Bear bags are intended to protect your food on backpacking trips and to prevent bears from becoming accustomed to eating human food. “A fed bear is a dead bear”, as the saying goes, and no one wants to see a bear killed because someone was careless and didn’t hang their food in a bear bag or some other bear-proof container, like a bear canister, a Ursack, or a bear-proof cooler.
What should you put in a bear bag or bear-proof storage? Is it limited to food or are there other things that you should store as well? The answer is yes.
Here are the items, I’d recommended hanging in a bear bag or storing in an IGBC approved bear-resistant container.
- All of your food
- Olive or cooking oil
- Sun tan lotion
- Chapstick or lip balm
- Bug dope
- First-aid creams
- Scented tobacco
Here are some other items, you might consider storing at a distance from your tent even if they have no food value.There’s no point in encouraging a close inspection by an alpha predator at night.
- Pots, pans, and utensils
- Cooking grills
- Water bottles or hydration reservoirs that have had flavorings added to them
- Clothes that you have cooked in
Why take these precautions? Bears have an extremely good sense of smell that’s 100 times more sensitive than humans and 7 times more sensitive than a bloodhound’s. In other words, they can smell things that you’re not even aware have a smell.
Recommended Bear-Proof Containers
The following is a list of the popular bear canisters and Ursack bear-proof bear bags that backpackers and campers use where bear-resistant containers are required.
|Make / Model||Weight in oz.||Cubic In||Days Food|
|BearVault BV450||33 oz||440||4|
|BearVault BV500||41 oz||700||7|
|Garcia Backpackers Cache||43.5 oz||614||6|
|Frontiersman Insider Bear Safe||48 oz||735||7|
|Wild Ideas Scout||28 oz||500||5|
|Wild Ideas Weekender||31 oz||650||6-7|
|Wild Ideas Blazer||33 oz||750||7-8|
|Wild Ideas Expedition||36 oz||900||9|
|Bare Boxer||26.3 oz||275||3|
|Lighter1 Big Daddy||43 oz||650||3|
|Lighter1 Lil Sami||28 oz||300||3|
|UDAP No-Fed Bear||38.4 oz||455||4-5|
|Grubcan Bear Resistant Container||43 oz||574||5-6|
|Counter Assault Bear Keg||58 oz||716||7|
|Ursack Major Bear Bag (10L)||7.6 oz||650||6-7|
|Ursack AllMitey Bear and Critter (10L)||13 oz||650||6-7|
|Ursack Major XL (15L)||8.8 oz||925||9|
|Ursack Major 2XL (10L)||15.7 oz||1830||18|
|Ursack AllMitey Grizzly Bear and Critter (20L)||13.8 oz||1221||12|
|Ursack AllMitey Kodiak Bear and Critter (20L)||15.3 oz||1850||18-19|
|Ursack AllMitey Bear and Critter (30L)||15.3 oz||1850||18-19|