BWCA Blue barrel users - what now? Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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SinglePortage
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08/14/2021 10:28AM  
I have never used a blue barrel for food during past trips, but I was thinking of giving it a try; until now that is.

What are you guys gonna do now? Hanging a heavy food barrel will be an adventure. I am interested is hearing about what people plan on doing now. My food pack is always pretty light at less than a pound a day, so hanging (when I did) was not too tough. But I know that many of you bring a lot of fresh food that tastes great, but is much heavier.
 
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ockycamper
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08/14/2021 11:54AM  
We will be bringing Bear Vault BV500 containers. In my camp, 4 containers for 5 men for 5 days of breakfasts and dinners.

Everyone will be bringing a BV450 for their personal lunch/snack stuff.

This also eliminates the problems with squirrels, chipmunks and mice.
 
gymcoachdon
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08/14/2021 12:16PM  
Assuming you pay retail, and don't already own those, that is $670 to outfit your group for this trip. But you will have them for future trips, and your food, and hopefully the bears, will be safe. Some people can't, or won't, spend that much extra for their trip.
 
ockycamper
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08/14/2021 12:49PM  
I paid $69 for BV 500's. I think they are $79.95 right now. Most sites you can sign up as a new customer and get a 10-15% off coupon. You can on AustinKayak. Even at full price, the four BV500's would be $320. There is no shipping on Amazon or most sites. I have had mine (I own 6) for many years. When not tripping I use them for food storage at home. They are cheaper then Ursacks and have far more uses. They also allow the bearvaults to be divided up between trippers. I will take the four BV500's and assign one guy to each. They would much rather do that then one of them haul around a 60 litre blue barrel. Or even 30 litre for that matter.
 
TuscaroraBorealis
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08/14/2021 12:55PM  
SinglePortage: "I have never used a blue barrel for food during past trips, but I was thinking of giving it a try; until now that is.

What are you guys gonna do now? Hanging a heavy food barrel will be an adventure. "


How much do you think those empty barrels weigh? Why would they be more of an adventure than hanging any other type of pack etc.?
 
ockycamper
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08/14/2021 01:04PM  
a 60 litre is 8 pounds. That is empty. I don't have any 8 pound packs. If our groups decided to hang, we would be ditching the blue barrels and going to ultralightweight packs.
 
gymcoachdon
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08/14/2021 01:13PM  
ockycamper: "... Even at full price, the four BV500's would be $320. "

Exactly, then add the 5 BV 450's you are taking at $69.99, roughly $350, and you have $670.
 
SinglePortage
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08/14/2021 01:40PM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "SinglePortage: "I have never used a blue barrel for food during past trips, but I was thinking of giving it a try; until now that is.


What are you guys gonna do now? Hanging a heavy food barrel will be an adventure. "



How much do you think those empty barrels weigh? Why would they be more of an adventure than hanging any other type of pack etc.? "


I am considering the food weight too. Most of the "hanging branches" that seem to get used look a little weak to hang 50+ pound food barrels.
 
TuscaroraBorealis
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08/14/2021 01:54PM  
SinglePortage: "TuscaroraBorealis: "SinglePortage: "I have never used a blue barrel for food during past trips, but I was thinking of giving it a try; until now that is.



What are you guys gonna do now? Hanging a heavy food barrel will be an adventure. "




How much do you think those empty barrels weigh? Why would they be more of an adventure than hanging any other type of pack etc.? "



I am considering the food weight too. Most of the "hanging branches" that seem to get used look a little weak to hang 50+ pound food barrels. "


But they will support 40-45 pounds of food in another container/pack???

I can certainly understand that not ever having/using one that it wouldn't be the ideal under the present restrictions but, unless money is no object, IMHO it's definitely not worth purchasing a new storage system if one already has the barrel setup.



 
jdoutdoors
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08/14/2021 04:53PM  
ockycamper: "I paid $69 for BV 500's. I think they are $79.95 right now. Most sites you can sign up as a new customer and get a 10-15% off coupon. You can on AustinKayak. Even at full price, the four BV500's would be $320. There is no shipping on Amazon or most sites. I have had mine (I own 6) for many years. When not tripping I use them for food storage at home. They are cheaper then Ursacks and have far more uses. They also allow the bearvaults to be divided up between trippers. I will take the four BV500's and assign one guy to each. They would much rather do that then one of them haul around a 60 litre blue barrel. Or even 30 litre for that matter."

While I think carrying a bunch of small barrels in a portage pack will make for an extremely uncomfortable lumpy mess, I found that Backcountry has 15% off, so the BV500s come out to $67.96 each with free shipping. I can't use them to replace my blue barrels as again it seems quite un-ergonomic to do so, but I bought 2 for backpacking, solo trips, and sharing. I will also use Ursacks. Still, a single barrel with a fairly comfortable harness trumps all of these other methods. I really hope BearVault makes a big 60L barrel and gets it certified by the IGBC. They seemed quite open to the idea when I emailed them begging them to make such a thing.
 
08/14/2021 05:03PM  
I am over the surprise, confusion, and frustration of the SNF order and now am just going to adjust and comply. I strongly encourage everyone else to as well.

We don't know for certain if the order will expire at the end of this year, or maybe next year, or if it will be made permanent. I'll hold on to my 30 liter barrel for now and hope to use it in Canada next year.

In the mean time, I've upgraded my old bear bag ropes and carabiners, and added another pulley. 2 pulleys should make a 30 lbs load feel about like a 15 lbs load, and I am certain I can find a suitably strong branch in almost every campsite.

I also added a BV500, as I really wanted something so I could hang my food and still have something around the kitchen area that I can close up quickly with any small stuff. I figure as soon as I set camp up, I'll pull food for the night's meal and morning, plus the whiskey ration and keep it in the BV along with a day or two's dog food and my other smellables, then I can lift the bear bag before dinner and not worry about it until I'm packing up the next day. One of the things I really liked about the barrel as a solo camper is I could close it up quickly every time I stepped away from it, like taking my dirty dishwater back behind camp, going to the latrine, or brushing my teeth. I don't want to leave my food bag unattended in those situations, nor do I want to raise and drop it every time.

I use to be really good at hanging and now I get to practice it again. Along with the BV and now that Ursacks are back in the mix, I'll use all 3 depending on the type and length of trip.
 
sueb2b
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08/14/2021 10:47PM  
I have a BV500, but I'm still trying to figure out if it fits everything, and if not, what am I carrying it in. One of my options...the 30L blue barrel.

I also got stuff to hang a food pack, regardless of what I decide in terms of transport.
 
mschi772
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08/15/2021 09:27AM  
jdoutdoors: "I really hope BearVault makes a big 60L barrel and gets it certified by the IGBC. They seemed quite open to the idea when I emailed them begging them to make such a thing."

Hopefully they're actually interested rather than feigning it for the positive PR.
Obviously bear resistance would be the priority, but it would be swell if a final product could utilize some of our existing barrel "infrastructure" like harnesses and organizer bags.

If mimicking existing barrels to reuse accessories is off the table, I wouldn't mind something more like 40 or 50 liter. A fully-loaded 60 seems to push many people's limits, but a 30 is often not enough for many groups. 30 and 60 liter are the de-facto sizes we use merely because that's what industrial open-head drums are, but if something is going to be purpose-built for wilderness trippers, we need not limit ourselves to those sizes.
 
carbon1
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08/16/2021 05:04AM  
When one sees the power that a bear brings to the situation.

Making something light weight and "bear proof" is a challenge for sure.

Making it easily packable makes it more of a challenge.\

Then the whole problems of making it profitable comes in.

It is on the whole a limited market. Compared to most items.



 
IndyCanoe
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08/16/2021 08:23AM  
We have used the blue barrel for several years and I have used it for the bear hang each year with no issues before it was required. My thought was always that neither technique was fool proof so if I combined the two my chances of success should improve. Just trying to stack the odds of success in my favor.

I use the exact recommended technique from the forest service document. I use a 5mm climbing rope with a climbing pulley and send that rope over a thicker branch but through the notch close to the base of the tree. then I run the second rope through that pulley with my blue barrel on attached. As I pull the barrel up I also pull it out away from the trunk. The first night or 2 it takes my wife to give me a hand getting the barrel started in the air but after that it gets pretty easy. Using a piece of wood as a rope handle to pull on can make a huge difference.

I don't want to add stress and wear and tear to the barrel harness to support that weight on the hang. I take a piece of webbing with a loop on each end. make a constrictor loop that sits just below the rim of the barrel and use that for the hanging point.

I'll note that our trips are typically just the 2 of us for 7-8 days, if you have a larger group maybe it doesn't work as well. Adding a second pulley similar to jaywalker will greatly increase the mechanical advantage getting the food in the air.

I used a BV500 to hike half of the John Muir Trail this summer in the Sierras. It was not nearly as bad to use as I expected. It does require some advance planning to get everything inside. I am always up for adding more gear so maybe adding a second one might be an option going forward and eliminate the blue barrel.

 
ockycamper
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08/16/2021 08:50AM  
Not sure why so many are looking at putting bearvaults in a blue barrel. You have dramatically increased the weight. If it is an issue of carrying it, we have found that four bearvaults will go in a Sealine boundary pack very easily. If loaded with dehydrated foods, the weight in less then taking blue barrels loaded with food.
 
dele
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08/17/2021 07:49AM  
Aren't the blue barrels bear resistant? Isn't that the whole point of their existence? We have always simply set our blue barrel away from camp in the woods, tethered to a tree. Outfitters have assured us that this is an effective way of protecting our food from bears. Is the point of this post to say that the blue barrels are no longer seen as safe? If not, why not?
 
jdoutdoors
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08/17/2021 10:39AM  
dele: "Aren't the blue barrels bear resistant? Isn't that the whole point of their existence? We have always simply set our blue barrel away from camp in the woods, tethered to a tree. Outfitters have assured us that this is an effective way of protecting our food from bears. Is the point of this post to say that the blue barrels are no longer seen as safe? If not, why not?"

Did you miss the USFS order for stronger bear-resistant food storage (along with any other scented items)? Only IGBC-approved containers are now allowed. This excludes any blue barrel on the market. Ursacks and BearVaults are allowed, but there is nothing in the 30-60L range to replace our beloved blue barrels.
 
ockycamper
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08/17/2021 11:57AM  
Our guys hated the blue barrels. We would have a weeks worth of food in there and would end up dumping most of it out every time we needed something. They were heavy to carry, as well as large and bulky.

We switched to bearvaults several years ago. The initial mistake we made is having one guy try to transport them all (typically four). Now we divide them up one per canoe and everyone is happy.

We divide food up in the barrels by day needed and label the barrel for which day it is for. And we can put the trash back in it after use.

No love lost with us on ditching the blue barrels.
 
dele
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08/17/2021 12:15PM  
jdoutdoors: "dele: "Aren't the blue barrels bear resistant? Isn't that the whole point of their existence? We have always simply set our blue barrel away from camp in the woods, tethered to a tree. Outfitters have assured us that this is an effective way of protecting our food from bears. Is the point of this post to say that the blue barrels are no longer seen as safe? If not, why not?"


Did you miss the USFS order for stronger bear-resistant food storage (along with any other scented items)? Only IGBC-approved containers are now allowed. This excludes any blue barrel on the market. Ursacks and BearVaults are allowed, but there is nothing in the 30-60L range to replace our beloved blue barrels."


I'd seen there was an order, but didn't read it thoroughly since I have no trips planned in the immediate future. It never occured to me that a container called a "bear barrel" and marketed by outfitters as an alternative to hanging wouldn't meet the requirements of the order. Until I clicked on this thread, that is. I struggle to see on what basis the blue barrels don't qualify, as they are very secure when equipped with the lever-based closure system I've seen on them all.

It's also disappointing that outfitters are marketing something as bear resistant that doesn't meet USFS requirements. That will create a lot of confusion among people (like me) who have used the barrels before and assume they meet the requirements.
 
08/17/2021 10:03PM  
We brought our blue barrel and a Garcia canister for 3 people for 10 days. I managed to hang the barrel on all six campsites. The starting weight was over 40 lbs.

My primary method was to use 3 ropes with the clothesline method. Two of the ropes (lightweight, strong Dyneema based) get thrown over branches near the trunk of two trees, hopefully about 15 feet apart. The third rope was run through two pulleys for a 3:1 mechanical advantage. One carabiner connects the two ropes over the branches and holds one pulley, and the other pulley is carabinered to the pack. After carefully raising and tensioning the two ropes in the trees, pull up and tie off the rope running through the pulleys. For pulleys, I bought Harken 22mm double and a single with becket. The kit was about 10 ounces.
 
carbon1
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08/18/2021 05:22AM  
What makes a camp site a 5 IMHO is a great tree to hang ones food pack from.

But then a camp wise raiding bear well first look at the normal food hanging trees.

Then climb them chew through the rope or launch them selves onto the food pack and break the rope or rip it open on the way down.

Camp raiding bears should be dealt with swiftly and forcibly to teach them not to mess with humans. t

Or be removed permanently.

There really no reason a bear in a state that has a very viable bear population.

Should be allowed to disrupt the lives of thousands of humans.


 
Portage99
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08/18/2021 06:52AM  
I will take bear vaults and such. Hanging (for me) takes a crazy amount of time depending on the campsite. Not worth it. I am sure people with a lot of experience get better and better at the skill.
 
08/23/2021 10:09AM  
Bear vs. Hanging Pack


Guess I'm stuck with my Bear Vault now. I'll still use my barrel to store stuff in my gear closet, it works great for that and I built a special place for it.

 
SinglePortage
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08/23/2021 12:10PM  
cycle003: "We brought our blue barrel and a Garcia canister for 3 people for 10 days. I managed to hang the barrel on all six campsites. The starting weight was over 40 lbs.


My primary method was to use 3 ropes with the clothesline method. Two of the ropes (lightweight, strong Dyneema based) get thrown over branches near the trunk of two trees, hopefully about 15 feet apart. The third rope was run through two pulleys for a 3:1 mechanical advantage. One carabiner connects the two ropes over the branches and holds one pulley, and the other pulley is carabinered to the pack. After carefully raising and tensioning the two ropes in the trees, pull up and tie off the rope running through the pulleys. For pulleys, I bought Harken 22mm double and a single with becket. The kit was about 10 ounces."


I have Pack-A-Pull pulley system that weighs about two ounces that I use when I have a heavy food pack. Dyneema chord is amazing! Scary strong, small diameter and does not absorb water.
 
08/23/2021 03:41PM  
They work great for holding wine grapes during harvest!
 
Bromel
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08/30/2021 06:43PM  
I don't understand why you would want 6 or more food containers? Sounds like more individual items to carry. Our food pack for 6 days usually weighs about 80 lbs in the beginning and we have never had any trouble hanging it in a tree.
 
ockycamper
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08/31/2021 08:27AM  
We divide up the bearvaults one per person and they carry them in their packs. They also put their "snacks" in their bearvaults. Eliminates hanging, and no one in our groups want to carry or hang anything that is 80 lbs.
 
08/31/2021 09:10AM  
I had three vaults BV 500’s. Gave one to daughter... I bought the CCS explorer pack to carry the two vaults and could go basically eighteen days (solo) at a time. So easily on my forty day trip did a short loop East from Gunflint Lake with one vault, then one resupply going west with the other two. My dog had her two packs that I hung with all her food when I felt I needed to. I never left the vaults in the pack in camp. I placed them not far from camp in a depression so they couldn’t be rolled away. I don’t know why you’d want one big BV vs two BV5OO’s... the two side by side make a much better load then a big round thing on your back. The CCS pack has some foam, but you can add more if your that sensitive. I basically got all my kitchen stuff in there with the vaults making use of the gaps. Also, I used my OP sacks from my Ursacks inside the vaults. And one of the most useful tips I got from Cliff Jacobson was packing my food. Of course I tried to always go one step further, but packing foods in containers where you eliminate odors helps immensely.
I’ll just add... the size of the vault is mainly where you have the strongest unit for the thickness and where the bear cannot typically manhandle or grip it to well. Most places that require such a device are backpacking areas. The Bear Vault folks have been working to make a new improved vault for years. I was supposed to be in line to test something that was coming out eight years ago. But it could never stand up to the rigorous treatment the current vault can. Granted, when new, and in the cold they are harder to open. But there is always a way and once you come up with a good technique it’s a nonissue. And if you ever bought into the idea the “blue barrel” was bear resistant? I’ll sell you some ocean front property in Arizona. Haha! The reason the blue barrel works, isn’t so much it’s ability to protect food from the claws, teeth and power of a bear. It was its ability to conceal the odors a bit better should you pack your food correctly in the first place and if properly stashed a hungry bear would typically not find it.
 
ockycamper
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08/31/2021 09:44AM  
We have found that four BV500's will fit in a Sealline pack. However, it works better farming out one vault to each paddler to carry in their personal pack. Most guys bring far too many clothes and unneccessary gear. We go for a week and have found that 6 men, 5 days of meals is typically 4-5 vaults depending on how much we want to eat (we cook breakfasts and dinners).

The only reason I see for those hanging on to the big blue barrels is that that is what they have always done. The bearvaults are far lighter, can be distributed between the group and don't require hanging. You can also see what is in them. We load them dinners on the bottom, breakfasts on the top.
 
jdoutdoors
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09/01/2021 09:55AM  
As far as comfort goes, I think the blue barrels are quite comfortable with a LevelSix harness, about as comfortable as a cylinder on your back can be. We don't do individual portage packs on my trips, just day packs, so carrying your own food isn't an option. Even then, for 8-9 days, a BV500 does not seem like it can hold enough food for me + my share of group food (like oil, fish crisp, seasonings, lemons, onions, etc). If we had enough BV500s, we could split the food up as necessary. The added mass of the BV500s for the same internal volume as a blue barrel means the BV500s weigh more. As well, there is wasted volume in a pack when you stick cylinders in there, so you need to fill those gaps with something like a jacket or tarp, otherwise it truly is wasted. With a single barrel, you get ideal ergonomics and optimal space use.

All of that is why I would prefer one large barrel (BV or otherwise- just get it IGBC approved I guess) rather than a bunch of small barrels. You'd think it would be pretty obvious that it's more efficient to use the single large container.
 
ockycamper
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09/01/2021 10:26AM  
No obvious at all. Our guys all bring Sealline type packs in with their hammocks and personal gear. We have done the blue barrel, and we have done bearvaults. We take a group of 10 to 20 men up every fall and to a man they would rather carry one bearvault across the portages then portage an 80 lbs blue barrell or mess with hanging one.

They are also much better for access as you can see what is in them and you aren't digging to the bottom of a 60 litre blue barrell.
 
jdoutdoors
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09/01/2021 01:17PM  
ockycamper: "No obvious at all. Our guys all bring Sealline type packs in with their hammocks and personal gear. We have done the blue barrel, and we have done bearvaults. We take a group of 10 to 20 men up every fall and to a man they would rather carry one bearvault across the portages then portage an 80 lbs blue barrell or mess with hanging one.


They are also much better for access as you can see what is in them and you aren't digging to the bottom of a 60 litre blue barrell."


Surely you mean 10-20 men groups split up across various trips, right? Considering the limit is 9...

Our barrels usually weigh around 50lbs, so you have my condolences. Also, hanging barrels was not necessary until this recent order. I use a barrel to get away from hanging, because I know I won't put enough effort into finding the perfect tree, nor will I want to deal with hanging and lowering several times throughout the day (since we're not talking some optimized pulley setup).

If I was doing a group solo trip where everyone carried their own stuff and was in their own solo canoe, then a BV500 per person makes sense... but those aren't the kind of trips I do. 2 portage packs and 1 barrel per 2 people. For 4 people we could get away with 3 portage packs and 2 barrels but we usually bring 4 portage packs to make them lighter, plus we have to double carry anyway so it doesn't matter if we bring 1 more pack. In our case, we'd be trading an ergonomic 50lb barrel for a lumpy 55lb pack full of BV500s. It just doesn't make sense, cost wise or space wise.
 
ockycamper
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09/01/2021 01:27PM  
We take 14 to 18 up every September and then split into 3 groups.

You seem to take more food then us. We can go a week with 4 BV500's for 6 men. In all honesty, most of the guys don't put them in their packs. They just carry their portage pack on their backs, and one BV500 under their arms.

Another option we have used is that you can put 4 BV500's into a Sealline pack and carry it that way.

We seemed to have gone the opposite way of some. We started out with Blue Barrels, but tried the bearvaults and liked them better. We also use almost exclusively dehydrated foods so we squeeze the air out of the bags when we pack them into the bearvaults. You can get a lot in there doing that.
 
Ohiopikeman
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09/01/2021 08:42PM  
I contacted BearVault to inquire about the possibility of making a larger product such as a 60L vault. My inquiry....

Many canoe campers in Minnesota's BWCA and Ontario's Quetico rely upon 60L "blue barrels" for food storage. The idea is that they lock-in the odors which makes them less interesting for bears to investigate. Due to a very dry year and lots of bear problems, the forest service in Minnesota issued an order that only officially bear resistant containers may be used in the BWCA. This leaves me, many BWCA fans, and all of the local outfitters with many really nice 60L barrel harnesses with no legal barrels that will fit them. The BWCA sees around 250,000 visitors annually. Lots of these visitors have come to rely upon these 60L barrels. If your company were to manufacture a 60L barrel approved by the IGBC, I would be one of the first in line to buy two of them. Charge whatever it takes to make the project worthwhile; I'll pay it for a product that fills this void!

I did hear back from the company.....

David, I've been hearing these peeps from a few folks. We're tossing ideas around. Scaling a smaller canister to something much larger has a lot of challenges when it comes to strength ratios, in terms of those bears, so what we come up with may be a fair bit different. Clearly an emerging market though. Thanks for reaching out to us - we are working on it!

It would be really cool to have an actual "Bear Proof" container to fit into my CCS 60 Liter Quad Pocket Pack!

Dave
 
09/01/2021 09:47PM  
I’d take a 30L bear vault even…thanks for contacting them.

T
 
Exaybachay
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09/09/2021 09:24PM  
I have one of of those blue barrels somewhere. I always wanted one in a more earthy color. I guess the blue made a nice flag to let you know a campsite was occupied. But on the other had they did stock out and took away from the wilderness aesthetics.

If anyone heard of outfitters selling them out to replace them let me know.

Thanks
 
HowardSprague
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09/12/2021 06:03PM  
Exaybachay: "I have one of of those blue barrels somewhere. I always wanted one in a more earthy color. I guess the blue made a nice flag to let you know a campsite was occupied. But on the other had they did stock out and took away from the wilderness aesthetics.


If anyone heard of outfitters selling them out to replace them let me know.


Thanks"


Mine is in a CCS Barrel Pack in green. That's pretty earthy.
 
Chicagored
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09/14/2021 07:49AM  
I have been using ursacks for awhile now. Because everything I bring is dehydrated and/or vacuum sealed, I find that two of the larger size ursacks can hold enough for up to 3 people for 6 or 7 days. I think it was in 2017, I was camped solo on Loon Lake when a good sized bear came into my site twice while I was making dinner. Both times it went right by my Ursacks and ignored them. They were tied to trees about 5 feet off the ground. Over the next few days, I learned that the bear had gotten to quite a few hanging packs in the campsites around me.

IMHO, hanging wont solve the problem. The weight and size of proper tackle to hang is significant. Most people don't do it properly and bears are smart. Proper trees are hard to find. And people are lazy. Also, I have no doubt that the increase in inexperienced first time travelers over the last two years has contributed to the problem. Do the outfitters take the time to properly show how hanging is done? Or talk about properly handling food waste and used cooking oil? IDK. I know its impractical and costly, but if the forest service really wanted to solve the problem, it would install bear boxes at the campsites like I've seen in many national parks and forests. Or put in hanging rails designed for hanging food bags. Otherwise, people should be required to use approved bear proof containers.
 
ockycamper
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09/14/2021 08:26AM  
I would imagine the reason for not installing food containers on camp sites is that people would use them for garbage cans.

As with you, I have seen several camps destroyed by bears in cases where soft sided food packs were used, and even blue barrels. My hesitancy with using a Ursack is that I don't want to mess with a sack that the bear has rolled around in his mouth for 30 minutes trying to haul off.

Although bearvaults pose challenges for portaging (simply solved by each person carrying one bearvault), I have yet to see an instance in the BWCA where someone lost their food supply using bearvaults. Everyone points to one bear in the Adirondacks.
 
09/14/2021 09:23AM  
Just read thru this, had the time and thought it quite entertaining. I knew it would not apply to me at all. Never cared for canisters or barrels. Early adopter of Ursaks, even traditional hang is easy for me because I have managed to reduce weight and volume of my food a lot.
My typical 10 day solo food pack fits in an 11 liter roll top bag and weighs less than 10 pounds. And I normally have enough for several extra days. Long distance backpakers can do this, I figured I could also.

No I'm not limited in food style, and bake breads, cook meals like spaghetti, stroganoff, chili, jambalaya. Several tripping partners have referred to my pack and food bag as "The clown car of packing" and seem amazed at what I pull out to make a dinner.

What to do with blue barrels? Cut em in half and make planters.

butthead

 
gotwins
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09/15/2021 08:34PM  
Dang, I’m surprised how many of you bring up freeze dried backpacking food. I hope to not be downwind of you! One day this year we had Bear Creek meals for lunch AND dinner. It was like Blazing Saddles around the fire that night. Never again!

Butthead, I continue to be amazed at your food packing abilities. You need to label everything in that photo for us.
 
yellowcanoe
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09/16/2021 08:16AM  
ockycamper: "I would imagine the reason for not installing food containers on camp sites is that people would use them for garbage cans.


As with you, I have seen several camps destroyed by bears in cases where soft sided food packs were used, and even blue barrels. My hesitancy with using a Ursack is that I don't want to mess with a sack that the bear has rolled around in his mouth for 30 minutes trying to haul off.


Although bearvaults pose challenges for portaging (simply solved by each person carrying one bearvault), I have yet to see an instance in the BWCA where someone lost their food supply using bearvaults. Everyone points to one bear in the Adirondacks."


"everyone" is a blatant broad brush. Yellow Yellow did teach her cubs how to break into BV. The response was that BV redesigned the container. If you want to cite something make sure you are up to date. BV are no longer banned in the Eastern High Peaks.
 
ockycamper
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09/16/2021 08:25AM  
Didn't mean to offend. I am well aware of the changes to the Bearvaults. I have some of the originals, and several of the new versions.

My point is that when this subject comes up, it seems that someone always points to one bear in the Adirondacks as proof that bearvaults are not bear proof. I have yet to see a confirmed story of a bear in the BWCA that penetrated or hauled off a BV500. I have seen many stories of bears hauling off Ursacks, and even penetrating them. Lots of stories on Blue Barrels being compromised by bears.

Our groups have used all three systems. We started with blue barrels. They were so heavy that no one wanted to protage them, and we too had a harness system. The decision seems to revolve around how you do group tripping. If you want to bring one food container, and one guy carry it, then I can see the Blue Barrel working. If, however, you don't want to heft 60 to 80 lbs, want to be able to see whats in the container, want to sort the meals by day in each container and label them as such, and have one canoe take one BV500 each. . . the pluses of the bearvaults seem to far outway the other approach.
 
yellowcanoe
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09/16/2021 04:07PM  
totally agree!
Can you take a pic of your BV collection or maybe one old next to one new?

I have a Counter Assault bearproof container but its not waterproof. I have to line the thing with a garbage bag cut down.
 
09/16/2021 06:00PM  
gotwins: "Dang, I’m surprised how many of you bring up freeze dried backpacking food. I hope to not be downwind of you! One day this year we had Bear Creek meals for lunch AND dinner. It was like Blazing Saddles around the fire that night. Never again!


Butthead, I continue to be amazed at your food packing abilities. You need to label everything in that photo for us."





Miscellaneous containers across the top, cooking oil, maple syrup, freeze dried mixed herbs, freeze dried chives,, squeeze tube butter, Polar Pure in case of filter failure, Mio and KoolAid, cinnamon mints, cook gear, stove, coffee press, fuel bottles.
Bagged left column, Pats Back Country Beer (no longer in business), home pre-cooked bacon, freeze dried turkey, home dried beef, home dried Italian sausage, home dried breakfast sausage.
Next column bagged, potato pancake mix, soup mixes, dried sour cream, dried whole milk, dried cheddar cheese.
Next column, pasta noodles, dried tomatoes, freeze dried mixed vegetables, freeze dried mushrooms, mashed potato mix, gravy mix.
Right column, mixed nuts, mixed freeze dried fruits, 70% dark chocolate wafers, home baked salted rye crisps, coffee.

Thanks!
butthead
 
gotwins
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09/16/2021 06:56PM  
Impressive, as always, Butthead! Thanks for taking the time to do this.

I need to pick up some PolarPure. Lost mine sometime in the mid aughts. Thought it was no longer availble due to some DHS regs, but there it is on amazon and walmart.com! I have a strange memory of actually not minding the taste...
 
BearBurrito
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09/17/2021 10:06AM  
gotwins: "Impressive, as always, Butthead! Thanks for taking the time to do this."

I agree. Thank you!
 
andym
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09/17/2021 02:35PM  
The issues with PolarPure had to do with iodine crystals being useful for making meth. And so sales were being restricted and some places required id to buy it. They originator, who is quite a character, was pretty fed up and so I think the supply dried up. I wonder if he sold it to a company that was better able to cope with the required record keeping.

I still have some around a like it for a backup to filtering. I don’t think I’ll go back to it for my primary water treatment though.

The best thing I can say about the taste is that when I had to drink iodine solution for CT scans, i would sit there thinking that it tasted like camping.
 
SinglePortage
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09/17/2021 11:43PM  
gotwins: "Dang, I’m surprised how many of you bring up freeze dried backpacking food. I hope to not be downwind of you! One day this year we had Bear Creek meals for lunch AND dinner. It was like Blazing Saddles around the fire that night. Never again!


Butthead, I continue to be amazed at your food packing abilities. You need to label everything in that photo for us."


Bear Creek meals are not freeze dried are they? Sounds like a pretty bad situation though.
 
gotwins
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09/18/2021 08:20AM  
I suppose they aren’t freeze dried, not sure,
Maybe just dehydrated? Anyway, our crew added quite a bit of methane to the environment that day. A day we hope to never repeat! Do others notice more human exhaust production with the backpacking meals?
 
napinch
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09/18/2021 11:46AM  
Ok, this may be a little off topic to the thread, but I was curious if any of the responders to this thread and the one on the planning forum fall into the camp of using a cooler of some type to bring in fresh food. I know that there are plenty on this site that do and was curious as to how it will affect your trip planning. And of course what about all of the motor entry sites on Basswood, Moose, or Trout.... Those bringing a small john boat and motor will now be relegated to using a bear vault..hmmm. I am guessing that most who plan that type of trip would be bringing in more fresh food because they have eliminated the portaging aspect.

I guess I will see if this is in play next season before I start changing up some of my gear.
 
gotwins
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09/18/2021 12:27PM  
We often bring a small cooler for the first two night's food (steaks/pork chops, followed with Chicken the next day) plus some cheese, butter, etc. We either use a soft sided bag with everything frozen, or a smaller "playmate" sized cooler. By the time we need the meat, it's usually thawed. At night, we simply hang the cooler up in the tree with the food bag. The soft sided cooler is nicer since it packs down as we empty it.
 
Jimholt210
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10/03/2021 07:57PM  
Not sure about methane. However, we got what we call “mud butt”. We used dehydrated to try and lighten the blue barrel. Won’t do that again. I’m late to this discussion. I was down with the flu this year and didn’t get to the BW for the first time in 20 plus years. Not sure but I think I’m at nearly 30 trips and I’ve seen only one bear in the park and that was the eastern region about 14 years ago. We aim for more remote areas, keep a clean camp and haven’t hung a pack since the 3rd trip. Back then the outfitter said the locals use a backpack and stack pots and pans on top to wake them if something messes with the pack. I invested in a barrel and harness. It seems these problems have come up with the influx of Bear Grylls and Les Stroud fans. Am I wrong? These ridiculously priced and inconvenient bear vaults are a pain. Our meals are somewhere between Buttheads fine looking pack and no freeze dried. Kind of like bachelor meets dorm room. I’m sure it will adapt somehow but will probably cost $300.
 
LarryS48
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10/06/2021 09:27AM  
I took my blue barrel to the Adirondacks. It worked fine.
 
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