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  • Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister BV500

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  • Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister BV500

Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister


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    • BV500, 700cu in
    4.0 5 58

    58 Reviews


    A fed bear is a dead bear. The BV500 protects you and our furry friends.

    Head out for a trip into Yosemite or Denali National Park with your food safe and secure in the Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister. This large-capacity container's 700 cubic inch interior stashes enough supplies for weeklong trips into bear country. An innovative tool-free top gives you quick access to your goodies, and the see-through polycarbonate housing and extra-wide lid make it easy to find what you're looking for. Slip this lightweight Bear Vault canister into your expedition pack or use the guides to strap it down.
    • Item #BRV0004

    Tech Specs

    Transparent polycarbonate
    700 cu in 11.5 L
    8.7 x 12.7 in, 21 x 32 cm
    Claimed Weight
    2 lb 9 oz, 1160 g
    Recommended Use
    Storing supplies/food in bear country

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Easy to pack & a great camp seat

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I bought this for use in RMNP - a place I frequently travel in the summer months. Bear canisters are required for the warmer months, and this was a great option. I did a ton of research before, and had tried some of the alternatives. Options like the Bearikade are lighter, but the BV provides a good price to weight ratio. Counter Assults/Garcia's are super burly, but don't provide a good seat and are harder to pack due to their unique shape.

    Speaking of packing, I like the volume of this one as it provides enough room for 1-2 days worth of food for a group of 4. Obviously, the type of food you are bringing is a large factor, and learning to pack smart allows you to maximize space. Start with the last meal at the bottom and work your way up to the first meal on top with snacks in between. Remember to leave enough room on top for your toiletries and other smelly items at night.

    Opening this lid can be difficult, but I use a spork to keep my fingers from struggling to move the latches. The other canisters I mentioned earlier are a little easier to take off - given you have a tool or quarter handy.

    Even with the difficulty opening at times, this canister is a good value due to it's moderate weight, large volume, easy packing, and ability to use as a camp chair. I would also note, I carry this internally in a larger 65L pack. Might be difficult to strap to a smaller pack.

    Overall, 5 stars and would recommend to any friend who needs this type of product.

    Awesome review Andrew and glad the Bear Vault has worked out for you so far! Do you have any big trips planned for the summer ahead? Reach out to me directly if you ever have any backpacking gear questions in the future --

    Expert Gearhead

    The Bear Necessities

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    All bear cans suck to some degree, but the Bear Vault sucks less than the alternatives. Do your part to keep bears alive.

    -Can easily hold 7 days of food
    -No tools required for opening
    -$200 dollars cheaper than a Bearikade (and no wait times for a rental)
    -Lighter than a Garcia
    -Great place to put all those extra bumper stickers

    -Not quite as light as a Bearikade

    Bear tried and true

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    Product worked as promised. We had a bear who raided our camp and ate all the food that wasn't in the canister. Really wrecked the trip. You are asking why wasn't all the food in the canister. We had 3 people and 3 days worth of food in our group trying to fit into one bear canister. The math didn't work. In retrospect the large one I think would be challenging to get 7 days of food for one person. The food in the canister was safe compared to the mountain houses that the bear ate (can you imagine eating a dry mountain house?) I give it 4 stars as a design flaw. It is very hard to attach to the top of your pack. I intend on attaching some nylon webbing so it can easily outside.

    Bear tried and true


    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    this is a big container , i took it on a 27 mile backpack trip it held enough food for me and my dog 7 days ,its kind of hard to get in to which is the point i guess , i plan on useing it for years to come ,im going to glue a piece of dense foam to the lid ,it makes a great seat

    No Complaints

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    The vault was great on the JMT. Durable, fit 7 plus days of food. Easy to open and close, and fit nicely inside my pack. I like using the vault even when not required by parks so I don't have to hang my food.

    The Big One

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    When going into bear country, you need to have one of these with you. If you have more than one person and are going to be staying multiple nights the BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister is what you will need. If you are traveling solo or just bringing enough food for one night then the smaller BV450 Solo Bear Resistant Food Canister should suffice. This canister looks huge, but once you start loading it up with food you will realize that this larger size is necessary for longer trips with multiple people. This is a great product, and has a sterling reputation in the bear food protection industry. Don't go into bear country without one!


    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Hubby carries it. He likes how it keeps everything from getting crushed and stays organized despite the extra weight. To our knowledge no bears have tried to get in it cause it's always in the same spot in the morning. Also works well as a seat.

    Update: So we've had it out on a few trips and found that we've had no issues at all. We hide it a safe distance from our tent and there's been no claw marks on it or movement. In fact, this past weekend whenever you opened the canister it smelled of meat thanks to bringing Italian style chicken sausage, and after a few nights out, no issues!


    Great chair and hot potato

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    Need a fancy camp chair, food storage, huge water bottle, or classy new head cover to keep out bugs? Well look no further! But in all seriousness, good and solid, not a complete finger breaker to open. Little knobs on the outside to give you bonus grip while trying to pop her open, as well as groove so you can have ropes to tie it in place easily on your pack.

    Worth the weight

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of additional 2 lb 9 oz of hard bulk in my backpack but ever since I carried the BV 500 along the 211 miles of the John Muir Trail I learned to really like it. It is built to provide a safe, hassle free food storage and that's exactly what it does. You put your food in, turn the lid to lock it, and you can rest assured that animals won't feast on your precious calories while you sleep or explore around camp. And it made a great camp chair where sitting logs/rocks were not available or were drenched after rain.

    We found it easy to operate the lid even when raining or when our hands got cold but if you find it difficult to open the lid with your hands, which some people do, piece of sturdier plastic placed between the wall of the canister and the locking teeth does the trick. Credit card or driver's license work well for that purpose. You can also use a key or a stick to push the teeth in and slide the lid open.

    At fullest we fit 7 days worth of food in. It was pushing it, toiletries spent the first night hanging off a tree.

    I liked the fact I could fit the BV 500 to my backpack (Osprey Ariel 65) both vertically or horizontally without difficulties. Personally I preferred horizontal placement, my pack felt more balanced which helped greatly on uneven terrain or during rock hopping over creeks.

    Nowadays I carry my BV on all backpacking trips and I no longer wake up in the middle of the night wondering whether the squirrel/deer I hear snooping outside the tent is out to munch on pine cone seeds/leaves like they sre supposed to or my breakfast burrito. To me that's worth the weight.

    does the job!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    There are still very few choices when it comes to bear canisters--and I think it's mostly because there's just not much to improve on with the existing models....?

    The solid black ones that are opened with a quarter are good (though heavier), and as I understand are required in certain parts of the US, since bears have figured out how to open these clear ones here and there. Last I read, I believe it was in a few communities in the Northeast US.

    That all being said, this is my favorite bear canister, and I've used them all. Why?:

    -It's lighter

    -It's clear--huuuuuge plus

    -Still can use it as a chair

    -Don't need a coin to open it

    -85cubic inches larger volulme than the all-black "Garcia" model, and a much bigger opening than other models

    I would say an experienced backpacker who knows how to pack well (no space-wasting items), and who is putting all scented non-food items and trash in it (as you should), will be able to pack 5-7 days worth of food in this for one person if needed. On my most-recent trip, I was able to put all necessary food (we ate well) for TWO people in this for 4 days/3nights. We had to use a secondary canister for toiletries and trash.

    Better than the Garcia

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    The Bear Vault BV500 is an upgrade from the Garcia -- that big black bear canister that seems to be the default canister. The BV500 is slightly lighter (only slightly, but every ounce helps) while having a larger volume. The larger size means that it doesn't really fit inside of my pack, but it does have little grippy bumps on the outside to aid in strapping the canister on the outside of the pack. In fact, it fits perfectly under the "cap" of my Osprey backpack. I also like the fact that it's transparent so you can immediately see what's inside and you can open it without a tool.

    Still, it's heaver than I'd like.

    Critter Keeper-Outer

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    This vault is totally bearable. Not too heavy, not too light - it's just right. My boyfriend and I took one to the Olympic Coast over the summer and though we had zero bear encounters, we were still glad to have it to keep our food safe from the ravenous raccoon population! Me for scale in the attached photo.

    Critter Keeper-Outer

    I am planning to thru hike the AT and have...

    I am planning to thru hike the AT and have heard that some bears in that area have learned how to open these canisters. Now, I may seem a bit paranoid but I've had some VERY close encounters with bears in the past ( In Glacier and Denali). Once I was followed by a 500 pound grizzly only 30-50 feet behind me for almost 2 miles while on a day hike- I didn't even have ANY food or other scented items. So anyway that's a little background. I love to hike but have a somewhat irrational fear of bears. My question is: Would it be practical to use the canister AND also hang it from a tree? Would that be an added security measure or just a waste of time, space and weight? Thank you.

    Practical? No. But, if it makes you feel better, the few ounces of extra weight for a sack and cord would be worth it.

    It looks like there are only a couple of bears in one specific area that have figured out how to open the Bear Vault. While your previous encounters may have heightened your worries, the chances are slim you'll encounter those specific bears.

    Besides - from the sound of it, the bears are more interested in you than you food.

    Based on my last trek in Yosemite's bear country, I would not bother hanging the canister. Our 3 canisters and camp kitchen items were sitting on a rock in the open quite a distance from our camp and were not disturbed by bears. A group near us, however, weren't so lucky. What were the bears after? The nearby group put their camp kitchen items (stove, clean pots) in a bag which for some reason they hung. The only thing the bear went after was the hanging bag. Bottom line, at least in bear-rich Yosemite where they have experience with hanging food bags - bears see a hanging bag like a neon "EATS" sign so why hang something that will no doubt be an attractant? In my opinion, you're better off securing the food in a canister and placing it a good distance from your camp in a manner where it won't roll away if disturbed by a bear. If the bear wants it, he/she will get it, but will hopefully lose interest after not being able to open it.

    Unfortunately, hanging it from a tree can be counterproductive and shouldn't be done. While a bear isn't getting into it, putting it in a bag does make it possible for the bear to get it down (some well-conditioned bears can get hanging bags down) and then carry the canister off in its mouth by holding onto the rope and/or bag. The bear won't be fed - but neither will you!

    Leave it out of the bag, on the ground like it's meant. They're slippery - if you wedge it between some logs/rocks and keep it away from water or cliffs, the bear can't do anything but play with it for a while and then leave.

    When we use the vaults in the rain, we...

    When we use the vaults in the rain, we find the lid very difficult to unscrew. It's as if the humidity creates a friction and resistance in the threads that makes it extremely difficult to turn the lid. This is before we push the tabs to open --- we're just trying to move the tabs into position to depress and open.
    Any ideas? Might using some paraffin on the threads help counter the effect of humidity friction?

    Hi Nancy, I have experienced the same situation but only during elevation changes, i.e. pressure changes... yeah I would try some sort of lubrication and see what that does... if that doesn't help, you might check that there isn't some binding or other build up that could be sanded off of the threads on both the canister and the lid...

    How does the thing open?

    How does the thing open?

    Best Answer

    There are 2 tabs on the lid that must be depressed before it can be unscrewed. Here is a video that demonstrates. It begins with them saying that they got one of the tabs pressed already:
    I hope this helps!

    Look on the side of the lid, yep, you gotta look the full 360 degrees. There's a little protrusion, sort of a serrated hook. Push that in and unscrew. Took me about half an hour, a few times through the manual, and yikes, asking help from a girl. I guess that's how come it stands up so well against the critters.

    My Grandson and I are planning a 10-14 day...

    My Grandson and I are planning a 10-14 day wilderness trek into Yosemite. My last trip I used the conventional pvc cannisters. I'm considering other cannisters like bearvault or ursack.. Coming from Hawaii makes it quite difficult to decide until other brothers and sisters are willing to provide suggested ideas..

    Just wondering if anyone knows the real...

    Just wondering if anyone knows the real answer, but I heard & read that the BV500 isn't approved for the Grand Tetons yet. That seems weird if the BV400 is approved and the BV500 is pretty much identical. Thanks

    According to "GrandTetonNationalPark’s new canister requirement program will authorize the use of any of these and any canisters approved by IGBC." and the BV500 is on the IGBC approved list:

    About how many 1 serving entree Mountain...

    About how many 1 serving entree Mountain Houses will fit in one of these?

    How big is 700 cubic?in plain english...

    How big is 700 cubic?in plain english please

    Are these the newest model with the red...

    Are these the newest model with the red decal on the lid?

    Is it approved for use in the Inyo National...

    Is it approved for use in the Inyo National Forest (Ansel Adams Wilderness)?

    Yes, you won't have any problems using this at Inyo. I love mine (BV400) since I can actually see my food and not have to un-pack the entire thing to find what I want as opposed to the ever popular and omnipresent Backpacker's Cache.You won't be disappointed.To the best of knowledge, this device is approved in all national parks & certainly national forests. speaks in general about bear cannisters - they are required, they may be rented. I would like to note the gentlemen "above" is speaking about his 400. The 500 is a totally different animal. I would suggest calling "Ansel Adams" about this matter at 559-877-2218 or 760-924-5500. All this being said, I would guess that if the 500 is conditionally approved at Yosemite, it is probably conditionally approved in Ansel Adams as well, as many people cross back and forth between its shared border.

    yes. They will ask if you have a bear canister once you're out there, too. You can rent one through Yosemite & return it by mail at the end of your trip although I would buy one if you ever plan on going backpacking in a major US Park


    I am going to buy this today as the second...

    I am going to buy this today as the second one for our trip. I just bought one about 2-3 weeks ago. Since this is on sale, can you give me a 20% discount on my first one too? I believe that this is a fair request. Thanks, Rob

    Best Answer

    Rob-This is something you're going to have to take up with Backcountry's customer service by either calling, e-mailing them at service [at], or using their live chat function.I'll be a pretentious jerk though and offer my unsolicited advice: Backcountry provided you a great product, downright dazzling customer service, and got you the gear you needed when you needed it. Backcountry sold something then at a set price, and you accepted the terms of that sale and acknowledged that the product and service were clearly worth what you were paying.Now that you've found a better deal, you want out. While your request is in theory reasonable, in reality you're basically wanting your cake and to be able to eat it too.If you really want to stick it to them, buy two canisters now and return one of the new ones from the old invoice. If you're willing to accept that you got exactly what you paid for the first time you bought it, honor that customer-seller agreement you made and just buy the second one. Besides, it'd be like you're getting both of them at 10% off.For whatever it's worth, this canister absolutely rocks. I'm glad I have mine every time I manage to sneak away up to is a very fair company to work with. Hope all works out for you.

    What's the difference between the 500...

    What's the difference between the 500 series Bear Vault and the 400 series??