Bear Canister?

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Bear Canister?

Post by FuzzySideDown »

Anybody have any experience with or felt the need to use anything like this in Glaciet or elsewhere? I don’t think we ever have, but was just curious. They seem kinda heavy plus I really don’t know where they land, rules wise, for use in Glacier.



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Re: Bear Canister?

Post by zozeppelin »

Great question and interested to see the responses- I don’t recall guidance for GNP but wouldn’t be surprised if it is in the backcountry guide.

There certainly would need to be guidance for dispersed or off trail camping like in Nyack area - I wonder if that is canister or hang.

My experience with canisters is at Grand Teton, where it is required (provided free of charge). The first time I went I used a canister and it was less than ideal (small opening, fixed volume, etc). I just got back from my second trip and this time I went bear bag (Ursack) which I do admit was very convenient to not have to mess around with the hanging. There is the critter factor but they make a critter proof version as well. The other thing is that they recommend 200 yd from your camping area, so that is quite a bit further than some cooking/hanging areas- I was a bit skeptical of that distance being needed and practical.
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Re: Bear Canister?

Post by zozeppelin »

Edit to add, indeed they specify a bear canister for undesignated camping:
An Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) approved food storage device is required for all at-large camping.
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Re: Bear Canister?

Post by orin »

I have used a bear can many times but never in Glacier. The large one on the far left side of your picture weighs around 3 lbs. They are useful or required for places that have no hanging options like the Alaskan tundra. However, designated sites in Glacier have poles/wires/boxes and I don't want to carry the extra weight. Even the big ones are barely large enough for a weeks worth of food. The larger ones do make a pretty good camp chair for places without food prep areas. The Glacier backcountry office loaned me an Ursack a couple of times in the spring before bear poles were installed. It was lighter than a can but also a bit small for a long trip. For both cans and Ursacks I worry that although bears/critters may not be able to open it they can still smell the goodies. So you need to keep it in the food prep area and hope that it doesn't get carried off where you can't find it. The Ursack can be tied down or hung. The lighter larger cans are quite expensive although many places that require them also loan them.
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Re: Bear Canister?

Post by Ipasha Jen »

I was provided a bear canister by the backcountry office for an off trail route back in 2011. They are a bulky PITA that needs to be strapped to the outside of your pack because there is no way it’s fitting inside. Our trip was only 2 nights/4 people but you would need multiple canisters if it was more than that.
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Re: Bear Canister?

Post by Jay w »

Yeah, I bought one for a trip in Wyoming, and when the rubber met the road, I couldn't fit everything in the pack, not even close, so I skipped the trip (and car camped) and returned the canister when I got home. I've even glad it's not taking up space in the basement.

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Re: Bear Canister?

Post by Selkie »

I bought a junior version Bear Vault for Yellowstone backcountry and found it useful. It is heavier than a bag for a bear hang, and although bears may not be able to open it, they can certainly roll it around. For an REI 4-day guided trek we had to carry the larger vaults, which took up a LOT of room inside the pack. The solution was to prioritize the vault and minimize clothing changes.
I can't see the smaller version being useful for more than 4 days maximum for one person. Especially if you have to put cup, cutlery, toothpaste, soap, etc. inside.
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