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Old 03-07-2017, 10:30 PM   #1
l33tHoneyBadger
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Bear Canister Suggestions

A friend of mine and I are headed into Cranberry Lake in a few months and later on, into the HP for a few overnights. As you probably know Cranberry Lake is lousy with bears and I have no desire to feed nor tangle with one on our trips. I have read a bunch of threads on here about this topic and that some bear canisters are bad but I haven't seen a real concise answer on what canister everyone approves of. I know most are either outright forbidden or have been ripped apart in the past. I would like to keep it lightweight if at all possible as I have enough weight to drag around as it is. So is there a suggested canister and if not what would you suggest I do? I know they are supposed to be left loose to roll around but would it be better to put the canister in a bag and hang it as well? I just want to do what is right so we have a good trip, the bears go away safe but empty handed, and so I wake up to a breakfast of some nature. I thank you in advance for your suggestions and input.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:18 PM   #2
Pauly D.
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I have a Garcia bear canister. It's huge, heavy, and a real pain in the neck to carry but it is well made. I can't speak for the other manufacturers but the Garcia is built like a vault and slippery as heck.

In general I hang a bear bag with the exception of the Eastern High Peaks where a bear canister is mandatory. I have yet to find a bear that has gotten into either of them.

I leave mine out in the open. I'm told that a bear can crush a canister if it's against a tree. I've also heard that they learn to undo the canisters with screw tops. Who knows. I wouldn't worry about bears too much. I've seen two in my lifetime and they didn't want anything to do with me either time. Best of luck!
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:02 AM   #3
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I use this one. It's easy to find in the woods the next morning. The carrying case makes it easy to strap to the outside of your pack if you don't have room inside. Obviously, you take it out of the carrying case when in use (otherwise it might get carried away). It's heavy, but it's bulletproof. Unless the bear has a quarter. Then you're screwed.
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:58 AM   #4
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We've borrowed the garcia when in or near the high peaks. I like that other one that is yellow but it appears to be heavier at 3.5lbs to the Garcia's stated 2lbs 12 oz... But it appears to be larger too.

Great idea to carry it external, can be tough to fit. Plus if Yogi gets at the pack maybe he won't shred it.

If hung in a bag and Yogi can get it down it will be carried.

If purchasing I am tempted to get the clear one for ease of use. Yellow-yellow, the bear that could open it, is reputed to have gone to that great forest in the sky. But that would be going against the wisdom of some pretty experienced folks.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:36 AM   #5
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Anybody have any experience with the ursack? I looked at that years ago and there was some controversy over testing and effectiveness. But the company is still around and expanding their offerings so maybe they worked out the issues.

As a side note, I've been using the Opsak inside my hang- bag for the last few years and it seems to have cut down on critter intrusions. Hard to say for sure though. Maybe I'm just getting better at hanging.

Whenever I go backpacking with someone who is green they always say they are most worried about bears. I always tell them that rodents are much more of a problem than bears. I've never had a bear ruin a trip, but I have had mice (?) ruin a couple by busting into a hang bag and spreading our food all over the area.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:00 AM   #6
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No doubt you recall this thread: Lil' Sami bear canister failure

Yellow-Yellow's demise hasn't made polycarbonate canisters with screw-tops less vulnerable to intrusion. Now the bears gnaw on the butt end until they "cut it a new one".



Last summer, they had a BearVault on display at ADK Loj with the same failure (gaping hole). Know that polycarbonate canisters may be ineffective against a determined Adirondack bear.

I haven't heard of bears gnawing though the material used in Garcia, Bare Boxer, and similar designs.

For a bear hang, the PCT method is a good one.
Quick demonstration: https://youtu.be/GnQygS85Mxk
Details: http://theultimatehang.com/2013/03/h...he-pct-method/
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:15 AM   #7
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A few years ago I saw a Garcia (the large heavy black type) that was similarly breached. It was chewed on a bottom corner by a red squirrel, over a period of 3 days, while the renter watched. IMO The Loj should have charged him full price.

Never place the canister in another bag or container that a bear can easily carry off. It is not necessary nor advisable to hang a canister.

It has been said that Yellow-yellow taught her offspring how to defeat the polycarbonate canister

Outside the EHP I have used the Marrison hanging method (without using a canister) for many years without any bear issues at all.
http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/training/bearbag.shtml

Be sure to read the regulation
http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:28 AM   #8
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So as I read through the regulations on the link provided I see that bear bags are not allowed and they discourage the use of a majority of the containers on the market. Yet they fail to point out what brands or models they do suggest. So perhaps if they want their plan to keep bears out of food to succeed they should find one to endorse. I will use a bear hang in Cranberry I guess, and yes I have run into a cub and mother there. I also have a bear that routinely destroys the neighborhood where I live which is only about an hour from Cranberry Lake. But in the HP I will rent one and see what they give me. Time to go out and start practicing that bear hang. lol
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:07 PM   #9
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Yet they fail to point out what brands or models they do suggest. So perhaps if they want their plan to keep bears out of food to succeed they should find one to endorse.
You will rarely if ever see a government agency endorsing any one particular product, no matter what it is. It's a legal thing they must avoid to be impartial. However, if you happen to run into an individual employee, you may ask what they use, and they will likely tell you, with the proviso that they did not specifically endorse it above any other brand.
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:21 PM   #10
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You will rarely if ever see a government agency endorsing any one particular product, no matter what it is. It's a legal thing they must avoid to be impartial. However, if you happen to run into an individual employee, you may ask what they use, and they will likely tell you, with the proviso that they did not specifically endorse it above any other brand.
Yeah I know I work in a school I.T. department so I deal with government regulations and I know they won't endorse a brand. But they could create a list of approved products was more my aim. Hopefully I can run across a ranger down there willing to tell me. If so I can post it here for the next person who searches this topic.
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:18 PM   #11
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But they could create a list of approved products was more my aim. Hopefully I can run across a ranger down there willing to tell me. If so I can post it here for the next person who searches this topic.
6 NYCRR Paragraph 190.13(b)(2) defines a bear-resistant canister as "a commercially made container constructed of solid, non-pliable material manufactured for the specific purpose of resisting entry by bears."

You can find an officially approved list here:
http://igbconline.org/certified-products-list/
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:41 PM   #12
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Ive been using an Ursack for about three years now. I tie it to trees or hang it if Im in an area that is known to have frequent bear activity. I hiked the Cranberry 50 last year and had to issues with bears nor did I see any signs of bears. I know of other hikers that frequent the area and they have never seen nor had seen any signs of bears also. I know that the Ursack is frowned by many as not an " Approved" bear defeating container, in all the years Ive been hiking the Adirondacks, to include in the High Peeks area, I have never had bear problems. But Ive had other animals, Mice, Racoons, Rabbits try to steal items. I stumbled into a camp last year on the Cranberry 50, the occupants were no where to be seen and they had items thrown all over the camp site to include food. I quickly departed. I do not know if an animal was responsible or not.
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:34 PM   #13
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I originally had the smaller version of the BearVault until Yellow-Yellow learned how to open them. I replaced it with the Counter Assault Bear Keg linked in post #3. More recently, I picked up a Bare Boxer for solo trips.

In hindsight, I think the Garcia is a better choice that the Counter Assault Bear Keg. The former is the industry standard—it's the only brand that I've seen at places that rent canisters. The Garcia is also, as Tenderfoot mentioned, about a pound lighter, but also smaller. Specifically, the Garcia is 2 lbs. 12 oz. with a volume of 10 liters; the Counter Assault is 3 lbs. 10 oz. with a volume of 11. 7 liters.

I have no regrets about picking up the Bare Boxer. One of the nice things about using a bear canister, even when it is not required, is that it is so much simpler to use than hanging a bear bag.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:39 AM   #14
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... But in the HP I will rent one and see what they give me ...
The Backpackers’ Cache

$8 per 2 nights

Garcia (manufacturer's site) is down for maintenance.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:53 AM   #15
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I have heard the claim about yellow yellow teaching her offspring her craft in unscrewing the BV repeated often, however what I have not seen, heard or read is any evidence that this is true. I recall the earliest reports said there was NO indication she has taught her craft to her young abd later on I would read others begin to state the opposite. I haven't seen any evidence, nor a respected official claim to have seen any evidence. All that said the gaping hole from gnawing is a different story. As with most aspects of trying to modify bear behavior through acclimation, where this took place matters as far as resistance to a successful breach. I personally use an ursack mostly, and hang secondly. I only use a canister where required. A proper hang is ideal IMO, however most of the time I see ineffective hangs.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:55 AM   #16
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The carry case (not for when you are stashing it) looks mighty handy. Having the ability to strap it to a pack.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:09 AM   #17
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Rental at the Loj includes the case.

We forgot to return it and had to come back the next day.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:19 PM   #18
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I have heard the claim about yellow yellow teaching her offspring her craft in unscrewing the BV repeated often, however what I have not seen, heard or read is any evidence that this is true. I recall the earliest reports said there was NO indication she has taught her craft to her young abd later on I would read others begin to state the opposite. I haven't seen any evidence, nor a respected official claim to have seen any evidence. All that said the gaping hole from gnawing is a different story. As with most aspects of trying to modify bear behavior through acclimation, where this took place matters as far as resistance to a successful breach. I personally use an ursack mostly, and hang secondly. I only use a canister where required. A proper hang is ideal IMO, however most of the time I see ineffective hangs.
The DEC Rangers at Marcy Dam that I've spoken to, actually thought that some (many?) of the reports of Yellow-Yellow breaking into Bear Vaults were misattributed to her because the victims were aware of Yellow-Yellow's ability and just assumed that it was her. Also it is my understanding that non-chew-through breaches of Bear Vaults have continued since her death.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:02 PM   #19
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I've been using the Ursack for over 12 years. I bought one for my first trip to the Winds and have been using the same one ever since. Bears out West aren't the friendly little black bears we have here in The Park. Used with the odor retarding Opsack it's more easily packed and much easier to store/hang than a canister. I would suggest that they are also more likely to be used.

The Ursack is a proven food storage product.
I am hopeful that they will gain endorsement here but I won't hold my breath waiting. I won't use a canister.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:01 PM   #20
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The Ursack is a proven food storage product.
I am hopeful that they will gain endorsement here but I won't hold my breath waiting. I won't use a canister.
I have heard that rangers on EHP trails, when they encounter someone who is obviously planning on spending the night, will ask to see their bear resistant canister. The Ursack will not satisfy the regulation. Roll the dice and take your chances.

I've had far more trouble caused by red squirrels and mice than by bears. For that problem I would consider an ursack (but not in the EHP).
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