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  1. #1

    Question Packing a Bear Canister

    I'm borrowing a NO-FED-BEAR Canister for the 1st time. Is there any good way to pack it for 5 days?
    Mostly MH type FD meals but maybe some freezer bag meals & snacks too.
    Some have told me they trim excess off the MH bags to save space.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    On all BP trips for the last 15 years I've always repackaged all of my MH-type FD meals into 1 quart freezer zip locks, and rehydrate in those bags. They can stand boiling water just fine (only the freezer bags, not regular zip locks). "FBC", or freezer bag cooking. Saves about 3/4 ounces of weight per meal and a whole lot of bulk when trying to stuff many days into a bear canister.

    I've managed to carry 8 days of food in a "standard" sized BC. tough to fit, but it does go, at least for the amount of food I carry.

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    Part of the trick in packing a bear canister is to find foods not only calorie dense by weight but also by volume.
    Examples: sunflower seed kernels over peanuts, couscous over rice, Plain M&M's over Peanut M&M's, nothing light and airy like pretzels and crackers, anything prepackaged with any air in it, poke a hole and quickly squeeze out the air and re-seal.

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    Thanks for the info

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I don't use a bear canister, yet, but I do eat Mountain House on the AT. This year I bought MH in the cans and separated the portions into freeze dried Ziploc bags. On the trail I prepared right in the bag as I would with the foil MH bags sold as separate meals. There are two advantages to doing this. First, the meals come out less expensive when you do your own repacking into individual meal bags. Second and most importantly, the meals in freezer Ziplocs weigh a little less and take up way less room especially if you take the time to squeeze out the air in the bag before closing the zipper.
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    Registered User tagg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    I don't use a bear canister, yet, but I do eat Mountain House on the AT. This year I bought MH in the cans and separated the portions into freeze dried Ziploc bags. On the trail I prepared right in the bag as I would with the foil MH bags sold as separate meals. There are two advantages to doing this. First, the meals come out less expensive when you do your own repacking into individual meal bags. Second and most importantly, the meals in freezer Ziplocs weigh a little less and take up way less room especially if you take the time to squeeze out the air in the bag before closing the zipper.
    And after you've eaten, the empty Ziploc takes up less space in your trash bag than the empty MH package does.
    -tagg

  7. #7

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    In addition to the other good advice above about reducing packaging and calorie dense foods, suggest you pack you last day's food into the canister first, ending with your first day's food. This way you are always dealing with what's on top and you do not have to mess with the three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of food underneath, that you have carefully arranged to get the most into the least space.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QiWiz View Post
    In addition to the other good advice above about reducing packaging and calorie dense foods, suggest you pack you last day's food into the canister first, ending with your first day's food. This way you are always dealing with what's on top and you do not have to mess with the three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of food underneath, that you have carefully arranged to get the most into the least space.
    This isn't going to work if your contents are in different shapes/sizes and you really need to stretch the limits of what a bear canister can hold.

    To really get the most in your bear canister, you have to pack by shape, finding how to put the different shapes together to avoid empty space in the canister.


    When I did the JMT, I picked up a 9-10 day resupply from MTR that needed to go into a Bearikade Expedition (~1,000 cuin).
    It was late in the day, so I didn't have time to organize my food at MTR. I simply had to quickly stuff as much as I would quickly fit in my bear canister, and place the rest of what I knew I needed in a stuff sack and take it to camp where I could spend some time trying to organize it all.

    After dinner, I spent more than an hour packing and unpacking, trying and failing to figure out how to get all this food in a bear canister organized such that I could access each day's supplies.
    I then finally hit upon the solution. I placed one day's food aside, and then packed everything else strictly based on its size/shape and how these pieces to fit together without leaving any "air pockets" in the canister. It took only about 10 minutes (after all, I had just spent an hour looking over how these things could fit together), and when I had it all packed, I had just enough room for my next day's food on top.

    Of course this packing method meant that 24 hours later, I had to empty the entire bear canister and do it all over again. But this time, I had one less day's supply of food to contend with. So again, I finished the task in about 10 minutes, and as the days progressed, the task got easier and quicker.

  9. #9

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    As I'm planning on 2 mail drops for my 2 week trip, im coming with several ideas for packing. Thanks to all for your assists

  10. #10
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    ,
    Quote Originally Posted by QiWiz View Post
    In addition to the other good advice above about reducing packaging and calorie dense foods, suggest you pack you last day's food into the canister first, ending with your first day's food. This way you are always dealing with what's on top and you do not have to mess with the three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of food underneath, that you have carefully arranged to get the most into the least space.
    In theory, this is good practice. In practice, I usually wind up wanting something other than what i planned for the menu, and it’s always at the bottom.

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