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  1. #1
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    Default BV-500 or BV-450: Which One?

    I'm leaning toward using one of these two bear canisters for my 2020 thru-hike, for ease of use (no bag-hanging hassles) and for doing my part in potentially keeping a few bears safe.

    So... looking for feedback from "experienced canister users" on what size canister to choose.

    Initially thinking to base my choice on needing to store an "average" 4-day food supply, plus toiletries/scented items. But should cook pot, stove, fuel also go in the canister? Thinking "yes", and with that, also thinking the larger BV-500 is the way to go, especially since the 500 is but 6 ounces or so heavier than the 450. Or is the 500 overkill?

    What say you, bear canister veterans?

  2. #2
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    No and you can use it for a seat or table too.IMG_0982.JPG
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

  3. #3
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    IMHO: The jump to a bear canister imposes such a large weight penality that unless the extra room is just NEVER going to be needed, it seems like a small weight penality to go with a larger size.

    Other wise, there is no need to put your cooking pot, fuel, and stove in the bear cannister. The bear isn't going to try to eat these, aftwr all, they should be washed of food odors, and there will be food odors on everything else as well to some degree.

  4. #4
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    I just purchased the 500 for a couple hikes in Colorado. I've no experience with it yet but nice to know I pack 7 days or more in there if I want. I will also be taking it on my section hikes of the AT. I'm tired of trying to find a decent hang at the end of the day. I just boil water so my cook kit will not go in there.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I use both sizes, though the larger one is usually for cacheing food. Depends in part on the size of your pack, but I'm happy using the smaller canister for 3-5 day trips/sections - it carries what I need, and fits easily. Otherwise, I agree with HKDK - the extra size doesn't come with much of a weight penalty, if you have the room to carry it.

  6. #6

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    If I had it to do over again I'd go with a Wild Ideas Bearikade and forego the BearVault experience. After you open and close the BearVault a thousand times a month you'll see why. The BV lid tends to bind and sometimes unscrewing the BV lid past the locking notches is a real hassle most esp when very cold.

    But I will say that my two BV-500s withstood the gnawing of a hungry bear---see pic---

    BEAR DAMAGE 006-L.jpg


    https://www.wild-ideas.net/

  7. #7
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    If you don't mind spending (quite!) a bit more, like around 3 bills, consider the wild ideas berikade series.... significant weight savings, the equivalent model in volume to the BV500 is about 10 ounces less, PLUS a big bonus is that it is easier to open, plus the lid seals with a gasket, meaning more odor and waterproof than the bear vaults.

    Another bonus is that you can dial the exact size you want in increments of 1" in length. We wound up buying the Weekender, $288, 31 ounces, 650 cubic inches, perfect size for myself for 7+ days, or with my wife for 4+ days (assuming you carry your first day's food NOT in the canister, because you'll eat it before retiring).

    From your trail name, looks like you might like hiking in Utah, where bears aren't much of a problem, but rodents are, which makes carrying a canister nice. Same deal for Grand Canyon hiking.

    So, yeah, steep $300 investment, but if you plan on hiking a lot out west longer-term, so many places now require canisters, like parts of the PCT (and JMT, make that a must-do!) and lots of areas in Colorado.

    If you're a relative rookie hiker and not sure if long distance is your thing, go cheap with the BV500, as said, not much heavier than the 450. If you know you'll want to do a lot of other long distance hiking, consider the $300 investment.

  8. #8
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    I used the Bearikade for the JMT and LOVED it.
    Opening it was such a breeze. It sat in the top of my pack (lid up) so that I was able to get lunch and snacks out without removing it from my pack.

  9. #9
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    I have a tall one I'd sell ya! I don't know what a fair price would be be as the shipping would kill the profit. Anybody give an idea of a fair, for me and fair for the buyer, idea?

  10. #10
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    If I had it to do over again I'd go with a Wild Ideas Bearikade and forego the BearVault experience
    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    If you don't mind spending (quite!) a bit more, like around 3 bills, consider the wild ideas berikade series.... significant weight savings, the equivalent model in volume to the BV500 is about 10 ounces less, PLUS a big bonus is that it is easier to open, plus the lid seals with a gasket, meaning more odor and waterproof than the bear vaults.
    If you're a relative rookie hiker and not sure if long distance is your thing, go cheap with the BV500, as said, not much heavier than the 450. If you know you'll want to do a lot of other long distance hiking, consider the $300 investment.
    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I used the Bearikade for the JMT and LOVED it.
    Opening it was such a breeze. It sat in the top of my pack (lid up) so that I was able to get lunch and snacks out without removing it from my pack.
    I agree with all the above. I have been using a Bearikade Weekender for about 7 years now. I originally bought it for my JMT hike in 2013 where I used it on the AT some before that hike to get used to it. Then after I finished the JMT I started randomly using it on the AT up until a few years back when the bear activity started increasing, and then I started using it on every trip. Got sick of hanging and never could get comfortable sleeping with the food in the tent.

    I thought I'd go ahead and add on a few data points since the three posts above covered the high level stuff in regards to the Bearikade. After some use the lid does not fit perfectly on the can and you may get a tiny bit of water leakage into the can if you leave it out in a heavy rain sitting right side up. I remedy this by setting it upside down on a few sticks. That way water doesn't pool underneath it, and just drains off.

    Also, the Weekender fits horizontally into the top of a Z-packs Arc Haul, which is really nice for access and storage. So if you use this pack you can pack all your stuff and basically slap it on top. Z-packs does sell a "V" strap in order to strap it on the top outside of the pack, so I thought it worth mentioning that it does actually fit inside.

    One other thing of note is that I have personally been able to fit 6 days of food in mine. It totally depends on what type of food is packed. If you pack a bunch of Mountain House meals and things like that then less will fit in there. Compact and/or repackaged stuff is the way to go with the can.

    The other points have already been covered, but I will echo that it's light (for a bear can), and makes a great chair. So $300 is steep at first, but if you are going to actually use it a lot, then it's a no brainer in my opinion.
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
    JMT: 2013

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    If you don't mind spending (quite!) a bit more, like around 3 bills, consider the wild ideas berikade series.... significant weight savings, the equivalent model in volume to the BV500 is about 10 ounces less, PLUS a big bonus is that it is easier to open, plus the lid seals with a gasket, meaning more odor and waterproof than the bear vaults.

    Another bonus is that you can dial the exact size you want in increments of 1" in length. We wound up buying the Weekender, $288, 31 ounces, 650 cubic inches, perfect size for myself for 7+ days, or with my wife for 4+ days (assuming you carry your first day's food NOT in the canister, because you'll eat it before retiring).

    From your trail name, looks like you might like hiking in Utah, where bears aren't much of a problem, but rodents are, which makes carrying a canister nice. Same deal for Grand Canyon hiking.

    So, yeah, steep $300 investment, but if you plan on hiking a lot out west longer-term, so many places now require canisters, like parts of the PCT (and JMT, make that a must-do!) and lots of areas in Colorado.

    If you're a relative rookie hiker and not sure if long distance is your thing, go cheap with the BV500, as said, not much heavier than the 450. If you know you'll want to do a lot of other long distance hiking, consider the $300 investment.
    All this feedback is much appreciated. Thanks to all.

    CO Rob, I'm based in Boone, NC. "Utah" is a trail name that was bestowed upon me a couple decades ago and has nothing to do with the state of UT, rather it was an abbreviation for "Uncle Tony." Thanks to my lovely nieces.

    With attractive price points and functionality, the BV-500 seems like the right choice for my AT thru-hike. I'll likely keep my 700ml cook pot, fuel, and stove in it, as well as toiletries qt-bag, since 4 days of food won't fill it up.

    All that said, this piece of gear will be my last purchase, but will look to pick one up for using on a few fall over-nighters in western NC/eastern TN.

  12. #12
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    I had used the Bearikade Expedition with almost 1,000 cu-in of space. It took a lot of planning in minimizing volume, but I was able to get 9 to 10 days of food @ 3,000 calories per day.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah Hikes View Post
    I'm leaning toward using one of these two bear canisters for my 2020 thru-hike, for ease of use (no bag-hanging hassles) and for doing my part in potentially keeping a few bears safe.

    So... looking for feedback from "experienced canister users" on what size canister to choose.

    Initially thinking to base my choice on needing to store an "average" 4-day food supply, plus toiletries/scented items. But should cook pot, stove, fuel also go in the canister? Thinking "yes", and with that, also thinking the larger BV-500 is the way to go, especially since the 500 is but 6 ounces or so heavier than the 450. Or is the 500 overkill?

    What say you, bear canister veterans?
    I do not put my pot, stove, or fuel in my bareboxer, which holds about 4 days of food. I FBC, though, so no food smells int he pot. As mentioned, the bearikade would be the one to have if you can spare the cash.

  14. #14

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    I can easily carry five days of food and my cook pot/stove/fuel in the BV500. I have seen a lot of people strapping the BV500 on top of their packs. The variables are limitless but with my particular load out I can carry the BV500 inside my 65 liter pack along with all my three season gear, i.e. shelter, sleep system, clothes, poop kit, etc. If you're just looking at the difference between the BV500 and the BV450 my advice would be to go with the 500. Not much heavier and a third more space for snacks.

  15. #15
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    Easy to open with a hotel card or credit card

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QyEbLfL_lSU

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    If I had it to do over again I'd go with a Wild Ideas Bearikade and forego the BearVault experience. After you open and close the BearVault a thousand times a month you'll see why. The BV lid tends to bind and sometimes unscrewing the BV lid past the locking notches is a real hassle most esp when very cold.

    But I will say that my two BV-500s withstood the gnawing of a hungry bear---see pic---

    BEAR DAMAGE 006-L.jpg


    https://www.wild-ideas.net/
    As long as your trips are I'd thought you'd need like 4 of them . Did you see the bear doing this?

  17. #17
    Registered User Elaikases's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    IMHO: The jump to a bear canister imposes such a large weight penality that unless the extra room is just NEVER going to be needed, it seems like a small weight penality to go with a larger size.

    Other wise, there is no need to put your cooking pot, fuel, and stove in the bear canister. The bear isn't going to try to eat these, after all, they should be washed of food odors, and there will be food odors on everything else as well to some degree.
    Well, the pot may not get clean enough, but otherwise this is nicely said. And there is real time savings with a canister. I can't believe this is happening, but when we go back out, we are taking one.

  18. #18
    Leonidas
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    I use the BV500 and have a 450 that I plan to use for a shorter trip series. Weight difference between the two is 8 ounces. I had planned to eventually go to a Bearikade model but after reading multiple mentions of the lid abrading DCF packs, I decided to save the cash and stick with my bearvaults.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedCF View Post
    I can easily carry five days of food and my cook pot/stove/fuel in the BV500. I have seen a lot of people strapping the BV500 on top of their packs. The variables are limitless but with my particular load out I can carry the BV500 inside my 65 liter pack along with all my three season gear, i.e. shelter, sleep system, clothes, poop kit, etc. If you're just looking at the difference between the BV500 and the BV450 my advice would be to go with the 500. Not much heavier and a third more space for snacks.
    Twisted, Curious to know what brand-model 65L pack you use and whether you orient your BV vertically or horizontally, and is it just above your sleeping bag/quilt/spares clothes? I'm currently using a GG Crown 2. I'm thinking it will allow the BV to be packed horizontally. But that's TBD.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    As long as your trips are I'd thought you'd need like 4 of them . Did you see the bear doing this?
    I would need 4 BearVaults if I had to package a trip's food load in them but thankfully every place I go backpacking does not require canisters.

    When my two BVs got "attacked" they were being used a food caches during a long-ago trip and I wasn't around for the festivities. The bear did manage to roll each canister several hundred feet down a hillside so it took a while to find them.

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