Adventures in hiking…

Packing a Bear Canister, Unpacking a Bear Canister

bearcan

Yes honey, it will all fit.

As we prepare for our section hike of the JMT,  I am enjoying watching my wife pack, unpack the bear canister.  Her frustration mounting, I assure her that it will all fit or we will hang the non-essentials from a tree.  Hopefully, by the time we hit Yosemite where bears come to feast, we will have mostly empty bear cans.   Whoever created the saying it’s like packing 10 pounds of “stuff” in a 5 pound bag must have invented the bear canister.

The logistics of a section hike in the backcountry are significant.  Permits, transportation, food, clothing, checklists, on and on….  Watching her pack, it’s obvious that organized people can get more in their canisters than the rest of us.  If you’ve ever crammed a bear canister into an ultralight backpack, you realize that you may be wearing the same clothing all week because it’s either food or clothing.

Keep in mind the pack-it-in, pack-it-out rule.  While I agree that we should be good stewards and not leave our trash in the wilderness, it literally stinks to carry your garbage around for a week.  I would advise that you rinse out those foil tuna packs after you empty them or your apples will smell like Chicken-of-the-Sea by day three.

bear

This is why you need a bear can in Yosemite.

Should you pack your bear can with each day’s meals?  Like day 5 on the bottom, day 4 above that and so on.  I guess if you are OCD then yes.  Otherwise, it’s fun finding your food, kind of like the treat in the bottom of a Crackerjack box.

When I got our bear cans, by the way I picked two different types, a Garcia and a Bearvault, I got some reflective tape and made smiley face designs on them.  That way, if we need to find a bear can in the dark after Yogi rolls it away,  it will be smiling back at us.  Along with my phone number, I added a little graffiti like “eat me” and “sorry Yogi” on the reflective tape with a Sharpie.  If I have to use those darn things, I will make the best of it.

The old standby canister used by the Park Service: Backpackers’ Cache – Bear Proof Container

BearVault BV500 Bear Proof Container Bear Vault  – This one is my favorite, roomy and you can see your stuff.

Always stow your bear canisters between 50-100 ft. away from your tent and wedge them between rocks or trees.  Never place them around a cliff or near water unless you plan on fasting for a few days.  Enjoy packing them, practice or watch others pack a bear can for cheap entertainment.  It’s better than watching Duck Dynasty.

2 responses

  1. We use the Bear Vault, but always end up renting an additional canister. One just isn’t enough, and darn…they’re heavy! Looking forward to following your journey.

    June 28, 2013 at 11:47 am

    • So true Janet! Thanks for following, like you guys we love Yosemite – hoping to make some memories.

      June 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

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