What Are They?
Made from ballistic nylon, bear-proof canisters are locked cylinders designed to safely store food while traveling through bear country. Designed to withstand the bear's jaws and claws, these canisters are tough and resistant to bears' attempts at prying them open.
How To Use Them
Bear canisters fit into most commercial backpacks. Fill your bear can with the backcountry food and scented items (toothpaste, toiletries) and place it in the backpack before other items. Pack clothing and soft goods around the canister.
Bear canisters have a proven and tested track record of success in deterring bear attempts at opening. In one test involving a 700-lb. grizzly at the Bronx Zoo, a bear mauled and scratched a canister for 30 minutes with no success at opening it.
Why Use Them?
Many backpackers hang food between trees or use other methods to keep bears from human food. Bears are very intelligent and frequently figure out how to get alternatively stored food. Canisters are a much safer bet.
Costs and Rentals
For those who take infrequent trips into bear country and can't justify the expense of buying canisters, many national and state parks rent bear canisters. Outdoor gear retailers are another source for rentals.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.