New directions in bear canisters

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Most people who have backpacked in the Sierras have gotten to experience the fun of the bear canister. Traditional bear canisters are a big cylinder (I have the BV 500, which looks like a gigantic Nalgene bottle). Canisters are serviceable in the sense that the bears don't get your food, but they're heavy (the BV 500 is 1.16 kg) and awkward to carry. Also, in a lightweight pack with a thin framesheet/pad or no pad at all the canister tends to deform the shape of the pack, leaving a ridge down the center of the pack and you with a sore back, so backpackers have been on the lookout for something new for a while. Until now, the best alternative was the Ursack a kevlar bag with an optional metal insert, but it's not approved for use in Yosemite or Sequoia Kings Canyon, so it's not entirely optimal.

About a year ago I ran into some guys at the climbing gym who were producing a new bear canister and it looks like they have now got it almost ready for market. The Camp 4 Outdoors Bearier 700 is a roughly spherical plastic container in two halves which clip together. The Bearier is lighter weight than the lightest plastic container (< 2 lbs for 700 ci) and seems to be comparable to the lightest canister, the carbon fiber Bearikade. Because it separates at the middle the system is modular so that you can add a ring (called the Grubhub) in between the halves to expand capacity by another 300 ci. In addition, because the halves separate and have a drawstring closure to keep your stuff in, they can be packed separately. In particular, if you want to keep them in your pack you can pack each hemisphere with the face towards your back, presenting a flat surface and thus hopefully reducing discomfort. The major drawback seems to be that it's not going to be as comfortable to sit on as a canister, though supposedly the ends are flat so you can if you want to. (See various comments here.)

I haven't seen one of these in person, only in pictures, so I don't know how it will fit in my pack. Also, they have yet to be approved by any of the relevant bear approving agencies, so it's premature to get too excited. Still, it looks like it might be a cool innovation.

1 Comments

Bears are getting smarter. I found the following on the BV500 site:

http://www.bearvault.com/bearvault_productnotices.php

Bob

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