A bear canister typically weighs between 2-4 lb (1-2 kg), and has a storage capacity of 400 - 900 in3 (6 - 15 liters). The actual capacity in number of days of hiking food stored varies with the appetite of the hiker, the selection of food, and the skill in which it is packed, but a 700 in3 canister likely holds up to a week's worth of food for the average hiker.
Hard-sided bear cans employ such materials as polycarbonate, ABS plastic, carbon fiber, and aluminum in their construction. An effective canister must resist both the tremendous strength and high intelligence of an attacking animal. Most containers are too large for a bear to simply pick up and carry away.
The lid of a canister is usually recessed in order to prevent it being pried off. Some manufacturers, such as Garcia require a tool such as a coin to open the canister whereas other manufacturers' products, such as the BearVault, use locking nubs that allow the user to twist the lid off without tools.
At least one model of soft-sided "bear bag" is made from Spectra (UHMWPE) fabric. While a soft-sided container may prevent a bear from eating its contents, the food inside is likely to be reduced to purée in the attempt and leak through the Spectra fabric; thus feeding the bear. A newer model comes with an aluminum stiffener that protects the contents more effectively than the bag alone.
Bear resistant test for rotomolded bearproof ice chest cooler box.
About the IGBC Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program
IGBC began providing guidance and direction relative to bear-resistant containers in the 1980s with a goal of ensuring effective storage of attractants and minimizing human/grizzly bear conflicts. The testing program is a partnership with the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, which conducts the live testing with grizzly bears in West Yellowstone, Montana, and the Wildlife Management Institute, which provides financial and administrative support. Products must meet specific criteria in order to be certified as bear-resistant by the IGBC. The protocol for testing was developed through a cooperative effort among IGBC, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the US Forest Service, the Living with Wildlife Foundation, and the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.
What does IGBC approval of a bear-resistant product mean?
Do all manufactures have an IGBC logo on them to indicate they are certified?
If a product is approved, does it mean that the product can be used on any public lands in the United States?
My cooler looks like all the others, why is it not certified?
Why does my certified cooler need to be locked?
If my cooler, pannier or storage container is not certified what does that mean?