Bear Country: Hanging vs Canister

I used to hate going to areas with bear canister requirements.  The extra couple of pounds of weight in the pack felt like 10, and they just don’t pack that well in any backpack, and plain old don’t fit in some.  In bear country, I was much happier hanging a bear bag. In fact I used to take pride in picking out a campsite with a good bag tree and got even more satisfaction from a “good hang”.

As the years have passed and the back country has got more popular the inevitable increase of human-bear interactions has likewise increased the number of areas with canister requirements.  This is not a trend I was appreciative of, but it was counteracted by another trend: my journey to lighter weight backpacking.

Now that I have shed pounds off my pack weight, I find the addition of a canister not as much of a burden.  In fact, I really like not having to bother with bear bag hanging at camp, and in real bear country now prefer the canister for convenience and as a handy camp stool.  After fiddling around with multiple packing scenarios, I have found a couple of good methods to fit a couple of sizes of canisters (BV-450 and 500) in a couple of different packs (ULA Ohm 2.0 and Gregory Z55) for trips up to 6 nights.

In the Ohm, I put the BV-450 in sitting upright on short trips and pad around it.  For longer trips with more equipment it works better on its side (which avoids it pushing out toward your back.  For the BV-500, it only fits in the Ohm upright.  In the Z-55 it fits the same way and still has room for up to a 6 day trip.

If I could only figure out a way to rig up a backrest on a canister (a “chair canister) I am convinced I might bring one on every trip!