This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through one of these links we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read our disclaimer.
If you’re going to be camping in areas with bears, you may want to invest in a high-quality bear canister. Bear canisters will prevent your food from being stolen by bears, by keeping it locked away in a container.
Most bear canisters are designed to be big enough so that bears can’t fit them in their mouth. They also contain a locking mechanism so that can’t be opened easily.
It’s important to remember that the number of black bears is increasing each year, and has been doing so for over 30 years. This means that if you take your camping seriously, at some point you’re going to bump into one of these guys.
I’m sure when this happens, food is going to be the last of your worries. However, it’s always good to prepare beforehand. If you’re wondering what to do if you encounter a bear, we’ll discuss that later on.
In this article, we are going to review the best bear canisters in 2021. We will also discuss bear statistics, safety measures to take if you encounter a bear, and other safety equipment.
4 Best Bear Canisters
- 1. Udap NO-FED-Bear Resistant Canister
- 2. Backpacker’s Cache – Bear Proof Container
- 3. BearVault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister
- 4. BearVault BV450 Bear Resistant Food Canister
1. Udap NO-FED-Bear Resistant Canister
The Udap No-fed Bear Resistant Canister is one of the most popular on the market. It’s super lightweight, and weighs only 2.4 pounds, allowing you to transport it between campsites with ease.
To open this canister, you’re going to need a coin. It features a twisting mechanism, preventing bears from getting to your food.
It’s extremely durable and will last you for years to come, providing a bear doesn’t damage it.
Overall, the Udap Bear Resistant Canister is a great addition to your camping equipment that will keep your food well protected.
2. Backpacker’s Cache – Bear Proof Container
If you’re looking for a high-quality bear proof container — the Backpacker’s Cache is the one for you.
Similar to the Udap Bear Canister, you’ll need either a flathead screwdriver, or a coin to open this container. It’s super large, meaning it can be used as a chair if required.
Due to the large design, you’ll be able to store up to six people’s food. However, this does come with some downsides; once full, this canister can become bulky and heavy.
Read Also: 21 Camping Meals The Entire Family Will Love
To take extra precautions, we recommend storing your food in a sent-locked bag inside the container. This will further prevent bears from discovering the canister and potentially damaging it.
Furthermore, as this bear canister is jet black, it’s a good idea to wrap it in some bright duck tape, so if a bear moves it around during the night, you’ll be able to relocate it the following morning.
If you’re going to be camping in harsh weather conditions, we advise turning it upside down. This will prevent any water from leaking in and ruining your food.
- Can only be opened by humans
- Looks great
- Lightweight when empty
- Becomes heavy when full
3. BearVault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister
Did you know that this bear canister is used by 9 out of 10 PCT thru-hikers? It just goes to show the quality that BearVault put into designing this great container.
You’ll be glad to hear that it’s approved by all national parks and forests with canister regulations.
If you’re wondering how big the BearVault Food Canister is, then just know that it can hold 7 days of food for one person. Weighing only 3.2 pounds, it’s also the lightest plastic bear container on the market, making it great for long hikes and camping trips.
With some bear canisters, you’ll need to empty everything onto the floor to find what you’re looking for. You won’t have this problem with the BearVault Food Canister thanks to the transparent design.
Furthermore, It’s also tested by IGBC and SIBBG, ensuring it’s durable enough to withstand a bear. In fact, it’s so durable that it can double up as an extra seat.
- Reputable brand
- Approved by national parks and forests
- Super lightweight
- Transparent design
- Can be used as a seat
- Is harder to open in cold weather
4. BearVault BV450 Bear Resistant Food Canister
This one is identical to the previous option on this list, except it’s a bit smaller, making it great for solo campers and short camping trips. It can hold up to four days’ food for one person.
Furthermore, you won’t need any tools to open this food canister, saving you time, energy, while preventing you from fiddling around and losing small parts.
Considering it can withstand the force of a bear, it can also be used as an extra campsite chair if you’re running low.
Are Bear Canisters Required In Some National Parks?
Yes; some campsites require the use of a bear canister. If you need clarification, you can contact the park and check beforehand.
How To Use A Bear Canister?
You may think a bear canister is simple to use, and it is; however, there are some things you need to take into consideration.
To begin, you must never store a bear canister near large rocks. If you do; a bear may smash it on the rock and damage it.
Furthermore, a good rule of thumb is to leave your bear canisters upside down, preventing rain from leaking in during the night.
You should also store them about 100 feet away from your campsite, in an open area. Many campers suggest putting fluorescent tape on your canisters, making them easier to locate the following morning.
Finally, an great optional extra is to store your food inside odor-proof bags, inside the containers. This will make it harder for bears to detect the food.
Where do bears live in North America?
That depends on what type of bear you’re talking about. In North America, there are three different types of bears you might encounter on your camping trips. These are black bears, brown bears, and polar bears.
Black bears are the most common type of bear found in North America. They are typically smaller than other bears, but still considered dangerous. They can weigh anywhere between 45-225kg and tend to be 30% heavier in autumn than in spring.
If you bump into one of these guys, you better hope they don’t become aggressive. There is not much chance of escaping, especially considering they can run 50kph, climb trees, and are excellent swimmers.
They tend to leave the forest and travel extreme distances to find food, thanks to their great sense of smell. This means they are commonly found entering gardens and campsites, seeking out their next meal — make sure you’re not it.
Furthermore, black bears are typically found in forests throughout the whole of North America, Canada, and South Mexico.
Similar to black bears, brown bears live in forests and mountains throughout North America. However, unlike black bears, they can also be found in Europe and Asia, making them one of the most common bears in the world.
They are normally found by themselves, unless it’s a female and her cubs. Having said that, you may find more than one at certain Alaska fishing spots throughout the year.
Even though you don’t see groups of them throughout the wild, they aren’t considered an endangered species. In fact, their population is growing and is thought to be over 200,000.
We’re sure you’re all familiar with polar bears. They reside in Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Greenland.
To bump into one of these guys, you’re going to need to be surrounded by ice-covered water. They depend on these cold waters for their food — which is why they are classed as marine mammals.
Having lived in harsh conditions for many years, they have learned to swim for days at a time without any rest. If we could swim like that, we’d save so much money on flights, it would be amazing!
However, all that swimming doesn’t seem to help them catch food. It’s said that less than 2% of polar bear hunts are actually successful.
What Time Do Bears Go To Sleep?
It depends on the type of bear; most bears go to sleep a few hours after the sun sets; however, black bears tend to be more active at night to avoid people and other animals.
Will Bears Stay Away From Dogs?
Some dogs will chase bears. This can be a problem because although the bear will probably run away; if it turns around and tries to attack, the dog will most likely run back to their owner with the bear not far behind — increasing the chances of an attack.
That’s why we recommend keeping your dog on a leash if you’re in an area with a lot of bears.
Are Bears Aggressive?
It depends; some bears can be aggressive, whereas others can be playful; however, it’s important to note that all bears have the capability for violence and can easily kill a human.
That’s why it’s important to avoid bears as much as possible, regardless of how friendly you may believe they are.
Furthermore, If you encounter a bear with her cubs, then we wouldn’t recommend sticking around. They are very protective and will have no issues attacking you if they see you as a threat.
What To Do If You Encounter A Bear?
You’ll be glad to hear that most bear encounters lead to nothing; they will typically just turn around and run; yeah I know, a bear scared of a human. Crazy, right?
However, the question still remains…
‘If the bear doesn’t run away, and becomes aggressive, what should you do?’
To answer this question, you must first know what type of bear you’re dealing with. We touched on this briefly above; however, the most common types of bears you’ll encounter are black bears and brown bears.
Don’t let the name fool you — black bears can be chocolate, black, and even white. They are the smaller of the two, and weigh between 200-500lbs. If you come face to face with one of these guys, then you’ll be happy to hear they’re mainly vegetarian.
On the flip side, you have brown bears. They are much bigger than black bears and, in some cases, can weigh over 1000lbs. To differentiate between the two; brown bears can be spotted due to their larger size and head.
Out of the two different types of bears, black bears tend to be more aggressive when spooked by a human. This is because they live in more enclosed spaces, and don’t encounter humans as much as brown bears.
The first step in preventing a bear attack is ensuring that you’re not at risk in the first place. A great way to do this is by being aware of your surroundings, so leave your headphones at home.
If you do run into one, don’t run away; this is a great way to look like prey; stand tall, make noise, and slowly back away. If this method isn’t working, it may be time to crack open the bear spray.
What Is Bear Spray?
If a bear is visibility aggressive, you can use bear spray to deter them. Bear spray is a spray designed to burn the eyes and nose of a bear, similar to pepper spray.
3 Best Bears Sprays In 2021
1. Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray
The Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray comes with a belt holding; providing easy access, while eliminating the need to carry it by hand when camping.
As you may or may not know, a lot of bear sprays have a 30% failure rate. This isn’t the case with the Sabre Bear Spray. It’s 50% stronger than pepper spray that the police use.
Furthermore, bears can run up to 50kph, so you want to make sure your bear spray can reach a far enough distance — or it may be too late. This bear spray will exceed your expectation, and reaches distances of up to 35 feet; giving you enough time to react.
Consider this a universal spray. It’s been field-tested and has proven effective against all bears you can find throughout the World.
You’ll be glad to hear it won’t cause any permanent injury to the bear. It just prevents them from being able to see and smell for a certain period of time, giving you time to escape in one piece.
In addition, it’s safe for the environment, and doesn’t contain any flammable materials, so you don’t have to worry about it exploding when close to the campfire.
- 50% stronger than pepper spray
- 35 feet distance
- Field-tested and works on all bears
- Doesn’t permanently injure the bear
- Doesn’t contain flammable materials
2. Mace Brand Maximum Strength Bear Spray
The Mace Brand Maximum Strength Bear Spray is a must-have for anybody camping or hiking in areas known for having bears. Similar to the previous option, It reaches a maximum distance of 35 feet, allowing you to create plenty of space between you and the bear.
If you ever need to use this spray, you can sleep well knowing that no permanent harm will come to the bear. The oleoresin capsicum will temperalery blind the bear, while causing its nose and lungs to burn.
It sounds cruel.
But what other choice do you have when a bear is charging you down at 50kph? Just know, that after a while, the effects will wear off and the bear will be fine.
To use this spray, you’ll need to remove the orange safety wedge on the top of the grip. You can then operate the bear spray using the actuator button; be quick though — or you could end up being the bears dinner.
Furthermore, you should keep this spray away from heat, flames, and direct sunlight. In addition, don’t store it in weather conditions below 32°f, as this may cause it to become depressurized and lose it’s range.
- 35 feet distance
- Doesn’t permanently harm the bear
- Includes orange safety wedge
- EPA approved
- Empties in 6 seconds
- A little heavy
3. Counter Assault – EPA Certified, Maximum Strength & Distance Bear Repellent Spray
The Counter Assault Bear Spray reaches a total distance of 32 feet; a little less than some of the other sprays we have reviewed; nonetheless, it still reaches a great distance.
Furthermore, it’s considered one of the hottest formulas allowed by law, and works on all 8 species of bear, including polar bears. You’ll be able to carry it in the holster that’s included in your purchase, so you can disperse the spray as fast as possible.
If you need to deploy this spray, it will destroy the bear’s senses, preventing it from seeing and smelling you. This will give you plenty of time to make your escape.
In addition, once deployed, it gives 7 seconds of continuous spray; which is longer than any other brand on the market for the same size. While you may not think these small details are important, when faced with an aggressive bear — every second counts.
It also has a four-year shelf life, and is environmentally friendly. In fact, it’s the only bear spray that’s inline with the Significant New Alternative Policy (S.N.A.P) requirements.
- 32 feet distance
- Hottest formula allowed by law
- Includes holster
- 7 seconds continuous spray
- 4 year shelf life
- Holster isn’t the best
Can You Use Any Other Equipment To Help Prevent Bear Attacks?
Yes, one of the main alternatives to a bear spray is a loud air horn. They release a loud noise that, in most cases, will scare a bear away; however, nothing can beat a bear spray in terms of effectiveness.
Sabre Compact Sport & Safety Horn
The Sabre Compact Safety Horn is the next best thing to bear spray. We recommend getting both: because if the bear isn’t affected by the loud noise, you’re going to need something a bit stronger.
Furthermore, if you do come under attack, you can use this horn to warn people in the surrounding area, which could end up saving your life.
It’s also super compact and can be easily stored in your pocket, backpack, or gloves compartment, making it great for camping.
From this small can, you’ll get up to 50 ¼ of a second blasts.
Coghlan’s Bear Bell with Magnetic Silencer
The Coghlan’s Bear Bell is a little different; it’s not a horn, but rather a small bell that you attach to your person. It lets off a noise every time you move; wearing bears of your presence.
This is great because most bear attacks happen when the bear doesn’t know you’re there. If you warn them beforehand, you have a higher chance of preventing an attack; however, we wouldn’t recommend this as your only defence against bears — get a high quality bear spray to be on the safe side.
If you want to keep your food safe, bear canisters are an important piece of camping equipment. Without one, you could get your food stolen, and entice bears into your campsite. We hope this article has helped you choose the best bear canisters in 2021.
If you’re still struggling to choose, then the Udap NO-FED-Bear Resistant Canister won’t let you down; its high-quality design ensures your food will stay protected.
While protecting your food is great, protecting your life is even more important. After reading this article, you should have all the tools necessary to prevent a bear attack.
In conclusion, we recommend getting a high-quality bear spray that can reach afar, so you have the best chance of escaping if you come face to face with a grizzly.
Continue Reading: 10 Tips On Planning Your Camping Menu
Want To Become A Camping Expert?
If you want to take your camping knowledge to the next level, you can view my collection of guides by clicking the button below!
Leave a Reply