Outdoors blog


The Usefulness of Bear Canisters Explained

Are you going for a camping trip with your family or friends into the woods? If the region is famous for its bear sightings, you have to go prepared.

The bear has the ability to scent food and other items with a scent 40 times better than a human. So you know you have to keep those scents away while you are asleep in your tent or keep your foods from being taken by a bear while you are away. That’s where bear canisters come in handy.

  1. The basics of bear canisters

If you have never heard of bear canisters, you might be asking, what is a bear canister? To put it in simple terms, the bear canister is a jar or container to keep your foods and other essential items in. It is usually made of durable materials like polycarbonate, PVC, carbon fiber, metal, etc. so that the bear cannot break it. The jar is made in a particular shape so that the bear cannot hold it with its jaw or claws. The size and durability of the bear canisters may vary with price and brands. So that is the basic knowledge about bear canisters.

Canister Type Cost in US dollars
BearVault 90
Frontiersman 70
Backpackers Cache 70
No-Fed-Bear 60
Park Designs 90
  1. How does a bear canister work?

Now you know the answer to the question of what is a bear canister. But how does it work? The mechanism of a bear canister is not rocket science. The hands or claws of a bear is not like humans. So they can’t hold on to things as humans can. So the bear canisters are designed in a round and flawless manner so that the bear cannot hold it and take it away. Another way the bear canister can be taken is the jaws.

The bear can take it between its jaws and run away. Keeping that in mind, the bear canister is made big enough so the bear cannot grab it with the jaws and take it away. As mentioned previously, the canister is made of durable materials. So the bear cannot damage it by application of force. So the foods are kept in good condition. The canister keeps the smell of the food and other utensils sealed inside. So the powerful sense of smell of a bear can be avoided with the canister. When you go camping, take all your food and other utensils that can attract a bear with smell, and put them inside the canister.

But that is not all. Keep the canister at least a hundred meters away from your tent while you sleep because you can never be too careful. Also you don’t want to be scared to death in the middle of the night with a bear sniffing in your tent. In the day, when you are going out, keep the canister away too.

Otherwise the bear can come and destroy all the things in your tent in search of food. The bear canister is usually equipped with an opening mechanism which requires a coin or a screwdriver to open the lid so that the bear cannot open it.

  1. Why is a bear canister useful?

In the old days, food bags were used with a rope and hanged from a tree to keep them away from the bears. But bears are clever creatures. They somehow managed to figure out how to get hold of the bags, and they stole the foods.

Even if they could not take the food and other items out of the bag, they ruined the foods and other things. So that was not the perfect solution. But with a bear canister, the jar is not needed to be hung from a higher place like a tree branch with a rope. You can just put the jar on the ground under a tree or any convenient place for you to find it and you are good to go.

The canister is very durable and not easily bendable. So, if a bear comes and gets hold of the jar, he cannot ruin the things and food inside the jar. The canister can also be useful for multiple uses and purposes. A regular canister has a capacity of 10 to 15 liters. So you can use it to store a lot of things along with foods. Need to get water from a nearby water source? The canister can help you out with that. So, a bear canister can be very useful for going on a camping tour in a bear country.


  1. What are the advantages of a bear canister?

A bear canister has many advantages that are worth mentioning. The food canister keeps your food well preserved. Outside contamination can be prevented with the canister very effectively. The canister can conceal the smell of your food and other smell emitting items very efficiently as the smell is the main factor that draws the attention of the bear.

Even in the darkness, the bears smelling sense is so powerful that it can come and look for food where you are sleeping. So, to prevent a possible heart attack in a midnight bear sighting, a bear canister can be your go-to solution. Another advantage of a bear canister is that it helps the bears to understand that a camping site is not a proper place to look for food. The canister can also be used as a stool or a temporary table.


  1. What are the disadvantages of a bear canister?

The canister is made of very hard materials like metal, PVC, etc. So, it can be quite heavy to use. And for mobility and ease of use, it can’t be too big. So, the amount of food you can carry is not very large.

Hopefully, this article has cleared some of the basic concepts like what is a bear canister. The bear canister has its pros and cons. But it could be very useful for your next bear-country camping trip!

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