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Re: Bear Vaults

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Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 01:10PM
Hi All,
Looking for advice on how to cram 8 nights 9 days worth of stuff into a Bear Vault. I have a BearVault BV400 which has 700 cu in of space.
Is it possible that I can even do this? I really prefer to avoid "cooking" beyond boiling water in the outdoors.
If anyone has pulled this off, I'd be appreciative of any advice.
I haven't tried my current menu in yet, but I'm not hopeful. . . . .





holz
avatar Re: Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 02:01PM
You can do 8 days if you repackage your food.

Breakfasts, put all your oatmeals in one bag bulk style. This takes up very little room.

Dinners, Mountain House or other brands you can repackage in sandwich bags.

For Lunches concentrate on foods with little air space.

Enertia Trail Foods, (google them), makes some really nice and small one person meals that will work very well.

I will be doing 10 days on the JMT with a BV 450 this summer.
10 Breakfasts, 9 lunches and 9 dinners.
avatar Re: Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 02:45PM
Seems like a stretch unless you like eating food that's totally unpalatable. I thought most people do resupplies if they're going longer than maybe 6 days. You might try using an additional canister. You could rent a Garcia for $5.

I could imagine some sort of high-energy, mostly fat food. I've heard that Hillary and Norgay ate peppermint oil/sugar cakes on the way to Everest. Sounds a bit nasty.

The highest calorie content would come from pure oil. But you'd probably get sick.
avatar Re: Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 04:23PM
It's doable. Done it many times.
REPACKAGE EVERYTHING into Glad Bags. (ok, not candy bars smiling smiley)
Check out Pasta-Roni. All you need is powdered milk and butter or oil.
Real Butter stays fine for many days. Repackage it and it lays super flat.
(the Pasta... not the butter... hahaha)
Could probably fit 50 of them in a bear can.
It's not just boil water tho. Gotta cook it for 5-7 minutes.
For lunch we usually just eat dried potatoes or soups which take up
next to nothing.
Cup-o-noodle is good but have to repackage and crush it. Takes up more space tho.
Don't put your first lunch and super in there... that saves some.

Some PCT'ers just eat power bars... smiling smiley Um... ah... Good luck with that

Pancakes (add water) are nice.. but mostly just take cream-of-wheat
and Fig Newtons.
Jerky cut up and put into different bag.

Gorge yourself before you leave and don't eat for the first 2 days...
... I'm kidding...





Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 06:13PM
Hi,
I see everyone says "sandwich bags" and not ziplocs. Is there a reason for this?
From the research I've been doing I'm thinking:
Oatmeal, TrailMix, Jerky, Tortillas, Almond Butter, Chocolate and 2 clif bars/day.
Unfortunately, the other person is bringing some of the food with him (he lives up in Seattle) so trying it out won't be possible until we are actually heading up.
Anyone think this isn't possible?
I also saw several recommendations of 3500 - 4500 calories/day. Does anyone have an opinion on that?

Thanks for all the helpful advice!





holz
avatar Re: Bear Vaults
June 30, 2008 03:22PM
holz wrote:

> Hi,
> I see everyone says "sandwich bags" and not ziplocs. Is there
> a reason for this?
> From the research I've been doing I'm thinking:
> Oatmeal, TrailMix, Jerky, Tortillas, Almond Butter, Chocolate
> and 2 clif bars/day.
> Unfortunately, the other person is bringing some of the food
> with him (he lives up in Seattle) so trying it out won't be
> possible until we are actually heading up.
> Anyone think this isn't possible?
> I also saw several recommendations of 3500 - 4500 calories/day.
> Does anyone have an opinion on that?

Sorry to respond late to this (I was also preparing an earlier response as you were posting this).

Sandwich style bags with twist ties are generally recommended for maximum capcity since the stiffer sealing mechanism in Ziploc style bags tends to bunch up. If you're not cramming every last calorie in there, it might not be so critical. My main problem was finding large enough storage bags that weren't so thin that they easily tore. I ended up using several Ziploc style bags anyways.

I've heard of some real extreme examples of packing a canister. The strangest technique involved filling empty spaces in a canister with M&Ms to get as many calories in the can as possible.

avatar Re: Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 06:21PM
Just an honest question, but how do you plan on managing the requirement that your trash, etc goes in your canister? I can understand getting 8 days/8 nights of food in a canister (first night is elsewhere in the pack), but then there's going to be 7 days of bug spray and sunscreen. Seriously - if you're going 7 days and have an extra large pack, then a second canister might be helpful. Garcia has an external carry case for the canister, and you might be able to strap it to your pack to handle the extra room. You won't be struggling for every last bit of volume, and there should be ample space. If the Garcia is too large, there is the Bare Boxer Contender. It's not very large, but it should give you maybe another 3 days of food. You hinted that you might not be alone, so maybe trade carrying an extra canister with your backpacking partner?

I was told that all my trash with food smells had to go into my bear canister. Even my used toilet paper (I was advised to double-bag), although I suppose I could have deposited that in a vault toilet along the way. I looked over your plan, and the Glen Aulin backcountry campground should have an outhouse.

Of course the one thing I really wish I had with me last time was a Nalgene Flask filled with 12 year old single malt Scotch.
Re: Bear Vaults
June 29, 2008 06:34PM
Yeah, you have very valid points here. I suppose another bear vault is 1lb each and sure does alleviate a whole lot of headache.
I am keenly aware that toothbrush, toothpaste, deet, sun screen etc all have to go in there as well. I have seen one website where a guy claims to have put 12 days of stuff into a 700 cu in bear vault and it even sounded reasonably tasty.
BUT, I have to admit that personally, comfort does weigh (no pun intended) more heavily on my choices than it might on some. I like convenience even at the expense of a few ounces.
Trash does take up less space than what it replaces of course, but there is that first night. . . . . It seems like that would be a problem if the bear vault is absolutely jammed full. Perhaps the trash bag goes in the top as part of the packing process?
And I have a liter of McCallan Elegancia 12 year old for the trip. I will think of you while I'm out there. smiling smiley I may even carry a couple of quality stogies for a couple of the evenings as well.

Thank you for the thoughts,





holz
avatar Re: Bear Vaults
June 30, 2008 10:27AM
You should have seen what I did last year with my BV400. I figured for a four-day, three-night trip that I might as well carry extra stuff. I had everything planned out with about six days of food just in case I ran into problems or wanted to trade with someone. Then I forgot to take extra food (not my first night's planned meal) out of my pack and had to jam more stuff in there. In the end I figure I had enough food at the end of the trip to last three more days. The only item I passed on was some of my extra hot cocoa to a guy and his kid who ran out at LYV. I ended up bringing back tea bags, two Lipton/Knorr pasta sides, a full package of large flour tortillas (fit perfectly at the bottom of the BearVault), a 6 oz package of dry salame, several Clif Bars, oatmeal bars, single-serving mac & cheese packs, peanut butter and unused "Wet Ones Outdoors" wipes. I could have repackaged all that better - especially the wipes.

In the end people have to eat things that makes them feel good. One could live off of 80 Clif Bars for a week, but I think that's rather sad. Most people I saw were packing some sort of comfort food, like hot cocoa or items that didn't necessarily pack maximum calories in the given volume. I had this Kraft "specialty" mac & cheese package, which tasted really good on my third night.

I forgot to bring the Highland Park 12. Absolutely sad. I thought about my loss as I talked to a group of Scots at the Valley backpackers campground. They indicated that they would have been willing to help me finish it off if I had brought it.

I was a little squeamish about storing my used TP with my food, and didn't poop for two days until I got to the Little Yosemite Valley outhouse. I don't think I could do that for a week without getting sick.

I think if I'm going with my wife, we'll handle this differently. I've since gotten a BV350. I figure we can use that to store our non-food items (save maybe the toothpaste) and trash. I doubt I could get her out for more than three nights.

Oh - I thought of something. Perhaps something close to maximum calories in minimum space would be peanut butter. I carried along JIF single-serving packages. As long as I balance it out with other foods, I can tolerate it. I'd probably get cramps (or other maladies) if that was the only food I was eating.
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