Welcome to the AppalachianTrailCafe.net!
Take a moment and register and then join the conversation

Bear Canisters

    • Bear Canisters

      On a trip next year I will need a bear canister. I've read that it's best to rent one if you don't plan on using one all the time. I think places like REI rent them for $5 for a week. Some of the ranger stations have them for free rental. Sounds like a good deal.

      Not too many trails on the east coast require them . But I am starting to see some requiring them now. So do I rent or buy?

      Any recommendations?
    • Dmax wrote:

      On a trip next year I will need a bear canister. I've read that it's best to rent one if you don't plan on using one all the time. I think places like REI rent them for $5 for a week. Some of the ranger stations have them for free rental. Sounds like a good deal.

      Not too many trails on the east coast require them . But I am starting to see some requiring them now. So do I rent or buy?

      Any recommendations?
      With COVID there was so much demand this summer I believe it was hard to fo either. Hopefully things have changed.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I don't think there is a "right" answer that fits everyone. Compare your rental price to the purchase price (lower for heavier ones, expensive for lighter ones) and then decide. If $5 a week is a real price, then most would probbly rent and kick the rent vs purchase decision down the road.

      The ATC recommends you use one anywhere on the AT. I personally would not let that factor into my decision.

      What would influence me, living in Georgia, is that the GATC is working with the (notoriously slow moving) USFS to make cannisters required in Georgia. I've been told that it's going to happen, just a matter of time. Might be a year (doubtful) might be 3 years. Maybe longer. But it's coming. Just a matter of time.
      2,000 miler
    • Dmax, was it for a particular trail? I believe some have rental programs.

      I think you are correct, you are going to see them required in more-and-more places. Might be worth just making the investment. There is a weight penalty, but they make a good stool.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Looks like they run about $75. Not too bad. But they sure look heavy after eyeballing the carbon fiber canisters $$$.


      IMScotty wrote:

      Dmax, was it for a particular trail? I believe some have rental programs.

      I think you are correct, you are going to see them required in more-and-more places. Might be worth just making the investment. There is a weight penalty, but they make a good stool.
      it's for a hike out of Tahoe on the PCT/TRT. We're planning on hiking to Lake Aloha and using it for a base camp for three nights. We're planning on exploring a lot of the different lakes. And while my wife is resting, I'll be fishing. I have a ton of questions for this hike. This is one of them. I didn't know if I should start a trip planning post and put all my questions in it, or do it this way.

      There's areas here in Tennessee that require them now. And as Max pointed out, Georgia is interested in them. I'd guess GSMNP isn't too far behind.

      How well do they work as a stool? Am I going to get my fat ass on a little can, or get back up? ?(
    • DMax, I have one of the Bearikade carbon fiber canisters, and yes they cost a lot. After spending all that money I found out they were not approved for Grizzly country. It was fine for where I was going (JMT), but not as all-purpose as I had thought. The large sized Bearikade I have makes a fine little stool. I am less sure about the other brands.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • I've read that different areas in the Sierra's approve different canisters. If you lived there you'd have to own multiple styles it seems.

      I'm also wondering what I do with my bear can when I'm away from camp. Do I take it with me? I've read that you shouldn't stack rocks on and around the canister.
      This sounds odd to say, but should I hang the canister if I'm going to be gone from camp all day? What do most people do?
    • Dmax wrote:

      I've read that different areas in the Sierra's approve different canisters. If you lived there you'd have to own multiple styles it seems.

      I'm also wondering what I do with my bear can when I'm away from camp. Do I take it with me? I've read that you shouldn't stack rocks on and around the canister.
      This sounds odd to say, but should I hang the canister if I'm going to be gone from camp all day? What do most people do?
      At night the recommendation is to leave the canister 100 feet away from your campsite (black bear country). You want to leave it in a natural depression so that bears don't roll it down a mountain or something. I think the assumption is you keep your canister with you most the time while you are awake.

      My wife and I camped at a site in Yosemite with a problem bear. The ranger instructed campers at this site to tie their canisters together to a tree (which seems to go against most of the advice available online.) That night the bear (and cub) came and began to work the canisters. The bear was not deterred by noise making campers or even rocks thrown in its direction. It managed to drag someones canister off (not mine) and I am not sure if it was ever found. The reason I was not there for the excitement is that I was off climbing half dome. By the time I got back to my wife late that night (I got misdirected for a bit), the bear was gone.

      I slept like a baby and my wife sat wide awake all night at the entrance to our tent with a pile of rocks ready to defend us from attack :)
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      At night the recommendation is to leave the canister 100 feet away from your campsite (black bear country). You want to leave it in a natural depression so that bears don't roll it down a mountain or something. I think the assumption is you keep your canister with you most the time while you are awake.
      I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but 100 feet away, a different location every night -- I'm more afraid of me not finding it than bears making off with it.
      2,000 miler
    • max.patch wrote:

      I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but 100 feet away, a different location every night -- I'm more afraid of me not finding it than bears making off with it.
      That reminds of a night on the Ouachita Trail when I did not get to the shelter until after dark. As with all my nights on the OT I was alone and it was in December. So in the morning I could not see the trail anywhere from the shelter. So I just started walking in larger and larger circles until I found it. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I wouldn't agree with putting a canister 100 ft away. Give it enough time a bear can get into a canister , any canister. they are not bear proof......

      You should be prepared to defend your food from a bear by throwing rocks at it.. drive it away. Not give it unfettered access and time to try. In yosemite, in areas they know how to break canisters open by rolling them off of cliffs and letting them break on the rocks below..... Plus this water flowing everywhere so if it rolls downhill at nice camp area, theres a good chance it's going to end up in water.....

      It doesn't matter whether your canister is 10 ft away or 300 ft away.... I 100% promise you the bear knows exactly where YOU are...... You're not hiding from it by putting your food somewhere else. You're making yourself feel better with a false sense of security is all while putting your food in greater risk.

      Different organizations are responsible for approving canisters for their own areas and it's why it's a hodgepodge mix of regs. Above all.... They want canisters to be used. There's formal acknowledgment that canisters are not perfect because a perfect safe canister would be too heavy for people to carry..... So no one would use it. It's an accepted compromise that has worked tremendously in the Sierras to reduce bear-people encounters by 95%.

      I don't recommend renting a canister.
      You're going to need to practice packing it, a lot, to get the amount of food in it you need most likely. Most of the people showing up at MTR on the JMT with canisters they rented in Yosemite, can't get their food in for the final haul to Whitney. They can fit about half of it..... They literally had no idea how much room it takes. And Yosemite rents tiny canisters. You can rent bearicades from wild ideas, but most people won't want to get it far enough in advance to give them time to practice packing it, etc. Besides you can buy one and resell it and lose less money than it cost you to rent one...... People in California have to pay sales tax and will snap used ones up for 90% of what a new one costs.....370 new vs 300 used.....

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Muddywaters ().

    • Prior to our last walk in the ADK, I got the short clear plastic one. Lots of room for what I bring for 4/5 days. Then as we left HB gave me his Large Ursack. It is way big, I would like to cut it and make it shorter, but I haven't looked yet for sufficient kevlar thread to do the job. So really only have one night carrying the can...'cause we changed our plan and I left it with lots of food in the Fish Car!
      Cheesecake> Ramen :thumbsup:
    • Muddywaters wrote:

      ........ Besides you can buy one and resell it and lose less money than it cost you to rent one...... People in California have to pay sales tax and will snap used ones up for 90% of what a new one costs.....370 new vs 300 used.....
      Wow, I had a friend give me a bear can for free when he was cleaning out his house getting ready to move. I don't know the size or brand as I've never used it, Kathy has though. This thread makes me curious, I'll have to check it out.
    • Muddywaters wrote:

      I wouldn't agree with putting a canister 100 ft away. Give it enough time a bear can get into a canister , any canister. they are not bear proof......
      lol, REI doesn't agree with 100 ft away either. :)

      Heres what they say:

      • Store BearVault at least 100 yards downwind of campsite, preferably in the shade to keep contents cool
      2,000 miler
    • I picture a football field when I see various distances mentioned.

      100 yards for a bear canister -- that's a football field.

      200 feet if you're going to dig a cathole -- thats 70 yards -- more than half of a football field.

      Amount of hikers who follow these rules of thumb? hahahaha
      2,000 miler
    • I'm sure it is a liability thing. I quoted 100 feet because that is the oft stated recommendation. 100 Yards is just insane. In practice I probably usually put mine about 50 feet away from my hammock or tent. Close enough to keep an eye on in the fairly open understory of the Sierras.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Dmax wrote:

      Will a 550 hold enough food for two people for 3 nights?
      I'm guessing it's ok to carry your first nights food out of the canister.
      A good rough rule of thumb is 100 cubic inches per day per person. They sell various little cardboard boxes at hobby lobby and you can get and try fitting just one day's food in. I have done about 80 cubic inches per day but it's really packing tight with 3, 000+ calories

      But for just 3 days......I could get by on very little calories .
    • Just got an email from REI reminding me about the 20% off any 1 item sale that lasts about a week which reminded me about this thread.

      Checked the rental prices out of curiosity: $5 for the first night and $2 each additional night for members. Non members are $8 and $3 plus a $100 deposit.

      And if you needed to rent everything, for basic backpacking gear (for 2) its $137 and $27. For lightweight gear its $163 and $31. The non member pricing is so ridiculous that that no non member would ever rent -- they'd gladly pay the $20 and become a member.
      2,000 miler
    • max.patch wrote:

      Just got an email from REI reminding me about the 20% off any 1 item sale that lasts about a week which reminded me about this thread.

      Checked the rental prices out of curiosity: $5 for the first night and $2 each additional night for members. Non members are $8 and $3 plus a $100 deposit.

      And if you needed to rent everything, for basic backpacking gear (for 2) its $137 and $27. For lightweight gear its $163 and $31. The non member pricing is so ridiculous that that no non member would ever rent -- they'd gladly pay the $20 and become a member.
      Marketing 101 :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Thanks for your input everybody. With everything said I'm going with the bv500. Someone mentioned it'd be nice to have before hand to get the packing down. Which would work out better since we're flying and putting it in a suitcase and can prepack it. I'll have to keep my eyes open on the sales coming up, like max mentioned.
    • Dmax wrote:

      Thanks for your input everybody. With everything said I'm going with the bv500. Someone mentioned it'd be nice to have before hand to get the packing down. Which would work out better since we're flying and putting it in a suitcase and can prepack it. I'll have to keep my eyes open on the sales coming up, like max mentioned.
      Don't have one yet, but I remember from my previous research that some people have difficulty getting them open; especially when it is cold. If you google there are ways (using a credit card, or a knife blade, etc) to make this much easier.
      2,000 miler