BearVault 400


BearVault 400
Page Type Gear Review
Object Title BearVault 400
Manufacturer BearVault
Page By Vic Hanson
Page Type Jun 4, 2007 / Jun 9, 2007
Object ID 3332
Hits 9016

Product Description

Lighter for backpacking when every ounce counts!
BV350 Solo Only 2 lbs 1 oz.
BV400 Only 2 lbs 9 oz.

Larger capacity for the space you need!
BV350 Solo has 4 days capacity
BV400 has 7 days 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!

(From the BearVault Website)


Rental Program

BearVault also offers a rental program, however it costs almost as much to rent one as to buy one. However if you are sure you will only use it once, and don't want to bother with buying one and finding something to do with it at the end, it may be an option.

Worry Free Bear Canister Rental Program for PCT Thru-hikers

BearVault is proud to offer a new service to PCT thru-hikers. This service provides a Sierra approved BearVault bear resistant food canister for pickup at Kennedy Meadows. Upon reaching the Echo Lake Resort near South Lake Tahoe (or Tuolumne Meadows if you wish) you would return the BearVault. All shipping and packaging is included on both the south pickup and north drop-off points. The reverse routes can also be accommodated.

BearVault Rental

My Experience

I used a BearVault BV400 all the way through the Sierras and was very happy with it. It kept my food secure and all in one place (I'm not very organized at times) and makes a nice camp seat as well. It is added weight so I sent it home after Sonora Pass on my PCT hike. I later missed it for the protection from mice, but it wasn't worth carrying the extra weight for that. I never had a bear encounter so can't validate it's bear proof claims, but it did help me sleep better knowing my food was secure.

The BearVault has a couple of advantages over other brands. 1) You can see the food inside so it is easier to find a particular item. 2) It doesn't require a coin to open like some other makes. Instead there is a pressure release tab to push. It can be a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is no problem. The BearVault appeared to be the most common brand on the PCT in 2006.



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tarol - Jun 11, 2007 6:11 pm - Voted 5/5

I own the first Bear Vault w/ the retrofitted lid
I've used it camping in Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon and have had no problems with the bears. I like the Bear Vault - the wide opening and see-through design are much improved over the old Garcia canisters... plus it holds a little more and weighs a little less!

csmcgranahan - Jul 1, 2007 12:00 pm - Hasn't voted

I use this for overnights above or near tree line. Longest use was for a trip into Titcomb Basin in the Wind River Range. I have been very satisfied with this product to date and would recommend it to other members.

Grampahawk - Jul 13, 2007 4:20 pm - Hasn't voted

hard to open
My 20 yr old son used one of these recently and had a hard time opening it several times. In fact I had to hold it while he worked the tab mechanism and tried to unscrew the top because he couldn't do it himself. The first time it may have had something to do with the air pressure. He packed it at 2,000 ft and opened it at 11,000. Then didn't seem to have any trouble. The second time we had had lunch in about 80 degree weather, then it dropped to the 30's so maybe the cold did something.

kwag - Aug 6, 2007 1:13 am - Hasn't voted

I have the one with the new lid which is easier to open than the first version. The capacity is indeed about 7 days. I've left it out in the rain and all that was inside was dry. No bear problems while I've used it all over SEKI.

Ol Walsher - Sep 19, 2007 11:22 pm - Voted 5/5

I like it
This sure beats the old black standard bear canister. It holds alot and is lighter. I was able to fit in all my food for a 3 day trip.

nartreb - Sep 21, 2007 3:15 pm - Voted 3/5

Compared to other bear cans I've used, this model has both pluses and minuses.
I believe it's among the lighter cans for a given capacity.
It's got a wide mouth and transparent body so you can find things more easily.
When closed, it's watertight, or close enough that I don't worry about leaving it out in the rain (other cans have to be positioned upside down).
Like any can, it makes a nice seat (very handy in winter).
It is not, however, easy, or always possible, to open this thing without tools. (I use the 'biner clip on my knife handle -- and I still need to use both hands and sometimes both feet.) But it IS easy to close it improperly if you're not paying attention. The coin-lock type of cans are easier and faster to open and close, and less prone to error. Since opening and closing are practically the only things a can needs to do, I'm not too happy with mine.

Vic Hanson - Sep 22, 2007 6:41 pm - Voted 5/5

Re: human-resistant
I don't know if you have a new model or the older one but I know that the older ones were prone to closing problems. The new model was redesigned to solve this problem. I never had a problem closing it but it can be a bit tricky to open until you get the hang of it. I don't have mine with me here but if I remember right there is a spot on the tab where it says "press here". At first I wasn't careful and would just press anywhere on the tab. I learned that it is much easier to open if you press exactly where it says. Using my thumbnail worked best. I also discovered that there is no need to screw the lid on as tight as possible, just go till it starts to get firm and stop. I would usually squat down and clamp it between my knees to open it, worked well for me and never needed a tool.

nartreb - Nov 7, 2007 10:41 am - Voted 3/5

Re: human-resistant
Bought it in fall 2006...

Using a thumbnail (with plenty of force) will work to open it, but there's a risk of getting your thumbnail badly pinched. I'll stick with using a tool.

kovarpa - Nov 22, 2007 3:54 pm - Voted 5/5

I like mine,
works well and is much better than the black Garcia cans, lighter with more capacity. We are able to stuff it with food for 2 people for 4 days.

Augie Medina - Jan 28, 2009 2:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Good Product
I bought the BV-500 model (7 day capacity; 2 lbs. 9 oz.) last year and prefer it to the Garcia cannister; the BearVault is lighter and holds more and of course there is the transparency feature. It is true that you have to practice a little to learn the technique for opening the BearVault and in this respect the coin-lock cannisters are more intuitive.

Alpinist - Aug 13, 2009 11:01 am - Voted 4/5

Works great
I've used this cannister for years and it works great. I like that you can see through it, which is helpful when you have multiple cannisters. You can also use it as a chair/table.

The only downside is that it is a little difficult to open when fully closed. (You should always fully close it.)

chrismarks - Aug 28, 2010 1:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Well Designed, Very Useful
I've been using the BV450 for several years now, it and works very well. I have yet to have a bear go after my food, so I can not make any claims to its durability but it's easy to open (once you figure it out for the first time), reasonably light, and the transparent sides are a nice bonus.

My only beef is with the dimensions, it absorbs pack space like nothing else. And well, it's a bear can.

I've done a full review here:

jaxcharlie - Sep 14, 2011 10:25 am - Voted 5/5

BV 350
I've used it on 3 trips totaling 12 days now, and really like it. It's easy for me to get into, and as many people say it does make a nice seat! No bears have tried it out yet though.

TimmyC - Apr 10, 2012 8:47 pm - Voted 5/5

I have the 500 (used to be called the 450, see the product page at the bottom), and really like it. I mean, a bear can's a bear can: it's heavy and clunky, but you gotta have it. The fact that you can see thru this one is the most compelling feature; on a multi-can trip, you know which can has what in it. The easy-to-use top is also a big plus. Looking at comments about older models, the top must have been a problem before. The way it works now is super easy. I doubt I'll ever have to replace mine.

Davtrex - Dec 11, 2012 12:48 am - Hasn't voted

Good for keeping the bears out.

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