Garcia bear-proof canister?

Has anyone used these before? Are they practical for canoe/kayak camping? Do they insulate better than drybags [for example, keep the cheese from melting]?

I’ve been hanging dry bags or stuff sacks in trees for years now and am getting sick of it. There is often no good branch to use. I camp in the Adirondacks mostly and I hear about bears that have become adept at defeating these defenses [by biting through the rope-instant dinner!]


Bear-proof only!
I have one of the Garcia cannisters, although I have no personal experience with how bear-proof they really are. I can tell you that Denali National Park rents them to hikers and that research indicates they work. You don’t need to hang them since a bear supposedly cannot bite through them, but they do not address all of your issues: They are not waterproof, so they are not substitutes for dry bags, and they won’t keep your cheese from melting. Since they are black, they may actually be hotter, especially if left in the sun. One cannister holds approx. enough food for one person for three or four days, depending on what you take along. On longer trips, I take one as insurance so even if a bear gets the rest of my food I still have a three or four day supply. Also makes a good camp stool.


We have two of them
I highly recommend them to any one doing remote camping in bear country.

They have no insulation quality.

They make a great little seat, and they do what they are supposed to do.

They are just large enough so a bear cannot get its jaws around them, and there are no edges for the bear to bite on, so the most they can do is bat them around a bit, until they give up and go away.

We also use ours on our wilderness Florida trips, since they are an excellent deterrent to the raccons when your are off hiking along the beach.

I just noticed last week that one of the outfittes had a good sale on them. They are normally around $80, and I think they were about $20 cheaper.

Remember the “hey bear” thing really works.

I had one within three feet of me, in the bush, and I swear it grinned at me as it kept going.



i’ve used these … they work.

– Last Updated: May-25-04 9:42 AM EST –

BEER PROOF?!?!?!!?!?!
Why would you want a container that you can’t get the beer out of?

oh wait…that’s “bear”. ;p

Relie on scent free
I have backpacked for years and never had a problem with bears. Raccoons and squirels however, are far more persistant and fearless. In backcountry where warning stated a bear population of 1+ per square mile I encountered one Bear in a mulberry patch and he ran like the dickens when he spotted me. I was wondered where are the Bears? When I made it to the road behold Boo Boo and Yogi eating the campers marshmellows and Hotdogs.I have found remaining scent free has kept problems to a minimum. You know don’t crap where you live! Canoeing offers the advantage of less weight restrictions then backpacking…carefull sealed and packed waterproof barrels hung appropirately prevents alot of problems. you are only limited by the amount of rope lenght you bring.Remember the addage when camping you can never bring along to much rope…I think this applies to cold beer also. Try using two trees then lifting suspending barrels from the center of the rope. Now for those dam squirels and raccoon if it’s attached to something they can get to it…and they don’t give up either… matter of fact raccoons will act indignate when you attempt to scare them off …and those damm little thumbs can open everthing. I found my backpack was unzippered every stinking pocket which I im thankful for cause they tore threw tied stuff bags and ripped them right open… opps forgot those granola bar in my pack!!! and squirels can chew threw a 2 by 4 in minutes let alone camping gear… oh by the way if any one spills a can of sardine oil on themselves …which they promised they wouldn’t do … sleep far away from them as possible unless you really want to wake up to an animal intruder who just will not take NO for an answer and no one In their right mind argues with a SKUNK.

Bear containers
I’ve got a Garcia and a Bear Vault, which is transparent and a little bit bigger than the Garcia. We do canoe camping in the Boundary Waters, and certain areas are known problems with bears. Even if you keep a clean camp, the campers before you may not have, so the bears become accustomed to making the rounds. I use primarily dehydrated, not freeze-dried, foods and the Garcia has space for a couple of people for 3-4 days. We also put our toiletries in them. I still hang one pack with the trash and maybe some extra food.


Rocky Mt
Rocky Mt national park now strongly recommends the bear containers over hanging food and rents them to back packers. One alternative is a short length of wire cable where you tie to the tree. Hard to chew on.

Beer - proof
Beer is only like 6-proof. Not good enough! :]

Thanks, y’all
Lots of good info here. I decided against buying one:

  1. Heavier than what I’m using now. I am not really an ultralight fanatic but I’ve too much crap to shlepp on the carries already.

  2. Too small for the typical group size- I would still need to hang (or hide) the rest of the goodies. Or buy several canisters (see #1).

  3. REI had them for $55, but they’re sold out.

    I think I’ll try that method using 2 trees, and the short length of steel cable.

    Keeping clean camp is always a good plan as is using sealed bags/containers but as CanoePam said we’re dealing with campsites that are used most nights and the local bruins know where they are, what tree to look in and what the food bags look like. They could rob you even without using their noses, I think.