CAMPING & HIKING

Best Bear Canister: Keeping Your Food Safe

bear canisters faceoff
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Storing food in a way that keeps it safe from animals is absolutely essential while camping. After all, you don’t want raccoons, bears or even rodents getting to your food and ruining it. Many people resort to packing food in nylon bags and hanging it from a tree, but that method is hardly foolproof.

A better idea is to buy a bear canister, to keep your food safe.. The best bear canister will protect your food so no animal will get to it. This includes safety from bears, insects, raccoons, squirrels etc.

Bear canisters pieces

Also, some hiking and camping areas require you to carry a bear canister, so you cannot go without it. If you are thinking of purchasing a bear canister, we are here with bear canister reviews that can really help you.

What to Look for When Buying a Bear Canister

Before buying a bear canister, you need to know exactly what you are looking for. Here are some points you should consider before buying one. Do go through these before moving on to the list of the canisters.

Weight

This is perhaps the first thing to consider when buying a bear canister. Canisters are heavy, so it is always a little difficult to carry them. They usually weigh between two to three pounds, and the exact weight depends on the size. If you are backpacking, you should consider a lighter canister, even if it is smaller. However, if you want to go camping and will be arriving at your destination by car, you can choose a heavier bear canister.

Size

Every bear canister review considers its size, and for good reason. Your canister needs to be big enough that it can store all your food. Canisters are sized according to the number of days they can store food for one person, so choose one accordingly. Also, if you are traveling or camping with others, your canister needs to be bigger.

You should also consider whether or not your bear canister can fit in your backpack. Some canisters come with their own carrying bags, which makes it easier to carry them. For others, always keep the size of your backpack in mind before buying a canister.

Color

Color itself is not quite so important. What is more essential is that your bear canister should have translucent sides. This is because you will be able to see inside the canister and easily grab whatever you want. If you buy a canister with opaque sides, you will have to put your hand inside and actually search for whatever you were looking for. Translucent canisters are therefore much easier to use.

Black bear canister

Bear canisters come in fluorescent colors too. These canisters are great because you can see them at night, so you know that the canister is safe and in its place. Some canisters are otherwise opaque but have reflective tape in the middle, which serves the same purpose.

Lids

The lid of the canister needs to be tight and secure enough that it will not be easy to open. After all, you do not want a bear or other animal pawing the lid and opening it. Screw-on lids are great but pay attention to how they close. If a lid is loose enough that a child can open it, it is best not to go for that particular canister.

Some bear canisters come with lids that double as pots. These canisters help save space as you do not have to pack pots separately. In the same way, some canisters have lids that double as plates.

Can closed lid

Bear canisters can also be used as seats. However, some canisters have rounded tops which means that they will not be comfortable as seats. If you want this additional benefit of a bear canister, do pay attention to the shape of the lid. If it is flat, it will make a good seat.

Hard or Soft Canisters

Soft canisters are easier to carry as they weigh less than hard ones. However, they are not durable as animals can get to food through these canisters. Even if the canister is made of tough material and bears cannot break through them, they might still be able to squash all the food, so you have to get new edibles. This beats the whole purpose of getting a bear canister.

Surrounded by bear cans

Alternatively, hard canisters mostly cannot be broken into, so you know that your food will be safe. However, these canisters are heavier. They are also rigid, which means that it can be a little tough trying to fit them in your backpack.

You need to consider the pros and cons of hard and soft canisters, but it is best to go for hard-sided ones. At least they keep your food safe, which is their primary function.

Bear Canister List– the Best Canisters to Buy

Now we will tell you about a few bear canisters that are amongst the best in the market.

Backpacker Food Cache Bear Canister

Backpacker Food Cache Bear CanisterWeight: 2.7 lbs.

Dimensions: Diameter: 8.8 inches; Length: 12 inches

Best Used for: Camping and hiking

Special Features: Capacity: 10.1 Liters or 615 cubic inches; Single size; Rounded sides which make it easy to slide this canister in a backpack; Once sealed, the food inside will remain dry; Does not allow food odor to escape out of the canister; Opens with a metal tip or keys; Animal tested; Cannot be opened easily by animals.

This bear canister is a great option if you are planning on going backpacking or hiking and want to keep your food safe from bears, raccoons and other wildlife. The lid, once closed, keeps food odor from escaping. In this way bears will not figure out that there is food in the canister, and hence will not try to break into it.

The hard sides ensure that the food inside does not get squished. The canister is also very durable, and will not get damaged even after rough use. It has been tested by real grizzlies, so you know that your food will be safe inside this bear canister.

The only negative point is that the canister is rather bulky. Therefore it is best to use it if you are traveling to your destination via car. You can also use it for backpacking but you need a big enough pack to carry the canister.

Related: This is the only bear canister produced by Backpacker Cache. They do, however, produce a carrying bag for their bear canister which can be bought separately. The bag makes it easy to carry the canister.

UDAP No-Fed-Bear Bear Resistant Container

UDAP No-Fed-BearWeight: 2.4 lbs.

Dimensions: Height: 10 inches. Diameter: 8 inches

Best Used for: Hiking, trekking and camping

Special Features: Can store four days’ worth of food for one person; Made of polymer; Nylon case is included; A safety book is also included; Locks perfectly and cannot open accidentally; Will keep food fresh and dry; Black color, with red top.

If you want to go hiking, this is the perfect bear canister to keep your food safe. The size is ideal as it is large enough to carry quite a bit of food while also being adequately sized so it can be carried comfortably. The canister comes with its own nylon case so you can take it with you easily while backpacking or hiking.

The bear canister has hard sides, so your food will be safe inside and will not get squashed. The lock can be opened with a key or a metallic object. The pack is also very durable and sturdy. It will not break easily. With this bear canister, you can store your food easily and know that no animal will get to it. The material is tough so rodents, squirrels or other animals will not be able to gnaw through it.

It is black in color, which means that it might become difficult to see this bear canister in the dark. This is why it will be a good idea if you put reflective tape on the canister.

Related: You can buy other outdoor products by this company. However, the above mentioned bear canister is the only one they produce.

BearVault BV500 Canister

BearVault BV500 CanWeight: 2 lb. 9 ounce

Dimensions: Diameter: 8.7 inches. Height: 12.7 inches

Special Features: Food capacity: 7 days; Volume: 700 cubic meters; Wide opening; Transparent sides, so you can easily see all the food inside; The opening is rain proof; Strap guides are present; Can easily be slipped into carrying bag; Made of polycarbonate, this is very sturdy.

This bear canister is superior to others as it is light weight. This makes it very easy to carry this canister around. You can pack it in your backpack and carry it anywhere. The translucent sides ensure that you do not have any difficulty while taking food out of the canister as you can easily see everything inside. The opening is also very wide, which makes it easy to take food out.

The material of the backpack is very tough, so animals will not be able to break or damage it. There is enough food for 7 days (for one person) so if you are planning on going on a long trip, you should definitely make use of this bear canister. The lid is rain-proof so not only will your food be saved from animals, it will also remain dry and edible.

Related: The BearVault Bear Resistant Food Canister has capacity for four days of food, and smaller volume than the BV500. It is also lighter in weight and hence easier to carry. Next is the BearVault BV 450. This has a volume of 450 cubic inches. Its sides are a translucent blue in color, so you can see inside. This canister is the smallest of their three bear canisters, and hence the lightest. However, it does not have a very wide opening.

Frontiersman Bear Resistant Food Container

Frontiersman Bear Resistant Food ContainerWeight: 2.2 pounds or 35.27 oz.

Dimensions: 10.5 * 8.5 * 8.5 inches (height * width * diameter)

Best Used for: Hiking and camping

Special Features: Volume: 432 cubic inches; Black in color; Hard sides; Three stainless steel locks on the lid; Locks can open with any metallic object, a coin or screwdriver; Rounded sides.

If you want to keep your food safe while camping or even hunting, this bear canister is a good option. Once locked, the smell of food will not escape from the canister and hence animals will not be attracted to it. The canister has smooth, rounded edges which make it difficult for a bear to grab it. The locks are very strong and made in such a way that an animal cannot open them. Presence of three locks ensures that the lid does not open by accident.

You need to have a coin or screwdriver with you to open the locks. You can open with them with your fingernails, but that is not very easy, or even comfortable. Opening the lid with your fingernails may also take quite some time. You can pack three days’ worth of food in this canister, even four if you pack carefully.

Related: This bear canister is the only one by this producer, although you can buy a canister carrier or other goods from them.

Counter Assault Bear Keg EX Bear-Resistant Food Container

Counter Assault Bear Keg EXWeight: 3.5 lbs.

Dimensions:Diameter: 9 inches. Height: 13.75 inches

Best Used for: Camping

Special Features: Volume: 716 cubic inches; Hard sides; Yellow in color; Three locks on lid; Reflective band around the middle; Made of propriety polymer blend material; Penetrometer rating: 250 pound force; Meets all Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Recommendations for Bear Deterrents

This bear canister is large, which means that it can be used to carry at least 6-7 days of food for one person. This makes it the ideal bear canister if you want to go camping, hunting or even backpacking for a long amount of time. The opening of the canister is large, which means that it is easy to take food items out of this canister. The polymer blend material is strong enough to withstand any sort of force without getting damaged or broken.

The yellow color and reflective tape in the middle mean that you can see your bear canister even at night. It also means that if a bear knocks your canister around, you will easily be able to find it later. The lock needs to be opened at three points, so you can rest assured that a bear will not be able to open it.

The only downside is that the bear canister is rather bulky and heavy. However, it can fit inside a backpack. The canister also comes with its own carry bag, which you can buy separately.

Related: If you want to purchase from Counter Assault, this canister is the best option. You can buy other products from them, though, which include a carrier bag for the canister.

Ursack MAJOR S29.3 All White Bear Resistant Sack Bag

Ursack MAJOR S29.3Weight: 0.54 lb. or 7.8 ounce

Dimensions: 8 * 14 inches

Best Used for: Hiking, trekking, camping

Special Features: Capacity: 650 cubic inches or 10.7 liters; Made of Spectra bulletproof fabric material; White in color; Comes with a cord which is 6 feet in length and 2500 pound tensile strength; Can store six days of freeze dried food; No odor barrier bag included (can be bought separately); No aluminium liner included (can be bought separately).

The best thing about this bear sack is that it is very lightweight, which makes it easy to carry. It can also store quite a bit of food. The white color makes the sack easy to see so it will not get lost. It is best for hikers who cannot carry too much weight.

The company recommends that you use an odor barrier bag and aluminium liner along with the sack. This is because your food’s odor might reach bears and they will try to get into the sack. Even though the material is tough and cannot easily be torn, the bear will still be able to squash your food, rendering it inedible.

Another thing you can do, if you do not want to buy an aluminium liner, is to hang the bag from a tree so a bear cannot get to it. The cord is strong and will hold if you hang the sack with it.

Related: This produces does not make any bear canister, and their high quality bear sack bag is the only one produced by them.

Conclusion

This was the list of the best bear canisters in the market. You need to consider, mainly, the amount of food you need and the weight you can carry. Then you can decide which bear canister to buy.

Once you have a bear canister, keep a few things in mind. It is best to keep your food in Ziploc bags inside the canister. This is because if it rains heavily, water might enter the canister and ruin all your food. Also, for black canisters, it is best to put reflective tape round the middle so you can find it in case a bear kicks it around.

Holding 2 bear cans

If you are traveling with other people, then take turns carrying the canister. It can get rather heavy, particularly with a lot of food.

What did you think about our list? Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments section!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Michelle Greer

    I am absolutely terrified of bears. I would lie awake in my tent and just think I heard a bear with every single branch snapping or animal noise. It is ridiculous. I think these would make me feel a little safer. Or a lot safe, actually. I never slept anywhere there could be a bear but just the thought of a random bear happening upon my campsite is ferrying. These are great ideas, much better than stringing up good in a tree!

  • Adam White

    So I have to ask about the picture up there with all the canisters and everything all around the person. Is that something you could really do or recommend doing? I usually like to be in a tent and have all my food pretty far away, just for bears and/or any kind of other animals. Can never be too safe.

  • Jerry Mueller

    Yes, you can do that when you have other people around and if you just have to take a quick nap. Otherwise, if you are pretty much alone, then by all means get inside your tent or maybe a hammock – if you prefer.

  • Jerry Mueller

    Yes, I know what you mean! These bear canisters work great – you must try it. Make sure you have what you need. The reviews I’ve provided will help a lot. Enjoy camping and stay safe!

  • Mark Foster

    Yes, you can do that when you have other people around and if you just have to take a quick nap. Otherwise, if you are pretty much alone, then by all means get inside your tent or maybe a hammock – if you prefer.

  • Mark Foster

    Yes, I know what you mean! These bear canisters work great – you must try it. Make sure you have what you need. The reviews I’ve provided will help a lot. Enjoy camping and stay safe!

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