Do you backpack in bear country? Then you’re gonna need a bear canister!
I bought a BearVault bear canister Solo 450 for my backpacking trips. Why? Frankly because I like that I can see through the side and know where my snacks are inside. Plus it has a wider rim than the other canisters on the market, which makes it a more comfortable seat at dinner time!
Why I take a bear canister on backpacking trips?
The quick answer is that it is required in most areas during the spring and summer months. Backpackers are required to have bear canisters for food and scented items. I love the Sierra Nevadas in California, and during the summer they’re mandatory in most areas. In Yosemite, the old-fashioned method of hanging food and scented items is illegal. Therefore you’ll have to pay up and get one of these expensive plastic containers.
Why is a plastic box so expensive?
They’re highly engineered, approved for use in the backcountry (the zoo bear testers have been unsuccessful in opening the canisters), and the plastic is shatterproof. So when you or a bear drop it on a rock, you don’t have to worry about plastic bits flying everywhere.
Why I chose a BearVault bear canister?
There are a few different types of bear canisters, but the BearVaults are the best quality for the price. The top can be opened without using tools (all you need are strong fingernails), and the plastic is extremely rugged so that bears can play with your canister, bang it on rocks, and it won’t break.
What I like in particular about my BearVault Bear Canister 450 is that the plastic is transparent, so I know where to reach for my toothbrush or favorite granola bar without unpacking all the contents. Plus, the top is very wide. I have friends who have an older style bear canister that requires a coin to open, is solid black so you can’t see the contents, and has a very small opening at the top so they pretty much have to unpack everything to get what they need.
If you are backpacking for more than a long weekend, or if your sharing a bear canister with a friend, you’ll want to get the Bear Vault 500.
Hiking Lady tip: Bear Vaults make fantastic chairs!
One other thing: a female bear in the Adirondack Mountains named Yellow-Yellow has apparently figured out how to open Bear Vaults, but so far she’s the only one in the bruin world who currently has the smarts to figure it out. As long as you don’t encounter Yellow-Yellow, this is my top choice of bear canisters.