Bear Vault 1 - Bear 0
I used this on a recent 4 day trip through Yosemite, where canisters are required. It's tight but does fit inside the bottom of my Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack in the horizontal position. It holds plenty of food and seems to seal up pretty tight. The last night it survived our lone encounter with a brown bear, which was actually uneventful as I scared the bear away pretty quick once it was heard. QUICK TIP!!- Stack your canisters up if traveling in a group so that you'll hear them fall over if a bear does happen to come around :-) It was much better than my friends rented bear container he got from the Ranger Station which allowed rain to enter into it. The only reason for 4stars is that it seems quite expensive for a plastic container...?
I bought this not because I was required to have a bear can, but to simply protect my food from all animals and insects.
While everyone is concerned about bears, I live where they are scared of humans. But hungry mice will tear up cloth gear to get at food. Chipmunks and squirrels might carry disease. I simply wanted to keep all animals and insects from getting at my food.
The only reasons I gave four stars instead of five is because it is a little difficult to open, but requires no tools of any kind. My advice is to not tighten the lid very much. If you use it as a seat, the lid will also tighten, making it harder to get it open. Not a huge problem, but be warned.
Strong but Heavy
I have only used this on a couple short trips into the Sierras. Nothing long term.
The construction is actually great, and I never had an issue opening it even in snowy conditions. My only issue would be the weight, and obviously how it takes up a fixed type of space in your pack.
I have opted to just carry a ball of 5/50 cord and sling both my food bag and trash over a tree branch at night to save the extra weight. 2 lbs is unfortunately too much for my taste, but its very well made. I would use something that provided this protection only if it was under a pound, but we havent gotten there yet!
•Perfect for storing food on trips with marmots, squirrels or bears. No need to fuss with hanging food in a tree.
•Perfect camp seat
•You can look at this thing and understand that it will take up space and be heavy, but think of all the junk you can cram in it and you don't have to pack an extra camp chair.
•I have taken this on many multi-day including week long backpacking trips where weight and space is an issue but I wouldn't have not brought this.
For those of you going where there are marmots. Make sure you put everything in it, including the nylon kitchen sink, they will steal that too!
Clear can lets you see inside easily
This can straped to the top of my pack easily. It stayed put. I was easy to open and close since it does not require any tools to open. It is easy to clean. It fits a small amount of food so I would recommnend testing it with the food you plan to bring prior to camping so that you are not surprised if the capacity is too small. It will depend on th length of your trip and how many you are camping with. The clear sides can allow sun in to heat up the contents but the clear sides also let you see inside without having to open the can.
This works well when all is going well. The difficulty is when it is cold and the plastic gets a bit harder to bend or when you fingers are cold and don't work so well. The easiest way I found to open it in all situations was to unscrew the lid til you hit the first stop, lay it down on the ground so the stops are facing up, brace the container between your legs, now you can use fingers or thumbs from both hands to push down on the lid as you push to unscrew it to get past the stops. Being transparent helps greatly with getting what you want.
Heavy, but works well
I recently used this on a two day trip into the Eastern Sierra. The size was perfect, but it was a bit heavy. It is difficult to open and, after reading the review, I was concerned that I would not be able to open it in the mornings (when I really need coffee!) I ended up using non-slip shelf liner (the stuff used in motorhomes to keep items from moving) and a small screw driver to help with opening. It worked perfect!
Pros: BV500 is lighter and bigger than the Garcia container. Also being transparent, is was easy to find the food item of interests. No special tools required to open, but you need strong fingers. My wife and kids had great difficulty opening the BV500.
Cons: Rented a 2nd BV500 from REI and found one of the two notch locks on the lid to have worn down and no longer hinders the lid from being unscrewed.
Good volume, great design
I brought this on my 21 day backpacking trip of the John Muir Trail, where bear bins are required. At one point we fit 10 day of food in it and it was great being able to see inside when digging for something on the bottom. They also make great camp stools!
The only downside was it being tough to open when it was cold.
Convenient, bulky, but best option
Used this and the solid black bear canisters for 6 day back-country summer time camping. This was the superior canister - easy to get food / bags in and out, easy to seal. Was left alone by all wildlife that wandered through outskirts of our camp sites. If you're not able to hang bags at the location your going, this is a great, competitively priced option.