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Owner Review: Wild Ideas Bearikade Expedition MKII - Colleen Porter

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  • Emma Eyeball
    this is my first OR in a long time. hope it s any good, and thanks for your edits. ++++++++++++++++++++ Owner Review Bearikade Expedition MKII Reviewer
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 1, 2005
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      this is my first OR in a long time. hope it's any good, and thanks
      for your edits.


      Owner Review
      Bearikade Expedition MKII

      Reviewer Information
      Name: Colleen Porter
      Gender: Female
      Age: 30
      Height: 5'8" (1.73 m)
      Weight: 145 lbs/66 kg
      Email address: tarbubble at yahoo dot com
      Location: Orange County, CA
      Backpacking Background: I've been backpacking for 10 years, usually
      with my husband. We used to be heavyweights, but having children
      forced us to go ultralight, and now on my own my 3-season base weight
      hovers around 13 pounds. On family trips the weight usually
      doubles. I just had my second child in June of this year and he is
      now 2 months old, plenty old enough to start backpacking. My typical
      haunts are the mountains of southern California, the Sierra Nevada,
      the Grand Canyon, plus the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Yup, gotta
      carry a lot of water.

      Product Information
      Manufacturer: Wild Ideas, Inc.
      URL: http://wild-ideas.net/index2.html
      Year Manufactured: 2003
      MSRP: $245.00 (US)
      Dimensions: 9" diameter base by 14" length (22.8 cm diameter by 35.5
      cm length)
      Listed Weight: 2 pounds, 5 ounces (1.049 kilograms)
      Tested Weight: (including three stickers I put on it myself)
      Description: From the manufacturer's site - "The Bearikade is a bear
      resistant container made of a lightweight composite sandwich. The
      Bearikade is easily opened by a human using the edge of a coin or
      other flat object such as a screwdriver blade. Animals, on the other
      hand, find it virtually impossible to open." The Bearikade is a
      cylinder made of composite carbon fiber and "aircraft grade" 60-61 T6
      aluminum. The walls of the cylinder are carbon fiber and the caps at
      either end are aluminum. The top lid is removeable and locks on at
      three different points, and the bottom cap is not removeable. The
      Expedition model, the subject of this review, has a capacity of 900
      cubic inches (14.75 liters).

      Field Information: The Expedition was purchased in Spring 2003 and
      has been used almost exclusively in the Sierra Nevada mountain range,
      in central California. Elevations have ranged from 4000 to over
      13,000 feet (1200 to over 3900 meters). It has been carried in
      multiple types of backpacks (both internal and external), and has
      been exposed to rain, hail, subfreezing temperatures, and
      blisteringly hot granite. It has been buried under rocks, wedged
      between tree roots, and simply left on its own to fend off bears. I
      cannot recall the number of nights it has been used, if I count the
      trips I remember it adds up to at least twenty - but I'm certain the
      number is higher than that..

      Review: There are several models of bear-proof canisters currently
      approved for use, and we opted to purchase the Bearikade Expedition
      for a number of reasons. For our growing family, we needed more
      capacity than other models on the market, and even in the Expedition
      size (Wild Ideas makes smaller versions, but the Expedition is the
      largest stock size offered) the Bearikade was still lighter than any
      other model on the market at the time, with almost 50% more
      capacity. The price tag was the only tradeoff, but we figured if we
      amortized the cost against the number of years we'd use it, it would
      be worthwhile. So far, we have no regrets about the splurge.

      The most important thing, the purpose that the Bearikade was designed
      for, is keeping human food away from bears. So I'm happy to report
      that a bear has never gotten our food while we have been using the
      Bearikade. Now, you might say "But how do you know a bear ever even
      tried to get into your food?" We have camped in areas that were
      famous for their marauding bears. In Yosemite National Park, at
      Sunrise Creek, our site was raided by bears in the middle of the
      night. They dug up the fire pit, bluff-charged me, and stole my
      husband's empty pack (don't worry, we found it not far from camp),
      but they didn't get into the Bearikade. In Lyell Canyon, where bears
      have been known to leap onto tents in pursuit of food, the Bearikade
      sat undisturbed. I used it to cache food and left it under a bridge
      for three nights, then returned to find it unscathed. I wonder if
      bears have learned to leave them alone and go looking for easier

      The opening of the Bearikade is large, almost as big as the diameter
      of the cylinder (the lid housing intrudes a few millimeters), and
      makes for very easy loading and unloading of the canister. When we
      have needed to jam in as much food as the laws of nature will allow,
      this large opening is heavenly. Likewise, when we haven't packed
      cleverly and need to rummage at the bottom to find the precious
      peanut butter, the large opening is crucial to keeping our sanity.
      The inside of the cansier is light grey, and as such isn't a dark,
      gaping black maw in which food disappears. It's pretty easy to find
      and dig out the food we are looking for.

      W have used the Expedition pretty hard. We've dropped it and jammed
      it in tight spots, buried it under rocks and left it in the car to
      roll around as we drove. There are a few scratch marks, but all very
      shallow and they don't appear to compromise the strength or function
      of the canister.

      There are a few caveats. The Bearikade is not waterproof - we found
      this out the first time it was used in a rainstorm. In the morning
      we had to dump out the food and dry off the bags, and anything that
      wasn't properly sealed up had water in it. My trail mix was ruined!
      So now when we put it out at night we set it upside-down, because the
      water leaks through the miniscule gap between the lid and its
      housing, but the bottom is tightly sealed. This way the Bearikade
      will only leak if a puddle builds up under it.

      The lock system for the Bearikade is very sturdy, but does require
      some hand strength. There are three locks, which can be opened from
      the outside by using a qaurter or a similar-sized metal washer. It
      is necessary to apply some strong torque, but even a weakling like me
      can eventually get it open. The same goes for locking it.

      The lid is secured to the canister body by a short length of bead
      chain, which is sheathed in a plastic tube. This is a nice feature,
      meant to keep users from losing the lid. But on our Bearikade, the
      bead chain detached from the lid rather quickly and we promptly lost
      the plastic tube, which slid off very easily. The chain was easy to
      reattach, but kept detaching and was unreliable. I finally took a
      pair of pliers and crimped the chain's ball socket to keep the chain
      in place. When it is open, the lid can bang loudly against the side
      of the canister.

      The large size of the Expedition sometimes makes carrying it a
      challenge. On a large external frame pack it's no problem, but for
      smaller internal frame packs it can take up quite a bit of space,
      which is why we eventually decided to invest in a smaller canister
      for solo and non-family trips. I did manage to carry it inside a
      3400 cubic inch (56 liter) pack for a seven-day trip, but my gear
      load was very compact - silnylon tarp, down sleeping bag, alcohol
      stove, etc.

      Summary: Worth the high price tag. This is a solid canister with
      only a few minor drawbacks. I would choose a Bearikade over any of
      the other models on the market (and I've used all the major ones).
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 3, 2005
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