Embracing the Bear Canister
I first started planning and buying gear for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike around 2 years ago. I did my research about what to bring to keep my food away from bears and smaller critters, and, at that time, almost everyone agreed that bear canisters weren’t necessary on the AT. I considered getting an Ursack for extra protection and ease of use, debating between a Major (to protect against bears) or a Minor (to protect against critters), but ultimately bought a really cool ultralight bear bagging kit from Zpacks which a number of people mentioned they found to be pretty critter-resistant. (I see that now Ursack has a new product called AllMitey with a laminated double layer of fabrics to make it effective against both bears and animals with sharp little teeth, which seems like it could be a good compromise.)
I am an uncoordinated person, especially when it comes to throwing, but I managed to get my bag successfully up in a tree in my yard a few times… after a whole lot of tries (and an unfortunate run-in with dog poop). I’m sure it took at least half an hour for me to get it hung appropriately. I wasn’t looking forward to going through that every night, but I hoped I would gradually get better at it and I also thought that my shoulder, which was causing me a lot of pain, would improve with physical therapy by the time I started my hike. Since the alternative of getting a bear canister involved carrying an extra 2 pounds, I had a hard time considering it.
Since then, the ATC has recommended carrying a bear canister on the entire trail (with a list of reasons), my shoulder issue has become even more of a problem, and I’ve learned a lot about my tendencies as a hiker. I’ve decided to embrace the bear canister.
I’m a worrier.
My hammock is not a great place to sit.
I’m using a Warbonnet Blackbird hammock, which has a bug net and a built-in structural ridge line that holds the bug net up, so it’s great for lying down, which is important for its main purpose of sleeping, but it’s not really the sort of hammock I find comfortable to hang out in while sitting up. I like the thought that if I want to spend time sitting around camp without going to bed my bear canister will provide me with a camp seat. And having a seat for my lunch and dinner breaks sounds appealing, too.
I tend to be in a mental fog after hiking all day.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.