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Bear Vault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Canister


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    • BV500, 700cu in


    86 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.

    • Large food canister for camping in bear country
    • 700cu in capacity suitable for weeklong trips
    • Tool-free access provides reliable bear-resistance
    • Item #BRV0004

    Tech Specs

    700cu in
    8.7 x 12.7in
    Claimed Weight
    2lb 9oz
    Recommended Use
    backpacking, weekend camping
    Manufacturer Warranty
    1 year

    Tech Specs

    California Proposition 65


    This product can expose you to chemicals including Bisphenol A (BPA), which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Good canister! Got the 500.

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Better than the the other versions out there was in pouring rain over night standing upright. Everything dry as bone. Its best to to put a band of fluorescent duct tape on it. When the bear gets done playing with it , trying to get in the goodies it my be a good distance from where it started. Mine was 100 feet plus.... found it easy with the tape on it. May have to replace the tape periodically. Persistent creatures. So I used it 4 nights in a row In western NC. only got bothered one night. Wish they made a smaller / slim version for back packing.

    Bear cannister!

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

    Fortunately I haven't had any bears try to get into this yet, but I got this for hiking John Muir Trail where it's required to have a bear canister. It's definitely heavy and takes up a lot of space. It is also a bit hard to open...even once you get the hang of it. I've been able to flat pack about 16 freeze dried meals into it

    Awesome container!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Awesome product! Fair warning: This thing might not be best for you for heavy-duty backpacking unless you’re willing to carry the extra weight. Which is considerable. I stick it in my truckbed when I’m out in the field (I’m a wildlife tech) and create the bear-muda triangle at night. It is definitely heavier, which is why I think a bear hang might be best if you’re hiking long distances and don’t want the extra weight. However, if you’ve got a basecamp or don’t mind having to huck this thing very far, it’s the perfect bear-proof container! Keeps myself and my truck safe. I put my cooking clothes in this, a week’s worth of food, and other items for minor storage! Awesome campfire stool as well. Totally worth the $$!

    Perfectly functional

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I used this during the Sierra section of the PCT. I shipped it home afterwards to shed weight and was surprised to find how much I missed it. I used it every night as a camp stool to sit on and got used to having it. Didn't run into any bears during the Sierra.

    Great Product & Great Company

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    This past summer while on a trip to the Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico with 18 Scouts and scout leaders we decided at the last minute against bear bagging. Given the altitude (nearly above the tree line) and the sheer quantity of food we'd need to bag we decided it would be smarter to use canisters. Backcountry was super helpful to ensure we had our order of 18 Bear canisters delivered next day to New Mexico to a very obscure address (turn left at the fence post , drive one mile down the dirt road etc etc. - The canisters were awesome and also make for a perfect seat around the campfire. Thanks again for great service Backcountry

    Solid & Durable Bear Canister

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Me and my buddy recently set off for a trip in the Sierra's a few weeks back and right before we were leaving we realized, "Oh no, we don't have any bear canisters!"
    We knew that if we wanted to get into the backcountry (desolation wilderness) then we would have no choice. Fortunately we got them in time and what can I say, they hold a solid amount of food. They of course are a little bulky and sometimes awkward to use (especially when getting the hang of how to open it) but they are a great bear canister and we ended up having no problems with any bears in what was definitely "bear country."

    Great Bear Canister

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I have both the BV500 and BV450. I really like the transparency of the main container as it makes it alot easier to see when searching for items. Both because you can look through from the outside to locate and item and because it is not like looking down into a black hole from the top. Makes it much more useful. I have had some challenges with releasing the locking mechanism, especially at colder temperatures. Basically you have to depress the side of the black plastic lid in about 1/8" to allow the latch to clear the stop (twice because there are 2 locks). And in the cold, the plastic is just that much stiffer to depress. It is easy at 70 deg F, manageable at 50 deg F and downright challenging at 30 deg F. HOWEVER, I have a wonderful solution to not ever have to deal with depressing these locks...use an old hotel room key card or credit card. You simply place the card vertically in the locking mechanism such that the card is inside the outer catch on the main container and outside the triangular latch on the lid. Then you can rotate the lid and the card creates a little ramp where the latch just slides past the catch. It works wonderfully at all temps. And I took this a step further by mounting one of those adhesive silicone card holders for phone backs onto the top of the lid so the card is always easily accessible.

    Got the job done!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Picked up this BV500 bear canister before two backpacking trips in Glacier and Denali. Overall, we were really happy with this canister. Size wise, the 500 had plenty of room for food/toiletries for two people for a 4-5 day trip and still fit decently in our pack. Luckily we didn't have to see if this thing would stand up to a bear but it definitely seems durable enough to do the job.

    I've seen some people complain about this canister being difficult to open but we didn't have any issues with that. Even had a couple colder/rainy mornings and I was still able to open it relatively easily with wet and cold hands!

    Keeps da bears out!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    This canister does a great job of giving me peace of mind while camping in bear country. It is everything I expected it to be and works great. I espcially like that it is transparent so I can see what I have in it rather than opening and closing it all the time.

    A must have for all animals

      Forget about the bears works great on all the varmints. My friends hung bags including animal resistant bags and the squirrels got into absolutely everything including the resistant bags. My friend found his titanium spoon 25yds from camp! Also it fits perfectly into my sleeping bag compartment with my sleeping bag and pad inside so it really doesn't take much extra room if you're not filling it with food.


      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      I invested in this for some piece of mind when in the Uintahs and Wyoming. I don't use it for backpacking so I wish it were just a tad larger, but it's still large enough that I can make it work. Don't regret this investment at all. To give you an idea of the size, the cooler it's sitting on is a Yeti Tundra 45L.


      Great Canister

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      Fits way more than you think – definitely great for multi-night trips with multiple people. Takes up considerable space in your pack – no getting around that. I sometimes have trouble opening it which has resulted in a lot of jammed fingernails, but if I can't get in, here's hoping a bear can't either. As an added bonus, it's an A+ camp chair.

      It does the job

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      Like any bear cannister it is bulky and takes up a lot of space in your pack, but it does what it is supposed to do and functions well as a seat and even a wash basin for your clothes on long trips. The wide opening on this model makes it easy to jam pack it with food.

      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.

      Best Answer

      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...

      My wife and I get that every so often also. We also get a vacuum effect, which is interesting. We counter this by not screwing the lid on much beyond the tabs and sometimes holding the bugger between our knees while unscrewing it.

      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..

      Best Answer

      Ursacks are not approved in most parts of the Sierras (might want to double check with a ranger). Some ranger stations will rent you a canister for your trip which should save you some trouble if you're coming from HI. Not sure about Yosemite specifically though.

      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

      Best Answer

      I would imagine the National Park Service hasn't updated their website to include the BV500. It doesn't make sense unless the BV500 has a design change rendering it less effective. Easier fix: call National Park Service in GTNP to be sure.

      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:

      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??