Monday, July 23, 2012


Why use a Bear Resistant Canister?  Several great reasons.  Many state parks require bear kegs, it keeps you safe, it keeps the bears safe, and it keeps food from being taken and you going hungry in the back country.  A lot of backpackers like to hang their food from trees at night, which might work for a lot of people.  However, bear experts say that bears will go through unbelievable trials to get at food in trees, even injuring themselves trying to climb out on fragile branches that are way too small for them.  Keeping your food high in a tree is not a guarantee it will be safe.

Bears will break into cars to get to coolers and food items as small as a stick of gum.  They break right through the glass and have been known to tear through the back seats to get into trunks.  Their sense of smell is incredible, topping that of dogs by 100 percent.  And the shenanigans they will go through to get to your food are legendary, they are very smart and relentlessly determined. 
This can be dangerous for humans and for bears.  And thankfully, state parks began instituting precautionary measures back in 1999 which have really helped to curb this problem.  Damages and injuries went way down with bear management programs and the key has been to require humans to lock up their food.  This way bears have no desire to come in contact with us.  They say that bears so quickly discovered the futility of messing around with bear canisters, that many, when they see them, just walk right by them.  That's a win-win.  Keeps us safe from bears and keeps bears safe from having to be put down because they are too motivated to enter human camps looking for food.
A great solution are BearVaults.  They are easy for us to open and close, yet bear proof, certified by the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group for Black Bears and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee for Grizzly Bears.  They are clear blue plastic and you can see the contents from the outside, the wide opening makes it easy to get at food, and they make for a good little chair around camp.  They come in a Solo size, weighing 2 lbs 1oz and large enough to contain 4 days worth of food for one person.  The larger size weighs 2 lbs 9 oz and will hold enough food for seven days for one person.  There are grooves on the vault to help you strap it on the outside of your pack if you desire, and they are rain proof.  At night, you put all food, bars, body products like toothpaste and lip balm into the BearVault and place a good one hundred feet away from where you are sleeping.  If you can, try to wedge it between rocks or logs and you're good to go.

If you're going to be camping and backpacking in bear territory, you need a Bear Vault.  Find one HERE.