Author Topic: Bear Resistant Canister  (Read 1178 times)

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Offline Biking Homesteader

Bear Resistant Canister
« on: February 20, 2014, 06:20:30 pm »
My wife and I (in our 60s) will be riding self- contained (camping) on the TransAm this spring/summer from VA to OR. Should we carry a bear-resistant canister for our food?


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Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 07:18:50 pm »
Bear canisters almost always fail cost/benefit, not just $, but utility.  You'll be in bear country as soon as you are in the Rockies, grizzly territory past the Great Basin.  Most campgrounds have food lockers, those that don't have trees you can suspend your food and toiletries in - for the 2-3 days at most this will be necessary.
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 07:57:55 pm »
Bear canisters almost always fail cost/benefit, not just $, but utility.  You'll be in bear country as soon as you are in the Rockies, grizzly territory past the Great Basin.  Most campgrounds have food lockers, those that don't have trees you can suspend your food and toiletries in - for the 2-3 days at most this will be necessary.

I agree.  We didn't carry one on the Trans America and didn't miss it.  There were bear lockers most of the places where we felt like we needed one.  I only recall one night with bear problems, no place to hang our food, and no bear locker.  We improvised by putting our bear bag inside the shower room at the private campground where we stayed.  Bear canisters are pretty heavy so I avoid carrying mine unless it is really necessary.  Even when backpacking I only carry mine where required to do so by park regulations.

Online John Nelson

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 11:34:50 pm »
I agree too. There aren't enough nights where bears will be a problem. You can ask at NPS and NFS offices about recent bear activity in the area. If a bear box is available, use it. If not, hang your smellies (food and toiletries) far from your tent. Even if you don't hang it well enough, it will be far enough from your tent that all the bear will get is your stuff and not you. If other campers are in the area and they have vehicles, you can ask if you can put your smellies in their vehicle for the night. If there are no bear boxes, but there are bear-proof trash cans, then put your smellies in the trash can, underneath the trash bag.

When I did the TransAm, I used bear boxes in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest (Montana). I hung my smellies in the Clearwater National Forest (Idaho). Those were the only five nights of the whole trip where bears were a concern. Much of the time you will spend overnight in a town, where bears are pretty rare.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2014, 06:41:49 am »
One tip on knowing where bears are likely to be a problem...  Look at the trash receptacles and dumpsters, if there just regular trash cans with normal lids with no attempt at critter proofing you can usually assume that bears and racoons are not a big problem there.  If the dumpsters have unlatches lids you can usually assume the same.

Of course asking is a good idea too.

BTW, I think we stayed in places that had bear problems a good bit more often than John apparently did, maybe about twice as often.  Also at a camp in Toronto Lake SP in Kansas we were raided by racoons when we left our food un-hung.  We should have know better because there were metal poles for hanging stuff.  That all said I still do not recommend a bear canister for the TA.

Offline BobG

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 05:06:02 pm »
On recent trips I've lined my food pannier with an Ursack just to fend off the raccoons and squirrels. At night I tie the Ursack to the picnic table or a tree with food tied up tightly inside. It's also bear resistant but on the TransAm I've just used the campground provided lockers. There's only a few nights in bear country on that route as staehpj1, Cyclesafe and John have already noted. Mostly in Yellowstone/Tetons WY, Lochsa River ID and Breaks Interstate Park, VA.

http://www.ursack.com/ursack-catalog.htm

Offline Biking Homesteader

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 08:39:49 pm »
Thanks for the speedy replies which are informative and entertaining. I did not know about the bear lockers in the campgrounds. So, we will not be carrying one of the 3-pound canisters. As a long-distance backpacker, I have bear-bagged my food in trees several times, but I hate doing it especially in the rain.
Bruce & Mary Ann, Biking Homesteaders


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Offline indyfabz

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 10:34:36 am »
You can also ask the campground staff about storing food in bathrooms or other more secure locations if there are no bear lockers. I did that during a tour in New Jersey last year. (Yes. There are bears in northwest New Jersey/Northeast PA, and they can very large.) I was told that a bear had been in camp the night before so I asked (and was allowed to) store food in the bathroom.

Offline HoolieWA

Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 01:55:52 pm »
Ha!  One summer I backpacked the coast on the Olympic Peninsula and the NPS required a bear canister to store food.  Hang bags were not allowed. Never saw a bear or heard of anyone else seeing one. Cougars were seen though.  My second night on the trip, I was awoken by a strange scratching sound which turned out to be a chip monk or squirrel chewing a hole through the canister.  The hole was about the size of a silver dollar.  The store owner who I rented it from had never seen that before.
I will always go with a hang bag method or use the lockers provided.  The weight and bulk of the canister was a bit much.  As well if you have one pannier designated for food, soap, toothpaste, and rum, it can be suspended in the air.   One product that I have always carried my food stuffs in is called OpSak. Basically a large ziplock bag, seals all elements out while sealing odors in.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 12:07:20 pm by HoolieWA »
Julie