Best Food Storage For Backpackers in Bear Country

By Shaggy Outdoor Team

August 18, 2022

picture of a bear for bearvault food storage page

Values are who we are, and our purpose in being. Being alive – our vitality – is about how we act on those values. At BearVault, we focus on core values – as a company, and as a collection of individuals. Our values inform our business decisions. This is infused in everything from product design, to manufacturing, marketing, shipping, and every little piece between. 

Jory and Tracy, BearVault Owners

BearVault Make The Best Food Storage Container for Backpackers

Did you know that there are restrictions in bear country that requires you to have a storage container for your food?

BearVault makes a lightweight food container that is Bear Resistant for family campers and trekkers looking for a backcountry experience without the concern of food storage.

It began as an idea in 2002, the BearVault was born. Early development of the BearVault started in 2003 and there have been a few modifications throughout the years. 

As a solor backpacker or backpacking family, the concern is to keep the bears wild and the people safe. The lightweight canisters do just that and with the certification of the IGBC and the SIBBG this product is one of the best on the market for bear-resistant food storage. 

picture with grizzly bear approved logo

There is a Size Canister for Every Occasion

You're getting ready for your next backpacking trip and come to realize you need a Bear Resistant Food Canister. What to do? Don't worry BearVault can provide the best options. 

Is your trip for 1 day or 7 days? The length of your trip will determine the amount of food you need to carry and the size necessary to carry your food on your trip.

All four of the canisters offered by BearVault are bear resistant so no need to worry about that. So which size do you need? Let's look at what's available based on the days expected to be in the field. 

  • BV500-Journey is for a 7 Day Backpacking or Family Trip
  • BV475-Trek is for a 5-6 Day Backpacking or Family Trip
  • BV450-Jaunt is for a 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip
  • BV425-Sprint is for a 1-2 Day Backpacking Trip
BearVault 4 Canister Options by Shaggy Outdoors

Where Do I Need To Use A Bear Resistant Container?

You should use a canister like the BearVault anywhere Bears are known to live. The truth is not every forest area requires you to place your food in a Bear Resistant Container. But, if you are a conservationist, hunter, or just a day backpacker you need to concern yourself with safety, and having your food secured is safe for you and the animals.

Locations that require Bear Resistant Containers:

  • Pacific Crest Trail
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Continental Divide Trail
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Lake Clark National Park
  • Rocky Mountains National Park

The list of locations just keeps going. Check out the Required Areas page on the BearVault website for a complete list. 


How BearVault the Company and People Care About the Environment

While building the product the owners were concerned about their Carbon Footprint and the environment. They concerned themselves with the Tier 1 footprint which involved the manufacturing level, but also once the product was in the market, and Tier 2 for the life of the product.

Their concerns took them to a Carbon Free Partnership level and even work to offset emissions. Truth is, BearVault as a company cares not only about the bears but our environment and their goal is for everyone to enjoy the outdoors for years to come.


Is This Canister Only for Grizzly Bears?

No, you should use the BearVault canister whenever you are in bear country. Black Bear, Brown Bear, Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear. Bear are hungry and will look for the easiest means for food.

Can't I Just Hang My Food From a Tree?

While a good choice if you have no other option. Hanging food does not take away from the smell of the food. Bears are known to climb trees and if you don't pick the right tree at the right height hanging your food may not have a good result.

Is my BearVault waterproof?

No, BearVault products are water resistant, but not designed to be submerged. If you are in an area with a large amount of rain or you are traveling by boat, you may use a dry sack with your vault.

Is my BearVault scent-proof?

No, BearVault canisters resist scent transmission. Bears have a keen sense of smell and it would be hard to find a scent-proof container.

Pros and Cons of the BearVault


  • Light weight 
  • Clear to see you food location within the canister  
  • SIBBG approved (Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group) 
  • Certified Bear Resistant by Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
  • The lid is replaceable so you can purchase another if your goes bad


  • The lid can be difficult to open with the tab system. Use of another tool may be necessary to push the tab out of the way.  
  • Size can be difficult to pack - check out the videos on the website for packing instructions

Final Thoughts on The BearVault

The Shaggy Outdoor team spends several weekends and days in the field hunting, camping, and fishing. We are in Black Bear country mostly in Arizona and find that having a bear-resistant canister can be very helpful to keep our food safe. 

The BearVault is not the only product on the market. But, we believe their care for the environment and the safety and security of the bears and people enjoying the backcountry make this company special.

The company's commitment to the environment and its policies on Leave No Trace are the Ethics I want to see in the companies I promote and buy from. Their appreciation for nature and love of the bears has no bounds. As proud supporters of several trail organizations nationally and locally in their back yard of Colorado, the BearVault family has our outdoor adventures as a concern every day. The Team at Shaggy Outdoors loves to work with and support the Leave No Trace responsibilities that every hiker and family has when enjoying the outdoors. 

When you're ready to check out the BearVault product click here and we'll redirect you to their website. You can check out the pricing and other offerings including the replacement lids. 

Want to know more about the sizing of the BearVault Canisters? Check out our detailed reviews of the four sizes by clicking on the links below. 

  • BV500-Journey is for a 7 Day Backpacking or Family Trip
  • BV475-Trek is for a 5-6 Day Backpacking or Family Trip
  • BV450-Jaunt is for a 3-4 Day Backpacking Trip
  • BV425-Sprint is for a 1-2 Day Backpacking Trip