REPOST - Owner Review - BearVault V500 - Michael Dax
- Name: Michael Dax
Height: 6’3’’ (1.9 meters)
Weight: 210 lbs.
Email Address: mjdax30@...
City, State: Yellowstone National Park
Experience: I grew up hiking,
backpacking, and cross country skiing in the Northeast including New York, New Hampshire and Maine. For a short while I lived at the Grand Canyon and I now live in Yellowstone. I am not fanatical about light weight hiking,
but I am starting to be more mindful of my gear.
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Listed Weight: 41
oz. (1.1 kg)
Actual Weight: 41
oz. (1.1 kg)
Listed Dimensions: 12.7 x 8.7 in. (32 x 19 cm)
Acutual Dimensions: 13 x 8 in. (33 x 20 cm)
The BearVault V500 is a bear resistant canister designed as
an alternative to rigging a bear bag so that bears and other critters cannot
get to your food and other odorous objects.
The BearVault V500 is 700 cubic inches (11.4 liters) and
roughly 13 inches tall by 8 inches in diameter (33cm x 20cm). It is designed to hold roughly 7 days of food
The BearVault V500 along with other BearVault canisters use
a screw top lid that locks shut after two small knobs on the lid have been
“clicked” past piece of plastic on the
canister that allow for the top to be screwed on easily, but not off. To screw off the lid, the two knobs must be
pushed inwards as each knob passes the piece of plastic on the canister that
prevents it from unscrewing easily.
The BearVault V500 is a transparent plastic that has a
bluish tint, but still allows you to see into the canister from almost every
angle. The sides of the canister have
dimples and ridges that supposedly make it harder for a bear to grip.
My first trip with the BearVault V500 was down into the Grand Canyon for two nights and three days. We camped at the same campsite in Grapevine
Creek for the two nights and did a day trip down the creek on our second
day. Our elevation was between 7400 feet
(2250 meters) and 2500 feet (760 meters). The terrain was rough, but because of the dependable weather, our packs
were light at around 30 pounds (13.5 kg).
My friend and I were sharing the canister. He was carrying it during the day, but we
were both using it in camp and at night to store our food. Obviously, there are no bears at the bottom
of the Grand Canyon, but there are some very brazen mice
that were running around our feet while we were in camp.
My friend was carrying a ULA Catalyst pack and the canister
fit into his pack horizontally with ease. However, he neglected to remember to put his snacks for that day in the
top of his pack and had to go into the canister which was at the bottom of his
pack throughout the day each time he wanted food, but because the canister was
transparent, he could easily find the particular food object he was looking for
When we got into camp, we both put all of our food into the
canister and proceeded to set up camp. It was nice to be able to leave our food in the middle of camp knowing
that it was safe from mice without having to take time-consuming precautions or
precautions that would make it hard to quickly access our food once we needed
The canister proved somewhat difficult to open at
first. The new plastic was not very
malleable. We ended up using the
flathead screwdriver piece of my Swiss Army knife to push the knobs on the lid
in as using our fingers proved difficult. This maneuver was difficult at first, but got easier with practice.
The canister also made a very nice seat. However, we had to make sure that the lid was
screwed down all the way before we sat on it. If it wasn’t, we would do damage to the threads on the canister and
compromise its integrity. Making this
another step in our camp routine was all we had to do to remember.
The next day on our day hike, we simply took the food we
needed for the day and left the canister sitting in camp. Once the lid was screwed tight, we could
leave it for the next 8 hours completely worry free.
There are other rodent resistant products that are lighter
than the BearVault, but we used this trip as a test run for later forays into
bear country. Its weight is definitely a
burden, but with the light packs we were carrying, it made little difference.
Later in the summer, my friend, my girlfriend, and I
backpacked the John Muir Trail (JMT) which is 220 miles (345 km) and has over 45,000
feet (13,200 meters) of elevation gain and loss. For the entirety of the 19 days that we were
on the trail, we were in major black bear country in 19 days. Our packs ranged from roughly 35 pounds (15.9
kg) when we carried 3 days of food to 45 pounds (20.4 kg) when we carried 7
days of food. My friend and I both
carried a BearVault V500 while my girlfriend carried another canister).
Once again, the canister fit well into my EMS Summit 5500
pack when placed horizontally. Over the
course of the trip, the canister held up perfect. It acquired some scuff marks, which is to be
expected, but no structural damage was done to the canister. No bear got into the canister throughout the
trip; however, as our canisters were always exactly where we put them each
night, I do not think a single bear attempted to get into our canisters.
One thing that I noticed was that over the course of the 19
days, the canister became easier and easier to open. The more I opened it the less stiff the
plastic lid became. It also helped that
I had a lot of practice, and by the end of the 19 days, I had no problems
opening the canister at all.
The V500 has a couple benefits it had over other canisters. The first one was that it is
transparent. It is much easier to find a
toothbrush or a Werther’s Original at the bottom of the canister because it is
transparent. Second, the lid on other
canisters has a tendency to jam when the canister is very full; a problem that
the BearVault did not have.
Because we were in black bear country, we had to put
everything that might have a scent in the canister. This meant chapstick, toothpaste, floss, and
contact lens solution. With all of this
stuff in the canister, I was still able to carry seven days of food. In all honesty, it was probably even more
than that because I took a slightly largely load than my girlfriend.
Finally, on a long trip like the JMT, it was nice to have
the canister as an organizational tool. After we stopped at certain ranches and other re-supply points, it was
nice to be able to put any loose change in the canister as opposed to having it
spread throughout my pack. It was also
great for other odds and ends such as matches, ID and credit card and extra
Bear canisters are a necessary evil. They are heavy and the take up a lot of
space, but when you need them, you need them. In fact, many places now require them. As far as they go, the BearVault V500 is great. Its transparent body allows you to see into
the canister which makes find small things infinitely easier. The locking mechanism can be cumbersome, but
within a couple of uses it will become much easier. It is slightly larger than many canisters,
but still fits easily into most packs horizontally. Finally, it makes a great seat in camp which
can always be useful.
Disclaimer: There is
a black bear in the Adirondacks that has become quite
good at opening these canisters. This is
the only known instance of a bear breaking into the canister of which I am
Easy Open Takes up Space
Good Camp Seat
Good Organizational Tool
Fits a Lot of Food
Peace of Mind
No Hassle compared to Bear Bag
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hi Michael,
Good job on the edits, you're getting there! If you can do these edits and repost to the list, hopefully we'll have this review out the door soon :) It also helps if you include the url of the page in the owner review section on BGT. The edits take the same format as before:
EDIT - must change
Edit - suggested change
Comment - just that
> Date: 2/1/2010EDIT: In your review, you need a title, with your name, the fact that it is an owner review and the date. Then you can remove the date in your tester information (where it is harder to notice). The title 'Tester information' or something similar is also useful (as is Product Information in the section below). Check out some reviews already on the site, for example here http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Cook%20Gear/Bear%20Resistant%20Containers/BearVault%20BV400/Owner%20Review%20by%20Nancy%20Griffith/
> City, State: Yellowstone National ParkComment: Out of curiosity, where do you actually live? In the park? Or in one of the towns nearby?
> Acutual Dimensions: 13 x 8 in. (33 x 20 cm)EDIT: Actual
> Product Description:Edit: Although it is not required for your first review, a picture can really help the reader to visualize what you are talking about and is good practice for later reviews. You can use the one from the company's website if you don't have one, so long as you mention that it is from there.
> The BearVault V500 along with other BearVault canisters use a screw top lid that locks shut after two small knobs on the lid have been âclickedâ past piece of plastic on the canister that allow for the top to be screwed on easily, but not off.EDIT: According to their website, it is the BV500, not the V500. Please change this throughout your report.
Edit: This is rather a long sentence, and hard to read. It might be better to split it up, for example 'The BearVault V500, along with other BearVault canisters, uses a screw top lid that locks shut. Two small knobs on the lid have to be "clicked" past a piece of plastic on the canister that allows for the top to be screwed on easily, but not off.'
> our packs were light at around 30 pounds (13.5 kg).Edit: I first read this as your day packs were 30 pounds, and was thinking that my pack is less than that for an overnighter!!! It might be an idea to clarify that it was the backpack for the entire trip.
>For the entirety of the 19 days that we were on the trail, we were in major black bear country in 19 days.EDIT: Remove the second 'in 19 days'
>My friend and I both carried a BearVault V500 while my girlfriend carried another canister).EDIT: Remove the ) after canister
>Over the course of the trip, the canister held up perfect.EDIT: perfectly
> The V500 has a couple benefits it had over other canisters.EDIT: couple 'of' benefits. And remove 'it had'. Again remember that the model is BV500 not V500
> The first one was that it is transparent.EDIT: Replace 'was' with 'is'.
> They are heavy and the take up a lot of space, but when you need them, you need them.EDIT: We have a rule against projection here at BGT. You cannot know how other people feel/use stuff, only how you do. Therefore please reword the sentences with 'you' in them, for example replacing it with 'I'.
EDIT: replace 'the' with 'they'
>Its transparent body allows you to see into the canister which makes find small things infinitely easierEDIT: allows 'me'
EDIT: 'finding' not 'find'
>The locking mechanism can be cumbersome, but within a couple of uses it will become much easier.EDIT: Projection. For example replace with 'The locking mechanism was initially cumbersome, but within a couple of uses it became much easier.'
>It is slightly larger than many canisters, but still fits easily into most packs horizontally.Edit: This probably seems petty, but I'm not sure about 'most' packs. There are so many different packs out there. Perhaps replace with 'still fitted easily into all the packs I tried' or something similar?