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ashmorec
03-05-2019, 11:58
Trying to decide whether to carry my food in my Zpack bear bag or in the BV500. I have both and while I like the lighter weight of my bear bag, I camp a lot at campsites instead of shelters and therefore have to hang my bag. I find hanging my bag labor intensive, and probably not very good, and am considering bringing my BV500 just for the ease of storing my food each night. Yes, it weighs 2.9lbs, but Iím thinking its worth the ease and security of my food.

Thoughts???

Maineiac64
03-05-2019, 12:17
Seems like you’ve got the plusses and minuses well covered.

martinb
03-05-2019, 12:18
After 25+ years of hanging I went to a bareboxer and don't miss hanging a bit. A bear has already tried to get into my can and failed. Do you need a BV 500 for every trip? I can get 4 days in my 1.6 lb boxer and carry my 5th, if needed.

ashmorec
03-05-2019, 12:20
How far from camp do you place your BV 500 at night?

JC13
03-05-2019, 13:19
I'm actually planning on going to a full time bear can as well. I hike well after dark most trips and don't care for the hassle of hanging. I would rather carry the weight and have it as a bonus place to sit.

fastfoxengineering
03-05-2019, 13:56
You could invest in a smaller, lighter bearikade to use full time.

A BV500 is a pretty large canister. It should easily fit 7 days of food for a regular hiker.

If your only going out for the weekend why downsize the 450.

Idk your plans. But routinely carrying a bv500 would be a hassle.

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saltysack
03-05-2019, 14:33
After 25+ years of hanging I went to a bareboxer and don't miss hanging a bit. A bear has already tried to get into my can and failed. Do you need a BV 500 for every trip? I can get 4 days in my 1.6 lb boxer and carry my 5th, if needed.

Good info...may be doing JMT again nobo this fall..curious how much you can cram in it as itís largest Iíd want to carry with my mld burn...


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JC13
03-05-2019, 15:20
You could invest in a smaller, lighter bearikade to use full time.

A BV500 is a pretty large canister. It should easily fit 7 days of food for a regular hiker.
If your only going out for the weekend why downsize the 450.
Idk your plans. But routinely carrying a bv500 would be a hassle.
Sent from my SM-J737V using TapatalkIf that is in response to me, for solo use, the 450 would probably work. I'm trying to narrow everything down to dual-use though so for the AT sections I do with the wife, the 450 wouldn't cut it. I like the bearikade but the cost vs the small bit of weight savings isn't on my radar atm. Now that I think about it, maybe I should just ask her what she wants to do. Two bareboxers aren't that bad pricewise. The 500 looked like it would strap on top of my Osprey Exos 38 pretty easily with the flapjacket.

As for use, it would be for section hikes of about a week to 9 days in length and possibly a BMT/LT thru later this year.

fastfoxengineering
03-05-2019, 15:41
If that is in response to me, for solo use, the 450 would probably work. I'm trying to narrow everything down to dual-use though so for the AT sections I do with the wife, the 450 wouldn't cut it. I like the bearikade but the cost vs the small bit of weight savings isn't on my radar atm. Now that I think about it, maybe I should just ask her what she wants to do. Two bareboxers aren't that bad pricewise. The 500 looked like it would strap on top of my Osprey Exos 38 pretty easily with the flapjacket.

As for use, it would be for section hikes of about a week to 9 days in length and possibly a BMT/LT thru later this year.If I was thru hiking the LT I would use a 450. Resupplys are no more than 3-5 days. I would recommend mail drops for the Long Trail too. You only need 4-5 boxes. Hmu if you need LT logisitics I hiked in 2014 and then the AT section again in 2018. You'll find noone hangs their food on the LT. Most people literally hang it off the mouse hangs right in the shelters.

Plenty of mini bears on the LT though. You will be flanked and attacked my mini bears.

But in all honesty.. if I was planning on always carrying a can. I would invest in a bearikade.

I think two people would be better off both carrying 450s than 1 person carrying a single 500.



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martinb
03-05-2019, 15:46
Good info...may be doing JMT again nobo this fall..curious how much you can cram in it as itís largest Iíd want to carry with my mld burn...


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Do you FBC? I do and can get four days, snacks and meals, in there no sweat. I typically carry the 5th day's dinner if needed.

Oh and it fits in my Gossemer gorilla, no problem.

ashmorec
03-05-2019, 15:51
You could invest in a smaller, lighter bearikade to use full time.

A BV500 is a pretty large canister. It should easily fit 7 days of food for a regular hiker.

If your only going out for the weekend why downsize the 450.

Idk your plans. But routinely carrying a bv500 would be a hassle.

Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
I already have the BV500 because I either hike with my pup or my partner...or both. For this hike Iíll be with my pup and weíre doing a 500 mile LASH from Atkins, VA to Harpers Ferry.

I use the Hyperlite Southwest 3400 pack - Iím thinking Iíll have to carry the BV500 on top of my pack. My thoughts are that Iíll keep my food in dry bag in my pack since it will be heavy, and load the BV500 with my tent, rain gear, and other lightweight items that will fit. I can then easily use the 500 as a chair when taking breaks, without having to get into my pack. Once Iím at camp and setup my tent, Iíll just put the food bag in the BV500 and be done.

steady123
03-05-2019, 17:09
Regarding the use of a Bear Vault I believe the vault should be placed a distance from your tent and then you hope it is there in the morning? I have a vault which I have never used and figured to place it at a respectable distance tied to a tree with maybe 30 ft of paracord. What do you do? Put it out there and hope for the best in the morning?

JC13
03-05-2019, 17:21
If I was thru hiking the LT I would use a 450. Resupplys are no more than 3-5 days. I would recommend mail drops for the Long Trail too. You only need 4-5 boxes. Hmu if you need LT logisitics I hiked in 2014 and then the AT section again in 2018. You'll find noone hangs their food on the LT. Most people literally hang it off the mouse hangs right in the shelters.

Plenty of mini bears on the LT though. You will be flanked and attacked my mini bears.

But in all honesty.. if I was planning on always carrying a can. I would invest in a bearikade.

I think two people would be better off both carrying 450s than 1 person carrying a single 500.



Sent from my SM-J737V using TapatalkThank you sir!

ashmorec
03-05-2019, 17:29
Regarding the use of a Bear Vault I believe the vault should be placed a distance from your tent and then you hope it is there in the morning? I have a vault which I have never used and figured to place it at a respectable distance tied to a tree with maybe 30 ft of paracord. What do you do? Put it out there and hope for the best in the morning?
From what Iíve just read, you should store your canister 100 ft downwind from your campsite. It should be wedged between some boulders, or placed in a thick bush, so a bear cannot roll it away or over a cliff/down a hill.

I suppose tying it securely to a tree might work, but with it being round and slick Iím not sure how you would do that. Unless you tie it to tree and then place rocks around it for extra security.

Photodog
03-05-2019, 17:41
I have both BV500 and 450. I bought the 500 for me to carry on a portion of the JMT with all the food for my daughter and I. Repackaged everything and
got in more than enough. The 450 fits well in my Circuit for all other trips to 4 days by myself. I am done throwing string in trees and pulling up a food bag. Take the BV a hundred yards out of camp with a pot or pan on top for an ďalarmĒ and be done with it! Rain is not a problem either. Put reflective tape on it so you can find it easier.


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bigcranky
03-05-2019, 17:47
We carried Ursacks for years. For the Long Trail we got two of the Zpacks cuben bear bags, and I got really good at the PCT Method -- but I still had some sucky bear bag hangs. And back home, it's basically impossible to make a good hang in the area we usually hike in (SW Virginia), so I usually just sleep with my food -- but there was a serious problem bear in the area last summer.

I think this essay by Andrew Skurka is right on point in this discussion: https://andrewskurka.com/2019/argument-against-hanging-bear-bag/

So we'll be getting ourselves a bear canister this spring and we won't worry about it again. Thanks for the discussion of the relative sizes, that helps.

ashmorec
03-05-2019, 19:01
We carried Ursacks for years. For the Long Trail we got two of the Zpacks cuben bear bags, and I got really good at the PCT Method -- but I still had some sucky bear bag hangs. And back home, it's basically impossible to make a good hang in the area we usually hike in (SW Virginia), so I usually just sleep with my food -- but there was a serious problem bear in the area last summer.

I think this essay by Andrew Skurka is right on point in this discussion: https://andrewskurka.com/2019/argument-against-hanging-bear-bag/

So we'll be getting ourselves a bear canister this spring and we won't worry about it again. Thanks for the discussion of the relative sizes, that helps.

Thanks Big Cranky. That’s good info. I’m definitely going with my BV500...

Five Tango
03-05-2019, 21:39
I already have the BV500 because I either hike with my pup or my partner...or both. For this hike I’ll be with my pup and we’re doing a 500 mile LASH from Atkins, VA to Harpers Ferry.

I use the Hyperlite Southwest 3400 pack - I’m thinking I’ll have to carry the BV500 on top of my pack. My thoughts are that I’ll keep my food in dry bag in my pack since it will be heavy, and load the BV500 with my tent, rain gear, and other lightweight items that will fit. I can then easily use the 500 as a chair when taking breaks, without having to get into my pack. Once I’m at camp and setup my tent, I’ll just put the food bag in the BV500 and be done.

You are not worried that your gear may absorb food odors from being stored in the BV500?

MuddyWaters
03-06-2019, 06:30
Trying to decide whether to carry my food in my Zpack bear bag or in the BV500. I have both and while I like the lighter weight of my bear bag, I camp a lot at campsites instead of shelters and therefore have to hang my bag. I find hanging my bag labor intensive, and probably not very good, and am considering bringing my BV500 just for the ease of storing my food each night. Yes, it weighs 2.9lbs, but Iím thinking its worth the ease and security of my food.

Thoughts???

Basically like asking if you should eat lobster or skittles for dinner.

Its up to you, totally different things.

Sugarfoot
03-06-2019, 07:33
I switched from the Zpacks bear bag to a 12" Bearicade (2.0 lbs) two years ago, and even had to change packs to carry it comfortably (ULA Circuit from Zpacks Arc Blast - another lb), but absolutely no regrets. I was proficient in all of the PCT methods and could usually pretend that whichever limb my line went over was my intention, but I hated throwing a line at the end of a day. I love having a camp stool and having my Oatmeal Creme Cakes remain uncrushed. Plus, I feel like deterring a hungry bear may save a bear's life. That's worth the extra weight.

Mockernut
03-06-2019, 08:23
I have used a BV 500 for the past few years after getting tired of mice and squirrels raiding the bag. It is so much nicer than trying to find a suitable limb in the cold and dark. Added bonus is not having to raise and lower it 3 extra times as I remember that I either needed to put something in it or that I want something out of it in the middle of the night.

I probably don't place it as far from camp as y'all are suggesting, maybe 30-50 yards but have never had a bear come in after it either.

I've had several close encounters with bears at campsites, bears coming within 10 yards of us, and the only times they got food was when they tore bags out of a tree that were not properly hung...I'll never forget that poor kid saying..."hey, he took my yogurt!"

Zalman
03-06-2019, 13:31
From what Iíve just read, you should store your canister 100 ft downwind from your campsite. It should be wedged between some boulders, or placed in a thick bush, so a bear cannot roll it away or over a cliff/down a hill.

The latter part of this advice is actually contrary to what I've read about good bear canister placement. Bear canisters are effective because the bear cannot get enough purchase on it to tear apart. With good purchase, such as if the canister is firmly wedged in place between boulders, a bear is more than strong enough to rip up a Bear Vault, and probably a Bearikade as well.

The advice I've heard is thus to place the canister far away from any cliffs, steep hills, or streams, but to just sit it on the ground. The bear may move it a bit, but it won't be able to get inside.

bighammer
03-06-2019, 13:57
I can't help but think that people are overthinking this whole thing. Hanging food in a bag up a pole or on a rope is like broadcasting the food smells. You can put it in something that they can't get into or open, but you are still inviting and frustrating them.

I have used LokSak bags for multiple trips and have never had a problem with any wildlife because of food odors. (OK, the one time I opened some M&M's late at night and had a bear circle my tent, but that's it) I like that my food is sealed and not advertising my pack contents while hiking. So many other solutions, whether hanging or a frustration box/canister allow the scents to make you more interesting while hiking. I use 2 large bags; one for food and one for trash/waste. No exceptions. I'm protected on the trail while hiking and while sleeping.

Tipi Walter
03-06-2019, 14:03
Trying to decide whether to carry my food in my Zpack bear bag or in the BV500. I have both and while I like the lighter weight of my bear bag, I camp a lot at campsites instead of shelters and therefore have to hang my bag. I find hanging my bag labor intensive, and probably not very good, and am considering bringing my BV500 just for the ease of storing my food each night. Yes, it weighs 2.9lbs, but Iím thinking its worth the ease and security of my food.

Thoughts???

You're not clear on where you will be hiking. On the AT? If you're overly paranoid the bearvault/bearikade solution will work unless you're planning on pulling a 15 or 20 day trip and needing 3 beavaults to hold everything.

If it was me I'd get the biggest Bearikade I could find (for my longest trip's food load) and forget about it. Just get used to hauling the BULK. And never have to worry about hanging your food again---or getting marauding mice chewing thru crap.

Then again, I've been backpacking extensively in the Southeast mountains for the last 40 years and never had a bear come into camp and get my food---whether it's hanging off a tree limb or inside my tent vestibule while I sleep---but then I never go into the Smokies because I dislike Tent Cops telling me where to camp every night and now of course needing to pay cash money for backpacking.

One time I left a food cache of two 500 bearvaults and a bear worried them to death and rolled them a couple hundred feet down a hillside but did not get the food. My non-presence around the food is probably the reason he "attacked" them.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2010/16-Days-with-a-Miracle-Dog/i-TmKPR4J/0/47295284/L/BEAR%20DAMAGE%20006-L.jpg

Berserker
03-06-2019, 14:17
Ahhh, the good old bear canister debate. I've posted on this several times in the last year or so. I've decided that the canister is the way to go, and have been using mine on the last several trips. As some on here have discussed (and it was detailed in the Skurka article that Big Cranky linked to), doing a proper hang is actually a lot harder than most think or want to admit. From finding the right tree/branch to actually getting the cord up there it's no easy task. I also believe that if the food is not properly bagged up inside the sack being hung that one is broadcasting the smell to a larger area.

So anyway, I'm a big proponent of the canister. It's easier to use, it doubles as a chair for me, and it's given me the most piece of mind when sleeping at night in regards to food storage.


I suppose tying it securely to a tree might work, but with it being round and slick Iím not sure how you would do that. Unless you tie it to tree and then place rocks around it for extra security.
This defeats the purpose of a canister. A canister should be left sitting out unobstructed and not attached to anything so that a bear cannot get leverage on it.

Zalman
03-06-2019, 14:25
I can't help but think that people are overthinking this whole thing. Hanging food in a bag up a pole or on a rope is like broadcasting the food smells. You can put it in something that they can't get into or open, but you are still inviting and frustrating them.

I have used LokSak bags for multiple trips and have never had a problem with any wildlife because of food odors.

Sure, you can reduce odors that way, though of course there's still likely to be smells on the outside of the bag from where your hands touched it, etc. But lots of animals -- particularly in well-used areas -- know where to look for food by sight as well.

That said, outside of those more popular spots, I've never had an issue with animals and food when hanging it either.

ashmorec
03-06-2019, 19:22
Thanks for all the valuable dialogue on this topic (except for muddywaters-your comments were useless), and for the advice of placing the canister out in the open so bears cannot get leverage on it. I did not know that.

I’m looking forward to this 500 mile AT LAST with my pup. Hope to see some of y’all out there.

Happy Trails everyone!

Deadeye
03-06-2019, 21:50
Regarding the use of a Bear Vault I believe the vault should be placed a distance from your tent and then you hope it is there in the morning? I have a vault which I have never used and figured to place it at a respectable distance tied to a tree with maybe 30 ft of paracord. What do you do? Put it out there and hope for the best in the morning?

Don't tie your bear canister to anything, or tie a cord to it, or put it in a bag - that will give a bear something to grip. The bear still won't likely get inside, but may carry the container a long ways off. Just place your bear canister in a place where if the bear disturbs it, it won't be rolled away. Not on a hillside, not streamside! It's usually easy enough to find a flat area or depression with plenty of rocks and downed trees so the canister won't go far if Mr./Mrs. bear finds it. If a bear finds it, it will try to get in for a while, then give up and find easier food.

I usually leave mine 100' away or thereabouts. Often less. I've been using a BV for years, it's never been moved or touched, near as I can tell.

martinb
03-07-2019, 16:21
https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2010/16-Days-with-a-Miracle-Dog/i-TmKPR4J/0/47295284/L/BEAR%20DAMAGE%20006-L.jpg

This bear was no good at reading directions.

Feral Bill
03-07-2019, 17:05
Ursacks save the trouble of hanging, and are about as roomy as a canister. They are lighter, but not approved in a few areas. I have not had a bear try mine yet.

MuddyWaters
03-07-2019, 18:07
Thanks for all the valuable dialogue on this topic (except for muddywaters-your comments were useless),
!

I suspect you just arent astute enough to understand it.

You got two options
You know plusses and minuses already

You want cheerleaders to corroborate your new decision
And your too lazy to use search function
Nothing that hasnt been discussed extensively before.

Apollo117
03-07-2019, 18:20
I suspect you just arent astute enough to understand it.

You got two options
You know plusses and minuses already

You want cheerleaders to corroborate your new decision
And your too lazy to use search function
Nothing that hasnt been discussed extensively before.Nope. OP is right. Your comment was useless and provided no benefit to the discussion. Unless of course providing an analogy of the dinner choices between two people, one being a five year old resident of Maine and the other being anyone older than five and also a resident of Maine, somehow in your mind provides use and adds to the discussion of bear bag vs bear canister. I have a hard time connecting those two ideas. But deinstitutionalization made a lot of ideas freely available, so maybe I'm just not looking at it the right way.

Five Tango
03-08-2019, 08:48
I own a BV500 which I bot just in case I go somewhere it's mandated.It's too heavy.I own a Zpacks bear bag,it's light but hanging it is a pain and hanging it properly is mostly impossible for me.

So I bot an Ursack S29 AllWhite with the metal liner.I can pack quite a bit of food and smellables in it.Plus I put my sit pad on top of it and use it as a stool for cooking dinner etc.Not the most comfortable stool in the world but I can get away with it.Weighs about 19 ounces;not so bad for a bag/stool.Look for a fork in a tree and tie it on.Chances are it will survive the night.

And I always have my food and trash etc in an odor barrier bag inside of any container that is used.It gives me some peace of mind and also protects the contents from moisture.My preference in bags are the Base Camp bags from Amazon.They come in a package of various sizes.I use the big ones for my quilts/clothes.Also use LightSmith for some of my gear.Both are reasonably durable.

ashmorec
03-08-2019, 13:31
Happy hiking muddywaters...

I suspect you just arent astute enough to understand it.

You got two options
You know plusses and minuses already

You want cheerleaders to corroborate your new decision
And your too lazy to use search function
Nothing that hasnt been discussed extensively before.