WILD IDEAS BEARIKADE WEEKENDER
BY NANCY GRIFFITH
June 20, 2016
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt.
Manufacturer: Wild Ideas, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.wild-ideas.net
MSRP: $288 US
Listed Weight: Just over 31 oz (879 g)
Measured Weight: 31.4 oz (890 kg)
Capacity: 6 days
Volume: 650 cu in (10.6 L)
Dimensions: 9 in (22.9 cm) diameter x 10.5 in length (26.7 cm)
Other Models Available: Scout (smaller), Expedition (bigger)
Made in U.S.A.
The Bearikade Weekender is made from lightweight carbon fiber composite material with high-strength 6061-T6 aluminum end caps, locking ring and lid. There is an O-ring seal on the open end to seal the lid and a lanyard to keep the lid held to the locking ring. There are three fasteners captured in the lid which are quarter-turned to lock the lid in place to the locking ring. Each fastener also has an O-ring to seal it.
With plans in 2013 to hike the John Muir Trail for three weeks, my husband and I needed another bear canister since we'd have a ten-day stretch with no re-supply and our bear canister could only hold a week's worth of food for one person. So we considered renting a Bearikade since they are much lighter than our canister. After some thought and realizing that we'd use two bear canisters for any trip over five days, we decided to buy the Bearikade Weekender. It is the medium-sized model made by Wild Ideas, so we figured that it would be the most versatile.
|On the trail
We have since then used the Bearikade for every trip requiring bear canisters and many where they are not required but are recommended. In the Sierra there are several National Parks and National Forests that require or recommend bear canisters for food storage. Sierrawild.gov provides a good overview but it is still always best to double-check with each land manager before a trip. Or just carry a bear canister as we often do! For shorter trips, my husband carries it, but for longer trips, I carry the Bearikade and he carries our old canister. Overall we've used the Bearikade for approximately 48 days of backpacking.
Backpacking (where I carried the Bearikade):
John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 21 days; 225 mi (362 km); 4,035 ft to 14,496 ft (1,230 to 4,418 m); 35 to 80 F (2 to 27 C); windy conditions at some lakes and over high passes.
Pacific Crest Trail, Yosemite National Park, California: 8 days; 78 mi (126 km); 7,519 to 10,870 ft (2,292 to 3,313 m) elevation; 37 to 75 F (3 to 24 C) with clear to partly cloudy conditions.
Pacific Crest Trail, Southern Sierra Nevada, California: 8 days, 87 mi (140 km); 6,299 to 12,126 ft (1,920 to 3,696 m) elevation; 31 to 89 F (-0.5 to 32 C). Mostly clear with some breezes and some afternoon thunderstorms.
|Food for two people for 4-day trip
The Bearikade is advertised as being able to hold enough food for 6 days. I have found that I can fit 4-5 days' worth of food for two people in it or more like 9-10 days' worth in total. The reason that I can fit more food (I think) is that I use a lot of freeze-dried ingredients to make my own meals. And I am careful to package (and re-package) food in the most space-efficient manner that I can.
|What fits inside (still not full)
Unlike our other bear canister which is transparent, the Bearikade is a solid black exterior. However, I haven't had a problem with that. Of course, thanks to Murphy, whatever I'm looking for is usually on the bottom, but I eventually find it. The wide opening makes it pretty easy to access the items in my canister. One benefit of using a bear canister is that it keeps crushable items like corn chips or crackers from being crushed in my pack.
Although technically the Bearikade is smaller than our other canister, it seems to hold just as much and it weighs much less. The Bearikade has perfectly straight-sided walls which gives so much extra room in the corners. The straight-sided walls are a bit slippery when trying to pull a full canister out of my pack. It can be difficult to get a grip when I use it with a pack that is just big enough to fit the Bearikade. I have used the Bearikade with several backpacks but mostly with a Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 and a Gossamer Gear Gorilla. Neither of these packs specifically state for use with a bear canister and the Gorilla is a smaller pack, but it works with both. I like to carry it at the top of my pack right between my shoulder blades for the best weight distribution in my pack and best comfort. I often wish that this canister (and every other canister) had a flat side that would sit flat against my back. The rounded portion can really annoy my shoulders but I make sure to add some clothing for padding in my pack around the canister and it works fine.
I haven't had any issue with water intrusion in the Bearikade even in heavy rain. I learned the hard way that our other bear canister is NOT waterproof even when the lid was tightened. After a heavy night of rain it had an inch (cm) of rain inside and most of our food was wet. We now store that canister upside down overnight. The Bearikade has a different type of lid and with the O-ring seal which has sealed out all moisture.
I have never had any incidents or evidence of bears trying to get into a bear canister, so I can't comment on whether they work. But Wild Ideas website explains that the external diameter of the canister was chosen to not fit in a Grizzly bear's mouth. I don't want to see the bear's mouth that it would fit into!
I often used the Bearikade as a sturdy stool in camp. Unlike canister lids that have to be threaded all of the way down before sitting on them, the Bearikade lid is easy to just set on top. It doesn't have to be in the locking position, so it is quick to just set the lid in a position offset from the locking holes. This also works in my pack where I don't need to have the canister locked. It still closes securely enough to pack it and then is easy to open if I want to pull out lunch on the trail.
To lock the canister, I carry a penny with me (and taped a coin holder atop the lid) so that I always have the tool that I need. I then align the fasteners with the three locking holes and tighten each one a quarter turn. I find it best to get all three fasteners settled into their holes by turning them just slightly. Once they are all settled down then I can easily tighten them. To open I just use the coins to loosen the fasteners a quarter turn and the lid pops up enough for me to get my fingers under to open it.
I have a love-hate relationship with the lanyard that holds the lid in place. While I can flip the lid over the side fairly easily, it still seems to be in my way. It would be easy to remove since it's only held on with a screw, but then I think the lid could be lost or would at least be sliding around in the dirt each time. So I guess that love wins out since I haven't removed the lanyard yet.
The durability of the Bearikade has been great. It still looks nearly new with just some scratches on the aluminum end caps from being wedged between rocks at night or from me sitting on it in a rocky area. All of the fasteners are in fine shape with no wear even from tightening.
The Bearikade is the lightest and most convenient bear canister that I've found for use in areas where they are required to protect the bears.
THINGS I LIKE
Use as camp stool
Keeping bears safe
Crushable food won't get crushed
THINGS I LOVE/HATE
Lanyard holding lid
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
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