Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a newbie, you’ve probably heard of bear canisters.
They are one of those things that are necessary and inevitable, but no one actually enjoys carrying around. If you’re asking why bear canisters are so expensive, fright not. You’re not alone. Many outdoor lovers would love for this item to be more affordable.
Bear canisters are a bit pricey because they are not just any plastic. They are specifically made to withstand bear attacks while making sure your belongings and food stay safe and sound.
So, to provide you with more detailed information regarding this important gear piece, today’s topic is going to be all about bear canisters.
Table of Contents
What are Bear Canisters?
A bear canister is a form of a barrel in which a person can place their food and all scented stuff. It is an important way of protection in the wilderness.
Many people don’t think they need a bear canister, but having it is extremely relevant as a safety measure. Bears are very clever animals, with powerful scent possibilities.
They can smell any food or scented items (toothpaste, perfumes, sunscreen, etc.) from miles away and come to a source of the smell.
Well, bear canisters protect your belongings from curious bears that can easily become aggressive when encountered.
A Bear Canister’s Purpose
In order to be aware of the bear canister’s importance, take a look at some of its main purposes.
Bear Canisters Protect Bears
This may sound odd at first, but logically, bears are animals that can very easily get used to coming to a preferred spot that is a source of anything valuable to them.
So, by protecting your belongings you don’t give them a chance to come to your camp spot, therefore you protect the bears from potential rangers’ inevitable safety actions.
More simply, you can protect bears’ lives by not giving them the possibility to become aggressive.
Bear Canisters Protect You
By using bear canisters away from your tent and storing your food and other scented items there you lessen the risk of a bear coming to your camping spot.
The possibility of encountering a bear in a bear country always exists, but you should take all the measures to minimize the chance.
Bear Canisters Protect Your Food
Every camping trip is planned with rationed meals, you need to have enough amounts of food throughout your adventure.
So, if a bear steals all your food supplies, your journey may be a bit ruined, followed by your hungry tummies.
Bear Canisters are Mandatory in Certain Areas
Some US national parks require bear canisters. So, when you’re planning a camping trip, always make sure to check if the camping place you are heading to expects you to bring a bear canister.
Bear in mind (yeah, we had to), that if you don’t bring a bear canister, you will be fined by a park ranger. Of course, this doesn’t mean if your campsite doesn’t require a bear canister you’re off the hook.
Always bring a canister with you, for your own safety, no matter where you’re camping.
Note:Besides bears, you can come across many other wild animals that can be interested in your belongings, such as various rodents and marmots. So, having a canister may provide you with a more stress-free vacation.
How to Know If the Bear Canisters are Approved?
It’s always best to check the list that is officially published by the area you are planning to camp in.
However, if your area doesn’t require a canister, but you still want to know which ones are generally approved, check the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s site, as they provide people with regularly updated lists.
Why Are Bear Canisters So Expensive and Can You Rent Them?
Some people don’t want to buy bear canisters. That’s completely fine, especially if someone is not camping regularly. But, for those who are often on a camping adventure, it might be best to invest in some canisters. Both options come with some advantages, so check them out.
Advantages of renting:
- Cheaper version for those who don’t camp often.
- You won’t need to spend time choosing the right canister.
Advantages of buying:
- Browsing option and opting for the canister you like the most.
- You can pack stuff in advance and place everything in your canister.
- If you camp very often, this can be a cheaper option.
Note: Whichever option you choose be sure to have a bear canister during your camping. Also, have in mind that these canisters are pretty durable, so if you decide to buy them, they can last very long.
That’s why they are a bit pricey, as they are made from a special material that’s durable and secure.
Are Bear Canisters Smell-Proof?
Unfortunately, bear canisters are not smell-proof. They keep your food safe from bears, but they can still smell it, they just won’t bother around food because they are not able to take it from a canister.
But, to make sure you’ve minimized a chance to attract bears, you should use smell-proof bags.
That way you can place the food and scented items in there, and then place them all into a bear canister.
How to a Use Bear Canister
In order to protect your belongings and food, you need to know how to properly use a bear canister. So, in the following text take a look at some basic info about bear canister usage.
What Should You Place In a Bear Canister?
Many people think that only food goes into bear canisters, but, the truth is, you should place anything scented in the canister.
So, if you have any food, trash, or scented toiletries, put them in your bear canister. It’s best to have some extra canisters, so you can organize everything by type.
For example, you can place a small stove or dishes in your canisters too.
Be sure not to mix any clothes with food, as they might get the food smell. Besides the obvious non-flattering scent you would get that way, you’ll also be a walking bear treat, and no one wants that.
Note:If you carried any food in your pockets during your day, be sure to place it in the canister in the evening. Never leave any food by your side during the night, and generally always prepare and eat your food away from the campsite.
Where to Leave a Bear Canister During Night?
As mentioned earlier, bear canisters are there to protect your food so that bears can’t steal it, but they can still smell it.
So, they can still find your food and try to take it, that’s why it’s mandatory to keep your food and scented stuff in bear canisters and away from your campsite. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to sleep with a bear canister.
Therefore, be sure to:
- Keep your bear canisters at least 100 yards away from your camping spot, away from the place where you sleep. It’s good to figure out which way is downwind and place it there.
- Avoid leaving your canister close to any rivers, hills, or drop-offs. That way you avoid the risk of bears pushing your food into oblivion.
- Mark your canister with some reflective tape. That way, even if a bear tosses it somewhere you can find it more easily. Plus, if you need to take something out of it at nighttime, it will shine brightly, (of course, don’t forget to take a flashlight with you).
Do not do anything of the following things:
- Don’t place your bear canister inside or near your tent and camping spot.
- Never attach rope or any other ropy things on a canister, as that way bear might try to take it away.
- Don’t hang a bear canister on anything.
How to Open a Bear Canister?
Various canister models might have different ways of opening. As they are made to be hard to open for bears, people may also have some struggles opening them.
Luckily, you can help yourself with some coin, credit card, or anything that has a thin edge. So, always have some of these small gadgets to help you out with your bear canister opening.
Note: Never try to force open a canister, as you might break it, and that way it can lose its protecting role.
Things to Have In Mind
- Always double-check your pockets and everything you’re carrying before closing and leaving a bear canister. Never leave any food or wrappers by your side.
- When packing, try to choose less smelly food and scent-free toiletries. Bears can smell hand sanitizers too.
- Bears can also smell dry food. So, be sure to properly store it within the bear canister.
- Don’t forget to close a bear canister after you place things in it. You’d be surprised to know that canister failure is often due to human mistakes.
- You can use your canister as a chair or as an exercise foam roller. Pretty handy!
So, have these things in mind, pack your food and belongings carefully. Try to pack your food by day, not a food type.
Leave as little scent as you can behind you or around you, and use the bear canister.
Keep bears and yourself safe and enjoy your adventure.