- Sep 22, 2017 at 12:23 am #3492486
Cameron MBPL Member
@cameronm-aka-backstrokeLocale: Los Angeles
Don’t feed the trollSep 22, 2017 at 5:03 am #3492493
Once battery technology improves, and it is very much on the cusp of same, then mini electrified food shields could be made.
This could be the wave of the future, and IMO it doesn’t even need any advance in battery technology. Copper wires weaved into a thin, molded Kevlar can could be employed.
Consider the bug zappers that look like tennis rackets. You push a button switch on the side of the grip that charges a capacitor that zaps the bugs when they short-circuit the wire grid. Instead of the button switch use a motion-activated switch. Use multiple sets of parallel wires originating at the capacitor to ensure it works if some wires happen to wear through. Some EE guy could figure out the appropriate voltage/amperage balance for bears… something similar to what is used in cattle fences. Two AA batteries would last a long time with such a setup.Sep 22, 2017 at 5:45 am #3492497
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Ho Ho Ho
Ha Ha Ha
Chuckle snort giggle
An electric fence for horses and cows runs about 5,000 V peak. I suspect for bears it would need to be at least double that.
Even so, I have seen sheep (thick fur) go thru electric fences, and so have horses and bulls when angry enough.
I wonder what a bear would do if irritated?
PS: we kept horses for a while, and I did the fencing.
Sep 22, 2017 at 6:03 am #3492500
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Roger Caffin.
Instead of thick fur, Imagine a wet nose. :^)
Might take much less than that.Sep 22, 2017 at 6:14 am #3492502
Kevin BBPL Member
@newmexikevLocale: Western New Mexico, USA
I’ve been reading about Alaskans (Dial and McKittricks) using packable electric bear fences on some packrafting trips for years.Sep 22, 2017 at 6:26 am #3492504
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Interesting – but have they ever seen bears test the fence?
They might have – that would be interesting.
CheersSep 22, 2017 at 6:27 am #3492505
MJ HBPL Member
If you have that much electricity, you might be able to make hydrogen on-site (from water via whatever I called it in my sixth grade science project) each night and use it to fill a balloon to loft your food. Then just pull it down in the morning, release the hydrogen, and leave no trace.Sep 22, 2017 at 6:33 am #3492507
That’s the point about the zapper — it wouldn’t take that much electricity for the bear can application.
We’ve had the same set of cheap alkaline AA’s in our zapper for years and they’re still going strong.Sep 22, 2017 at 6:43 am #3492508
Kevin BBPL Member
@newmexikevLocale: Western New Mexico, USA
UDAP bear shock fence. Encloses 27 feet by 27 foot area. 3.7 lbs and 6000V shock from 2 D cell batteries company claims will last 5 weeks. $225Sep 22, 2017 at 8:23 am #3492522
Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
Yup, saw a NOLS group using one at the trailhead campground in Wyoming’s Wind River Range before they entered southbound at Green River Lakes. That was in 2015.
I think they’ve been using electrified fences for a while. They just piled all their food sacks in a heap and covered it with a tarp or something.
I wonder if they don’t have marmot or mouse issues when they do that?Sep 22, 2017 at 8:24 am #3492523
George FBPL Member
I wonder what the bear would do when zapped by food storage. Would it leave after the first zap or come in with its paws and mash the crap out of the offending object before testing it again? Another zap might send it on its way but if we are talking about a bag your food might be safe but no longer food.Sep 22, 2017 at 9:11 am #3492531
Bob .BPL Member
@bcbobLocale: Vancouver Island
5L, 1lb 5oz, $95, approved by IGBC and many (but not all) parks.
Only 7? diameter, so perhaps easier to pack. Includes an 850ml, 2? deep pan (w/ lid and handle) as the lid. Pan lid can be left behind to save 2oz.
Apparently this has been around since at least 2014, but this is the first I’ve seen it.
It appears to be 1 lb, 5 oz just for the polycarb canister. Add in 6 oz for lid/top and another 1 oz for the internal support bar.Sep 22, 2017 at 9:43 am #3492538
@tony and @PMags
“Proper bear bagging (which is a very light weight option) would keep food safe and keep bears from getting used to eating human food, which can lead to them being killed/put down.
The Bear Canister is for the lowest common denominator….anyone can use one with little skill.”
I concur with this statement. It seems that we are in agreement that bear cannisters are an inefficient means of keeping food safe in terms of their efficiency / weight ratio and are best suited for those with little knowledge or desire to properly hang their food. I understand *why* govt officials feel the need to reduce collective risk by imposing such restrictions, but that does not entail that carrying a cannister is the only option for reducing my *personal* risk in bear country. That said, I have not broken any restrictions regarding bear cannisters and have no desire to do so if I can avoid the alternatives. The problem is that, as PMags suggested,such restrictions are on the rise and their widespread implementation does not bode well for us UL backpackers. What surprises me is that so many here appear to be unwilling to explore alternatives and fetishize (sp?) said cannisters as if they are holy objects of reverence, to be carried by those “in the know,” as if carrying them is to atone somehow for the sins of entering bear country. That’s the kind of silliness I alluded to initially. I am interested in engaging in a rational discussion about where proper hang techniques have been shown to be ineffective through empirical studies. For instance, it is of interest to note that in Rocky Mountain National Park, where I backpacked in the past without a bear can, bear cannisters are now mandated BELOW treeline. (Above treeline, no cannister is required). Have proper food hangs become ineffective in the park in the last 8-9 years, or are there increasing numbers of people doing improper food hangs? I am curious as to whether empirical data out there exists to answer these questions. I’m familiar with the stories about bears sending their cubs along tree limbs to break bear hangs, but are they well substantiated? Have they done controlled studies involving different hang techniques (i.e., place a bear and its cubs around a tree and see how long it takes to get the food). :) As for the argument, “A bear can weighs the same as 1 L of water, so why not carry it,” in my opinion it contravenes UL principles, so long as there is an alternative (i.e., proper hang techniques) which accomplishes the same objective (keeping food safe from bears) within a reasonable margin of error. The principle which I am alluding is as follows:
UL Principle: For any given objective X, if Y is lighter/simpler than Z, and Y accomplishes X as well as Z, then prefer Y over Z.
The question is whether proper hang techniques (and other methods–Ursacks, electrofences, repellents, force fields, etc.) are nearly as efficient as bear cans within reasonable margins of error. That’s the discussion I’d like to engage in. This will obviously vary by region. Blanket statements such as “Bear cans are mandatory, therefore they are the only reasonable means of bear proofing food,” I find to be generally unhelpful. They state the obvious (namely, that bear cans are mandated in region X), and do little to further creative thought on the issue. What’s more, statements like “Who cares about canisters ‘contravening ul principles’. Seriously.” demonstrate a clear lack of interest in engaging in rational discourse on a forum dedicated to UL backpacking.
Sep 22, 2017 at 10:17 am #3492542
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by David Poston.
Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Well thought out statements and ideas that you are putting forth to have a civil conversation about why bear canisters are “forced” upon people when alternative methods are available that might be nearly as effective in keeping food away from bears.
I did a very quick search on google and could not find any studies on the effectiveness of “proper” bear bagging techniques and failure rates.
You are asking a reasonable question, but we are simply lacking the data to debate the issue.
I am concluding that the reason why bear canisters were made mandatory was because there was a significant number of failures that resulted in bear behaviors changing due to their getting at people’s food and the resulting need to put down “trouble” bears.
In some ways, what you are are talking about is the individual’s rights vs. the greater community.
YOU might be very good at bear bagging and as a result YOU might represent a very minor/acceptable risk to the bears, but since the greater public is not, YOU are being forced to carry a bear canister through no fault of your own.
If this is how you are viewing things, I can understand your distaste for the bear canister rule and why you are rallying against them.
In this sense, your hard work for lowering your pack weight is being “destroyed” by the failings of others to property secure their food and the resulting weight penalty of being forced to carry a heavy canister when lighter weight alternatives are equally effective, when properly executed.
That said, the unhappy answer for you is that sometimes, you are stuck with the penalty of the lowest common denominator of skill of securing food for the welfare of the bear.
Perhaps, rather than wondering when the next lighter weight bear canister will be created, maybe there will be a full proof way to implement effective bear bagging hangs, which is a light method of securing food.
(I remember a while back on BPL, there was a guy who had a spring loaded “gun” for launching cord over tree branches. He was, unfortunately, derided and run off the BPL sight for something that was “too heavy” vs. using a rock and and rock sack).
So, I am not sure how to answer your question or carry the conversation forward, unless someone can find the studies showing the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of bear bagging.
For myself, I don’t question the need to carry the bear canister….I guess I am just a sheep and do as I am told. So I carry the canister and often stare in disbelief at how little space is left in my pack after I have slide it into my pack, which forces me to see how else I can cut my gear/weight down safely.
I admit, I will look at trip reports of other BPLers from places where canisters/bears are not an issue and stare in envy about how their packs are smaller and lighter than mine….making me feel like a UL loser. *sigh*
Then I stare at my shiny Bearikade with a combination of shame (for having spent a ridiculous amount of money to save 0.4 lbs of weight vs. a bear vault) and fetishist lust at the exotic carbon fiber that is now mine. (note to self, make another appointment with therapist)
Tony…in denial and in UL therapy, in desperate need of an gear interventionSep 22, 2017 at 10:19 am #3492543
“The question is whether proper hang techniques (and other methods–Ursacks, electrofences, repellents, force fields, etc.) are nearly as efficient as bear cans within reasonable margins of error”
You are assuming the authorities are just making stuff up and going with whatever ‘lowest common demonstrator’ they pull out of thin air. They are not doing that. They have all the data, and their obligation is to make the rules, not publish the data. The only way to get rules changed in the bureaucratic system is with actual reasons. Note the default is no rules…
In this case the actual reason is that ‘proper hang techniques’ are NOT ‘as efficient as bear cans within reasonable margins of error.’ As someone else in this thread already shared there are only TWO known bears that have opened bear cans. Them and their progeny are the only known risk factor with bear cans. As numerous people have mentioned, MANY bears have found NUMEROUS ways to get to hanging food. The numbers, the data, while we don’t have it explicitly, we know anecdotally is going to show all methods having been used and bear cans failing twice and all other methods failing A LOT more than that. Only 4 failures would be a 100% relative risk factor over bear cans… So it doesn’t really matter what margin of error you choose, the statistics of small numbers are what they are. The fact is so few bears have opened bear cans and so many bears have opened other things. As others have already tried to say, there just isn’t that much to discuss…
I have a feeling people who ‘improperly’ hang their food probably think they are doing it right. Moreover it sounds like properly hanging one’s food would restrict one to camp near trees of certain qualities, the freedom to camp wherever doesn’t fit into a UL philosophy?
Sep 22, 2017 at 10:31 am #3492549
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Jacob.
I wonder if David has ever hung food.Sep 22, 2017 at 10:43 am #3492553
It appears to be 1 lb, 5 oz just for the polycarb canister. Add in 6 oz for lid/top and another 1 oz for the internal support bar.
That is accurate, as depicted in the video.
That sort of misleading malarkey is what eliminated this product from my list a few years ago when I was shopping for a bear can. If you need these parts to make it function, they are part of the total weight.
And I don’t need no stinkin’ fry pan, so there’s that. :^)Sep 22, 2017 at 10:54 am #3492560
Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
Post 89 would have been a much better way to start this thread…. It is much less of a troll post and something actually worth engaging. I think it is always good to try and think out of the box and come up with better solutions. However when dealing with regulations, sometimes it is too easy to view ourselves as exceptional and capable of handling things just fine that “the authorities” have deemed unsafe. This is why so many people still drink and drive, text and drive, …. This kind of attitude is the reason you have rightly received negative feedback on this post. The other thing you should think about is seeing this from the ranger’s perspective. A good rule or a bad rule… he has got to enforce it. Most ranger’s I’ve met have been vastly overworked and responsible for unreasonably large swathes of land. Do you want to make his life harder by deciding some rules do not apply to you?
If you want to engage on why the regulations were passed, you might want to engage the people who passed these regulations and see what basis they did it on. I’m guessing regulations are based on anecdotal stories not scientifically rigorous long term studies… but still those stories have probably ended up in at least a few bears being killed. I’ve heard stories from the Sierra’s of the PCT hanging method being deemed ineffective (cubs dive bombing the food bags). I don’t think they lightly decided to outlaw hanging.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:08 am #3492566
I agree with most all of what you have stated here. I do think we need more empirical evidence to answer my questions, and that’s the evidence I seek in order to engage in civil and rational discourse. I don’t mean for this to spill into a political or philosophical discussion about the nature of government and whether we ought to obey the rules–this is an inappropriate place for that as the focus here is on gear. I will note briefly that we all choose to break rules in some fashion or other–when is the last time you drove 55 mph on the interstate while on a cross-country trip? That, however, isn’t the question at hand. The way I see it, I’m asking more of a practical question about securing food, setting rules well aside. And I seem to be making little headway… I should also mention here, lest others suspect that I am complete ignorant, that I am not unaware of such alternatives such as the Ursack. Been posting on this forum and practicing UL techniques since 2007 and made quite a bit of contribution to discussions here over the years, so it’s a bit hard not to be aware of such things. I haven’t had the need to seriously consider an Ursack yet because I backpack mostly in Colorado, where bear cannisters were unheard of until the last few years. Still a bit surprised that my bemoaning the need to carry a 2-3 lb cylindrical object that takes up pretty much all of my pack and weighs more than the pack itself is perceived with such harsh derision on a forum dedicated to UL backpacking. At least if we decide to carry it, why be so cheerful about it? :) I don’t mean to denigrate those who choose to carry a bear can, I still see no reason to do so in the areas I frequent, and I’m not certain that new regulations in those areas will motivate me other than the negative consequences associated with breaking said regulations (fines, being escorted off the trail, etc.). I’m more interested in real data and less bluster. I am one for generally following the rules when they make sense, but the fact is that sometimes they don’t. Does it make sense not to bring my Esbit stove because there is a fire ban for a 10-mile stretch of trail? Do I now need to purchase and carry a cannister stove for a 10-mile stretch of trail simply because the people making the regs are unaware of Esbit and therefore state that a stove must have an off/on switch? My answer is no, I should not. Feel free to disagree, that’s why we have forums such as this. We all make calculated risks in life, I see no reason why this should be any different.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:18 am #3492569
Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
I never realized the Udap bear shock fence ran on two D-cell batteries. It makes me wonder why no one has tried developing an electrified bear bag. The UDAP fence has an awful lot stuff in that 3.7 lbs to allow people to fence in a large area. Focusing on just a bag could significantly reduce the size. Of course to D-cells weighs about 11 ounces, so you couldn’t get it lighter than a Ursack. It would be interesting to see what a good zap to the nose would do in the IGBC test. Perhaps they wouldn’t test it deeming it cruelty to the bear.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:20 am #3492571
How do you hang food or tie an Ursack when above treeline?Sep 22, 2017 at 11:21 am #3492572
In the old days I would regularly run into individuals or groups who lost their food to bears. Also, I’d always see–still do!–the frayed ends of hang ropes in branches. Not anymore. I hung my food for more than twenty years; I certainly did not lack the knowledge or desire ‘to do it properly’.
It happens that people will hike in rain and sleet all day, come into camp very cold, have to set up a tent in rain, get out dinner and then.,..go and find a 100% effective hang. At altitude. When people are near hypothermic, they will cut corners. Or when they come into camp in the dark. Etc.
I mostly hike in the Sierra, where bears are highly sophisticated when it comes to getting food. Not that long ago you could hike in Desolation Wilderness without a canister however. It’s wilderness and so bears are hunted. They avoided people…sometimes. I wouldn’t do that now. Those same bears are prowling Tahoe City starting at dusk.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:27 am #3492575
“How do you hang food or tie an Ursack when above treeline?”
You don’t. You take a calculated risk and do the best you can. Just as you take a calculated risk by climbing above treeline in the afternoon in Colorado in July-August when thunderstorms abound. Again, it’s not about making your food 100% secure. It’s about making it secure within reasonable margins of error. Never seen a bear above or below treeline in Colorado after 10 years of backpacking there. Are they there? Yes. Do they present enough of a problem to carry a 2-3 lb piece of cylindrical plastic? In my opinion, no.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:45 am #3492576
David, my landlord takes a calculated risk by driving at 40 mph through narrow local streets where children are playing. He hasn’t hit one yet. He did kill a deer that was crossing our street however. What’s a bit irritating is that, you always only consider the risk TO YOU. My landlord was angry that the deer dented his car. But even that hasn’t changed him. It’s all about doing what he wants.
Yes, because you haven’t seen a bear above treeline…itdoesn’t mean that they’re not there. I bet you don’t see that many bears period on your trips. And yet they exist!
When you take a calculated risk by hiking in a thunderstorm above treeline, no one loses but you if your gamble fails. When a bear gets your food, it affects the bear and every other hiker that now has to deal with problem bears,.Again, bears can’t digest plastic packaging and it can kill them painfully.
I’m not familiar with bears in Colorado; maybe they’re not an issue like in the Sierra. Sounds like they soon will be.
edit: again David, the Bearikade scout weighs about a pound, carries up to six days of food, and isn’t that large–it packs well. Is that just unacceptable?Sep 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm #3492581
“the Bearikade scout weighs about a pound, carries up to six days of food, and isn’t that large–it packs well. Is that just unacceptable?” Uh, yes. :) My stuff weighs 1 oz. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars to save 3-4 oz. In this case, I save hundreds of dollars AND 15 oz. Stuff sack costs around $10.
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