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[Yosemite]

Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby jgaffney » Sat May 21, 2016 3:33 pm

Since I got my Senior Pass, I do a lot more backpacking in Yosemite. I respect the rules about canisters and Leave No Trace, and it irritates me when I see people who don't.

I have a Garcia Bear Canister, and I just bought a BearVault 450. I usually go by myself, so I carry all of the food I need. The Garcia is good for a 5-7 day trip, but it's overkill for a quick, 3-night getaway. However, when I take the Garcia, I have to take the big backpack (Baltoro 65) for it to fit. I bought the BearVault for the short trips, and I think I can fit it in the smaller backpack (Gregory Z30).

I wish I could find a canister with the volume of the BearVault 450, but smaller in diameter. The Garcia is made of ABS plastic, a common construction material. If I made a canister with a piece of 6" ABS pipe, with a glued endcap on one end and a threaded endcap on the other, it would be just as tough as the Garcia, but it would fit in my pack better.

I've watched a couple of videos on YouTube of bears trying to get into the Bearvault. Apparently, they know about the threaded cap, but they can't figure out the catches. I would do something to the threaded cap on my home-made canister so that it took some kind of trick to open it. Then, all I have to do is submit it for the bear testing that Sierra Wild requires.

What are my chances?
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby Phil » Sat May 21, 2016 4:18 pm

You could always build a better mousetrap, but it wouldn't be allowed because it wouldn't be approved for use in Yosemite by the NPS. You might be able to drive a tank over it and shove it into the mouths of Grizzlies, but it'll still get you cited. You obviously know about the testing requirements, so if you come up with something that fits into a pack better, holds a week's worth of food, weighs less, and still does the job, consider me your first customer. I always thought pack space and carry comfort with a bear can in it would be better used if someone came up with something not round, but slightly longer and oval in profile, but that still gave me enough volume to store enough food and get into, almost like an oval hybrid between a scuba tank and suitcase that opened from the side so you could get at and see everything like with a j-zipper on some packs.

Good luck! Keep us posted.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby AlmostThere » Sat May 21, 2016 4:59 pm

Or, you could order a Bare Boxer. http://www.bareboxer.com/

The Bear Vaults have been opened by bears -- in the Adirondaks, they bite off the tabs on the lid. In Kings Canyon there is apparently one bear that tips it over and pushes with all its weight to pop off the lid.

I have a Bare Boxer, and a Wild Ideas Bearikade.

It would be very, very difficult to get approval for a homemade model -- there is no longer a single entity that does the testing. You would have to submit to each jurisdiction that requires them. Several of orders of magnitude easier to simply get a Bare Boxer that's on all the approved canister lists.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby balzaccom » Sat May 21, 2016 5:18 pm

One of the challenges of making a smaller bear canister is that it still has to be too large for the bear to get in its jaws. If the bear can manage to get it into its jaws, it will crush any kind of plastic...and many metal containers. That's one of the reasons for the shape of the approved models.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby AlmostThere » Sat May 21, 2016 5:30 pm

Yes, the material is not the point. They could easily crush a pvc pipe. Bear cans have to be 6 inches across at a minimum so a bear cannot get his jaws around it.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby Phil » Sat May 21, 2016 6:29 pm

But where is the best place to go where I can propose to my girlfriend?

I have a Ursack and a shotgun. Will either one work, or should I bring both? :lol:
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby balzaccom » Sat May 21, 2016 8:14 pm

The Ursack may work on your girlfriend, but it won't work in a National Park.

The shotgun is supposed to be in the hands of her father, not you. :D
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby AlmostThere » Sat May 21, 2016 8:17 pm

If you're going to propose to girlfriend, I suggest leaving the wife and kids at home. Don't forget to give them your itinerary. :lol:
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby Phil » Sat May 21, 2016 9:31 pm

"No Honey, I swear, I was only down on one knee because this woman needed help with her tent stakes. What champagne? Oh look, it's a bear. Run away!...please!!"
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby Phil » Sun May 22, 2016 8:20 am

Uh oh! Now you've done it, Balzaccom. The GF didn't like your Ursack comment, and she's on her way over to Napa with her Dad's shotgun and the bear she somehow managed to befriend by talking to it like one of her cats. Your best bet is to appease her with a skinny hot chocolate from Starbucks, furiously begin swatting at imaginary insects when you see her coming up the driveway, scramble her cell phone signal, and tell her you don't have a clean bathroom. Thoroughly defeated by that point, she'll undoubtedly run away quickly and either seek shelter at a spa in Calistoga, or just figure that, since she's over there anyhow, she might as well just go ahead and hit the outlets in Vacaville.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby jgaffney » Mon May 23, 2016 6:05 pm

So, dragging the postings, kicking and screaming, back on topic....

I did some more research on the Yosemite Wilderness page about allowable bear canisters. Ruling out the Bearikade Scout ($225!), I found 2 that are smaller in diameter than the Garcia and the BearVault. The Lighter1 Little Sami is 300 cubic inches and 7.0 inches in Diameter. The Bare Box Contender is 275 cubic inches and 7.4 inches in diameter. The Little Sami is 28 oz (with lid) and the Contender is 25.6 oz. Compare those with the Garcia (43 oz) and the BearVault (33 oz). I'm going to try the Little Sami because it has a wide-open lid, like the BearVault. The Contender has a lid that looks a lot like the Garcia so, with the smaller diameter, there will be a smaller opening.

I'll let you know how this works out.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby AlmostThere » Mon May 23, 2016 6:55 pm

I recommend renting Bearikades when you need canisters for longer trips (or multiple people). Very efficient - they mail it to you and don't charge for postage, you pay to ship it back to them at the end of the trip. Lightest cans for the volume and they make a much nicer seat in camp.

I have had zero issues with the opening on the Bare Boxer. It's actually not that big a deal. The latches are bomber solid. You need to use the end of a key to press a latch in the slot to turn the latches. Garcia lids have a little plastic tab that looks like if it breaks off it would leave you with a lidless canister. The Bear Vaults have a lid and body made of different plastic, so on a very cold morning getting the lid off can be a real chore as it gets really stiff in sub freezing temps. The Bearikades open easily with a quarter. I
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby balzaccom » Mon May 23, 2016 7:56 pm

Phil

Please tell her that she doesn't need to go to Vacaville for outlet stores. We have them in Napa now...and our wine is better!
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby Phil » Mon May 23, 2016 11:07 pm

jgaffney wrote:So, dragging the postings, kicking and screaming, back on topic....


Yeah, sorry about that. Sort of an inside joke thing...the great proposal thread - food storage digression. Couldn't help myself.

We've been carrying Garcias around for years. They work fine and they do their job, never a problem, and we have packing and accessing the contents of them down to a science, but for what we needed, it always took each of us carrying one, and that meant less pack volume for other gear in both packs, not just one. I finally decided that we could equitably split the gear loads better weight and volume-wise if one carried primarily just the food and the other carried most of the rest. Our trips seldom exist of "plans". From spring until fall, our packs are ready to go within an hour, so after renting an Expedition a couple times to field test it, I bought a Bearikade instead of renting again. I choked initially, but I now have absolutely zero regrets spending the money on such an integral piece of equipment that gives us so many benefits that I discovered from experience. I mean, a lot of us spend hundreds of dollars on something like a jacket that MIGHT make it into our packs on any given trip, or we can spend the same amount of money on something that IS going out every time.

I know you have a slightly different set of criteria than we do, but really, rent one and see. Their reputation is well-deserved for good reason.
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Re: Bear Cannisters - AArrghh!

Postby balzaccom » Tue May 24, 2016 8:12 am

We feel the same way about our Bearvaults. We have both sizes and take them on every trip, whether they are required are not.
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