Bear Canisters - Animal-Resistant Food Containers
When traveling in bear country, the number one precaution you can take is keeping your food inaccessible to bears. That is after all, what they are interested in - there's no research yet that suggests they think we humans taste like chicken, but they definitely like trail mix, energy bars and the other tasty things we tend to carry in our packs. And a little nighttime raid into camp can be the perfect time for a bear to enjoy some of your food if you don't take precautions.
One oft-mentioned precaution is hanging food from trees in just a certain way. Unfortunately, that certain way requires time-consuming engineering skills to outsmart the bears, and just isn't practical in a lot of areas. While many campgrounds have on-site bear-proof boxes, trips to the real backcountry require carrying your own protection.
The solution? Carry one of these simple, but very effective bear canisters to store your food and scented things in at night. Ranger- or park-policy-mandated in many areas with heavy bear populations, our canisters have long-proven reliability with backpackers. It's also the perfect item to rent for those hikers who simply don't spend that much time in bear country. Or, you can buy one from our rental inventory at the rate shown above; it won't be brand new, but looks just like a new one will after the first use - a few scratches are inevitable.
The Garcia Backpackers Cache model is made of tough ABS material with rounded edges, and will withstand even the most determined bear's efforts to get inside of it. Unless the bear has a screwdriver or coin to unlock the stainless steel lock, it will eventually lose interest in it and move on to look for something else to eat that's a lot less trouble. The canister weights about 2.75 pounds, and is about 9" in diameter. It will fit inside most backpacks; just put your food in it while carrying it to minimize the amount of space occupied in your pack. You can also put it in a storage sack that is equipped for attachment to the outside of your pack. Most reviews say it hold about 6 days of food for one person, but it depends of course on how much food you need per day and whether or not you are using original packaging. We also have two models in the BearVault line - these are made of a see-thru plastic and work off the same concept as a child-proof lid. One holds about 4 days of food; the other about 7 days' worth. The latter is bigger than the Garcia, and is harder to open, but some people like the see-thru walls. We suggest you request the one that just meets your storage needs and no bigger. You can specify any preference when you select your rental period, but we do run out of one model or another from time to time and will just send what is available (unless you specify to cancel if your preference isn't available). If you're not heading into bear country but need to protect your food from small animals and rodents, check out this lighter weight deterrent option
We often run out of these in July and August - peak backpacking time in the Sierras - so order early to better ensure availability for you.
For more information, we've put together an article about bear safety. For some third-party user reviews of this and other gear we rent and sell, visit our backpacking and camping user gear review page.
Note - this item has a high volume-to-weight ratio - that is, it may be light, but it eats up a lot of box space. Shipments including this item often require a bigger box and is subject to a rate surcharge by UPS, so the effective shipping weight calculated at checkout is higher than the actual weight. See the actual product weight above.