. Very knowledgable and true stewards of the land. Below is what I found on the Gates of the Arctic page at www.nps.gov. Nothing was mentioned on the Noatak Preserve page.

    "All Alaska National Parks and Preserves require that food and garbage be stored by an approved means.

    Bear Resistant Food Containers: Because in most areas of Gates of the Arctic Park and Preserve there are no trees appropriate for hanging food, Bear Resistant Food Containers (BRFCs) are the most common way to meet the requirement for overnight visitors in the Park.
    Within a hard sided building; Within a lockable and hard sided section of a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft.
    Hanging items 100 feet from camp, and at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet horizontally from a post, tree trunk or other object on a line or branch that will not support a bear’s weight. In most areas of the park this method is not feasible. If you intend to use this method, contact the park to make sure it is possible."
    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.

  9. #9

    Default Lightweight Alternative

    Not that I agree with the Park Service Decision, but those of you who's livelihood depends on following the rules I ran across this product and thought it my be the thing for you. It is extremely lightweight, and it compresses. And with a couple AA batteries will shock the heck out of anything that grabs it.

    http://www.wilderness-solutions.com/palisade_est.htm

  10. #10
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    Default They are required in Gates of the Arctic

    Thanks to all for the response to my question about bear containers.

    Gates of the Arctic DOES require the containers as no other "approved" method is feasible there. I floated the Noatak last September, so my information is relatively up to date. "Approved" means some alternatives like Ursacks won't suffice. I like the look of the electrically charged duffles, but as their web site says, they're waiting for approval.

    If you start further downstream in the Preserve, I agree that it probably wouldn't be necessary to have them there. Gates of the Arctic now requires an orientation and you'll get the bear container drill when you show up for it. Bush pilots have no interest or incentive to ignore the regs and risk losing access to these public lands, so they'll steer you over to the Park office before they'll fly you in.

    Like it or not, those are the regulations and, as I work for a College, I don't have the luxury of ignoring them.

    I'd love to hear more from "shearej" who posted some time ago about the metal drums they used for their field work. Are you out there?

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Ask the guides...

    There are numerous guides who take people down the Noatak on 8-16 day trips. For the low, low price of $4,000/person. Ha ha. On google, search noatak, noatak float, etc.. and you will see many operators. Why don't you call them and ask them what kind of "bear proof containers" they us to hold food for 8 people over 16 days. That will be insightful for you. And are you telling me in the last post that the bush plane out of Bettles stops by the Park office on the way to the Noatak and gives you an "orientation". I will have to see pictures of that to believe it!!!
    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.

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile James...

    "and we would need 40 or more of those little black plastic units"

    Be sure to post a picture of that here on the forum when you get back from your trip.
    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.

  13. #13

    Default I got info

    Here's the info I found on some suppliers we've used in the past. I pulled this off a document that was a couple years old, so some companies may not carry some products or even be around anymore. Hope this helps.


    Model: Steel ,Open-Head Drums - Ranging from 5-110 gallons
    Available from:

    Unitech of Alaska
    (907) 349- 5142
    2401 Cinnabar Loop
    Anchorage, AK 99507
    --Prices:
    5 gallon: $25.04 Lever-Locking Rings Available:
    8 gallon: $36.55 12 lbs 5-15 gallon drum lids: $15.45
    10 gallon: $36.04 14 30 gallon drum lids: $8.82
    12 gallon: $39.30 17 55 gallon drum lids: $11.35
    15 gallon: $43.00 19 85 gallon drum lids: $21.52
    20 gallon: $48.85
    25 gallon: $49.44
    30 gallon: $51.81
    55 gallon: $67.64
    85 gallon: $115.85
    110 gallon: $220.25


    Arctic Fire and Safety Lever-Locking Rings Available:
    (907) 452-7806 --Call for prices
    1-800-260-3473
    702 30th Avenue
    Fairbanks, AK 99701
    --Call for prices


    Model: Steel, open top drums - 55 gallon and 30 gallon
    Available from:

    Phillips Environmental, Inc.
    (907) 272-9007
    1813 East 1st Street
    Anchorage, AK 99501
    --Call for prices


    Model: Backpacker's Cache - 12" by 8.8"; 2lbs.,12oz.; Plastic
    Available from:

    R.E.I.
    1-800-426-4840,catalog, or www.rei.com --Call for prices

    Campmor
    1-800-526-4784, catalog, or www.campmor.com (item # 14097) --Call for prices

    Garcia Machine
    (559) 732-3785
    14097 Ave 272
    Visalia, CA 93292
    --Call for prices

  14. #14

    Default

    I wanted to add we use the 15 gallon version for work and they hold quite a bit of food for a field crew of 2 or 3. The other great thing, they're the perfect size for seats!

  15. #15

    Default GI ammo cans

    are what I have used in the past. You can get them for about $5 each at military surplus outlets. I usually travel alone so I only need one and I usually use the smaller size. For larger groups, each person could carry one or you could use the large ones for two or three people. They are waterproof and I dare say bear proof. Tie a cord around it and hoist it up on an overhanging branch and your food is safe for the night. It holds scent pretty well. Just an idea.
    http://www.omahas.com/catalog/default.php?cPath=6

  16. #16
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile Lightweight camp grill?

    I have been searching the web lately for a lightweight and portable camp grill. It would only take a slight modification or two and you could have a nice camp grill that would match your food storage containers.

    http://wilmington.craigslist.org/for/525418402.html
    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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