Nunatak Gear Bears Ears 50 Review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Nunatak Gear Bears Ears 50 Review

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    Andrew Marshall


    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians

    Companion forum thread to: Nunatak Gear Bears Ears 50 Review

    The Nunatak Gear Bears Ears 50 (MSRP: $330, ~28 ounces / 794 g) is an innovative frameless pack designed specifically to accommodate bear canisters. It features a unique water bottle storage system, optional shoulder-strap pockets, a removable foam back panel, a floating hipbelt, a large wrap-around exterior pocket, and a closed-cell foam pad attachment system.

    Dustin V
    BPL Member


    That looks like a really interesting design. It reminds me of the old frame packs with a big sleeping bag lashed to the bottom. Don’t know how they pulled this off frameless.

    I have a bunch of questions that I hope are answered in the long-term review, but I ask this now; did the water bottle holsters bounce a lot?

    Scott Nelson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California and Sierras

    What was it like to set the pack down on the ground?  Did the bear can get beat up?  Did the water bottle pockets have to splay out or go on their sides?  Did the pockets want to discharge the bottles when put down on the ground?  Was it ever slippery if you had to sit down with the pack on? Like if you had to sit down to descend a big rock drop-off, would the bear can scrap or slip on the rock behind you?

    It seems like the design would benefit from aluminum stays that extended vertically down to the “can” level from standard “load lifter” height.  More load carrying and no instability between the can and pack.

    I’m intrigued by this pack.

    BPL Member


    Andrew purchased this pack at full price without any fuss.

    Scott: Using it will scratch your bear can more than if it was fully inside, obviously. Down climbing face out will scratch the can. Sitting down with the pack on should be fine.

    Pockets do not drop bottles when putting the pack down, or bending over, or scrambling, or glissading. If still concerned a small loop of shock cord can easily be tied to the holder and slipped over the top of the bottle.

    Part of the reason the bottles are easily retrieved, yet does not fall out, is the fluid joint between the holder and hipbelt that keeps them closer to vertical independent of the user’s movements. So, to answer Dustins question, yes they do swing around. This is barely noticeable when hiking, very noticeable when running.

    When we first developed this concept in 2016 it was a framed pack. Unfortunately it was too complex to built. Later, some improvements in design allowed a frameless version to work as well if the user’s base weight is under 12 lbs or so (not including the canister)

    Albert N
    BPL Member


    That bear can looks like a Bearikade? Is it the Weekender?

    H S
    BPL Member


    Just returned from a ten day trip on the Tuscarora Trail carrying a Nunatak Gear Bears Ears 50 prototype that I purchased.  With the Tuscarora having bears, rock scrambling and blow downs, this was the perfect choice.  Carried up to 27 pounds comfortably.  To address some of the previous posts, I found that 750 ml water bottles did not bounce nor come out easily.  When placing the pack on the ground, I did have to ensure that the water bottles where not under the bear can but this did not become a nuisance.   Of course you need to be careful placing the bear can on the ground, but was surprised that my Bearikade Weekender did not really show any major scuffs or wear even after several “trail stunts”.  On my prototype, there are three external pockets versus the one larger wrap-a-round pocket on the current model.  This revision is a great idea to allow a wet tarp to be dried out during the day.  As always, Nunatak sewing and finish work is the best.   Would buy again. “Jake Blues” AT ’86Bear Ears


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