Hiding and Securing a Bear Canister

Hiding and Securing a Bear Canister
Bear-proofing your food and toiletries outdoors by securing them in a bear-resistant food canister takes all the work and worry out of that of unpleasant chore. Acting as a "hard bag" to defend against strong, savvy, acrobatic bears schooled in modern human behavior, canisters provide a single compact container for transport and protection of all your odorous indispensables. They are also effective armor against other camp robbers like birds and squirrels.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Keep all food, trash and toiletries including insect repellent, sunscreen, soaps and lip balm inside the canister unless they are in use. Practice repackaging your necessities into separate plastic bags to organize, reduce volume and further eliminate odors.
Step 2
Maintain a clean camp. A bear has a sense of smell many times keener than a bloodhound. Its nose is its main tool for locating food. Bears are omnivorous, so it's not just meat that you need to keep from them. Avoid unnecessary encounters by promptly cleaning all dirty cooking gear. Bag all trash and other smelly items immediately, locking them in the canister.
Step 3
Always keep the canister lid secured. Get in the good habit of locking it each time you use it. You never know when an unexpected visitor will arrive. Whether the canister lid screws on and locks like a child-proof pill bottle or fastens with hardware fittings, if it's not locked, it's not secure. Never leave an open canister unattended.
Step 4
Secure your bear-resistant container for the night by placing it downwind 100 to 200 feet away from the sleeping area, pacing off three feet per step. Choose an open, flat or dished-out area that will tend to contain and not conceal the canister should it get pawed around by a foraging bruin. Hiding it is unnecessary. Place it far away from cliffs and escarpments where it might roll and tumble into oblivion. Avoid proximity to streams, rivers or lakes where the canister could be lost in the water or carried away by the current.
Step 5
Rig a crude alarm by placing clean, empty pots, pans and/or utensils atop the canister so a ruckus erupts if disturbed, alerting you so you can monitor the situation from a safe distance. This is optional.
Step 6
Allow a bear free reign to claw, kick and bite your canister. Bears will fight for possession of food, so don't intervene, especially with grizzlies. Eventually, most bears lose interest and amble off in search of more accessible natural food sources.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
If you must leave your backpack unattended while en route, remove the canister from it and leave the pack open so bears won't damage it. Stick reflective tape on your canister for easy detection at night.
 
If you must leave your backpack unattended while en route, remove the canister from it and leave the pack open so bears won't damage it.
 
Stick reflective tape on your canister for easy detection at night.
 
Never hide a bear canister in your tent. Bear canisters are required by law in many national parks and forests. Check your destination prior to departure.
 
Never hide a bear canister in your tent.
 
Bear canisters are required by law in many national parks and forests. Check your destination prior to departure.

Article Written By Vaughn Clark

Living in Boise, Idaho, Vaughn Clark has been a freelance writer for 18 years. His articles have appeared in "Backpacker" magazine, "The New Times," the "Ventura County Star," and "Santa Barbara News-Press." He has also published poetry and written three full-length adventure screenplays.

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