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BearVault Bear Canister
|Price:||$79.95 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Enter your model number to make sure this fits.
- 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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BearVault Bear Canister
Top Customer Reviews
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.
First, ignore the instructions that say open it with your finger nail. Use the dull back end a plastic pen such as a cheap Papermate, or a small hard stick, or other implement that is soft enough that it doesn't harm the canister plastic. You have to press in the black plastic tooth while rotating the black canister top. This means deforming the lower edge of the black canister top such that its locking tooth passes the locking tooth on the clear bottom. Frankly, this is a pain until you get the hang of it and it is difficult to do when the plastic is cold and stiff.
Second, tie some strong cord, such as climbing accessory cord, around the canister using one of the grooves in the middle of the canister. Use the cord to tie the canister to a tree. If you do not tie it down, animals will roll it around and it will be somewhere else in the morning. Don't put it out at night near a steep hill, boulder field, or water if you want to see it again.
If an animal tips it over, rain can seep inside. Adding your own gasket makes it too difficult to open so skip that idea. If your canister is new and you have screwed it down tight to keep the water out, you may have trouble opening it after a change in altitude. This is really baffling the first time it happens. Bang the side of the top on a tree trunk to break the seal. Once the edge of the clear part is roughed up from use this is no longer a problem. Where I camp in the mountains the threads get wet and freeze making it difficult to open. I wiped the threads with silicone and that helps. If it looks like rain, put the canister out at night in a waterproof stuff sack or plastic bag, and if it does freeze, thaw it in your sleeping bag.