How To Carry A Bear Canister While Backpacking? This article will explain you how.
A bear canister is a bear-proof container used for keeping food (and generally anything with a smell/fragrance) in the wilderness, for those new to the idea.
What exactly is it? Is it possible to be bear-proof but not human-proof? Yes, since, although bears can actually (and easily) rip us apart, humans have something they don’t: opposable thumbs (and nukes). But, on that topic, consider what would happen if bears developed to have thumbs: they’d be unstoppable.
Hikers often loathe bear canisters because they are big, inflexible, and heavy. However, bears are quite powerful (and also extremely intelligent), so you’ll need something heavy to keep them away from your valuables.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t need a bear canister; I can simply hang my food from a tree,” it turns out that many wilderness regions in the US require you to carry a bear canister (and yes, you will be penalized if you don’t).
Basics of Bear Canisters
It’s usually advisable to start with the fundamentals before moving on to more complex bear canister methods.
Even if you’ve used a bear canister before and are (or believe you are) acquainted with a bear can etiquette, it’s a good idea to go over this information again to be sure you’re doing all you can to have fun (and bear-free) experience.
- Food canisters aren’t the sole use for bear canisters. Basically, everything that comes into contact with your skin (sunscreen, soap, repellant, medicine, etc.) should be in your bear canister.
- Maintain a distance of at least 100 feet (30 meters) between your canister and your campsite.
- If you’re going someplace that needs a bear canister and you’re wondering, “Do I really need one?” the answer is yes, you do.
- Close and lock your bear canister (this seems self-evident, but you’d be shocked). Do not set your bear canister near cliffs, ledges, water sources, or anything else that a bear may knock it off of or into.
- Attach nothing to your bear canister (ropes, carabiners, shoelaces, etc.) that a bear may use to take it away (with its teeth).
- It is not recommended that you utilize your bear canister as a floatation device (especially not when attempting to escape an enraged bear).
Now that you’ve covered the essentials, here are some bear canister methods and suggestions to make your life a little simpler.
How To Carry A Bear Canister While Backpacking
Get something luminous and reflective.
This one is simple: adorn your bear canister with reflective tape, stickers, or paint (because you’re an artist). The rationale here is that it will be simpler to locate your can if you need to fetch it in the dark. Obviously, this isn’t required, but if having a reflective bear canister makes you feel better about yourself, go do it.
Place it in the middle of your pack.
Adding a bear canister to your pack will almost certainly impact the way you pack (particularly because the canister won’t become smaller as you eat). If you put your sleeping bag at the bottom of your pack (and if you don’t, you may want to reconsider your packing approach), carrying your bear canister directly on top of it – in the middle of your pack – puts the weight (and bulk) in a good spot.
Load it in the other direction.
Because your bear canister will most likely be your single biggest piece of gear (apart from your sleeping bag), it will demand extra thought when it comes to packing space. When purchasing your pack, think about whether it can accommodate a bear canister horizontally. The bear canister does not fit into all backpacks horizontally, which might pose issues for hikers who wait until Kennedy Meadows to attempt to put their bear canisters into their packs.
Separate the food for the first day.
If you’re concerned about running out of bear canister space on a specific section of trail, remember that you can always keep your first day’s worth of food out of it since you’ll be eating it all before needing to store your food for the night.
Because continually opening and shutting a bear canister isn’t the most exciting of hobbies, you may wish to split your food for the day each morning.
Get rid of the packing.
This trick isn’t only useful when utilizing a bear canister; it’s also useful when your space is unexpectedly constrained. To reduce room (and weight) in your canister, remove the packing from your food. Transferring your food to Ziploc bags makes it resealable and eliminates any air that may have been trapped in the manufacturer’s packaging.
Your days should be layered.
If you’re going to stuff your bear canister to the brim with food, you may want to think about where you put it (you will also need to be a Tetris master). Considering combining all of your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners? That’s wonderful until you discover you’ve stuffed your bear canister with all of your meals.
As you consume your meal, this becomes less of an issue, but it’s something to think about for the first few days. Make sure your food is layered by day, not by kind.
Food should be loaded and stored in a sideways manner.
When filling your food into your bear canister, flip it on its side (rather than setting it on the ground with the entrance pointing upwards) to make all of your delicacies much more accessible. You no longer have a dozen layers of food to dig through if you want to get to the bottom; instead, you just have two or three.
The lids may be used for a variety of things.
Do you need a terrible frisbee? Is it possible to make an impromptu weapon? Isn’t this the ideal circle for producing lovely mud art? Perhaps simply a semi-clean surface on which to cook your food? Your bear canister will keep you safe. That is unless you have one of the exorbitantly priced Wild Ideas canisters (whose lids are attached to the canister).
It can be used as a seat.
Finally, one of the few advantages of owning a bear canister (apart from the fact that your food will not be devoured by bears in the middle of the night) is that bear canisters make good chairs. That is, the majority of bear canisters make good seats. Who knows, you could miss having your trusty seat around after it’s out of your pack (though the weight is unlikely to be missed).