Keep your supplies secure with these bear canisters.
The grandfather of the modern bear canister is the Backpackers’ Cache. A time-tested method for protecting your food against bears, the Backpackers’ Cache has been used by outdoorsmen and women since 1982 in some of the worst problem areas in the country. To open, use a coin or other tool to turn the latches—an easy enough feat for a human, but virtually impossible for a bear. Approved for use in both black bear and grizzly country. MSRP: $70.
The BearVault four-day BV450 and seven-day BV500 incorporate a number of smart design choices. The clear sides allow you to see what’s in your container without having to open it. Tool-free operation spares you from having to hunt in your pack for a coin in the backcountry. Raised bumps on each end of the cannister allow it to be strapped to the outside of your pack without the need for an additional carrying case. Approved for use against black bears and grizzly bears. MSRP: $67-$80.
Similar in look and design to the Backpackers’ Cache, and likewise approved by the IGBC, the weight of the Bear Keg’s polycarbonate construction is beefier, and it holds a larger volume (716 cubic inches). It also comes in bright yellow, a useful feature in the event that a bear rolls your food away from its original location in an attempt to break it open. MSRP: $80.
Responding to popular demand from campers, the UDAP No-Fed-Bear is slightly smaller than some of the other bear canister brands on the market, making it a great fit for today’s smaller bug-out bags and backpacks. The No-Fed-Bear only weighs 2.4 pounds and can be attached to the outside of a pack with an optional storage case. The canister was tested by the Missoula Development and Technology Center before passing the IGBC test with flying colors. MSRP: $70.
While “bear hangs” are a near universal food-protection tool, it is often difficult to find a tree with an appropriately high branch to secure it from. For this reason, it’s a smart choice to purchase a bear canister: hard-sided containers that can stop a bear’s powerful jaws. Bear canisters also come with complicated opening mechanisms that are tested against bears.
Before being approved for use in black bear and grizzly country, bear canisters are given to actual bears by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). To run these tests, food, such as peanut butter, honey and fish oil, were placed inside of the containers, which were then deposited inside of a bear enclosure. The bears had an hour to breach the container. If they failed, the container or bag was given a passing grade. Here’s a look at the different bear canisters on the market today, and how they stack up.
For More Information
Counter Assault Bear Keg
- RELATED STORY: 6 Ways to Escape a Bear Attack
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- RELATED STORY: Tools For Surviving A Wild Animal Attack
- RELATED STORY: Bear Defense: Identifying Predator Territory
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- RELATED STORY: New Bear Spray Holster Helps Cyclists Explore Bear Country with Confidence
This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Winter 2016 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
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