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BearVault Solo BV450 Food Canister Review


Aaron Zagrodnick
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Aside from bear canisters, there are few – if any – pieces of gear that backpackers can be required to have. Don’t want to bring a tent? That’s your choice. Feel like skipping the stove and eating no-cook dinners? Go for it. Trust the forecast and decide to leave the rain gear at home? No big deal. The ability to choose what we bring and the multitude of options for nearly every type of gear that exists are part of the fun of planning a backpacking trip. However, for certain national parks and other public lands, it can be required that you possess an approved bear canister to store your food...

@Mark reviews the BearVault BV450 bear-resistant food container, read below in Issue 30:

BearVault BV450 Review

BearVault BV450 Solo Food Canister Review.jpg

Issue 30 Page 1

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Good review.  We've used BearVaults for years.  The only problem we've ever had is one that you tested for, but your test didn't recreate wilderness conditions.  If you BearVault gets rained on, and then gets cold (i.e. overnight in the mountains) it can suck that water in through the threads and get everything wet.  BearVault recommends leaving the canister tilted slightly to one side to prevent this from happening...

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K. Urs Grutter

Used a BV 500 in summer 2015 in the Sierra Nevada. Having a translucent canister certainly is an asset. In parks like Yosemite, it also helps against the overly perky rodents and birds!

Drawbacks:

  • The little humps on the lid get damaged easily, especially in cold weather. I am not absolutely positive whether my canister would still hold a real bear-attack now: After only 8 chilly nights out, the humps seem to be ground down and opening is significantly easier than when new. 
  • There is no pack designed for use with bear canisters yet. Ideally, The canister should strap directly to the hipbelt, with the pack for the rest of your gear riding on top of the canister. There is no need to cover the canister with (heavy) fabric. As it will be the heaviest part of your equipment, it should ride close to your back and close to your hip (cg). 

When will the suppliers come up with packs like this?

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10 hours ago, K. Urs Grutter said:

Used a BV 500 in summer 2015 in the Sierra Nevada. Having a translucent canister certainly is an asset. In parks like Yosemite, it also helps against the overly perky rodents and birds!

Drawbacks:

  • The little humps on the lid get damaged easily, especially in cold weather. I am not absolutely positive whether my canister would still hold a real bear-attack now: After only 8 chilly nights out, the humps seem to be ground down and opening is significantly easier than when new. 
  • There is no pack designed for use with bear canisters yet. Ideally, The canister should strap directly to the hipbelt, with the pack for the rest of your gear riding on top of the canister. There is no need to cover the canister with (heavy) fabric. As it will be the heaviest part of your equipment, it should ride close to your back and close to your hip (cg). 

When will the suppliers come up with packs like this?

Interesting perspective of the "humps" part of plastic locking mechanism on the lid getting damaged easily. Perhaps, the design has changed slightly in this regard between your   BV 500 used and the one BV 450 I've used for hikes in Adirondack Park, California's Lost Coast, Glacier, Grand Teton, Inyo Nat Forest, Mt Rainier, N. Cascades, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite,...

The BV 450 fits fine in my goto  Ultra Light Designs - ULA - CDT virtual suspension(Neo Air XLite  Shortie pad)  rucksack. It all depends on how one wishes to define how a bear can or should be used with a pack. The BV 500 fits OK and the ride is fine in my  ZPack's 55L Arc Blast. I've seen some strap onto a pack or use a Bear Vault 450, Bear Boxer Contender,  Wild  Ideas Scout, and Garcia bear cans in their packs.      

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Mark Wetherington

Thanks for the additional info about your experiences with the BearVault . . .  good info to have!

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I have both sizes of bearvault...but it looks like they have upgraded the lid to have two locks....bears must be getting smarter!

Not certain if you can buy an upgraded lid to thwart the mensa bears ....will have to ask

Both keep fragile food from getting crushed

Both make decent stools around camp

Both get wet inside when it rains....not sure how/why???

My one concern has always been that the bears will not get into it but they WILL hide it so that I cannot find it :-)

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