Camping in Alaska-bear canisters?

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by cba191, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    Do the locals recommend them? I'm trying to decide if I should get one.
    #1
  2. YetiHunter

    YetiHunter 2 Wheels & Flyrod

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    I can't speak for Alaska, but I don't set foot in the bush without a can of spray here in BC. I think Alaska has even more bears than we do, if that is possible.

    Have had to use it twice over the years and it worked like a charm....other than the change of shorts that was required both times.

    One of those things that's better to have and not need, than need and not have.
    #2
  3. RedShift42

    RedShift42 Some guy

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    Years back I recall the Anchorage REI having one on display that was pretty darn gnawed on. Or was it at the visitor center in Denali? Hmm, hard to say, I may be a little PUI, but either way, it was Impressive. Looked like a guy w/ a screwdriver & a .22 took a crack at it.
    I've also personally seen some inmates' bikes similarly molested. And not even for a sammich, but-- to the best of this bipod's knowledge-- just for the heckuvit. No food involved.
    So yes, maybe not a bad idea. Get a little education on Best Practices for camping in bear country; mostly it involves keeping a clean campsite and nothing tasty/aromatic near anything you'd like intact for the rest of the trip.

    Collective opinion on bear spray is it's good stuff. A decade on Kodiak and I never had occasion to use mine, altho' I can attest to it's debilitating potency. I hear Canada has relaxed about travelers carrying it thru, but don't take my word for it.

    AKDuc should be along soon, he's a wealth of gear wisdom.

    -E.
    #3
  4. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    Aww, shucks. You're too kind.

    I've actually not even heard of any moto-campers using the canisters.

    I agree with what's commonly said about keeping a clean camp, not sleeping with any food or cooking gear, and not worrying about it too much.

    The only bear/moto-camping story I've even heard of was about the mc seats getting chewed up out on Kodiak. :huh

    Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
    #4
  5. ColininKodiak

    ColininKodiak (not in Kodiak)

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    I carried a can of OC in my tank bag on one trip. Never had to use it but I'm glad I had it. I'd make sure whatever you carry is meant for use as bear spray and not people deterrent, as I think that is frowned upon in Canada. As for the Kodiaks, yes they enjoy bike seats but only on non-native bikes. My BMW was right in the group with the others and only had a muddy claw mark on the line x'd tank while the others were pretty chewed upon.
    #5
  6. KHud

    KHud Survivor Supporter

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    We travel with a can of bearspray when we are in or riding to Alaska. About half the time I don't even have it out and ready when we are camping; which means it is of no use. It has been on over 30 border crossings and the border agents of both countries have never shown any interest it. I've read on a few forums that carrying wasp spray is also an option. Cheaper, no legality issues, longer range, more duration of spray, but requires more percision aiming (which I imagine is easy to do when a bear is charging you). Remember the whole point of this stuff is to make the possiblity of an open casket service more likely.
    #6
  7. Pint

    Pint multi-tasker

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    Coming through Canada on my trip from Anchorage to Lake Tahoe, I had a run in with a large brown bear, not sure what kind of bear it was, but it was brown, ha. I watched it in the tree line for about 10 min near Liard Hot Springs. I happened to be in a designated camping area, but there were no other tents. I walked over to the RV/Camper area, about 50 yards away and asked if I could put my tent up in between 2 Camp trailers. I grabbed my small tent and moved it and my stuff and then slept with a K-Bar in my hand, haha. I figured I would loose that fight, but the bear would walk away with a few extra holes in it. It would be nice if Canada would allow licensed concealed carry. Also on a side note, it is Amazing how quiet those big bears can be walking through the woods.
    #7
  8. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Whats also amazing is how fast they can move up a 40 degree incline.:eek1

    As ammo has gotten more scarce and more expensive, I can't really shoot my .454 a couple of times a week to be even remotely proficient using it. So bottom line, I would never be able to place a head shot, under stress, at a fast moving target that sees me as dinner. I started to carry a can of spray in a holster instead. By all accounts, it works well, but I really hope I never have to test it out.

    If you opt to carry a can of spray, wear a holster for it so you have quick access to it at all times, otherwise its worthless. I think its also a good idea to buy a can to try out as well so you can see how it sprays. Make sure its pointed down wind or you will really fk yourself up.:lol3

    I've carried the food canisters on a bike. Its a PITA quite frankly, they don't pack well at all. In addition, if the food is not packed very tightly in the canister, it will only take about 50 miles of washboard to make "everything stew." :lol3

    Like others have said, keep your food and cooking area well away from where you sleep. That includes toiletries, like tasty toothpaste, deodorant, etc. If you lose your food, so be it. If you're back packing and can't afford to lose that food, then use the canister.
    #8
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  9. YetiHunter

    YetiHunter 2 Wheels & Flyrod

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    Some 20 years ago a black bear attacked and killed 2 people at the Liard Hot Springs. The bear you saw could have been a grizz in that area, but they are noticeably different up close, which it sounds like you were.

    If we had CC here in Canada, I think I would still go with spray. Less aiming, less chance of missing for someone who is not really comfortable with handguns. I would likely shoot myself in the foot if I was in a hurry. Maybe the bear would be laughing so hard he'd leave me alone?
    #9
  10. AKTREADs

    AKTREADs Been here awhile

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    Bears unlike dogs(coyotes/wolves)& cats(cougars/lynx)will not & do not have to come from down wind to sent you.

    Dogs or Cats, either wild or domestic,are dumber that a box of hammers compared to any bear.

    Pepper spray or tobasco /hot sauce are basically the same smell to a bear.

    AIR HORNS work....best.
    AIR HORNS can be legally concealed.

    Grizz attacks-stand proud until slapped,then play dead.
    Black Bear attacks-FIGHT TO YOUR LAST BREATH.

    Keep a clean camp
    Store food off the ground, 50yd distant
    #10
  11. Pint

    Pint multi-tasker

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    Air Horns....had not thought of that. Thats good to know.
    #11
  12. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

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    I'm a professional guide and outdoor educator-I carry a 10oz can. Mainly because I work with minors and liability is an issue. I can't carry a gun around them, but I do carry both when i'm doing my own thing: subsistence hunting/ trapping, gathering or fishing. The spray is pretty affective, but circumstances aren't always in your favor, like wind etc. I reach for the spray first, simply because, the both of you can walk away from it and it's not life or death. But, when I'm hunting I carry a custom .457 co-pilot. That thing is a thumper-mainly because if i'm going to shoot something, I want it dead. I always carry it Eskimo style across my chest. :D Just my two cents.

    My program opened 25 years ago and we maintain a record of zero attacks on any of our clients or patients. I'm talking in the thousands, our record for field days are in the hundreds/thousands. Thats a pretty good record. Our best defense is planning ahead and being smart while were in the back country. We do encounter bears, but we follow protocols.
    #12
  13. reync

    reync n00b

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    I camp a fair bit around the state. The only place I've ever used a bear can is remote camping in Denali Nat park... because they are required there. I've never used one anywhere else. Just follow the triangle rule (food and smelly stuff one place, cooking another place, and sleeping a third place upwind) and you shouldn't ever have an issue. I've had bears investigate our food, I've had bears eat our food, but I've never been eaten.

    Works for me, YMMV.
    #13
  14. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    This may be a dumb question, but do you need to stay in the eating area with your beer?
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  15. ak bike

    ak bike Been here awhile

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    How much for the monkey ? :0)
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  16. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    I wish it was mine. I'd then have an excuse for a nice trunk for the ol' Girlie.
    #16
  17. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    <<Camping in Alaska-bear canisters?>>

    Never tried camping in a bear canister.......most are too small. I always use a tent. But......hey......we see a lot of folks from America doing some weird chit up here.....keeps us amused.:loco
    #17
  18. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Says he who disappears when the weather starts getting a touch chilly. :lol3

    How y'doin, Roger? Back home in the Great Land?
    #18
  19. Kodiakcarl

    Kodiakcarl hairy n00b

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    Years ago I worked for the wildlife refuge on Kodiak and my supervisor and I tested a few cannisters. We put some peanut butter in one and chained it to a big log. Came back later to check the first one which was open, empty and flattened. We chained on the next test subject and as we were walking away a bear moseyed out of the bushes. He walked up to the cannister and without even hesitating reared up and dropped his front paws on it. Air pressure just blew the lid off and he helped himself.

    I recommend from some fairly extensive camping in bear territory just keep your food away from your sleeping area. I've had good luck with a cooler wrapped in a tarp for a disguise as many bears around campsites recognize food containers.

    Just remember if you ask at a sporting goods store you will get a comletely different answer. Otherwise they can't sell you one of their worthless containers.
    #19
  20. KHud

    KHud Survivor Supporter

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    Would someone explain to me how you get the bear in the canister? As Wheeldog said, they are awful small.
    #20