Dec 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm #1266204
I was wondering if some of the more experienced out there have a packing list/ menu ideas to get 10-14 days of food into a Garcia Bear canister? I have been trying out different lentils recently but I want to hear some other ideas for breakfast, snacks and dinner.Dec 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm #1670556
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Two words: No way.
I managed to cram 8 days worth of food into a standard Garcia one time, but things were hanging out.
One method was suggested. Take 10-14 days worth of Robertson's Shortbread Cookies, unwrap them, and crumble them up. Then pour the crumbles directly into the can.
Those cookies are high-calorie, and if you crumble them down, you will get very good density.
I just don't think it can be practically done unless you are willing to go on 1200 calories per day or something silly.
–B.G.–Dec 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm #1670559
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Of course it depends on how much food (calories) you're eating per day, but thru-hikers manage to cram a lot in. Have a look at these links:Dec 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm #1670561
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I'd also point out that the Garcia is perhaps the worst choice to maximize use of the Volume. The wider opening and the clear plastic of the BearVault both make it easier to maximize use of the volume. The more expensive Bearikade is opaque like the Garcia but has a nicer opening, and of course is lighter.Dec 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm #1670564
drowning in spamMember
First it depends on what kind of nutritional benefits you desire, and then on the actual food choices.
If you're looking at 3000 calories a day with about a 30/30/40 carb/protein/fat split, then it's easy to do with a custom powdered meal plan. Right now I have nearly 10 days of food in an Opsack packed into an Ursack with about 4000 calories a day with about the same macronutrient split, although gorp makes up the extra 1000 calories….plus electrolyte drinks and vitamins.Dec 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm #1670565
I was thinking around 2000- 2500 a day of a balanced diet.Dec 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm #1670566
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Two words: No way."
I've got to disagree, Bob. I don't know about 14 days, but I know I can get 10 days in an Ursack without too much trouble. If I really tried, I'm pretty sure I could squeeze in another day, possibly two. If I am correct, that would give 11-13 days, assuming you carried your first day of food outside the canister. A Garcia has a volume of 614 c.i, ~36 less than an Ursack, so call it 10-12 days to be conservative. The bad news is that my diet is not for everyone. To make this work, I go cold food except hot water for coffee/tea, and place a heavy emphasis on crushed nuts, chips, sesame sticks, 72% cacao chocolate, and olive oil, with Perpetuem for lunch. Everything except the chocolate bars and olive oil is crushed or ground and packed into sandwich baggies. This allows for very tight packing with maximum use of space since every baggie conforms to whatever surfaces surround it. The chocolate bars are layered horizontally. and the oil is in flat plastic flasks which can go either vertical against the wall of the canister or horizontally, with baggies packed around them tightly. All of the food items except Perpetuem, which serves a different purpose, are calorie dense, 120-250 calories/oz, and 20-21 oz of food/day yields ~2600-2800 calories, depending on what I choose for a particular trip. As I said, this diet is not for everybody; it's definitely not gourmet, and there's no allowance for noodles, lentils, or any bulky items, let alone fancy sauces, etc, but if you want to get out into the backcountry for an extended trip, it will do the job. I've had it up to 11 days so far and it works for me. YMMVDec 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm #1670568
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
+1 on NO WAY – unless everything you eat is powdered.
Unlikely you'll need that capacity anyway. Remember – as long as you never walk away from it, today's food legally does not have to be in the bear can, even on areas where canisters are required. I've tested this in Yosemite and the rangers had no issue with that. The operative phrase here is "as long as you never walk away from it". There's one less day right off the bat.
Two: food that does not fit into the can can be legally secured in a bear box.
Three: None of your food has to be secured in a bear can except in those areas of the Sierra where it is legally mandated so. Caveat = "Not Required" does NOT equate to "Not Needed".
Four: OP (odor-proof) sacks, while not legal alternates to bear cans, work wonders in areas where bear cans are not required. I've had bears go right past them in camp (at night) and never notice them. They are also great for trash.
Bottom line: pack your canister with enough food for those days when you will be in canister-required areas without bear boxes. Everything else stays out, preferrably in OP sacks to tilt the odds in your favor. That should make the difference.
WBDec 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm #1670570
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I think we all agree that a Garcia Bear Can is not the perfect choice for carrying food, but that is what the original poster asked about, not a BearVault or an Ursack.
The Garcia can was good in its day, because that was the only game in town. What, twenty years ago?
Some have suggested that it was better suited for being thrown at the bear to chase it off. It's pretty solid.
–B.G.–Dec 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm #1670571
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I'd also point out that the Garcia is perhaps the worst choice to maximize use of the Volume. The wider opening and the clear plastic of the BearVault both make it easier to maximize use of the volume. The more expensive Bearikade is opaque like the Garcia but has a nicer opening, and of course is lighter."
A big +1
Given my druthers, I'd go with a Bearikade.Dec 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm #1670572
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The most I was ever able to fit into a Garcia was 7 days worth of relatively normal backpacking food, i.e. calorie dense meals packaged carefully into ziplocks to save space, but not eating only powder. About 3000 cal/day.
AndrewDec 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm #1670589
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I think if you melted down a barrel of manteca and filled the Garcia to the brim, you might have enough calories for that long, provided you loooooove manteca.
(Sorta) kidding aside, no, I couldn't pack enough in there to last more than perhaps 8 days, tops. And that's carrying day 1 elsewhere.
p.s. Seconded on the Garcia being miserable to pack, due to the lousy lid design.Dec 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm #1672705
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
If you use Freezer Bag Cooking recipies for dinner and many breakfast meals and VERY carefully package each meal in deflated freezer bags it may be possible. This means layering each day's food. No putting all breakfasts in one bag, dinners in another, etc.
I have a Garcia can and it's tough to get more than 8 day's food in, along with toothpaste and trail bars.Dec 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm #1672755
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I've gotten the equivalent of probably 10 days into a large Bear Vault. That was 3 days' food for 4, two of whom were kids (although one of them eats more than I do!). I actually got everything in there so didn't have to leave out the first night's food. I had to show the canister to the Olympic NP ranger issuing us our permits, because he didn't believe I could do it!
A few things: Plan foods that are really compact. No noodles–too bulky! If you want pasta, use cous-cous which is very fine-grained and compact. If you absolutely must have noodles, take a hammer to them multiple times! Use a separate plastic bag for each meal. Be sure all air is exhausted before closing the bag, but don't vacuum pack which leaves a solid lump that won't squish. Try to cut down on bars which, being stiff, take up a lot of room. Pack each day's meals in layers, one bag at a time, and squish each layer down, firmly (just not hard enough to split the plastic bags). You definitely don't want to have to take much stuff out of the canister until you've used up at least half the food! Tuck smaller items into any little spaces that are left. If you're using prepared freeze-dried backpacking meals, take each meal out of its bulky packaging and put it in a plastic bag. Ditto for any other bulky packaging–get rid of it.
Remember that the first day's food doesn't have to be in the canister–you are going to eat it before you have to store the food overnight. That means that for a 10-day trip, only 9 days' food has to go into the canister. If there are some areas the canister isn't required, try to plan your trip so you go there first. Of course, if you have to go through canister-required areas to get to the non-canister areas, your food all has to be in the canister.
Try baking soda instead of toothpaste: dentist recommended, a lot lighter, and one less thing to go in the canister overnight.Dec 10, 2010 at 8:56 am #1672877
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
Mary has some great insight here especially with the pasta. Another pasta you can use (if you want pasta) is something tiny like orzo which is similar in volume to packing rice. You'll want to make sure that everything is packaged very carefully and by the serving (as someone else mentioned) works really well as does packing in the order of use.
Another thing I found useful… use a straw to remove most of the air from your ziplocks rather than vac packing. Just be careful not to inhale the food.
If it doesn't all seem to fit try removing the food and repacking. Sometimes just packing it a different way will help you to get it all to fit. For example, I can fit almost 1/3 as much in a bear canister as my husband can just be rearranging things a little.
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