5 Bear Canister Use Tips

Bear canisters are an excellent way to protect your food in the backcountry. They are required in some national parks but even if they aren't required they are still nice to have because they're more reliable than hanging food and they provide a place for you to sit down. Follow these helpful tips to use your bear-resistant container correctly.


Bear Canister Use Tips:


Keep your bear canister away from camp: Before you go to bed place your bear-resistant container at least 75 adult steps away from your campsite. You'll want to keep the smells of your food as far away from your tent as possible.

Avoid placing the canister near ledges, waterfalls and cliffs: Bears can knock your canister down and break them open or cause you a lot of work to retrieve your food.

Place your bear canister upside down: Placing a bear canister with its lid down will help keep rain out of the canister. Water coming in through the cracks can ruin your food.

Use a credit card to help open the canister: Lids are intentionally hard to open but with really cold fingers in the morning it can be extra hard to open. Slide a credit card into the opening mechanism to help open it up.

Place pots and pans on top of the canister: Keep your pots on top of your bear-resistant container to act as an alarm. If a bear is trying to get into your food, the pans will make noise and wake you up. You can then make more noise to scare the bear away.

backpacking with a bear canister Photo by Rudy Gustafson


Need some new ideas for backpacking food? Try these recipes:

Dehydrate your own camping meals
Chicken and stuffing: an easy backpacking meal
Cheesy bacon taters
Andy Hawbaker
posted by
Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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