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  1. #1

    Default ATC takes official stand on bear canisters

    https://appalachiantrail.org/news/at...ge-containers/

    Not sure how many will listen; I still see folks thinking the ATC should provide bear cables/boxes everywhere, while others insist they can successfully hang their food or that they're fine keeping their food in their tent.

    I've been carrying a canister on the AT for several years now; the added weight is more than balanced by my not worrying about doing a hang, etc. And, it doubles as a seat!

  2. #2
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    Exclamation The link in the post above

    Does NOT take you to ATC, but to a URL with 'CUE'. I don't think this was a deliberate deception.

    Here's a link that takes you to the ATC:
    https://appalachiantrail.org/news/at...ge-containers/

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    Does NOT take you to ATC, but to a URL with 'CUE'. I don't think this was a deliberate deception.

    Here's a link that takes you to the ATC:
    https://appalachiantrail.org/news/at...ge-containers/
    I fixed it. Both links go to the same place now.
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  4. #4

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    sorry 'bout the bad link; not sure how that happened...
    Last edited by lkmi; 07-19-2022 at 21:38.

  5. #5
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    I think it's inevitable. I use a canister most of the time, or an Ursack in less-travelled parts. A canister increases my base weight by a bit more than a day's worth of food. Just saw that they have new sizes, too, and Christmas is coming!

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    The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee list has, for some reason, not included the Wild Ideas Bearikade products. Perhaps because those canisters have only proven effective against black bears. Of course, there are no grizzlies on the AT, so I see no reason to not use the bearikade even if the AT is using the IGBC list in their press release. Which I assume is fine since these are recommendations, not government mandates.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee list has, for some reason, not included the Wild Ideas Bearikade products.
    I've wondered why the Bearikade (which I use) isn't on that list... I suspect it has more to do with bureaucracy than effectiveness...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee list has, for some reason, not included the Wild Ideas Bearikade products. Perhaps because those canisters have only proven effective against black bears. Of course, there are no grizzlies on the AT, so I see no reason to not use the bearikade even if the AT is using the IGBC list in their press release. Which I assume is fine since these are recommendations, not government mandates.
    Barricades have been tested, and passed, for both Grizzlies and Black Bears. The testing just wasnít by the IGBC. Some national parks allow use of Bearicades (eg Yosemite), and some donít (eg Denali). Apparently there is no single national standard.
    Last edited by gpburdelljr; 07-19-2022 at 22:40.

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    So as I read the IGBC's list of approved containers, I understand that the Ursack IS approved. So this would be approved on the AT? Sorry to sound daft...just want to be clear.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSpirits View Post
    So as I read the IGBC's list of approved containers, I understand that the Ursack IS approved. So this would be approved on the AT? Sorry to sound daft...just want to be clear.
    At the moment, there is no "approved" and "not approved" by the ATC.
    The statement simply says they are promoting the use of IGBC approved canisters.

    As pointed out by others, things like the Bearikage would also be a good alternative and is approved in places such at Yosemite National Park that does REQUIRE bear cannisters. Of course Yosemite regulations provides a specific list of approved canisters (they don't simply provide a blanket statement such as 'all IGBC approved'). As such they do NOT like the Ursack because while it does prevent the bear from full access to the food, they can still "chew the bag" and get something of a reward.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSpirits View Post
    So as I read the IGBC's list of approved containers, I understand that the Ursack IS approved. So this would be approved on the AT? Sorry to sound daft...just want to be clear.
    You're not being daft all. Keep in mind that the ATC can only make a recommendation, they may not mandate.
    No one (except a Ranger perhaps) is going to give you a citation or remove you from the AT if you choose to take a chance and not use a bear canister or not hang your food. Hikers need to take personal responsibility and be considerate of others who may be in the same area.
    I absolutely do NOT think it's the ATCs responsibility to provide bear boxes/cables; not their job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Majortrauma View Post
    I absolutely do NOT think it's the ATCs responsibility to provide bear boxes/cables; not their job.
    It does however seem like a good idea. I agree, hangs are hard and frequently just not possible. I used an Ursack, so I wouldnít have to think about it, especially coming in to camp in the dark. I guess they get shredded sometimes, mine was never tested. But when there was a bear box, I used it. Seems like a pretty low cost way to greatly reduced the reward for a bear.

    I think most thru hikers would use an Ursack vs a canister. Much lighter and the stool utility is low when all you do in camp is eat quick and sleep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    It does however seem like a good idea. I agree, hangs are hard and frequently just not possible. I used an Ursack, so I wouldn’t have to think about it, especially coming in to camp in the dark. I guess they get shredded sometimes, mine was never tested. But when there was a bear box, I used it. Seems like a pretty low cost way to greatly reduced the reward for a bear.
    I think most thru hikers would use an Ursack vs a canister. Much lighter and the stool utility is low when all you do in camp is eat quick and sleep.
    Definitely seems easier for the AT than in other places, given that the camping areas are more confined and used, plus so many already have other "infrastructure" like outhouses and shelters. On other trails, there are more possible places that people will camp, so it would be harder to provide fixed food storage containers. The best option might be to have some type of fixed container for each shelter or main camp site, then those who prefer to (where it is allowed) camp on their own outside these sites would want to have their own food storage option as well.

  14. #14

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    The only place on the AT where bear canisters are required is if you camp between Jarrad Gap and Neels Gap between March 1st, and June 1st. A bear canister isnít required if you hike through, but donít camp, in this section.

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    Default ATC takes official stand on bear canisters

    As much as I don't like the girth and weight of a cansiter, I have started carrying one on trails in GA, NC, and TN. It is just so convenient and saves so much time. Not to mention being a good seat!

  16. #16
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    The Bearikade is a great product and the lightest of the Yosemite/SEKI approved canisters. I have a 12” Bearikade that weighs in at just over two pounds and I can fit seven days of food in it. For shorter segments on the AT where seven days is almost never necessary, they have smaller canisters as well. Aside from weight, the downside is the bulk. A canister won’t be comfortable in many frameless UL packs. It isn’t comfortable in my CDT, but is fine in my Circuit. I don’t think learning proper hanging is difficult but often there are no suitable trees and then you have to choose between a bad hang or sleeping with your food. I haven’t been able to get out much recently but I suspect that I’d opt to just take the Bearikade in the future since I already own it. Unless I know for sure that the campsites I’ll be using either have good trees or poles/cable systems. It does make life easier.

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    Being the gear-aholic that I am, I have collected and used every sort of food storage method I can think of -- hanging with silnylon drybags and then DCF sacks; "semi-hanging" with an Ursack, and finally also a Bear Vault. I use bear boxes or poles, etc when they are available or mandated. I have slept with my food on several occasions, but only when I've set up "off the beaten path" -- places that haven't been turned into Yogi Bear campgrounds -- or when I haven't been able to find an appropriate tree to hang. (Or, more often and most honest, when I haven't been able to throw the dang rock.)

    Once upon a time I had a good throwing arm, but those days are long gone. I don't try to kid anyone: hanging my food is almost the last option that appeals to me, and I have asked others for help so many times I'm not even embarrassed anymore.

    So using an Ursack has been a good option for me. I've only had the BV out with me once on a short trip -- and while I like it for several reasons, I dread trying to fit it into my pack routine.

    That being said, I'm glad the ATC has come out with the recommendation for hikers to start using hard-sided or IGBC approved containers. There are worse things in this world.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSpirits View Post
    (Or, more often and most honest, when I haven't been able to throw the dang rock.)

    Once upon a time I had a good throwing arm, but those days are long gone. I don't try to kid anyone: hanging my food is almost the last option that appeals to me, and I have asked others for help so many times I'm not even embarrassed anymore.

    I too struggled to throw a rock for a PCT hang; many failures using the overhand throw method (what you'd use to throw a baseball). A great irony is that the best way for me to throw a rock for a PCT hang is to toss underhanded, like how the NBA's Rick Barry shot free throws ... which, though a superior technique of shooting free throws, almost no one else will do it because, that's right, it's embarrassing. It was called the "granny" method in my youth. Once I switched to that, I don't think it's ever taken me more than 2 tosses for any given rock or limb height.

  19. #19
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    It was the flying squirrels that got me to start using a canister and will never turn back. I've also admittedly and shamefully got at least 4 'throw sacks' and line of rope stuck in trees that I had to just cut as high as I could and let be. Two were on the AT and one was my very first shot back in 2017 at a campsite around here that I visit often, and have to look at it still there every time I go.

    I also got a Bearikade and love it, I just got the biggest one they make and take it even if out just overnight. Are there any good canisters that have a bigger capacity? .... I could probably fit 5-6 days of food the way I like to eat, and that's not including all the factory sealed stuff that doesn't go in.
    NoDoz
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  20. #20

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    My guess is at some point some smart packmaker will build packs designed for cannisters. I envision a internal sleeve with an outside zippered flap, so that the cannister can be accessed without breaking down the pack.

    At BSP the backcountry campgrounds, Chimney and Russell had bear problems for decades, the park finally put in bear lines and the rangers at the sites made sure campers used them. It reportedly took 10 plus years for the bears to stop coming and on occasion they still come. On the other hand, AMC runs a campground in the whites in prime bear territory (13 falls), despite a bearbox and designated cooking area, the bears will still try to bluff charge their way into the designated cooking area when folks are cooking.

    I do not think cannisters will solve the bear issues at popular AT sites, I think at best it just means that hikers do not have their trips interrupted by losing their food. My guess is its going to take a combination of proper storage and selective culling of problem bears to deal with the issue. BTW bear issues reportedly used to be less when poachers were killing bears for their gallbladders and other reported medicinal's.

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