BearVault BV475 Review
To carry a bear canister or not is the age-old question among backpackers – between the added weight/bulk and never seeming to find one that holds the perfect volume, the decision often comes down to requirements and regulations where you plan on hiking.
This summer, BearVault released two new sizes of bear canisters to strike this perfect balance between canister sizes. The BV475 and BV425 give hikers more options when it comes to food storage by introducing new sizes that fall in the middle of their previously offered options.
BearVault BV475 – Trek At-A-Glance
Size: 10.5in(h) x 8.7in(d)
Capacity: 2.5 gallons
The BearVault BV475 is designed to hold 5-6 days of food for a single hiker. You could also likely get away with holding multiple people’s food on overnight or shorter trips.
Circumstances of Review
I tested this bear canister on multiple summer backpacking trips in both the Tetons and Rocky Mountains of Montana. Trips ranged from overnight hikes to five days treks.
BearVault BV475 Features
- Model has been approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
- Lightweight yet high-volume thanks to the durable polycarbonate construction
- Transparent design allows you to see and find specific food items easily
- Strap guides that allow you to strap your canister into place if needed
- Thoughtful construction that includes rounds corners for quick unpacking, wide opening, and smooth plastic that is designed to be slippery when in a bear’s jaws, claws, or paws
- Doubles as a camp stool when lid is fully closed
How to Decide Between a Bear Bag and Bear Canister?
Location & Needed Protection: When making your decision between carrying a bear bag or bear canister, much of this comes down to the location where you will be camping. “Problem Bears” that know how to retrieve a bear bag hanging in a tree are becoming increasingly common, and many governing bodies will enforce food storage guidelines that require bear canisters.
In addition, many long trails have certain areas where canisters are required. Although you can sometimes pull a longer day to avoid camping in these areas, it pays to do your research and plan strategically on which type of food storage and camping option makes the most sense.
READ NEXT –
- Desolation Wilderness Now Requires Bear-Resistant Food Storage
- ATC Recommends Bear-Resistant Food Storage Along Entire Appalachian Trail
Weight: A good old-fashioned bear bag is inherently going to be lighter weight than any bear canister currently sold on the market. However, this is one area where shaving ounces may cause more harm than good. Always carefully consider your location and the level of food protection that you need before ditching your bear canister for a bear bag. While there are many places in the US where hanging a bear bag works fine, these areas are slowly shrinking due to improper food storage, which in turn leads to problem bears. Be smart in your thinking, and prioritize ditching weight in different areas before forgoing proper food storage.
BearVault BV475 Pros
The Perfect Size: I have been using BearVault canisters for years and have always struggled with finding the perfect size to match my needs. The BV450-Jaunt model always felt a bit too small – especially when wanting to share the canister with another hiker to cut down on combined weight. On the other hand, the BV500-Journey model was too big unless I was going out for extended distances.
All this being said, I was over the moon to find out that the brand was introducing a new mid-sized canister to fill this gap. The BV475-Trek model is the happy medium between their two flagship sizes. It’s large enough to hold food for two people on a long weekend but small enough to be used solo if you wanted to extend your trip by a few more days. It’s a lighter option for long-distance hikers who excel at packing light and compact meals.
Thoughtful Design: BearVault’s motto is “made by backpackers, tested by bears,” and this catchphrase has definitely proven to be true. Details like using clear plastic to assist in searching for specific snacks and the canister doubling as a camp seat are telltale signs that the company has a deep understanding of what elevates life in the backcountry. The canister has a unique wide, round shape and is comparatively slippery to reduce easy leverage for bears of all sizes. This smooth, round design also assists in easy packing and removal as you set up or break down camp.
BearVault BV475 Cons
Are You Smarter than a Bear? As previously mentioned, I have been using BearVault canisters for several years and have admittedly always had difficulty opening the lid. It sometimes takes me a few minutes to finally get past the bear proofing – especially after a long day. I go back and forth on whether this is a con. On one hand, the container is more likely to be bearproof if opening it is a challenge for me, but on the other, it’s frustrating not to be able to access my food as quickly as I want when in the backcountry.
With this in mind, I would practice opening the canister before leaving on your trip. Ensure you feel comfortable accessing your food while in the backcountry – especially if you are going out solo.
The BearVault BV475 is a welcome addition to the two previous sizes in the BearVault line. Designed to carry 5-6 days of food for a single hiker, the bear canister is ideal for backpackers who will be able to hit town every week or so yet still want the flexibility of spending more than a few days on the trail. At $86, the price is fair compared to other options – especially considering the canister should last many years. The BV475 is my new go-to canister for solo trips and weekend excursions with friends where we want to cut down on combined weight by carrying one canister.
Comparable Bear Canisters
BearVault BV450 Jaunt Bear Canister – $76.95 / 2 lbs. 1.6 oz.
Counter Assault Bear Keg Food Container – $89.95 / 3lbs 10oz
Ursack AllMitey Bear and Critter Sack 10 Liters – $154.95 / 9.5oz
*The BearVault BV475 was donated for the purpose of review.
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