|Bear Vault 450 Solo||$66.95|
|Bear Vault BV450 Solo Bear Resistant Food Canister at SunnySports||$64.95|
|Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister||$79.95|
I work as a backpacking guide in Yosemite. Sadly, bear cans are necessity with which I am very familiar. I've used the BV500 for ages, and picked up a BV450 recently for solo trips and climbing trips where I have to have a can. Much of this review is a cut and paste from my BV500 review, as the cans are identical except for size.
There are two major advantages to the BV series that makes me lean a bit toward them over other options. The lid, though not watertight or waterproof, is rainproof. If you keep the can sitting right side up in the rain (or heavy overnight condensation) then the contents will remain dry. This is not the case with the Garcia. The lid on the Garcia is recessed, and it will take on rain, leaving the contents soggy and sad in the bottom of a very small and dark kiddy pool. The frequent solution is to simply turn the Garcia over when not accessing it, which works perfectly. However, if someone forgets, or isn't familiar with this weakness of the Garcia, then you're back to the food in the kiddy pool.
The other advantage is that you do not need a tool, blade or other item for leverage to open the BV. To open the can you push, quite firmly, into the outer edges of the lid to cause two tabs on each side of the can to pass over a little squared lip, allowing the lid to be unscrewed. The Garcia requires a coin, knife, or some other implement to open. Not a big deal, but it can get old sometimes. However, if its really chilly and your hands are cold, pushing the lid in on the BV can be an exercise in sadism. Having a tool to easily open the Garcia in those circumstances can be a bonus. With that being said, if you're going to be in *cold* bear country then I'd suggest going with the Garcia.
Quick note - Bear Vault recently changed the design of the lid and made them significantly easier to open by thinning the plastic where you push. It requires far less pressure than it once did. So again, advantage goes to the BV's over the Garcia.
I do a lot of solo weekend trips or with new groups where I bring everything of my own to make sure I'm well stocked and prepared. I typically use a 65L backpack on most trips and this fits in perfectly where I can still pack clothing and other loose gear around it snuggly. This canister is great for a 3 day trip for one person. It fits everything from my food to my misc scented items so that I still have food in the morning in lieu of me being the food for a bear. I've used it on dozens of occasions and never have had a problem. I recently was in Yosemite where overnight I woke up to hear a bear go by my tent and proceed into my camp toward the canister, it was tossed and turned for a while as I stayed up listening for just a bit. I could only picture a circus bear juggling that blue container around for a while till it got bored. When I woke up the next morning it was about 15 feet away, but still closed tight. The canister beat the bear...this round.
Because in some places you just need to lug a bear can...might as well get a smallish one. I can fit about 4 days worth of food in this guy and that's good enough for me. Perhaps not the can to get if you hike in the Adirondacks...as word on the street is that some bears there can open them. For most other places, however, this seems to be a solid choice. I have read that the top can be tough to open...which I didn't necessarily find to be the case. If you follow the instructions it WILL be hard to open because the textured area you are supposed to push on is indeed very very hard to push. Instead, if you push the very corner of the notch in the lid as it meets the catch, you can slip it under the catch with little pressure. Hope no bears are reading this.
we love our bearvault. stuffed 4 days for 3 persons in vault on our latest canoe camping trip. we camp in the ADK mts. I would like to see the video of a bear opening this 'cause I sure have my doubts about the rumor that a bear can open it. I use a faux credit card . I put the card between the lock and the clip and twist and it slides easily, do it twice for each clip. saw a kid do it on youtube. love that I can see where my food is and not have to take everything out to search for one item. I put reflective tape around it to find it at night for a last minute snort.
As the title says, I view these, and all bear canisters, as nothing less than a necessary evil. I don't enjoy cramming these things into my pack, and carrying their extra weight. I relish the trips where my food can go in a simple ziploc bag in my pack. That being said, the BV450 is good at doing what it's supposed to do, and with a minimal amount of hassle. I would, however, like something a bit smaller and lighter, more suited for solo weekend trips. I may go with a Bare Boxer Contender 101 for that, but I will hold onto my Bear Vault for everything else.
I found these canisters much better than the ones they rent at Yosemite. For one thing they're much lighter and they're also transparent so you won't be digging through everything. One thing I have to say is I found them to be a little more difficult to open once I was out in the wilderness rather than in the comfort of my own home. Maybe it was the dirt that was inside the threading or due to the cold and my hands were fumbling. But a coin will do the trick.
It is more simple than many other bear canister type products on the market and does its job well. Its a freaking bear box though so what else can be said about it?!?!
Great fashion sense?!
ITS A BEAR CANISTER THAT KEEPS BEARS OUT... PRRRRRFECT!
Also, I think the smaller size is best. If you pack correctly this thing is great. Dry foods and snacks and it can work for two people for sure.
(NOTE:Keep in mind I live, work, and play in Yosemite. TRUE!)
This was a saving Grace in Glacier NP. The rangers kept informing us that we had bears circling us so we stuffed snacks and dry food in the canister for backpacking and it worked great. For over night jaunts, this will hold food for two. If you are going on a longer trip, you may want to upgrade to the larger version. Very difficult to open, but hey, isn't the point?
Had to use a tool to open it in cold temperature. It had enough room for one person on a 3 day hike. If I had the time and energy I would exchange this for the larger version since you have to store non food items in it as well. It was tough cramming everything inside the first night.
Got this canister because it was required for back country use in Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park. Was in the back country for 4 days and the canister seemed like it would be of enough size; but after food, snacks and toiletries it was definitely packed. Glad I didn't go for 5 days.
Much lighter than those issued by the National Park Service, this canister held enough food for four of us for a one night trip...barely. I wonder if BV makes a vault in any other shape but round? As we were storing the container for the night I couldn't help but envision it rolling down the mountain.