barrels for storage?

Anyone using these for canoe camping? Where to view and buy? Where to buy cheap? Are they really waterproof?I’m gonna be heading out for 5 days and thought I might try them.

Discuss please…

thanks, RNC

Just bought a Eureka! barrel
I saw Nightswimmer’s 30L at Pymo, and was impressed. They are not shown on teh Eureka! website - you have to call their retail store at 1-888-6EUREKA. Store opens at 10:00 EDT. Chances are that you will get a recording. It took me about 5 calls to get through.

Be persistant: the 30L barrel, harness, and shipping came to only $68.00. The qualiaty of the harness and the design of the barrel appear to be very good.

Eureka!makes a larger (60L?) barrel, but they were out of stock. I wanted a 30 anyway.


Yup, ah’ use dem

– Last Updated: Aug-02-07 9:02 AM EST –

all de time. They be highly popular wit Canadian canooists (Canadian Lutherans use dem to protect their Betamax cameras from de elements).

De commercial ones usually come in 30 or 60 liters an' aar absolutely water tight (providin' yer check de gasket every so often), will protect de contains from gittin' crushed, provides extra flotation, can be used as a table or seat, an' be critter proof except fer very determined grizz-baars.

Downsides be: little tough ta portage witout a harness (which can be bought separately), kin' not stuff dem inta corners like a dry bag, an' cost a lot of wampum. 30 liter barrels be about $50 an' de 60 liters about $80 or so. If yer kin', yer maybe able ta find smaller ones fer free dat be used as bulk shipping fer olives, etc. to restaurants.

Places like Rutabagas an' Boundary Waters Catalog carry dem. Ah' like mine.

Fat Elmo

Accessory Buyers’ Guide
Check out:


^^Great prices.

bear proof ?
Hey, anyone know if these barrels are bear proof? Thanks


Jus’ wait’ll yer
see wat de shipping an’ postage is from Canada. May not be dat cheap in de end. Somethin’ ta consider.


A determined baar…

– Last Updated: Aug-03-07 7:59 AM EST –

may git inta one, so they are not "officially" baar proof... but it's gotta be a big one.


The prices I quoted
were for:

1 - 30L barrel (orange)

1 - adjustable harness (fits both 30 and 60L barrels)

1 - shipping from NY to WV

Total = less than $68.00

Barrels are NOT bear-proof, but they are air and odor tight so stashing them away from camp and away from the trail should do the trick.

They should be mouse, chipmunk and squirrel-proof. If the cam lever is locked down (with a flat piece of metal through the security seal slot) I doubt that a 'coon could get in. Of course, given time any rodent with sufficiently large incisors might be able to gnaw the edge of the lid.


If a bear can rip into a metal ice cooler (and I’ve seen this) it can rip into a realtively thin plastic barrel. A lot of surface area for the bear to swing at. I’ve used a 30L barrel for several trips in the BWCA preferring to hide the barrel away from camp trails to hanging it. Before that for several years I used a 5 gallon paint bucket. I carry it in an internal farme backpack. Keep the smells down and I don’t prepare food on the lid of the barrel.

Check your local outfitter
If you’re near Marysville, PA, Blue Mountian Outfitters had 2 sizes on the floor earlier this summer.

Wouldn’t go tripping without them . . .
For all of the reasons already stated; waterproof, extra flotation, mostly smell proof but not bear proof, avoids crushing food etc.

I use a 60L for things that have to stay dry: sleeping pads and bags, spare clothes, shore footwear, first aid and other assorted junk. Lots of room for two people for a multi week trip. Single piece top with gasket and metal snap ring closure. The harness is by Black Feather and there are better ones out there, it is not the most comfortable thing to portage. Ostrum Outdoors makes one that is the best I have ever tried on. Darn pricey though.

For food we use old olive barrels salvaged from local restaurants – 20L size, two-piece screw top with O ring. A single barrel will hold food for two people for a week if it is mostly dehydrated. The barrel(s) go in the bottom of the canoe pack. Even packed with food they add flotation.

A couple things I’ve picked up over the years:

Check gaskets before each trip

Check the metal pins in the snap ring regularly – they are wear points

I never take the snap ring off, just expand and lower it below the lid and leave on the barrel. Have seen someone step on one on the ground and crush it so it would not fit properly.

A piece of synthetic bootlace makes a passable O ring for the 20L barrels for when some greenhorn lost it :slight_smile:

Picture of a couple at a campsite, it shows the difference is size:


thanks to all
great ideas, after reading the posts, have ordered already

fairwinds to all


thin or no ?
Hi Mark

Do you know personally, if these are thin? Some food barrels are very heavy duty and are considered bear proof or at least somewhat so. I reckon the price of says thin, as the thick ones are fairly pricey.

I bought my barrel from US Plastics a few yers ago. It is quite sturdy and as thick as a 5 gallon plastic bucket. It is not what I call “thin”. In griz country t6hey use small barrels that a bear cannot really gets its paws on. Much too small and heavy for canoe tripping unless you take about 4 or more and pack dry things down to baggies. One time after we had finished eating and cleaning up we left camp and left our what we thought were clean cooking pots. A bear came into camp and tore those up. They had claw marks through them literally. These pots were thicker Evolution cookware (thicker then most aluminum pots). They were much sturdier then a plastic barrel. For barrels to be somewhat bear proof size is most important. The big 30 and 60L barrels have too much surface area to stop a bear’s paw if it wants to rip through. That is why people are told to not leave coolers (metal or other) exposed in cars where bears can see them - they will rip through the car and the cooler. The success of 30L barrel use is the absence of smells and placing them off camp trails where a bear of habit usually doesn’t associate food with the area. It doesn’t have to be far, just “hidden” off camp trails.

Yep, you’re right…
Shipping on those is a beast.

The Eureka ones dont fare well on an
airplane…all the handles busted off courtesy of an airline on a friends Yukon trip…I use the Black Feather ones…

All are pretty thick. They arent the bear proof canisters that hikers need in some National Parks but they contain odors and float in case of upset.

Have used one for fifteen years now… it was quite a sight to see Everglades raccoons try to figure it out.

I had a Black Feather harness… but it was so uncomfortable I forked over for the Ostrom Voyageur harness. It fits both 30 and 60 liter barrels. Most comfortable thing around. I can almost always carry another pack on top.

Pagayeur if you come to MFS I will have mine along…along with leftover food from a two week trip I am sure (dehydrated)…not that you need dehydrated at MFS!

I’ve been considering buying barrels for some time and this is good stuff.

I’m planning on making it to MFS.


ok igive up, MFS??
midwest freestyle symposium? what the heck IS MFS??

thanks, I hate being ignorant…


My Eureka barrel
has no outside handles - grips are moulded into the side.