A bear canister is a useful, and sometimes required piece of backpacking or camping equipment when you find yourself in bear country. Unfortunately, bear canisters can be rather heavy, and so finding an ultralight bear canister can be very useful. It saves you from carrying a lot of unnecessary weight around, which is never a fun thing to do when backpacking or camping. Just be sure, of course, that you get a bear canister that will do the job of keeping your food safe from bears.
Ultralight Bear CanisterWhat to look for when you want an ultralight bear canister.
- Approved – If you plan on using your bear canister in a national park, where they are often required, you need to be sure that the bear canister you buy is approved for use there. All of the bear canisters below are approved as of this writing, but that can change if there is evidence that a bear has successfully gotten in to one of these canisters.
- Capacity – Obviously, the ultralight bear canister you buy has to be big enough to fit all of the food that you plan to take. On the other hand, a smaller bear canister will be lighter, all other things being equal. So pay close attention to the capacity of the bear canister that you buy, and how it compares to your food storage needs.
Best Ultralight Bear CanisterThere aren't many to choose from, but these are some of the very best ultralight bear canisters.
- Bear Vault BV500 - When it comes to ultralight bear canisters there are few better than the BV500. At 2.56 pounds, or 1.16 kilograms it's a definite ultralight choice, and offers 11.5 liters of storage space, which is enough for 6 or 7 days of food and just shy of being the largest bear canister on this list. It also has a relatively large opening, and clear sides, so that you can see where your food is, rather than having to dig to find it.
- Counter Assault Bear Keg - The Bear Keg is the largest bear canister on this list, with 11.7 liters of capacity. Unfortunately it's also the heaviest by far, at 4 pounds 4 ounces, or 1.92 kilograms. The opening also isn't especially large. But what it does have going for it is that it's yellow. Bear sometimes like to drag a bear canister away from your camp, and a yellow bear canister is very easy to find in the morning. So very visible, but definitely not much of an ultralight bear canister.
- Bear Vault BV450 - The BV450 is the same basic design as the BV500 above, but with a smaller capacity. With 7.2 liters of space it has enough room for about 4 days of food, depending on what you're packing and how much you're eating. But it weighs a very reasonable 2 pounds 1 ounce, or 935 grams, so if you don't need enough capacity for a week of food you can save a few ounces by going with a smaller, and more ultralight bear canister like this one.