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[Yosemite]

Bear Cannister Size?

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

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Bear Cannister Size?

Postby coachrains » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:30 pm

Weight is a priority with me, as I have enough body weight to deal with already. What size of bear canister would you suggest for a 5 day hike, I will be taking single freeze dried food (mountain house) maybe some oatmeal packets for breakfast, energy bars, candy. All as compact as I can make it. I am not a big eater when I hike, especially later in evening when tired.

What size would you suggest?
:)
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:51 pm

Are you renting or buying? If you rent from the park there is one size.

It depends on how you pack the can, too. I could get five days of food in a solo bear vault with ease, but I've got three sizes of bear can and use them all the time. The Garcia that the park rents will easily hold all of that. And you'll need a little room for lip balm and trash and toothpaste, and the like. Anything with any scent goes in.
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby Phil » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:57 pm

In your previous post, you mentioned that you would be taking this trip with three others. So is the plan that each person carry their own food? If so, and if the canister is packed efficiently, the Garcia 812 that you rent at the park is going to give you about 5-6 man-days of storage, so one per person will theoretically work. But, you also have to consider that all toiletries, scented items, garbage have to fit into that can at night and/or if the pack is left unattended, which is defined as any time it's outside of arm's reach. For practical planning purposes of canister size and what fits in it, the first day's food, up to and including dinner, can be carried outside the can, but again, whatever's leftover, including trash, has to fit in the can that night or if it's ever going to be unattended at all. It's really not negotiable from the standpoint of either regulations, or if you want a pack that remains in one piece. One way or another, you get caught out with improper food storage, you pay a steep price. One other consideration is a safety margin: A person that goes out for any length of time and doesn't carry at least one extra day of food for emergency purposes isn't looking out for their best interests too well. People also have a tendency to either over anticipate their nutritional needs and pack way too much, or they don't realize that they're going to burn thousands of calories per day and tend to underestimate how much they need. I can tell you though, from lots of experience, my own tendency is to slightly over pack, because I'll take the slight increase in weight over trying to climb a mountain without enough food energy to get myself up, much less what I have to carry...something to think about.

Basics aside, if it's something you intend to use again and want to buy a can, you can get by with something from Bear Vault. The BV450 is slightly too small for five days for most people, so you would need to go up to a BV500 for just yourself, unless you really are good at packing and don't need much food. There are also numerous other manufacturers, and everyone has their favorite. As far as renting a can goes, you can see what a company called Wild Ideas http://www.wild-ideas.net/ has available. Their Weekender model will hold about 6 man-days of food, and if you decide to share your combined food load (which is going to make meal prep and fuel use more efficient), they also have the Expedition model which will store enough for two people for about six days each (12 man-days total). And of course, you can also buy the same Garcia 812 that you can rent for about $70.
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby coachrains » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:41 pm

I was looking to buy the BV 500
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby balzaccom » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:19 pm

My wife and I use the BV500 for a five day trip, and we can just barely make it work for the two of us. Of course, lunch and dinner for the first day are not in the canister, because we eat them that day--which means that technically before dinner we have some food in our pack that is not in the canister. We don't leave the pack unattended.

And we usually make it out by the middle of the last day, so lunch and dinner on day five are purchased somewhere on the way home...
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby Justin-T » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:29 pm

Worth mentioning that the Mountain House solution is convenient, but the packs are very bulky (even after they're "empty" and heavier than they need to be. I also found there was never a size that's "just right".

Here's a great alternative, I swear by the recipes on this website, and you can adjust them in any way you want. They use freeze dried components and just like Mountain House you just add boiling water (but do need an insulated bowl, even so the overall weight is lower). Healthier too and all you end up with is a small empty ziploc bag. The saving in bulk easily gives you an extra day's worth of food. My son and I both used the Garcia (same as the one you can rent at Yosemite) for a 5 night (i.e. 6 full days hiking) hike last year, carrying an extra dinner just in case. All food fitted in (including first day) with all the other smellies, including first aid kit. We had to pack it carefully the first morning, but after that it was easy.

http://www.theyummylife.com/Backpacking_Food

And the bowl:
http://www.backcountrygear.com/gsi-ultralight-nesting-bowl-and-mug.html?gclid=CIe7rZeJ2tICFQoGaQodxekC-Q
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby balzaccom » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:29 pm

Yeah--and there is a whole philosophy of packing a bear can, if you are interested. Nothing in its original packaging, everything collapsed and air-free. no crackers unless you want them in sawdust form, etc.
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:58 pm

I've met people who use the larger Bear Vault - for a single night.

Packed it full of -- and I am not even kidding -- cupa soups in the cups, canned goods, frozen steak, eggs in a plastic carton, box of crackers, and a hunk of cheese.

:shock:

I've gotten a week of meals in the smaller Bear Vault and 9 days of food in the Wild Ideas Weekender. But I never bother buying pre-made meals, unless it's Packit Gourmet -- I use recipes from trailcooking.com or dehydrate leftovers.
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby dgilman » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:09 pm

If you do want/need to go with pre-packed food, I recommend the Mountain House "Pro-Pak". These are vacuum packed and are much easier to squeeze into a cannister than the normal packs. And it saves you from having to open them and squeeze the air out, so you don't have to worry about them either opening up by accident, or not being able to re-use them for another trip if you don't end up eating everything.

But I much prefer Pack-It Gourmet - much better food and more compact.
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Re: Bear Cannister Size?

Postby Phil » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:19 am

AlmostThere wrote:I've met people who use the larger Bear Vault - for a single night.

Packed it full of -- and I am not even kidding -- cupa soups in the cups, canned goods, frozen steak, eggs in a plastic carton, box of crackers, and a hunk of cheese.


Some of our biggest and best meals have been from people giving us their leftovers so that they wouldn't have to haul them back out.
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