A bear canister is a useful piece of gear to have in bear country, but also a very heavy piece of gear to carry around with you when backpacking or camping. Which makes sense, because a bear is a big, powerful animal that a lightweight canister wouldn’t stand up to. Still, a relatively lightweight bear canister is a useful thing to have, because there can be a couple of pounds of difference between a lightweight bear canister and a heavier bear canisters.
Lightweight Bear CanisterWhat to look for when you want a new lightweight bear canister.
- Capacity – The bigger your bear canister is, all other things being equal, the heavier it will be. So decide how much room you need to store food, and then buy a lightweight bear canister of about that size. Keep in mind too that you can share a large bear canister between two people, so that you only have to bring one canister.
- Parks Approved – Many people buy bear canisters specifically because they are required for overnight camping in many national parks with large bear populations. Make sure that the bear canister you plan to buy is approved. All of the above canisters are approved as of this writing, but that can change without notice.
Best Lightweight Bear CanisterSome of the best lightweight bear canister options currently on the market.
- BearVault BV450 Solo Food Container - The BV450 is acutally a smaller bear canister, which isn't good if you're going to be backpacking or camping for a whole week, but for just a weekend or something similar, it's ideal. It has a large lid for getting large pieces of food inside, and is clear, so that you can locate something visually, rather than digging around for it. It will hold a total of 7.2 liters, which is enough for 3 or maybe 4 days of food, depending on how much you eat. And it weighs just 2 pounds 1 ounce, or 935 grams, which is a good weight for a bear canister.
- Counter Assault Bear Keg - Another bear canister, this one big enough to carry about a weeks worth of food, with 11.7 liters of storage capacity available. It does also weigh a fair bit more, however, at 4 pounds 4 ounces, which is 1.92 kilograms. What is particularly nice about this bear canister is that it is bright yellow, so that even if the bear drags your food canister away, you should have relatively little trouble finding it again. But if you want lightweight, there are likely better options available.
- BearVault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister - The BV500 is just slightly smaller than the Bear Keg above, with 11.4 liters of space available to you, and is considerably lighter, at just 2 pounds 9 ounces, or 1.16 kilograms. It's actually just a bigger version of the BV450 above, so it has the same wide opening and clear sides, both of which are what help make the BV450 a better option. This one is just bigger, so that one person can go for a week or two people could go out for a weekend. So another excellent lightweight bear canister.