Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister
|Price:||$66.49 - $76.95|
- Every ounce matters, light weight design. (BV450 - 2lbs 1 oz, BV500 - 2lbs 9oz.)
- 440 Cubic inches container holds up to 4 days worth of food, 700 cubic inches capacity is 7 days.
- Made from rugged transparent polycarbonate material that resists shattering upon impact
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Bear Vault Bear Resistant Food Canister Camp without worry with the Bear Vault Bear Resistant Food Container. These lightweight canisters are super rugged and canhold up to 7 days worth of food. Features: Every ounce matters, light weight design. (BV450 - 2lbs 1 oz, BV500 - 2lbs 9oz.) 440 Cubic inches container holds up to 4 days worth of food, 700 cubic inches capacity is 7 days. Made from rugged transparent polycarbonate material that resists shattering upon impact Open and close without any tools Extra wide mouth opening for easy access
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Despite the fact that my attached pictures say "bears in the Eastern High Peaks" I imagine bears aren't much around the country (except bigger, making it even easier for them to get inside). The point is, this canister is NOT bear-proof.
As a result, I had to rent a different, bear-proof container at the lodge, which was fortunate since we heard a bear heading through our campsite to inspect it and claw marks around the area where it had tried to get it out and fool with it.
The only reason I can think of for ANY positive reviews on this container at all is those who gave it a positive rating must not have actually had SEEN any bears or had any try to get into it. Also, this is a very wide, fat container that would be awkward anywhere, including on the outside of the pack. The black, thinner models are easier to slide into a backpack and are actually bear-proof.
Fortunately, Amazon honored my return...
The thing to understand about bear canisters is that they are, of necessity, a compromise. They've got to be large enough to hold your food, but small enough to carry. So, any bear canister is going to be too small to carry all the food you'd like, and it's going to be too large to carry in your pack. That's just the nature of the compromise involved. The only question is how well a canister manages the compromise.
The BV500 does as good a job as can be expected. It's large enough to hold food for one person for up to a week, so long as you pack only food that packs compactly, like Mountain House and beef jerky. It's larger than other full-size canisters, it lets you see what's inside, and it has a wide mouth, which makes it easy to get stuff in and out.
At the same time, the BV500 is small enough that I can strap it to the outside of my internal-frame pack. If your pack has straps for attaching a tent to the outside, they should hold the BV 500--just use some mini-bungee cords to pull the straps together and keep them from sliding off the sides of the canister. Otherwise, use regular-size bungees to attach the canister to the back of the pack. A full canister is heavy enough that I do not recommend strapping it to the top of a pack.
The BV500 is no easier or harder to open than any other canister. It can be a bit of a chore to open in cold weather, but I have found that sliding a pocket-knife blade under the catch makes it much easier to release.
Finally, the BV500 is somewhat lighter than other full-size canisters. It's not as light as an Ursack, of course, but we hike in places where only canisters are permitted--no Ursacks. I have considered a carbon-fiber canister to get the canister weight down, but $200 seems a bit pricey.
In short, I think the BV500 is the best at what it does. I still hate it, but can recommend it without hesitation.
Bonus feature is that if you put it sideways in the pack right near the base of your spine, it helps form the pack into having more lumbar support and an even shape. Although it might not fit sideways in packs smaller than 75L in volume.
Also doubles as a functional but crummy music drum for when getting a little too drunk at the camp site. :)