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#183079 - 02/21/14 09:10 AM Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion..
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Allright, now that I'll be heading for California for a hike, I need a JMT-approved bear canister. - actually I need four of them. I'm hiking with another Canuck, and two friends from europe.

I have a BV-500 which I bought at the REI in fresno a few years ago for a hike I ended up not taking - I've never used it, although I'm guessing as it's the small one it's less size than I might need for the JMT.

I was looking at http://lighter1.com/products/ thinking the weight of the big one is good - but noticed they list the weight of the lid seperately, so it's really 2 lb 10 oz for the big one. I'm assuming this size will be about what we need since that big one is about 20 litres internally (which is about the same capacity as my ursack that I normally use.)

So - anyone got any opinions as to which of the approved canisters are best (lightest) - which to avoid? I know some of you folks down there are converts and almost love them (Hi lori...)




Edited by phat (02/21/14 09:12 AM)
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#183081 - 02/21/14 09:50 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I'd rent a Bearikade. They mail it to you and at the end of the trip you mail it back. Talk to them about the thru hike and they may cut you a deal.
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#183083 - 02/21/14 10:28 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
Pika Offline
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Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1812
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I have both the BV 450 and 500 and have used both on the JMT. I also have an Ursack. The BV 450 will hold 440 cubic inches and weighs 33 oz and the 500 will hold 700 ci. and weighs 41 oz.

On my 2008 JMT hike, I used the BV 500. For most of the hike it had more capacity than I needed and I carried a half pound more canister than necessary. When I re supplied for ten days at MTR, I was able to cram all but about 1 1/2 days of food into the BV; the rest went into my Ursack; included in the MTR re supply bucket. I, obviously, used the food in the Ursack first.

Last year, I used the smaller, lighter, BV 450 and again, carried the 4 1/2 days of MTR overflow in the Ursack. Canisters are not required south of MTR until you reach the Rae Lakes: hanging or Ursack protection is acceptable between MTR and Rae Lakes.

I plan to do the same thing for my JMT hike this July. I have, however, been giving some thought to buying a Bearicade Weekender. It is a bit lighter than the BV 450 and holds 650 cu. ins. They also have a good resale value when no longer needed. It would cut down on the food volume in the Ursack coming out of MTR. You can rent the Weekender from wild-ideas.net/
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#183084 - 02/21/14 10:50 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
BrianLe Offline
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Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I think the key question is whether you want to own a bear canister --- i.e., that you anticipate enough additional trips where you'll want/need one to make owning and storing the bulky thing(s) worth it --- or whether you just want one for this trip only.

If the latter, I agree with Lori, rent bearikades.
If the former, then it depends on how MUCH you plan to use a canister in future. If the answer is "a whole lot", I'd step up and buy a bearikade. If not, I'd go with a BV500 (which IS the bigger version of the Bear Vault line --- I can't imagine carrying a canister bigger than that).

If you can't fit it all into a BV500 (one per person), then reconsider your resupply plan and/or study and practice at getting more efficient at what you can fit into the can (it's part science, part art).
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#183086 - 02/21/14 10:56 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: BrianLe]
balzaccom Offline
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Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2000
Loc: Napa, CA
I agree with all the advice here. We've used the BearVaults for years. Pretty darn easy. One thing to remember is that you don't have to get your first day's food into it---you can carry that in your pack, and eat it on the trail or at camp the first night.

So that gives you a little more room. We figure that we can get five days worth of food for two people in the Bearvault...that should work out to ten days for a single person.
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#183094 - 02/21/14 01:09 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
Rick_D Offline
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Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2895
Loc: NorCal
Never saw the Lighter1 before--nice find. Now, they just have to make that lid from titanium.... smile

Have a Bearikade weekender, which has supported me as long as eight days. The price pain has eased, probably down to fifteen bucks/year by now. The fasteners can become stiff, so need attention over time.

Also have an early Bearvault that's a decent alternative, although a sticking lid can be an issue. Don't overtorque and don't get sand or grit in the threads.

You can get a rental FS/NPS Garcia for next to nothing, but they're big, heavy and a really crappy design compared to the others.

Cheers,
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#183097 - 02/21/14 02:49 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: lori]
aimless Online   content
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Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3128
Loc: Portland, OR
I'd rent a Bearikade.

I would second this idea. Four canisters are quite an investment if you were to purchase them. If you're going to rent, you may as well go for the top of the line, which the Bearikades seem to me to be.

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#183101 - 02/21/14 06:25 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
BZH Online   content
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1030
Loc: Torrance, CA
Excellent advice so far. I'll add my experience.

I have the big bear vault (which you are welcome to borrow) that I keep around for when I can get my whole family backpacking.

Last year I got the small lighter1 and have become a fan. I agree there advertised weight is deceptive, but it still has a pretty competitive weight. If you plan to use the lid as a cooking pot, then it is a much more competitive product. There is a pretty long debate about the dual use nature of this product over at bpl, but it makes sense imo.

I don't have experience with bearikade, but I will say it failed grizzly bear testing so don't buy one expecting to use it with your Canadian grizzlies in the future. Renting is a great option. They also scale there cannisters (you can get it almost any length you want between limits). That might be a great option for you to get a mega cannister (not sure if they rent those though).

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#183102 - 02/21/14 06:39 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: BZH]
Rick_D Offline
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Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2895
Loc: NorCal
This reminds me of what I'd like to see from the Bearikade folks: an expansion tube that adds, say, 4 inches to the cylinder length.

Thank you kindly.
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#183108 - 02/21/14 08:59 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: Rick_D]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Rick_D
This reminds me of what I'd like to see from the Bearikade folks: an expansion tube that adds, say, 4 inches to the cylinder length.

Thank you kindly.


As we learn when tying knots, any joins decrease the strength of the rope - I would bet that applies to bear cans. You can always buy a custom Bearikade - they will do that for you, after all.
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#183109 - 02/21/14 09:08 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: lori]
Rick_D Offline
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Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2895
Loc: NorCal
While I'm not an engineer I do play one on teevee. smile

I'm pretty comfortable the flange joint is quite strong. Since I own the Weekender there's not much point of buying an entire second can, but I'd pay good bucks for an extender for the added utility. Not happening, but I can dream my silly dream.

Cheers,
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#183110 - 02/21/14 11:54 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: Rick_D]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
pika you have my attention with that. I stand corrected, my bv is the 450 not the 500. however since I have one. and all four of us already have ursacks that's a possibility..

we are also pondering a dunnage drop or something south of MTR...

I will look into bearikade rental as well
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#183111 - 02/22/14 12:09 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I also stand correceted I said 20 litres when I meant 10. basically I already know I can jam 10 days of food in a 10 litre ursack. I've done it here more than once. so the lighter1 or bearikade weekender volume is probably right. OTOH if I can ursack some of it after MTR the small ones should work too.. and I already own the little bv
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#183112 - 02/22/14 12:16 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: BZH]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
hey bzh I see the pot actually claims to hold 850 MLS..if that's the case the lighter isn't so bad as I can leave my pot at home
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#183114 - 02/22/14 12:31 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: lori]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By lori
I'd rent a Bearikade. They mail it to you and at the end of the trip you mail it back. Talk to them about the thru hike and they may cut you a deal.


looks like they offer a 50% discount on the rental, so it would cost 50 bucks however it costs 40 to ship it to me, so it's still 90 bucks - and then I'd have to pay to ship it back (although presumably I could do that from somewhere down there and it wouldn't be as expensive) :P



Edited by phat (02/22/14 12:32 AM)
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#183119 - 02/22/14 10:11 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
but, compare that to the cost of buying one.

they have the largest and lightest (for the volume) cans on the approved canister list. you can also apply the rental charge toward buying the can after the trip.

i bought a weekender and do not regret it. i can always sell it for nearly what i paid.

i do not recommend ursack for the jmt. the bears are BAD. in the rae lakes section, they will sometimes post warnings at the roads end office about the bear who pops lids off bear vaults.


Edited by lori (02/22/14 10:14 AM)
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#183120 - 02/22/14 10:46 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: lori]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
That bear is yellow-yellow in the Adirondacks.

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#183121 - 02/22/14 11:01 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: skcreidc]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By skcreidc
That bear is yellow-yellow in the Adirondacks.


no, i assure you that it is not. this bear pops off lids. yellow- yellow bit off the tabs on the lid.

i have been warned in person by rangers a number of times in SEKI about specific bears - so no, this is not my confusion talking.
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#183122 - 02/22/14 11:05 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
There are definitely areas in the Sierra where the bears are bad; Rae Lakes particularly so. The reasons are obvious. Where there are lots of people spending the night I am particularly cautious with food and cooking. I've been too cheep to purchase a Bearikade, but in the past have had a couple of Garcias (which we sold on e-bay easily). These worked fine but are HEAVY and AWKWARD. I've rented the Bear Vault 500 when needed and have not had any problems with using it. I have never had ANY of my canister's investigated by bears however.

A decent summary of where I at with these things would be:

Lightest and largest volume at $225 is the Bearikade. For some reason there is still some question about it's use with Grizzly's. Not exactly sure why at this point.

BearVault 500 is the "next best" (as long as you are not in the Adirondacks grin) weight and volume wise and a much less expensive price. 2lb 9oz, $80, 700 cuin

Lighter1 looks like BearVault's competition. Very similar but maybe with a better cap design? Worth looking into in my mind.

I'm not one to buy the smaller canisters. Bear canisters are necessary evils and I struggle to find multiple uses for them. Using the lid to heat water (Lighter1) would make 4 uses for the thing. I like that. I am still looking for something better at this point. Anyway, that's my take. You might want to rent as has been discussed.



Have a good trip!!

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#183123 - 02/22/14 11:08 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: lori]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
When did this start? At least they had an article in the east about their bear issues. The SEKI area is heavily used as well.

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#183124 - 02/22/14 11:15 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: skcreidc]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Apparently I don't hang out in enough forums. I found references going back to 2008 about the SEKI bear that pop's lids off. Thanks for putting that up Lori. There is apparently more than one way for a bear to defeat the polycarbonate construction. That makes the Lighter 1 look better perhaps with its metal (?) lid.

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#183125 - 02/22/14 11:16 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: skcreidc]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By skcreidc
When did this start? At least they had an article in the east about their bear issues. The SEKI area is heavily used as well.


It's been a number of years now. There was also the bear that bluff charged hikers to make them drop packs. Last year they were warning repeatedly for people to not leave packs unattended anywhere as the bears take off with the full pack and destroy them looking for food.

SEKI killed two bears that had gotten too aggressive in 2012.
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#183126 - 02/22/14 12:54 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: skcreidc]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By skcreidc

I'm not one to buy the smaller canisters. Bear canisters are necessary evils and I struggle to find multiple uses for them. Using the lid to heat water (Lighter1) would make 4 uses for the thing. I like that. I am still looking for something better at this point. Anyway, that's my take. You might want to rent as has been discussed.


Well, now that i figured out from their silly web site that 6 oz is the *weight* of the lid and not the *capacity* of the lid (Darn you americans and your ancient measurement systems) so that it might be useful, I'm sort of considering the weights of these canisters to be 2 ounces more than listed - since the "lid" is 2 ounces heavier than my pot and if I end up taking one of those I won't take my pot smile
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#183127 - 02/22/14 01:58 PM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
Rick_D Offline
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Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2895
Loc: NorCal
Hard to envision that frying pan shaped lid replacing a pot, but it could certainly replace a bowl and offer a frying pan to the fortunate angler. Can also be a pot lid, for that matter.

And if you've never had the displeasure of lugging a canister, one thing they do offer is a nice place to sit.
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#183139 - 02/23/14 12:04 AM Re: Bear Canisters. Ok, what's everyone's opnion.. [Re: phat]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I have used a Garcia (the size fits the best in my pack - actually can put it horizontal) but it has small volume and high weight; BearVault (large one) and really hate this can because the lid is hard for me to work - I actually got it stuck two times and had to have help getting it undone; Ursack - love it but not legal for all the JMT; and Bearikade Weekender. If a hard sided can is required the Bearikade beats all. I can get 9days food inside - 10 if I am really careful with what I take. The lid is easy to work. It weighs the least. Only gripe is that I cannot get it horizontal in my pack.

I have used a bear can for a washing machine. I tried to bake biscuits inside my BearVault. It did not work quite - they puffed up but were still doughy.

As much as I curse the weight of the bear can, they sure are convenient. - One trick in packing them - put last 1-2 days food in the bottom, cut out a circular piece of wax paper and label, then stack food upward. Put all items you use all the time on top (coffee, spices, etc). That way you never have to dig through the can because if exactly packed to fit 10 days food, once you stir it around you will never get it all back inside!

If I were to have to pay $90-100 to rent a Bearikade, I would buy one. You can always put it up for sale when done. It takes years to actually wear one out (and that is just wearing out the lid mechanisms). You should be able to get 60% of the cost or more selling a used Bearikade. Sell it in the parking lot at Whitney Portal - I bet someone would buy it!


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