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Fully packing a bear cannister?

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  • Fully packing a bear cannister?

    I'm planning a pretty long trip in the Sierras this summer, and bear cans are mandatory. I'm starting to worry that I can't put enough food in it, figuring 4k calories per day, I might need 11 days of food... that's like 7 big jars of peanut butter worth of calories, and most things aren't as dense. Anyone have any tips for packing a week+ into a bear can?
    46er #9404
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  • #2
    I've never been unsupported for that long of a stretch, but a big jar of peanut butter would have been my first suggestion. Also anything tahini-based, and dried fruit will certainly help pack in the calories.

    Also, depending on where in the Sierras you'll be going (how much daily elly gain), 4k might not be enough. I believe Neil calc'd his caloric intake at closer to 10k daily while he was training for PFD. In the Sierra's your average altitude will be around 6,000 ft, and much higher in the southern/eastern peaks. This will also increase your burned calories each day.

    Will you have the opportunity to re-stock more often?
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

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    • #3
      I can't imagine you'd be able to fit that much in a bear can unless you're really crafty with dehydrated stuff. Depending on where you're going, many of the popular spots in the Sierras have big bear lockers.
      Love all wilderness!
      Trying to hike and XC ski as much as possible.

      ADK 46/46 still not official.
      W 27/46

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      • #4
        4K feels like the minimum, but I just don't see how I can do more than that. It's about an 180 mile stretch, frequently above 10K. There's some very-far-offtrail resupply, but I'm trying to power through in 1 trip. I can do bear lockers at night for part of it, but I have to carry the food during the day, and from what I hear there are Rangers who will call you on it.
        People do this, I'm scratching my head on how people put 10 days of food in a can. Or maybe they just don't, the way people "never" camp above treeline and "always" walk far enough offtrail to poop. Even powdered cheese only has 140 cal/oz. That's almost 20 lbs, if you literally lived on powdered cheese the whole time.
        46er #9404
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        • #5
          I've fit 9 1/2 days of food into a can with repackaging of commercial freeze dried meals. But that was based on 2500 calories per day. Food alone weighed 15 pounds. Strenuous trip involving mostly off-trail travel and a lot of elevation gain. I lost weight but 2500 was enough to get by and avoid hunger pangs and weakness. I don't think it's feasible to fit everything on 4K daily rations.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by FlyFishingandBeer View Post
            I believe Neil calc'd his caloric intake at closer to 10k daily while he was training for PFD.
            That would have been on some of the more over-the-top training days. During the hike itself I was going through about a pound and a half of food a day. So, about 700 grams at an estimated average of 6 cal per comes to just over 4000 cals a day, give or take. I lost some weight but not much.

            On the 3 day training hikes when I came home my wife noticed I had lost weight.

            Based on AOC's post it sounds like 2500 cals a day and accepting some mild hunger and weight loss is the way to go. Just have to fatten up by a few pounds before the hike.
            1111111111

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            • #7
              You might try renting one of these:

              http://www.wild-ideas.net/the-expedition/

              900 cubic inches, I think it's the biggest one available. Sounds like an amazing trip!

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              • #8
                I did a 10 day trek in the Yukon last year with bear canisters. I had a full size and a half size canister in my pack. What worked for me was repackaging freeze dried meals into ziplock bags, and strict rationing, which required experimentation prior to departure. Snacks and likewise were high calorie (nuts, dried fruit, cheese etc.) and repackaged into individual small ziplocks which helped with rationing, and also pack better into nooks and crannies between other items. Day 1 had food outside of the canister which was consumed before going to bed, which meant I also over-ate that day. The next two days I had more food than needed, but by the fourth day when the metabolism kicked in, I was hungry, but nourished enough. On the last night, when it was clear that they were not needed, I dug into the emergency rations and had a well deserved feast!

                Get in the mental state of being hungry sometimes. Scavenging berries etc. along the way can help. Taking along a smaller partner who eats less also helps... get them to over-pack their bear canister and trade camp favours for snacks!

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                • #9
                  Is it possible to carry 2 canisters?
                  I might be kidding...

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                  • #10
                    Thanks guys for the tips ( and positive feedback ). As it stands now I have plenty of spare weight, I mean fuel in the tank, but if all goes well by the time I start the Sierra trip I'll have walked most of it off. My hope therefore is in speed and stamina, combined with stuffing myself the first few days. I've found that macadamia nuts are almost pure fat if you look at cal/oz, so I think instead of my usual pretzel-and-raisin gorp, it will be macadamias and chocolate chips. I don't mind being hungry the last day even. I don't think I have the pack to carry 2 cannisters, with the extra cold weather gear, axe, etc. It's sounding possible though. My only possible resupply is a 9 mile side trip followed by a 15 mile hitch. That, or paying some place $70 to hold a package for me.
                    46er #9404
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                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Not everyone loves them but I've become a fan of external can carriers. Some places sell them; I made my own out of an old compression sack. After the first few days when I have more room in my canister I move it inside my pack and store other things in it. Even two 500ci cans will give you more packing and storage options than one 900ci can will.

                    • halocline
                      halocline commented
                      Editing a comment
                      It's true that 2 smaller canisters will pack more food than one larger one, but they will also weigh quite a bit more. I would want one big canister that's as light as possible.

                    • Trail Boss
                      Trail Boss commented
                      Editing a comment
                      What a horrible fate to be obliged to live on macadamia nuts. Only thing worse would be daily servings of dark chocolate. Nom, nom, nom!

                  • #11
                    FlyFishingandBeer, how much do you weight?
                    Do you realise that you do not need that much calories for 11 days trip?
                    Unless you are extra lean, 2500 - 3000 Calories (500 g / 1 pound) per day would suffice.
                    You will burn your own body fat and muscles.

                    People who travel for 20 - 30 days without resupply typically run substantial energy deficite and are OK with it.

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                    • Trail Boss
                      Trail Boss commented
                      Editing a comment
                      FWIW, when I was half my current age I went on a backpacking trip where I packed 1.5 pounds of dehydrated food per day (no more than 2500 calories)... a few days later I discovered what hunger pangs felt like!

                      I thought I ate something that made me sick but the hollow pain in my tummy was my stomach saying "Do I have you attention *now*?"

                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yury, my weight has nothing to do with what I was saying above. Feel free to locate the post I referenced to see what I was talking about. Neil addressed this himself.

                      Secondly, weight is not a gauge for determining the amount of calories somebody will go through on a backpacking trip. Their metabolic rate and amount of exertion each day are what determines this. While us mortals need to kind of guesstimate what it takes to fuel us on trips like this, people who trek frequently (adventure racers, full-time guides, ultra runners, etc) typically know this information before they start out so they can pack accordingly. When Neil was training for PFD he was going through the process of calc'ing his daily fuel requirement while in training mode so he could effectively pack/resupply for the trip. While the number I used above was apparently off, I didn't pull it out of thin air.

                    • Yury
                      Yury commented
                      Editing a comment
                      We can probably use a weight of a person as a proxy for amount of spare fuel he carries under his skin.

                  • #12
                    Neil had a thread on fitting calories into a bear can, maybe when he was planning Project Full Deck.

                    I suggested Justin's nut butters. The almond butter has a good amount of calories and fat. I prefer the amond + honey though, since the straight almond butter can be pretty dry.

                    Also from personal experience: When I overdo things, my stomach is usually the first to tell me so, and slight nausea sets in. I've read about a couple FKT attempts foiled by "GI" issues -- those are likely the same thing. So, don't overdo it.
                    ADK 46/46W, Grid 232/552
                    Photos & Stuff

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                    • #13
                      Caulk cover shut, tap valve fitting, fill with olive oil. Tadam, 85,000 calories!

                      Seriously, I would bring some to mix with other stuff given the energy density. I wouldn't live off that, but it seems up to 100ml per day is safe and typical of mediterranean diets.

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                      • JeffreyH
                        JeffreyH commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That's an interesting idea. Thanks!

                    • #14
                      Interesting thread, was just going to order this - https://goo.gl/U8udIu - Bear Proof Container
                      Amazon.com : Backpackers' Cache - Bear Proof Container : Bear Protection : Sports & Outdoors

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                      • #15
                        Originally posted by halocline View Post
                        You might try renting one of these:

                        http://www.wild-ideas.net/the-expedition/

                        900 cubic inches, I think it's the biggest one available. Sounds like an amazing trip!
                        That might be the largest available for rent but you can get one made longer, up to 18" long for 1124 cubic inches. That's almost the size of two common Garcia canisters and the same weight as just one! Of course several times the price...
                        http://www.wild-ideas.net/custom-bearikades/
                        The sweet spot is 16" length, over that the price and weight jumps a little more since they have to wrap an additional layer of carbon. If I was going over a week solo without resupply I'd bite the bullet and get one for sure. And then you have a seat or a nice table too.

                        Well you probably already made your trip, just realized it was an old thread. Whoops. Guess I haven't been on here in a long while and this section is rather slow - was still on the first page.
                        39/46 get'n closer
                        19/46 barefoot ;-)
                        ~Tristan

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