Hiking is currently one of the most popular pursuits in the world, and what better vistas and terrains to navigate than those that you'll find in America's national parks?
However, if you are an avid hiker or explorer through the backcountry of America, you’ll be aware that it is legally mandatory in most of the national parks to have a bear bag.
Bears tend to steer clear of humans in the wild, however, when they come into contact with certain interesting scents, as well as human waste and garbage, this can entice them towards your camp, causing them to exhibit aggressive and potentially dangerous behavior. This is why you need to be correctly kitted out for the wilderness.
Bear canisters are very different from bear bags, in that bear bags are generally not bear-proof, whereas canisters are uniquely designed to keep your food and yourself safe from these animals.
For a decent bear bag canister, you’ll need to make sure that the housing is durable enough to sustain a crunch from the vice-like grip of a bear jaw or a whack from its paw.
But when looking for a bear canister, what features are you going to need? What materials, design and build-quality will better withstand the powerful and curious force of a roving bear? How much can a top-of-the-range bear canister be looking to set you back in terms of price?
Well, campers, you don’t have to worry, because we’ve got all the info you need to make sure that you and your munchies are protected from the great outdoors, with our list of some of the best bear bag canisters currently available on the market.
We then follow this up with a buyer’s guide that will give you some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to buying a bear canister, as well as some frequently asked questions from outdoor enthusiasts.
Top 4 Best Bear Bag Canisters
OUR TOP PICK
First up, we have a heavy-duty bear bag canister that has a capacious storage unit of roughly 700 cubic inches, allowing you to load up on food and snacks if you’re planning on taking a multi-day trip.
The outer shell is incredibly resilient and sturdy, with a lid that fastens tightly to prevent animals such as squirrels, raccoons and grizzly bears from getting into it - introducing Counter Assault Bear Keg.
This bear canister meets all the standards set by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Recommendations for Bear Deterrents, coming in a thick polymer blend material that is bright yellow, which means you’ll be able to spot it in the densest green foliage.
You fasten the lid on this container with two screws that can be easily operated with a coin or a pocket knife. With plenty of room inside, you can store your food, toiletries, toothpaste, towels, sun cream and shaving foam for the ultimate in luxury camping and trekking!
- The massive storage space of the Counter Assault Bear Container will be appealing to heavy-duty campers who want to bring everything with them bar the kitchen sink for that plush camping experience.
- This carry container can hold up to around 4 days of food.
- This container conforms with industry standards for bear deterrents, so you can be sure that this one can be battered and chewed and your personal belongings will remain in one piece.
- Due to the larger storage size, this one is very heavy and might be difficult to carry for just one person. You might consider using a vehicle for this.
Next up we have a roll-top sack that is very versatile, coming as it does in a range of sizes, colors and types of model, with a transparent panel in the housing that means you can look inside the case without having to open the lid.
It is resistant to bears as well as extreme weather conditions - introducing the KastKing Dry Bag.
The first thing a camper might notice is the sheer range of options for this bag, both in terms of style and functionality. You have 3 options for size - 10, 20 and 30 liters - which means you can customize this bag for solo, two-person or multi-person excursions.
It also comes in a vast array of colors, so you can buy whatever container suits your personality.
But in terms of functionality, this also won’t let you down. It has fusion-welded seams and an adjustable shoulder strap that makes this bag the ideal travel companion if you expect to encounter any grizzlies on your trip.
It is also completely waterproof, so if you have an unexpected downpour, the PVC material will keep your items nice and dry.
- This bag is one that is built for all weathers - snow, dust and rain will not be able to penetrate the double overlap roll top.
- The tough exterior can withstand even the hardest bear chomp, the thick PVC material will ensure that any unwelcome four-pawed behemoth will soon become disinterested and leave you and your belongings alone.
- Just because it is a highly-resilient product, that doesn’t mean that it can’t complement your stylish hiking apparel, coming in a range of over 10 different colors, so you can be both safe and cool on your next camping adventure.
- Some users have complained that the bag is not as watertight as advertised by the manufacturer.
Next up we have a budget option for bear bag canisters, with a smaller capacity, but one that is perfect for solo campers and hikers.
It comes in a discreet forest green color, enabling you to stow it away in the foliage without detection by hungry and curious grizzly bears. It is light and can be carried as a pair if needs be - introducing the Liberty Mountain Stuff Sack.
This is made from 210D of coasted oxford cloth, with both drawstring and cord-lock features and a grab handle for extra portability. Its smaller size will allow you to carry them in twos if necessary, weighing just 1.76 ounces, so you can easily lug this bear bag between campsites.
This bag is the most compact on our list and is probably more suited to solo ramblers who pack light yet want that added security when it comes to traversing bear-heavy territory.
- This bag is easy to carry yet durable, striking the perfect balance between functionality and long-lasting properties. A solo camper can expect this bag to last them for years if taken care of properly.
- The camouflage green color will ensure that you can hide this in the foliage without detection, especially useful if you’re camping out.
- The lightness and size of the design allow you simply pack-up-and-go, which will be extra useful for people who want to avoid the hassle of packing up an excessive amount of personal effects before leaving a site.
- This bear bag container might simply be too small for those who are planning on multi-day camping trips or those that want to camp in a larger party.
Our next bear bag canister is one that comes incredibly highly rated on Amazon, it is impeccably stylish and affordable, with enough colors to ensure that there's something for everyone.
Made from highly durable nylon fabric, you can be sure that bears will have a tough time shearing through this sack - introducing the Osprey UltraLight 12 Dry Sack.
The Osprey is designed from 40D Rip-stop nylon, meaning that bear teeth and claws simply won’t be able to rifle through your food and personal belongings. It also has a roll-top enclosure that helps to tamp the food of the sack down further, compressing the contents beyond the reach of roving jaws and claws.
The rectangle shape will allow you to store more items in the interior, the empty weight of the bag is only 1.5 ounces, which makes it one of the more portable options on our list.
This bag is also one that is ready for all weathers, the material and closure feature of the sack is entirely waterproof, so you can store electrical items in this container and not have to worry about damage from the elements.
- Much cheaper than some of the other bear bags on the market, this is ideal for the occasional camper who only braves the bear-infested woods a few times a month.
- The tough, waterproof material of this bag means that your items will be less susceptible to bear claw and thunderstorm - you can even store electrical items in the bag without fear of damage.
- The compression features of this bag mean that you can pack a lot more into the interior than your average rucksack.
- Like our previous bag, this might not be suitable for a camper or rambler who wants to bring more items with them on their trip.
Best Bear Bag Canister Buying Guide
There are numerous considerations that you have to factor in before splashing out on a decent bear bag.
Things such as weight, whether it meets regulation guidelines, price, volume, durability and versatility are just some of the essentials that you’ll need for your bear bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Heavy Is It?
As a general rule, we’d suggest that you keep your bear bag weight under 3lbs. Bear canisters can get extremely weighty, especially after they’ve been filled up with all your personal effects.
Heavy canisters don’t necessarily mean they are more durable, you have to choose the right material, as well as whether your bag can compress the contents as efficiently as possible.
How Much Can You Be Expected To Spend?
The price of your bear canister will depend on what you plan on using it for and how frequently you’ll be using it.
The more stylish bags will be more expensive on the whole, as will those with a larger capacity size.
Is It Certified?
One easy way to figure out whether your canister is suitable for bear scavenging is by figuring out whether it has been approved by the national park on its list of suitable bear deterrents.
If you buy a bag that is on this list, you stand the best chance of keeping you and your food protected, as well as avoiding a hefty fine from the park authorities.
How Much Can You Store In Your Bag?
This is a crucial question: how much food and personal items will you need to take with you on your journey?
As a general rule, 1 day’s worth of food can easily fit into 100 cubic inches, so 6 days will equal 600 cubic inches, etc.