The Bear Canister Challenge

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tlsharb
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The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by tlsharb » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:37 am

So I'm headed back to the Sierra this Sept for a Silver Divide trip out of Mammoth. This will be my maiden voyage with a Bear Canister. Here's the confusion: I thought to myself....go old school and pull out the Kelty Tioga. Sure, it is an extra pound over my usual pack (Deuter ACT light 65), but I though it would do better at hauling the can (especially since this whole trip is on trail). The problem is, almost every canister seems to have a 9" diameter. I measured the Kelty, the top opening is only 8". So I'm kind of sensing that the canister probably won't fit in the Kelty, and maybe the Deuter is the better choice. Any wisdom out there would be appreciated.
ts








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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by rlown » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:41 am

I use a Kelty Tioga 5500, and my 12" Bearikade fits perfectly in the bottom compartment. Yes, they can custom make the bear can. If you have a 14" then everything else has to go into that lower compartment and the can goes vertical in the middle of the top with equally weighted and necessary stuff towards the top.

Which can and Kelty do you have?

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by tlsharb » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:03 pm

That is probably the same Kelty I have....this one was bought around 1978. I will be renting the can-- which I guess means a Garcia from the USFS or Bearikade online. So can you actually get your Bearikade in the top compartment of a Tioga?....that was my concern, trying to fit a 9" diameter can in a 8" opening.

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by rlown » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:21 pm

Size of a 12" bearikade in the top compartment.
HPIM0837.JPG
Now in the bottom compartment.
HPIM0838.JPG
And the pack itself.. Yes it's packed with most of the gear already :)
HPIM0839.JPG
The Garcia is way heavy and longer than what I have, but I've used them with a smaller pack. They go vertical in the top.
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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:00 pm

My Kelty has an extender bar. I just strap the bear can (horizontally) onto the extender bar. The bear can is outside on top. I have a Bearikade Weekender.

There are few internal frame packs for smaller people that have a large enough top opening to fit a bear can inside horizontally. It seems that you need a men's large size before you can easily put in a bear can horizontally. Otherwise, I have had to put the bear can inside vertically. This is a pain because it only leaves narrow slots on either side for other stuff. You need to balance the load and a fully loaded bear can pushed to one side really unbalances the pack. Additionally, a the rigid long side of the bear can is very uncomfortable if the back part of the pack is flexible the least bit.

I finally found a woman's pack in which my bear can fits horizontally- Bergans of Norway Ladies Helium (medium). It actually is a winter ski-mountaineering pack. Sleeping bag and pad in bottom, clothes bag and pot next, then bear can. Tent is strapped outside left, and water bottle, tent poles and fishing pole outside right. Once I can fit the cook pot and stove inside the bear can, I put the tent inside the pack.

The Kelty definitely carries the load more comfortably but weighs a pound more. ( I have rebuilt my Kelty, sewing a much lighter pack bag and replaced the original straps so it now is a bit under 4 pounds, with the extender bar and all the straps needed.) The Bergans of Norway pack is OK for up to 35 pounds- more than that, I prefer the Kelty. In general, I only take the Kelty if I am out for more than 10 days or have to carry more stuff for other family members.

For me the Bearikade Weekender is the right size. Bear Vault will carry one more day's food, but is bigger and does not fit well in my internal frame pack. Garcia is actually a bit smaller than the Bearikade, but has less volume. If you do not already own a bear can, you should rent various models and try them out. I rented a Bearikade Weekender at Roads End for one trip before I decided to buy it - they are really expensive to buy so I wanted to be sure I liked it. At the time, the daily rental charge was just a bit more, and the deposit considerably more, but of course, that is refunded if you bring back the can in good shape.

To add to this discussion-

When I was in Yosemite the wilderness ranger at the permit station was telling others to put clothing in the bear can as it empties or if you do not use the capacity for food or cook gear. I was shocked! Anything put inside a bear can will smell of food. I never put anything inside the bear can that will be on my or in the tent - except for the last day when I put in clothes, because I will wash them when I get home. I go to great lengths never to have any food smells in my tent. I even wash my face and hands after dinner to not smell of food and do not wear my hiking clothes in the tent. Perhaps I am cautious because I do backpack in grizzly areas often. If you can fit the bear can full in your pack, it will fit as it empties. Thoughts on this?

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by giantbrookie » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:06 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:To add to this discussion-
When I was in Yosemite the wilderness ranger at the permit station was telling others to put clothing in the bear can as it empties or if you do not use the capacity for food or cook gear. I was shocked! Anything put inside a bear can will smell of food. I never put anything inside the bear can that will be on my or in the tent - except for the last day when I put in clothes, because I will wash them when I get home. I go to great lengths never to have any food smells in my tent. I even wash my face and hands after dinner to not smell of food and do not wear my hiking clothes in the tent. Perhaps I am cautious because I do backpack in grizzly areas often. If you can fit the bear can full in your pack, it will fit as it empties. Thoughts on this?
I can't say I've ever put clothes in my can (Garcia) as food is consumed. Rather, I tend to put garbage items such as the packages the food came in. When I've had sufficient room, I've put certain mess kit items (cup, utensils, etc.) in my can, too, either when the can was not filled to begin with or as space opened up as food was eaten. I guess I don't carry much in the way of "extra" clothes that I would think to stick inside my can. For rain gear/warm weather gear and such I like to have things more accessible for changing conditions--I wouldn't want to extract my can and open it to get at such items. I'd rather have them where I can put them on quickly if the weather changes to wet or cold etc.

I guess I haven't worried about my own smell (clothes or me) too much given that I probably smell like the fish-cleaning station at a fishing pier, given all the fish I eat and clean on a typical trip--at least my hands do. In other words, I figure I smell so strongly anyway, I wouldn't think twice of having a shirt that smelled like some food. In fact the the shirt I sleep probably smells pretty strongly of food on many trips, owing to spilling some food on myself as I eat every now and then, as well as splatter of blood/etc. when cleaning fish. I haven't done very much backpacking in grizzly country, but I suppose I wasn't much different during the one summer I did (and I didn't have a cannister back then).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by tlsharb » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:18 pm

WD,
when you say the Bearikade Weekender is the right size, are talking about a week long trip? I tend to go light on food -- usually take about 9lbs for a seven day trip...I take 4 dinners because I'm planning to eat fish at least a couple nights. So far Ive never gone hungry (although some day that will happen). Also, it is kind of odd to think about lashing the can to the top bar on the Kelty. All my clothing fits in the lower compartment, so if the can was up top, the only things in the main compartment would be a tarp, a stove, and some fishing gear. It would be pretty empty.

RLown, your Kelty is way newer than mine. The old Tioga has just a horizontal zipper across.... doubt you could get the can in that opening.

ts

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by rlown » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:24 pm

ok.. some of us idiots/nerds actually build a cheap model of what we buy first and test that model against the intended use (pack.) :) This works with the can. I did many measurements before I knew the max size I wanted to carry.. 12" bearikade. I also have the Tioga frame with top extensions. I've had to extend it once, but that's a different story. But unlike some others say, I like my weight down low (CG.) YMMV..

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by Ska-T » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:57 pm

An 8 inch diameter main compartment seems small to me. My backpacking pack is a small (40 liter) climbing pack and it has almost an 11 inch diameter main compartment. Are you sure you measured your pack opening accurately? It is easier to get an accurate diameter measurement if you determine the circumference first then calculate the diameter by dividing by pi.

Circumference = pi x diameter.

Open up your pack main compartment to the fullest extent. Insert a finger at the left and right sides and pull apart so that the opening collapses and forms a shape like a flat envelop. Measure the width. Multiply by 2 and that is the circumference. Divide by pi to get the diameter.

In my pack, an Arc'teryx Khamsin 38 (unfortunately discontinued), I carry the Bearikade vertically. I slide something (a tarp, ground cloth, rain gear, i.e., something soft) into the space to the left and right of the bear can. In fact I've sewn two stuff sacks with the proper shape for this purpose, but that is not necessary. The soft items keeps the bear can stationary, centered, and somewhat away from the frame sheet. That and the minimal frame sheet of the Khamsin 38 is enough to keep the bear can from digging into my spine. If my main compartment were larger I could slide a sit pad between the bear can and frame sheet.

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Re: The Bear Canister Challenge

Post by Ska-T » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:27 pm

tlsharb wrote:(I) usually take about 9lbs for a seven day trip
I take that amount of food (or slightly less) and the Bearikade Weekender has held 10 days of food for me in the past, although that was a tight fit. That is an 11 day trip, no breakfast the first day and no dinner the last day.

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