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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Bear Resistant Containers > BearVault BV450 > Owner Review by Derek Hansen

BearVault BV450 Bear Resistant Food Container

Owner Review by Derek Hansen

DATE: September 9, 2010

BearVault BV450

Photo courtesy


NameDerek Hansen
Height5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg)
Email Address derek·daught·hansen·at·mac (without cheese)·dot·kahm
City, State, CountryFlagstaff, Arizona, USA


I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical weekend pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), which includes food and water. Because I pack less than 20 lb (9 kg), I prefer lightweight trail-running shoes. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.


Manufacturer BearVault, (San Diego, California, USA)
Year of Manufacture 2009
Manufacturer’s Website
Capacity 440 cu in (7.2 L)
Color Clear blue plastic with a black plastic lid
Listed Weight 2 lb 1 oz (0.94 kg)
Measured Weight 33.25 oz (942.6 g)
Listed Features Four-day capacity; "Super rugged transparent polycarbonate housing resists impacts without shattering! Innovative patent pending design so you can open and close the lid without tools! Extra wide, rain proof opening provides full access for loading, unloading, and finding items! Built in guides keep tie down straps in place so extra carrying case is not needed to attach to backpack!"; rain-proof opening.
Warranty Not listed
Listed Dimensions 8.7 × 8.3 in (22.1 × 21.1 cm)
Measured Dimensions 8.5 × 8 in (21.6 × 20.32 cm)


The BearVault BV450 is a polycarbonate food canister used to protect food and other “smelly” items from animals, specifically bears. The BV450 features a wide-mouth opening with a lid that recesses slightly into the body of the canister. The lid screws onto the canister and features two tabs or snaps that secure the lid to the body of the canister.

Instructions on the top of the lid inform

To open, when each snap hits housing bump slide fingernail down onto top of snap.
Press in with fingernail on textured area only and unscrew.

Additional instructions state:

To close, screw securely past both snaps.
Close fully before using as chair!!
No DEET on or inside!!

The plastic is very rigid and feels solid. On one side of the canister there are multiple bumps. On the bottom are a series of ridges where a strap can be centered to help secure the canister to a pack.


Anderson Mesa

I purchased the BV450 after moving to Flagstaff, Arizona. The mean elevation is 7000 ft (2100 m). My first trips were in the early winter with low temperatures around 40 F (4 C). I have since taken the BV450 on 6 backpacking trips, the most recent was an overnight trip to Fisher Point.

Aug 13-14 ~ Fisher Point, Coconino National Forest, Arizona. Another S24O trip just outside Flagstaff. The 9-mile (14.5 km) trip took us through skunk canyon (6600 ft/2011 m) and up to the top of Fisher Point (7000 ft/2134 km). We pitched our hammocks on the edge of a cliff. Overnight low was 48 F (9 C).


Walnut Canyon

After moving to Flagstaff, Arizona, the Ponderosa pines proved difficult at first for me to use my typical bear bagging techniques, so I opted for a food canister. My research led me to the BearVault BV450 because I liked the wide-mouth opening, tool-less lid, and see-through side walls. I read that Flagstaff is black bear country, and so I thought it was a good idea to invest in a food canister that was certified for bears. The BV450 has an upgraded lock enclosure as there was a bear in the east coast who was able to “bite” and open the original single-tabbed enclosure. As this was an isolated incident, the BV450 is still an approved food canister in bear country.

I normally pack pretty light, and as this was my first time carrying a food canister, my first impression was the weight. The BV450 is much heavier than just a nylon stuff sack and some twine, but it is very convenient, especially since I had a tough time at first hanging in the Ponderosa trees.

Marshal Lake

Most of my trips have been just one or two days overnight, but I often packed the BV450 with enough food for three or four days since I carried for my children and myself on many trips. I found the BV450 lives up to its capacity claims. However, I also like to store other “smellable” items away from sniffing bruins, including toothpaste, bug repellant, and the like. On a few trips, I even added my cooking pot and stove items in the canister without problem.

Opening the lid is not too difficult, but I have found that in the winter when my hands are cold and the plastic less forgiving, it takes a little time and force to pop the tabs. I’ve hurt my fingers and bruised my pride on a few occasions and I wrestled on the ground trying to get the lid off.

On a few trips, I even used the BV450 as a chair, but I do not often find the canister the most comfortable item to sit on in the backcountry (I prefer to lounge in my hammock instead).

After several trips using the BV450, I have figured out how to bear bag in Ponderosa trees, so I have been leaving the canister more often at home in favor of lighter options. The few occasions when I pull it out have been when I planned to “be lazy” or when I know I’ll be hiking well into the night and I don’t want to spend a lot of time hanging a bag in a tree.


The canister is definitely easy to use and deploy in the field. It’s a bit heavy compared to nylon stuff sacks for bear bags, but its rugged design is a deterrent to small and large rodents alike.

PRO—Rugged. Wide-mouth opening. No tools needed to open. Doubles as a chair. Triples as a camp drum.

CON—Heavy (compared to bear bags). Lid can be hard to open when it's cold outside.

Read more reviews of BearVault gear
Read more gear reviews by Derek Hansen

Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Bear Resistant Containers > BearVault BV450 > Owner Review by Derek Hansen

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