How to Keep Bears out of your Food: Bags, Canisters

The best food bag for backpacking is the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Food Jar. This product is lightweight, durable, and keeps your food fresh for a long time. It also has a wide mouth opening that makes it easy to
Best food bag for backpacking

Whether or not you’re a veteran backpacker or planning your very first journey into the backcountry, you’ll must study correct meals storage to maintain curious critters – or worse, predators – at bay.

Bears, particularly, are “opportunistic omnivores”, typically tempted by the prospect of a simple meal. In case you’re heading into bear-country, you’ll wish to know find out how to maintain your meals – and your self – protected.

Reading: Best food bag for backpacking

At a Look: High Suggestions for Finest Bear Baggage:

  • Såk Gear LiteSak 2.0 Waterproof Light-weight Dry Bag
  • Osprey UltraLight 12 Dry Sack
  • Ursack Main

High Bear Canisters:

  • Backpackers Cache Bear Resistant Container
  • Bear Vault BV450 Bear Resistant Meals Canister
  • Counter Assault Bear Resistant Meals Keg
  • Frontiersman Bear Resistant Meals Container

Be aware: Clicking the above hyperlinks will take you to additional data, present costs and buyer opinions on Amazon

best bear bags

Why you have to maintain bears out of your meals

Though bears usually favor to keep away from individuals, in keeping with the Nationwide Park Service, those who usually are available in contact with human meals/rubbish are way more more likely to develop aggressive, unpredictable and harmful habits.

Bears within the US that exhibit harmful habits towards or close to people shall be euthanized. Each time you might be climbing in bear nation you have to be carrying bear spray and following correct meals storage protocols.

In addition to stopping an pointless dying, correct meals and rubbish storage retains them from returning to specific campsites in the hunt for a simple meal, lowering the percentages of a unfavorable human-bear encounter.

Messy campsites with discarded meals, unwashed plates and utensils can appeal to bears. With a way of odor roughly 600 instances higher than our personal – they’ll know in the event you’re taking a relaxed strategy to your camp cleanliness and meals storage.

Consider a sniffer canine on the airport. In New Zealand, as an alternative of searching for medication, they sniff for contemporary meals. Bears do the identical – however they’re a bit massive to coach.

Two of the commonest methods to correctly retailer meals is through the use of baggage and/or canisters.

Whether or not you resolve on a bag or canister, you’ll wish to evaluate the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) for an inventory of permitted bear-resistant merchandise. You can even go to a related Nationwide or State Park web site to evaluate their permitted listing of bear-resistant meals storage.

Distinction Between a Bear Bag and Bear Canister

Though baggage are lighter, much less cumbersome choices for storing meals, canisters provide extra safety from wildlife. Baggage will not be usually constructed to be bear-proof, whereas canisters are.

When utilizing a bag, whether or not a bear will get into your meals will depend on the strategy you employ to hold it. A canister depends on the sturdiness of the container itself.

It’s necessary to remember the fact that rules in some areas require the usage of a canister for meals storage. In case you’re not sure, analysis the web sites talked about above earlier than planning your journey.

What to Pack in your Bear Bag/Canister

You’ll wish to place something that’s scented within the container. Bears have been recognized to enter a sleeping hiker’s tent for as little as a stick of gum. Objects embrace (however will not be restricted to):

  • Rubbish
  • Toiletries (whether or not open or not)
  • Clothes you cooked in or spilled meals on
  • Any and all meals

Bear Baggage:

Excessive-density kevlar or “bulletproof” storage sacks that should forestall bears – or different animals – from entering into your meals provide. Backpackers will even use the time period “bear bag” to explain any sack they’re hoisting right into a tree, out of attain of varmints reminiscent of raccoons and different hikers.



How to decide on a Bear Bag

Don’t fear if a bag isn’t labeled “bear-proof”. Usually they’re known as ‘hanging systems,’ – nicely, since you grasp them out of attain.

Nonetheless, it must be sturdy and sturdy sufficient to be slung over a tree department, repeatedly. A plastic bag from Publix received’t work.

Additionally, you will wish to think about the climate in case you want a water-resistant bag. Some backpackers decide to make use of dry-bags, which will be simply rolled up or hung upside-down to stop water from getting in.

I’m unsure why anybody wouldn’t use a water-resistant bag. Even in the event you’re not in bear nation, I like to hold my meals out of attain utilizing a drybag.

Each ounce counts for an ultralighter, so in the event you do use a bag to cut back the burden of your pack, you’ll must issue within the weight of the hanging system too.

The place to Dangle your Bear Bag

Pleasant reminder: bears have an impeccable sense of odor. And so they can climb timber.

As a rule of thumb, you wish to grasp your meals at the least 200 toes out of your camp.

Whatever the hanging technique used, you’ll want a sturdy department, 15 toes or extra above floor and 10 toes away from the tree.

We don’t desire a nimble bear climbing the tree and doing a Goldilocks in your porridge. You’ll additionally want to hold it down-wind out of your campsite, to maintain the odor of scrumptious meals from lingering round your tent.

How To Dangle A Bear Bag

Hanging the bag is the place issues can get tough. There are two major strategies used:

The Conventional Technique

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The normal technique is the best and must be adequate to maintain bears from operating off together with your meals in areas the place they don’t seem to be an excessive amount of of an issue.

In some areas, bears have realized to outsmart the standard hanging technique. It’s all the time greatest to seek the advice of a park ranger in the event you’re not sure.



The way to:

  1. Discover a tree that has a sturdy department that’s 15 toes above floor and reaches roughly 6 toes from the trunk of the tree. The department will must be sturdy sufficient to carry the bag, however not thick sufficient to assist the burden of a bear (roughly 1-4 inches in diameter)
  2. Tie your bag on one finish of a rope and throw the opposite finish over the department
  3. Pull on the tip of the rope and pull the sack upward. You’ll need the bag to be as excessive as doable.
  4. Tie the rope to the tree trunk
  5. To retrieve it, slowly untie the rope and permit it to drop to the bottom

Or, as this black bear sow and her cubs demonstrates, await the bear to retrieve it!

The PCT technique

Named after the Pacific Coast Path, a 2,650-mile thru-hike with notoriously clever bears, the PCT technique is taken into account by thru-hikers to be the most effective technique for hanging.




  1. Throw your rope over a department that’s approx. 20 toes excessive and reaches roughly 6 toes from the trunk of the tree. The tree department will must be sturdy, however not thick sufficient to assist the burden of Yogi in a tree
  2. Connect a carabiner to 1 finish of the rope (A) and connect your bag
  3. Put the opposite finish of the rope (B) via the carabiner and hoist the bag as excessive as it’ll go
  4. Whereas the bag is within the air, attain up and tie a stick onto the rope utilizing a clove hitch
  5. Slowly launch the rope – The stick will transfer up, and the bag will shift down, the carabiner will forestall the bag from going any additional
  6. To retrieve your stash, pull the dangling rope, take away the stick and you may decrease the bag

Finest Bear Bag: Opinions

Såk Gear LiteSak 2.0 Waterproof Light-weight Dry Bag

Skog Å Kust LiteSåk 2.0 Waterproof Ultralight Dry Bag | 5L Blue

At a Look:

The Sak Gear Litesak 2.0 is a multi-purpose dry bag weighing lower than 3 ounces and folding right down to a tiny measurement, it’s excellent for brief backpacking journeys.

It’s waterproof, so if you have to grasp your meals within the rain, it’ll maintain every little thing good and dry.

The Sak Gear Litesak 2.0 additionally has a number of completely different measurement choices to select from – 5, 10 and 20 liter.

Made out of sturdy silicon-coated nylon, it’s sturdy, however not bear-proof or bear-resistant. In case you’re not going to hold it from a tree, this isn’t the bag for you.

In case you do plan on hanging it, the rip-stop material will maintain it from getting snagged on tree branches.

We recognize that Sak Gear provides a full refund if the bag doesn’t work out.


Osprey UltraLight 12 Dry Sack

Osprey UltraLight 12 Dry Sack, Poppy Orange, One Size

At a Look:

Osprey is a well known model and has a popularity for making top-quality merchandise. In case you already personal and love an Osprey pack, including an ultralight dry-sack might be an excellent possibility for meals storage.

This dry-bag just isn’t bear-proof or bear-resistant, so that you’ll want to hold it nicely out of attain!

We like that this bag is available in quite a lot of vibrant colours. Shiny colours are useful whenever you’re with a big group of backpackers and wish to differentiate yours from others. There could also be days whenever you arrive at camp late and must see your bag at evening.

This dry sack is available in quite a lot of sizes from 3L to 30L. Weighing in at just a little over 2 oz (for the 12 L sack), this may be a contender in the event you’re attempting to maintain your pack as mild as doable.


Ursack Main

At a Look:

The Ursack Main might be thought-about one of the crucial ‘traditional’ types of bear- bag. In contrast to dry-bags, they’ve constructed it particularly for the backcountry.

I recognize the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee stamp of approval on this product, making it an actual different to climbing with a canister. In some areas, canisters are nonetheless required, so relying on the place you’re going, you’ll must verify.

The Ursack Main has a capability of 10.65 liters, which provides you loads of area for meals. Right here’s a video exhibiting simply how a lot you’ll be able to match:

One other nice function is the flexibility so as to add (or take away) an odor barrier or an aluminum liner, including to its sturdiness.

If you would like the flexibleness of a bag, however the safety of a canister, this one lands someplace within the center.

In case you’re seeking to restrict the burden of your pack, remember the fact that the Ursack Main weighs approx. 7.6 ounces, which is lighter than most canisters however nonetheless a lot heavier than dry-bag choices.


Bear Canisters

A bear canister is a hard-sided container designed to retailer all of your scrumptious meals and maintain it from attracting undesirable consideration from Yogi and his associates.

Though hanging your meals from a tree is the standard technique of storing meals within the bush, canisters have grow to be one of many most secure storage strategies for wilderness tenting.

Why Bear Canisters Are Essential

Based on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee, bears have the most effective sense of odor of any land mammal and might choose up a scent from over a mile away.

Sturdy canisters maintain meals and different scented gadgets from luring a bear into your campsite, significantly in areas the place they’ve realized find out how to entry meals in hanging storage.

How to decide on the precise canister

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To seek out the most effective canister in your journey:

  1. The place are you going? There are a number of tales about backpackers exhibiting as much as acquire their climbing allow, solely to search out it’s obligatory to hold a canister. In case you’re climbing in an space that’s infamous for bear exercise, you’ll wish to verify prematurely to be sure you have an permitted container.
  2. How a lot meals will you want? As a basic rule, a day’s value of meals can match into 100-cubic inches. In case you plan on climbing 4 days with out resupply, I like to recommend that you just use one which holds a minimal of 400-cubic inches
  3. What do you have to retailer in it? Some backpackers go for carrying a few canisters somewhat than one giant one, to avoid wasting on bulk. It’s as much as you – there are numerous sizes to select from
  4. How heavy is your pack? Relying on the space you propose on climbing, the burden of your pack can have a major influence on how pleasing the journey is.

The way to use a canister

Not all canisters are the identical Some have a specialised lid which makes it troublesome to open with out the assistance of a nail or quarter.

You’ll typically hear backpackers joke that their canisters are people-proof. They need to be saved sealed and locked when they don’t seem to be in use.

The place to retailer the canister

In camp, you’ll wish to maintain it out of sight, ideally on the bottom in a discrete location. All meals must be saved 200 toes downwind out of your camp.

Bears have been recognized to push or throw containers to try to break them open, so maintain it away from shifting water or steep cliffs.

In case you go for an opaque, clean canister, I counsel you add a vibrant piece of tape to the outside so it’s simpler to find.

Finest Bear Canister: Opinions

Backpackers Cache Bear Resistant Container


At a Look:

The Backpackers Cache Bear Resistant container is one in all few canisters permitted by the Nationwide Park Service. Its sturdy construct and clean exterior makes it nearly unimaginable for a bear to pry open.

The darkish exterior is useful in areas the place bears have realized to search for and open canisters, reminiscent of Yosemite Nationwide Park. So, in case you are backpacking or tenting in areas infamous for good bears, this is perhaps a sensible choice.

In case you’re a backpacker or day hiker seeking to decrease pack weight, this in all probability isn’t the best choice. At 2 lbs. 12 oz., it’s heavier than different canisters available on the market.

You should purchase a separate carrying case to connect the container to the outside of your pack to avoid wasting area.


Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Meals Canister

BearVault BV500 Bear Canister for Backpacking - Large 7 Day Bear Container

At a Look:

Constituted of sturdy, clear polycarbonate materials, The BearVault BV500 is a wonderful possibility if you wish to load, unload or find gadgets shortly.

Beware, although, the clear exterior make the contents straightforward for others to see, too!

The BearVault500 is permitted to be used in most State and Nationwide Parks, however might not be best in the event you’re touring to areas the place bears are recognized to hunt out and open containers.

Weighing in at 2 lbs, 9 oz, the BV500 has good storage capability vs. weight.

If you wish to maintain your pack as mild as doable however don’t wish to sacrifice quantity, it is a nice possibility.

In case you’re searching for a bear canister that you may strap to the outside of your pack, the BearVault BV500 has built-in straps, so no extra carry case is required.

It’s huge, 6.875-inch, opening makes for a reasonably comfy camp stool, too!


Counter Assault Bear Resistant Meals Keg

Counter Assault Bear Keg

At a Look:

With a capability of over 700 cubic inches, you received’t be going hungry in the event you fill this up. It’s fairly heavy, although, so is best suited to 2 or extra hikers to share the burden (one carries the meals, the opposite carries the canister).

Sturdy and sturdy, the Counter Assault Bear Resistant Meals Keg received’t be breaking any time quickly – and when you’ve acquired the lid fixed, your meals shall be protected from curious squirrels, rascally raccoons and Yogi Bear.

It’s annoying that it doesn’t include a carry case or any technique of attaching it to the surface of your pack. You should purchase the carry-case individually, in fact.


Ultimate Ideas

The very last thing you wish to fear about, as you crawl into your tent at evening, is whether or not or not a 300-lb predator goes to make off together with your breakfast.

Equally, in line with our Depart No Hint ethos, once we go into the backcountry, it’s necessary to keep in mind that we’re guests – the wildlife lives right here. All of us must do our bit to maintain bears wild and decrease our influence on their atmosphere.

Bear-resistant canisters and hanging methods are the most effective strategies of meals storage in bear nation. Utilizing the precise meals storage possibility in your subsequent journey is not going to solely maintain you protected however will even maintain our bears wild.

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