We're using bear resistant containers during a trip through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah and New Mexico.
We chose the BearVault BV-500 because it is:
The Video Below - A look at the BearVault BV-500, including how to open it.
The biggest reason to use a bear vault is to save a bear. If bears learn that people and campsites are an easy source of food, then they become brave and continue to go to the food source. Close interaction between bear and humans can lead to a dangerous situation, where a bear may hurt or kill. If a bear kills a person (unless it is protecting cubs), that bear will be killed. Another reason to use bear canisters is to protect campers who come after you.
I found a variety of answers on how far away from camp the canister should be placed. Answers most consistently ranged from at least 100 feet to at least 100 yards. Always check with the park where you are staying for specifics. If a bear locker is available, that's the best place to put the canister. Putting the bear canister next to water, like a stream, river, pond or lake, is not a good idea. Animals frequent water sources and there is a chance a curious critter will knock the canister into the water.
Below - Video of a bear trying to open a bear canister - "Bear Encounters Bear Vault" by hillsnr
On REI's website - Information about bear canister basics including links to Parks pages about bear canister requirements: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bear-resistant-canisters.html
The U.S. Forest Service - Bear canister related information on menu planning, suggested food, packing the canister and more: http://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/food/bear-resistant-food-canister
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