Bear Vault BV500 Food Container

Priced: $79.95 Rated:   - 4 stars out of 5 by 20 reviews.
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Bear Vault BV500 Food Container -

Keep bears from inviting themselves to your feast! The BearVault BV500 container features simple access, light weight and large volume.

There is a bear in the Marcy Dam area of the Adirondacks in upstate New York that has learned to open BearVault food containers. BearVaults are approved for use everywhere except the area encompassing the Lake Colden/Marcy Dam corridor and the Johns Brook valley in the Adirondacks.

Made in USA.


  • Durable polycarbonate construction keeps the weight light and the inner volume high

Wash and Care:

  • Hand wash in warm water with a mild dishwashing detergent


  • Dimpled exterior keeps tie-down straps from shifting and eliminates the need for a carrying pouch

Weather and Wind:

  • Large rainproof lid features a snapping bump/tab locking mechanism and screws on and off easily without the use of tools


  • Translucent vault makes finding your meal selection easy
  • With the lid fully closed the BearVault also makes a great camp seat
  • Store BearVault at least 100 yards downwind of campsite, preferably in the shade to keep contents cool
  • Never keep a bear canister inside your tent!
  • This BearVault model has approval from both the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group and Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
  • Container helps suppress strong odors from food, sunscreen, insect repellent, soap and toothpaste, lessening the chance of bear vs. human conflict
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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Capacity:700 cu. in./11.5 liters
Dimensions:12.7 x 8.7 inches
Gear capacity (L):11.5 liters
Gear capacity (cu. in.):700 cubic inches
Weight:2 lbs. 9 oz.
Compare specifications to related products.

Bear Vault BV500 Food Container Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

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...?
Grzwald at REI on 09/09/2013

Multiple uses!

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.
DangerDangerDanger at REI on 08/08/2013

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!
Smacky at REI on 01/01/2014


•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!
Cad-Orange at REI on 12/12/2013

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.
Working guy at REI on 08/08/2013

Works well

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.
Prf at REI on 09/09/2013

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!
ESMOM at REI on 10/10/2013

BV500 Review

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.
Kiebach at REI on 09/09/2013

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.
greatdane91 at REI on 12/12/2013

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.
Man Dan at REI on 08/08/2013

Negative Reviews:

I took it back.

I've always used the Garcia Backpaker's Cache but needed a second. Went to REI because the website said they had Garcia in stock. All they had were a bunch of these, so I thought it would be an okay second. It comes with a disclaimer that a bear in the Adirondacks can open it, so I never felt very safe. Opening it and closing it are very awkward - the threads are really stiff, and it's easier with tools. It's bigger than the Garcia, so it takes up more space in the pack, but is slightly lighter. I did like the clear (though is it as sturdy?)plastic and the wider mouth, but after a single night's trip, I exchanged it for a trusty Garcia. No bears tested it for me that night, but I think I know why they sold out of the Garcia and had so many of these.
amandaonwheels at REI on 07/07/2013

To hard to open especially when it's col

Too difficult to release the lid locks especially when your hands are cold.
Scoutmaster at REI on 09/09/2013

Neutral Reviews:

Not a necessary evil...

I thought this would be awesome. It has large mouth, and clear body (so you can see stuff inside), plus it's lighter than the alternatives (aside from non-approved kevlar bags). First trip with it I realized the folly of it's design. First, I couldn't get it in my Opsrey Atmos 65 in a horizontal position, unless I put it in the very bottom. Not good. Second, this thing is freaking impossible to open in cold weather. The lid requires to hands to operate (one to try to turn it, and one to push the lid in to get it past the lock tabs). In sub-freezing temperatures, this thing is ridiculous. I realize you want to keep bears out, but it's nearly adult-proof as well. My friends who have them have cut the tabs off, or don't lock it - because it is so difficult to open. To me, it's size/shape is a problem - it should fit in my pack, and it should be REASONABLY easy to open. I'm taking it back...
Aumboy at REI on 10/10/2013

Good starter bear can

This bear can kept my food safe on a seven day trip in the back country. Anything longer and it would have been too small. It's heavier than the more expensive, top of the line bear cans, but good deal for the price. I liked that I could see through the sides, it helped me find what I wanted without having to unpack my whole bear can. It was a little hard to open with cold hands (you have to press down on a small plastic piece). Overall, I was satisfied, but when I can afford it, I will be buying one of the bigger, lighter, more expensive bears cans on the market.
Zebra Zoey at REI on 08/08/2013