Bear Canisters

I’m taking a long-distance kayaking trip in bear-country soon, with limited resupply, and I’m wondering about food storage.

Bear canisters of course are standard, but they’re insanely expensive (I need quite a few) and are bulky. Are there alternatives that exist?

The Ursak isn’t any cheaper than a regular canister.

Anybody have experience with the odor-free bags? They’d be as easy as Saran wrap to open if a bear happened on them, and I’m only thinking that any smell on my hands would rub off to the outside of the bag and make them useless.

I’m currently debating ammo boxes since they’re strong and cheaper.

I know an alternative is tree-hanging, but I’m headed to the sub-arctic, where I’m expecting to see mostly weak and short scrub trees that won’t work for hanging.


I know that most of the EMS stores I have been into rent bear canisters.

I would just use a cooler and keep it a short distance from camp. I’d also bring a shotgun with some slugs and 00 buckshot. It’s your food, not theirs.

Bears have changed over the years because people have stopped reminding them of their place, and just who we are. That’s MY food, dont touch.

Don’t Own One of These, But…

– Last Updated: Mar-12-10 11:27 AM EST –

....they would hold the same volume as several of the bear canisters. Might warrant taking a look a these. I've used coolers for dry food quite a bit, but keeping a barren grounds grizz is different than keeping a 'coon out! WW

You’ll “need” quite a few?
Or is it that you want to take the kind of food that would require quite a few? I’ve used a bear canister for years backpacking. I can cram 8 days of food into one Garcia canister. Yes really, and I don’t eat like a bird while backpacking either. At $70 each (minus 10% if you’re an REI member), the cost of 2 or 3 canisters doesn’t seem that much compared to your other costs of a trip to the Yukon. But of course, the choice is yours.

these ? …
would these items be a option ? …


tell him what you’re eating

– Last Updated: Mar-13-10 7:15 AM EST –

how you get so much food into such a small space

I’ve used the Ursak for over 10 years, even in grizzly bear country, and it seems to be the best option even though it is expensive (newer, double layer ones are made for grizzlies). There are many smaller critters that can steal your food, and the Ursack takes care of them too. I’ve washed my Ursack hundreds of times and paddled and backpacked with it thousands of miles. I think it’s your best bet. It will last a lifetime.


it is aint it?

Bear canister
Check with Eatern Mtn. Sports EMS - i believe you can rent them from them for a small fee.

I paddle and camp 100%
of the time in bear country, hear in N Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands and Yellowstone, and I’ve never been bothered by bears. A clean camp, hoist bear attractents on a bear pole or put in a bear box, keep food out of tent and kayaks at night, and use common sense. Guns are not needed. I’m not a tree hugger, I’ve hunted deer and such for over 40 years. Maybe some are just afraid of things that go, “bump”, in the night.

Another idea
I asked about this before and got no difinative answers but— has anyone tried putting food in a drybag and sinking it out in deep water? It seems like it would keep it safe without carring/buying a canister? I thought if you put the drybag in a mesh bag with rocks in it and tied a long line on and wipped it way out there? The only negitive I can think of is snapping turtles,but i’ve never tried it. has anybody?


same here
You cant go into the woods here without being in bear country. Around here, the camp grounds are full of bears that have been taught by man to break into cars for food, rip open tents for food, go into cabins and RV’s for food…and humans will do nothing about it. I’m not “afraid of things that go bump in the night”, if I were I wouldn’t be able to coonhunt with just my hounds and myself. We bump a bear now and then, and they run off. When in the back country, there’s a Winchester 1300 with me, and it’s stuffed with 00buck. Havent needed it but if I ever have a bear treat me like I’m inferior, there’s gonna be bear parts littering camp. I’ve spoken to people that have been “holed” up in their RV by bears that wouldn’t leave and stayed outside growling and teeth popping when an attempt was made to scare it off. CRAZY! A bear that does that needs shot! Tree hunggers and feel gooders made the bear problems, and now guys like me have to deal with it. EVERYONE needs to deal with it like it or not. Wildlife need to be retaught their place in the scheme of things. Only then can they be wild again. There’s always people who think this is “crazy”…but they’re the ones turning wild life into not so wild pests. Sad. …and deer hunting has little to do with the re-education of problem bears. Again, I hate to see bears die just because they’re following what the feel-gooders taught them…but there’s simply no choice.

there’s more to consider than just …

– Last Updated: Mar-14-10 5:57 PM EST –

...... how to keep your food away from the bears .

Bears have that smell thing going on , like 30x's your smell sensitivity . So keeping that in mind and the fact that they are curious to investigate new smells even if not interested in eating , there are some precautions for camp that can go along way .

Mostly concerning your tent , you shouldn't keep anything in it that has smells , like toothpaste , soaps , snack foods , skin creams and such . You shouldn't keep your "cloths that you cooked in" , in your tent either , pack them outside far away from the tent .

Hang high all that can be hung .

Your cooking area should be quite a ways off (100+') from your sleep quarters . Don't be spraying bear spray around camp thinking that might discourage bears , just the opposite happens because the sprays contain vegetable oils which attract .

Keep your big bear spray on you so you can just grab it in a couple seconds (don't have it stuck in a pack or other inconvenient place) . Keep it and a flashlite with you in the tent , and as much else as possible out of the tent and away .

Trash , keep it packed up in heavy plastic bags and outside of camp , hang all food , trash , smelly stuff , and food smelly cloths etc. ... if at all possible .

Wash your hands and such good before turning in , and do this well away from the tent .

When walking along a trail or river side etc. , try not to surprise a bear that might be right behind a bush ... do make some noise as you go (some people use bells around ankles and such) , the idea is to allow the bear to hear you coming so he can move away ahead of time instead of being surprised .

If you do happen to encounter a bear ... DON'T RUN !!
Hold still , raise you arms , don't look into it's eyes , and talk quietly to the bear , try to show it you are not a threat ... back off slowly while still facing the bear ... if it false charges at you , hold your ground , that's the time to make as much noise and aggressive behavior as you can , don't fall down until it knocks you down ... if that happens stay down and curl protecting your face , stomach and head . It may flip you around a few times . Stay down for quite some time after the bear leaves you , the 2nd attack because you got up as soon as the bear moved off a fair distance is said to be far worse than the 1st attack .

If you see a carcus while out and about , get away from it as opposed to curiously investigating it . That's a perfect place to be surprised by the bear (or cat) who is nearby and already claimed the carcus .

Sleep in the tent , don't just sleep on the ground at camp , bears may investigate what they believe is a carcus lying there (surprise) .

I've never needed to concern too much about these things , because although we do have a good population of Black bears up in mountain hills , it's not what I would call Bear country . But non the less if remote camping these things would still be observed . I've only had one encounter with a Black Bear near camp in the dark of early morning .

I'm sure since you will be going into what is called Bear country 9there's something like 6-7000 Grizzlys and another 10,000 Black bears in the Yukon) , you have been or will be reading up on all these things I've mentioned ... since the threat is real (because Bears want your food and smelly stuff) , it's a good idea to treat it as such .

If you can stay in a group (5-6) on land , that's good too , Bears are well aware of size and odds .

It's also recommended to scout your proposed camp area for such things a scat , tracks , fur scruffs and clawings before you decide to setup camp . If you see a Bear(s) around your camp area anywhere , it's also recommended to move camp on down river a few miles or more .

There are also certain vegetations like wild cabbage and berry bushes that are best to steer away from , might be a good idea to read up on those things a little too .

If I were out on camp in Bear country , I'd try to practice all these things ... plus I'd be carrying a heavy sidearm like a Casull as a last resort .

I suspect your chances of being the next Bear victim headline are pretty remote ... but then again that's probably what all those who have been killed or attacked thought too .

Not trying to make a scarey here , or over inflate the scenario ... just the facts that Bear threats are real in Bear country , the Yukon is Bear country and these Bears are becoming human associated more and more these days due to recreational back country travlers increasingly entering their enviroment .

Many , many Bears are put down by the rangers and park services personell each year for obvious reasons ... many , many Bears !!

The only reason I took the time to post these things , is because I really believe you are going up into the Yukon this June ... and regardless if you are aware of this stuff or not , a few words seemed like a better idea than not .

I give, you win…

Bear Canisters
thanks for the help, all.

i do know all the safety stuff from my many experiences with black bears on the AT, but brown bears have such a different nature, so i just want to see what’s available. i’m going to look into that 30-gal drum that was posted and see if maybe i could just leash that onto the top of the kayak with bungee cords or something, just presuming that wouldn’t fit into a kayak’s hold.

past that, i think i’ll end up going with the odor-proof bags. yeah, a bear will easily eat three weeks’ worth of food (for three people, even) in quick order if it finds them, but i may just cross my fingers on that. we’ll be three days from a town at the most where we could just call in our maildrop if needs be. if it’s the maildrop that the bear eats, then we could maybe sweet-talk the guy into sending us another.

yeah, each one of us will have bear mace, but a pistol is still a consideration (though a pricey one and a useless item after the trip). it seems like a shotgun would be pretty awkward to try to pack into a kayak.

(sorry if that rambled; just thinking out loud)

re-read the advertisement on the link, and the barrels aren’t bear-proof.

They’re nice, but not approved
in many bear areas.

Just sayin’.

My humble opinion.
I backpack and kayak camp often in bear country, grizzlies, too.

Bear spray works, but keep it really handy, not where you can’t get to it in a nano second.

A pistol, even a BIG one, won’t do much good. A shotgun might help and if you think you might want one, this is the one that I would recommend:

Again, however, if you can’t get to it quick, forget it.

Bear canisters work well for food storage. I like Bear Vaults.

Follow all the rules and general wisdom. If you’re not sure, pick up a book or google it.

There are lots of camping/bear threads on the gear forum.

I’d rather see campers aware and prepared than have them or a bear come to a sad end.