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#166438 - 06/04/12 02:22 PM Bear Cannister is the "big fourth"
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
For those of us who are required to carry a bear cannister, they weigh 2+ pounds. My "big three" items weigh from 2-3 pounds. The bear can is NOT an insignificant item! I propose that the bear can become the "Big Foruth". My "big four" therefore are 1) pack, 2) sleeping bag, 3) tent and 4) bear can. As much as we spend $$ to reduce our pack weight or sleeping bag weight, the bear can deserves as much consideration. For those who do not have to carry a bear can, you really have no idea of how frustrating this is.

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#166441 - 06/04/12 03:06 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Agreed. My old Garcias are even heavier than my 2.75 man tent (OK...3-man). Any I have seen (for more than 3 or so days of food) are heavier than any of my light weight pieces. This is one of the reasons I am trying hard to find other uses for these things. So far my other use list ONLY includes; 1) camp stool, and 2) for stretching out my legs.

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#166442 - 06/04/12 03:09 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: wandering_daisy]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
For those of us who are required to carry a bear cannister, they weigh 2+ pounds. My "big three" items weigh from 2-3 pounds. The bear can is NOT an insignificant item! I propose that the bear can become the "Big Fourth". My "big four" therefore are 1) pack, 2) sleeping bag, 3) tent and 4) bear can. As much as we spend $$ to reduce our pack weight or sleeping bag weight, the bear can deserves as much consideration. For those who do not have to carry a bear can, you really have no idea of how frustrating this is.


I've been considering an Ursack for use in Colorado. I've never had a bear problem or even a critter problem. But realistically, it's rare I get a decent hang on my food bag.
These FAQ's from the URSACK site may give you some useful information.
_________________________
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#166443 - 06/04/12 03:17 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: Gershon]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
In a number of places in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of CA, you need a bear cannister Gershon. I believe that is what WD is talking about. For instance Yosemite . Hanging is verboten.


Edited by skcreidc (06/04/12 03:19 PM)

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#166450 - 06/04/12 04:53 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: skcreidc]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Also in Rocky Mountain National Park, bear canisters are required. Also in Grand Teton if you go up there. Not in Yellowstone, though, where they want you to use their bear wires instead, claiming that bear canisters are no good.

Bureaucracy, ain't it wonderful?
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#166458 - 06/04/12 08:15 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: wandering_daisy]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
We are considering adding an Ursack to our camping supplies because we don't have to have a bearcanister here - However, their main bag isn't rodent/raven/rabbit proof and their "rodent" bag a bear could break open...

I know people here don't hang the Ursack (not easy to hang here) and just connect it to a rock. I'm going to have to go check out Phat's site and what he does.

Speaking of Phat, he hasn't been online lately! (I think he's starting his own business and very busy - but not a good excuse!)

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#166459 - 06/04/12 09:41 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: Heather-ak]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
I have been using an ursack for a few years now. Probably about 60-70 nights in the adirondacks. I follow the manufacturers instructions. The sack is tied to a tree at about head level using a figure eight knot. I try to find a 8-10 inch tree with a small branch at that level which i then flip the sack over it after it has been tied off. This helps keep it from sliding down. (It never had before, but it is one of those unfounded fears I carry).
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#166474 - 06/05/12 01:10 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: DTape]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Pretty much what I do in the Sierra where canisters aren't required (geographically at least, the majority of the range). I've always managed to find a tree, tree branch or downed snag to tie to. It's actually a big time-saver compared to hanging, which always seems to involve a sub-optimal tree.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By DTape
I have been using an ursack for a few years now. Probably about 60-70 nights in the adirondacks. I follow the manufacturers instructions. The sack is tied to a tree at about head level using a figure eight knot. I try to find a 8-10 inch tree with a small branch at that level which i then flip the sack over it after it has been tied off. This helps keep it from sliding down. (It never had before, but it is one of those unfounded fears I carry).
_________________________
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#166484 - 06/05/12 07:10 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: Heather-ak]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"However, their main bag isn't rodent/raven/rabbit proof and their "rodent" bag a bear could break open... "


As far as I know the main bag (not the Ursack minor) is plenty rodent/raven/rabbit proof. If a bear can't tear into it, I can't imagine a smaller creature could. I own both, the Ursack and the Ursack minor. The minor has much lighter and more flexible, thinner fabric.

To be clear, I'm not saying that you're wrong here, just that I found the comment surprising. When I've used the ursack, FWIW I've never had any issues from smaller critters either.
If you have any pointers to info to the contrary, I'd be interested in seeing that.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#166485 - 06/05/12 09:27 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: BrianLe]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
I've seen photos of rodent holes "drilled" right through an Ursack, so I'm willing to believe it can happen given ample time and opportunity. Hasn't happened to me, though.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#166499 - 06/06/12 10:49 AM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: wandering_daisy]
Tarzan71 Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/31/12
Posts: 2
Maybe this is a dumb question but, if you’re in an area that has no bears wouldn’t you just put your food in your tent with you? or is that a bad idea.

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#166501 - 06/06/12 11:48 AM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: Tarzan71]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Mice squirrels, raccoons, marmots, and rats can be a problem too.

Some Places the raccoons can unzip a tent.
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#166507 - 06/06/12 01:10 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: lori]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I've not had any problems up here with animals at all. However when I lived in Michigan the 'coons were the absolute worst - one night in the Sleeping Bear dunes we didn't sleep at all because the 'coons were messing with our tent.

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#166510 - 06/06/12 01:51 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: BrianLe]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
From the Ursack FAQ:
"Is Ursack resistant to rodents, marmots, wolves, etc?
Ursack is highly effective against Marmots and raccoons. It should not be considered wolf or dog resistant. That's because they have sharp teeth and strong jaws. Bears have great strength, but their teeth are not sharp. We now make a rodent resistant bag, the Ursack Minor. It is not effective against bears although we think it is more effective against rodents than the AllWhite. Other rodents have varying degrees of success. Sometimes mice can chew very small holes, but very little of your food is likely to be taken. Some species of squirrels and (we have heard) pine martens have greater success, and may on rare occasion chew holes in bear resistant Ursacks."

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#167315 - 06/27/12 10:34 AM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: lakhotason]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By lakhotason
Yellowstone has a valid point, that being the sole function of a bear canister is to keep the bear away from the food. It does nothing to keep the bear away from the backpacker. Hanging of food PROPERLY does both.


UNLESS you are in Yosemite, where the bears are ninjas and defeat proper bear hangs, tear open Ursacks, break into cars and generally do magic tricks to get food.

OR in the high alpine, where a PROPER hang isn't possible, and bears DO GO.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#167318 - 06/27/12 11:12 AM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: Heather-ak]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Heather-ak
We are considering adding an Ursack to our camping supplies because we don't have to have a bearcanister here - However, their main bag isn't rodent/raven/rabbit proof and their "rodent" bag a bear could break open...

I know people here don't hang the Ursack (not easy to hang here) and just connect it to a rock. I'm going to have to go check out Phat's site and what he does.

Speaking of Phat, he hasn't been online lately! (I think he's starting his own business and very busy - but not a good excuse!)



I normally tie the ursack to a stout tree wherever possible as per the manufacturers instructions. I have never had a problem with it with either rodents or bears - although I know it's technicaly not supposed to be rodent-proof

In the very high alpine, no trees, "tying the ursack to a rock" normally doesn't work. -I've done it, but tying it to a rock usually means the rock is too small and would walk off with the sack. Typically if I am up very high I do one of two things, after ensuring that the ursack is securely tied shut

1) pile it in a big cairn of rocks away from my camp, often in between or using a crevice in large rocks to begin with.
2) use a rock nut (mountaineering thing) to get a wire loop securely in a crack - tie the ursack to the wire on the rock nut securely.

I do 1) more than 2) - I don't always have a rock nut, or a suitable place to anchor one.



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My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#167344 - 06/27/12 04:53 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: lakhotason]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I don't see how a proper hang would keep the bears away from the backpacker while a canister won't. One typically does their hang a distance from camp and one typically places their bear can a distance from camp as well. When you are done with your food in both cases of course. On the other hand, the canister could potentially protect your food in case of a camp visit by an aggressive bear before the food is stowed while the typical hang bag would just make it easier for the bear to carry the food away.
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May I walk in beauty.

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#167348 - 06/27/12 05:13 PM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: Pika]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I would think bears are smart enough and smell well enough (and we smell bad enough) that when he finds either hung food or a cannister of food, he has a pretty good idea that humans are nearby, IF the bear has had experience with backpackers. I suppose if a bear had never seen a backpacker and just found the food, he would not connect the two. Habituated bears certainly will find you too and sniff around a bit. So YOU should not smell like food! The latest FS stuff I have read says to put bear cans 300 yards from your camp. That seems like a long ways to walk to get your food in the morning, but not such a long ways in terms of bear territory.

I am not sure how you keep a bear away from you. I would think that if they are in the immediate area they will know you are there unless the wind is steadily blowing your scent away from them. I think most animals are VERY aware of our presence. They have to be accutely aware of other creatures nearby- it is a matter of survival for them. I have also noticed that birds and squirrls quickly see me when I am backpacking and make noises, which I would think other animals can "read". Whether the bear is attracted to you or fears you is likely a matter of his history with people.

I am no expert on animals, so if someone else knows better, I would be interested in hearing thier ideas.

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#167931 - 07/20/12 11:34 AM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: wandering_daisy]
ndwoods Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 572
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
Yea, I hike mostly in the Sierra and I have had bears spend 3 hrs breaking every limb off a tree til they broke the limb that held my food. I use a bearikade and mine's the old one that is only 1 lb 8 oz....won't part with it!
I do have an ursack for other areas....
I agree tho...big 4!
Dee
_________________________
http://ndeewoods.com/ and http://wilderstatepark.com/

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#169359 - 09/13/12 01:06 AM Re: Bear Cannister is the "big fourth" [Re: wandering_daisy]
bobito9 Offline
member

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 385
I agree. I'd say that the only weight-saving compensation with the cannister (and it isn't enough) is that it forces me to carry less and lighter food, so that I can squeeze it all into the cannister!

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