Mar 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm #1286524
@rmkrauseLocale: Pacific Northwest
Bearikade site says 6 days in the Weekender and 9 for the Expedition – how accurate does everyone find this in practice? Are these numbers assuming you repacked everything and chose dense items or are they assuming MH meals in original packaging and less strict on item density? I do plan on buying one which will afford me time to practice packing it properly rather than renting one and finding out a day or two prior to the trip I can't get everything I hoped to fit in.
Looking at the Bearikades for the JMT late July/early August of this year and also trips over to ONP. For my trips over to the ONP and choice is fairly clear – the Weekender, the only real wrench is the JMT. I plan to resupply at Red's and MTR. The longest stretch without resupplies is MTR to Whitney and I plan on 20 mile days. Given this I think the Weekender plus 1 days food that will be consumed day of resupply I think I'm just about right in the Weekender, but again it's unclear to me what they factored into their calculations to get 6 days of food.Mar 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm #1848118
You know the volume capacity of each bear canister. Now grab some of your intended daily meals and see how much you can put into a 100 cubic inch box. If you know how many days of food you need to carry, you can figure out which bear canister to purchase.
I built myself a 100 cubic inch box out of cardboard so that I could test my food fit. It doesn't have to be 100 cubic inches, but that was just a nice round number for testing.
I managed to get eight days of food into an ancient Garcia canister one time.
As soon as you try to use Mountain House food in their original packages, forget it.
Basically, what you end up with are lots and lots of Ziploc bags.
–B.G.–Mar 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm #1848290
@snusmumrikenLocale: SF Bay Area
They call it the weekender because it is the perfect size for two people to share on a weekend trip. That doesn't exactly translate to six days of food, more like four days.
If a weekend trip is what you are doing then you can bring some freeze dried meals, include a bit of packaging and even have space for a few extras.
However if you really want to squeeze six days of food in the can then you need to keep the daily amount down to about a pound and a half, use compact food such as gorp, oatmeal, rice etc, and throw out any packaging. It can be done but it takes some careful planning.
Bob's idea of practicing is a good one. Take two quart size zip lock bags and see if you can squeeze one day's worth of food into them.
Two quarts per day times six days = 12 quarts = 3 gallons. The weekender is 2.75 gallons.
PS. With 20 mile per day pace you'll be just fine with a Weekender from MTR to Whitney Portal.Mar 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm #1848298
There's a guy who claims to put 12 days' worth in a Garcia. He uses as little packaging as possible and fills all free space with loose rice. Personally I have to work very hard to get 6 full days' into a Garcia (600 cubic inches). 9 days for the Expedition sounds about right. Remember you don't need to put the first day food into the can as it will be consumed before bed time. You should make room for soap, toothpaste, sunscreen, first aid cream, etc.
If I were buying a Bearikade it would be the Expedition. For short trips I would use the excess space for lovely things like bread and cheetos.Mar 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm #1848310
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Take two quart size zip lock bags and see if you can squeeze one day's worth of food into them."
That is a good place to start, but don't stop there. IME, with practice you should be able to fit a day's worth of food, up to 22 oz of carefully chosen, carefully compressed food, in a quart zip loc baggy. Another, more efficient method is to pack things like soup, oatmeal, trail mix, etc in one large bag and measure out daily rations from it. Larger bags not stuffed to the max like a quart baggy offer more opportunity to make them conform to available space. The downside of this method is that it is not as neat and tidy as one quart zip loc per day, but you will be able to get more food in your Weekender.Mar 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm #1848319
@sschloss1Locale: New England
On the PCT, I was able to get about 6 1/2 days of food into my Expedition. Of course, that was on a thru-hiker's schedule/diet, so I was eating 3500-4000 calories each day. If you're planning to eat less, you could squeeze a few more days in there.
Also, it's not the end of the world if you have a bit of food outside the canister. Your first day's food, including that night's dinner, never have to go into the can.Mar 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm #1848397
I can easily get six days worth of food in a Bearikade weekender–for one person. Yes, you might have to carry your first dinner–or your coffee and toothpaste–outside of the can. Actually,I don't even repackage to accomplish this, as long as my dinners are those vacuum sealed singles that Bob's beloved Mountain House makes.Mar 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm #1848403
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I get "6 days" of my standard food into the weekender, actually now that I think about it, it's really 5 because day 1 breakfast is eaten on the way to the trail and lunch is in the side pocket, and for day 6 I don't pack dinner because I am planning to be off the trail and heading home. I am not particularly careful with packing, but there isn't a lot of those oversize freeze-dried packages either (1-2 desserts might sneak in). I have gotten 10 days into the canister when I specifically was going for maximum density food and didn't break it into individual contains, for example, just one bag with cous cous rather than each meal being in it's own bag which is what I normally do.Mar 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm #1848404
"those vacuum sealed singles that Bob's beloved Mountain House makes"
I used to use those kinds of meals. The night before I leave for my trip, I would take the original package and drop a ten-pound sledge onto it a few times. Then I open the package and dump it into ziploc baggies. Then I would take the rolling pin to those to reduce the bulk a bit more, and it looks like sawdust. Then it goes into a bear canister nicely.
–B.G.–Mar 3, 2012 at 7:47 pm #1848410
Couscous works pretty good, but it gets boring if that's all you have for dinners. I carry one bag of it, plus one bag of minute rice, plus one bag of dehydrated quinoa. Then there is olive oil, either in a plastic bottle for a long trip, or else individual serving packets for a shorter trip. A few packets of instant soup to use as flavoring, and it all packs nicely.
–B.G.–Mar 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm #1848421
Touche, Bob. And after you finished with your pounding, your hammering, your pin rolling, you sent a nice review to Gourmet magazine…Mar 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm #1848424
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
I get 5 days worth of food in my weekender without too much trouble. I do transfer my MH meals into freezerbags without smashing them. I could probably fit more, but I haven't needed to yet. The few times I have gone out for longer than 5 nights, I just pack my first days food outside of the can and I am good-to-go for the other 5 days.Mar 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm #1848428
I doubt that even BPL would publish the review.
Twenty or thirty years ago, lots of us used Mountain House simply because we didn't know any better and it was available. Now, more of us understand how simple meals can be, and we are a little more tuned into trail nutrition (i.e. reducing salt and some other things).
–B.G.–Mar 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm #1848434
@erikdtzLocale: Los Angeles
You can get more than 6 days of food into the bearikade weekender if you repackage your food and really stuff it in. It's not too hard.Mar 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm #1848436
Bob: Good points about nutrition and salt. Freeze dried dinners are empty calories, carbohydrates (that's something!) plus salt, period. I'm pretty conscientious about my everyday diet. Because of this, I've found that I can slag off for five or six days as long as I have some actual foods–nuts, whole oats for breakfast, jerky (actualish food?), dried fruit–for makeshift nutrition. Oh and of course Powerbars.
I know it sounds awful but I decided years ago that backpacking was not about the meals.
Also, this is the kind of food that fits into a Bearikadee. I agree with Eric that if you repackage, you could get another days' food into the weekender
Finally, I haven't quite solved the whole cooking decent food/minimal fuel requirement thing. I like to boil in the morning and evening, end of story.Mar 4, 2012 at 5:33 am #1848482
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
We were able to fit 3 full days worth of food for two people inside the canister but it was filled to the brim.
All of our dinners are FBC, nothing in commercial packaging. We tend to take mostly dry or dense items (nuts, cheese, sausage, m&m's, etc.) and not so much high-volume items like crackers. Both of us average 1-lb per day.
At the end of the first day, we'd consumed just enough to squeeze in our smellable toiletries inside for the night. ALL of our toiletries fit in a small sandwich ziplock bag and loosely at that.
We rented ours. I let them know that I was a little concerned about getting everything in and I think they sent it at least a week before leaving; I know I had enough time to try it and get another/different one if necessary.Mar 4, 2012 at 9:20 am #1848542
I've never had to carry enough at one time to use all this advice, but here's an article on stuffing lots of food into a bear canister:
http://www.pcta.org/planning/before_trip/health/canistercare.docMar 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm #1848624
You may want to contact Wild Ideas by email. They offer a 12" tall model that is right between the Weekender and Expedition. It is a custom order and not listed on the website. I know a guy that did the JMT last year and he thought it was the perfect size.Mar 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm #1848625
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
15 people days is reasonable For the expedition.
Unless you expect to eat to full as you want.Mar 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm #1849357
My experience with my Bearikades: I got food for 9 days for 2 people in a weekender and an expedition – so a total of 18 person-days. Had to repackage most of the FD food into ziplocs to get there, and re-pack several times before I made it go.
So for me, that would translate to 7.5 person-days in a weekender and 10.5 in an Expedition.
I did not choose my food for compactability, just went with my usual stuff. So I'm sure you could do better if you selected foods with the canister in mind.Mar 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm #1850225
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
Have not used the Weekender but have gotten 9 days of food for one person into the Expedition, with careful choices (high fat, low volume foods, all repackaged, budgeting 1.5 pounds of dry food/day). You might get 10 days in, but that would be the max.Mar 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm #1853802
For all of you storing dehydrated meals in ziplock bags: do you rehydrate in your cookpot? Isn't it a pain to clean it out? I'm imagining rock hard dried cheese all over my titanium pot. Do/can you bring empty bags to pour boiling water in with the meal? I'd think it'd be easier to store the cookbags separately (outside of bearcan).Mar 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm #1853811
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I have squeezed (just for an experiment) 6 days' food for both my dog and me in the Weekender. That took a lot of squashing, including breaking up my dog's kibble! I left out the first day's food, since it doesn't have to be in the canister (unless you're going to go away from camp, leaving the food alone, before you eat the first night's dinner).
You want really compact food, such as couscous, rice, quinoa, etc. (Substitute couscous for other pasta.) No crackers or other fragile items. No bulky packaging, and remove as much air as you can from plastic bags. Don't vacuum seal, though, because that leaves the food a hard unmalleable brick. You need malleable items that can be squished into every possible open space. You then push down really hard as you pack each layer of food inside. Be sure to pack the second days' food on top so you don't have to unpack the entire canister for the second day's food–you'll probably not be able to get everything squashed back in! After that, repacking won't be an issue.
I've been able to get 3 days' food for 4 people (2 of them of elementary school age, though) into the large Bear Vault (about the same size as the Bearikade Weekender), which amazed the Olympic NP ranger who gave us our permits. What I didn't mention was that this didn't include the s'more ingredients, which I stored in a heavy plastic jar the first night. Of course on the Olympic NP coast the danger is aggressive raccoons rather than bears. I since bought the Weekender for these beach trips because the kids now eat a lot more, so the marshmallows, etc., are now carried legally! However, with their dad carrying most of the food, my Weekender contained only the light fluffy stuff, which only half-filled it.Mar 23, 2012 at 4:51 am #1858093
Hmmmm, I too have been cogitating over the bear can delema for a JMT hike this summer.
I like Bob's idea of the 100 cu in box. So, since I'm too lazy to make my own box, i just measured the USPS medium size "if it fits, it ships" box, which is a very common mail/bounce box i have used to re-supply and judgling from the amount of such boxes being held in P.O.s, i think a lot of other hikers do so as well.
That box is 12"x12"x6" or 864 cu in. I know that when I sent one fully loaded to a re-supply point, i ended up not using half of what I sent and i still managed to resupply for 7.5 days out of half of it or 432 cu in.
based on each website, the cu in for each can is –
Wild Ideas – Weekender = 650, Expedition = 900
Bearvault – BV450 = 440, BV 500 = 700
Garcia BP model 812 = 615
So that means 432/7.5 = 57.60 cu in needed for 1 days worth of food. Conservatively estimate 10 days as the longest time between resupply, thus – 10 x 57.60 = 576 cu in size can needed.
So for me, i think either the WI Weekender, Garcia #812 or BV500 is probably the right choice for size. Which amazes me given the estimates other people have posted that the WI weekender would only hold about 6 days worth of food. I guess to be on the safe side I should go with the BV500, if I buy my own or just rent the the Garcia #812.
Any flaws in my logic? feedback??
mahalos!Mar 23, 2012 at 10:20 am #1858214
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
I just checked my 2011 trip info and found I had 7.5 days of food in my Bearikade Weekender. I pack about 1.75lbs. of food per day. A lot depends on the type of food you're packing. I haven't found it necessary to use a hammer yet but I don't carry freeze dried meals anymore. It's amazing what you can do with a dehydrator. One trick I learned was to put a pinhole at the top of all the plastic bags. Trapped air can suck up a lot of space and a pinhole can solve that problem. Won't the bag leak when you pour water in for re-hydration?–not in my experience as long as you keep the bag upright.
The Bearikade people will make about any size canister you want. The problem is the in the sierras the Weekender and the Expedition were the only models approved for use when the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group (SIBBG)did the testing. I doubt you would be called on it by a ranger if you had a "non approved" size. Bearikade also stocks a model called the Scout that's 9"x8" and 1.75lbs.
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