Gear Up: {BearVault 450-Jaunt Bear Canister}

The BearVault 450-Jaunt canister is just one of a variety of different-size bear canisters offered by Colorado-based company BearVault.

Gear Up
By Courtney Johnson
Gear Up Ambassador

What is it?

The BearVault 450-Jaunt canister is just one of a variety of different-size bear canisters offered by Colorado-based company BearVault. We decided to try the Jaunt out on a backcountry overnight in Rocky Mountain National Park with two adults and one child. Because this park is home to black bears, a bear canister (not a bear bag) is required from April 1 through Oct. 31 at any backcountry site below the treeline. Food, scented products and water containers are all required to be stored in a bear-resistant container that is packed in and out. Even at the established campgrounds in the park, campers are required to use bear boxes during that same time frame. 

(Photo: Courtney Johnson)

What sets it apart? 

BearVault has been in the bear canister business since 2004, and each canister is designed by backpackers, keeping in mind weight, strength and other factors. While no product is 100% bear-proof, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) gives its highest level of certification — Bear-Resistant Container — to BearVault, as the canisters withstood an hour of grizzlies chewing and clawing at it. 

The locking mechanism doesn’t require any additional tools (one less thing to pack and/or lose) to open. The round, wide canister makes it easy for human hands to use it, especially when placed on a stable service. For bears, however, it makes it difficult to get a grasp to open and or maneuver. The slippery service is also no match for bear paws or jaws. A strong lid and extra reinforcement help make it extremely difficult for any bear (or other animals) to gain access. 

A wide mouth makes it easy to grab what you need out of the canister. The width also makes it great for holding the pot from a backpacking stove, food, utensils and even scented toiletries. Its shape also provides an easy way to carry it with back support; just place it on its side in your backpack above your sleeping bag! 

How do I use it?

The 450-Jaunt is perfect for shorter backpack trips (hence the name) and can store up to four days of food for one person or two days of food for two people. It can also be used to store cookware and utensils, scented products, water containers and anything else that may attract a bear. 

Simply place items into the container. Carry the container in your backpack (use this guide for great ideas for placement in your pack) to your site. Open and take out the items you need and close it back up quickly. Place the container 100 yards downwind and 200 feet (approximately 70 footsteps) from your tent.

While regulations differ throughout the country based on the bear population, a bear canister can be used for backpacking throughout many states. Not all parks or backcountry sites require them, but it is never a bad thing to have in bear habitat. 

How much? 


(Photo: Courtney Johnson)

Courtney’s insight: 

Based on the insightful packing guide that comes with each canister, I placed the canister on its side at the bottom of my backpack just under my sleeping bag for the trek in and out from our backcountry site. The rounded edges made the canister fit in my pack for more space efficiency. It sat along my back without digging into me. The compact size and empty weight of 2 pounds, 1 ounce meant I had sufficient room for other gear and the pack weight wasn’t affected by the empty canister weight. 

I’ve heard stories of backpackers having a hard time opening canisters. I have to say that this canister isn’t hard to open as long as you follow the directions to not overtighten (once you hear two clicks, it’s closed). I also welcome the fact that it doesn’t require a special tool to open. Yahoo for having one less thing to keep track of! 

I appreciate the wide mouth for easily getting food, utensils and cooking pots in and out. It also allowed me to move stuff around within the vault without having to take everything out. It is also helpful that you can see without issue through the transparent container. This made it easy for my daughter to be able to find and grab things without having to dump the contents. You can sure fit a lot of food, etc., in 440 cubic inches with some smart packing. 

Next time we head out to the backcountry, I will be spending more time packing the contents more efficiently. BearVault has an awesome dedicated page on its website with all kinds of tips and tricks for using its products. I also liked the quick-tips sticker the vault comes with that you can add to the inside of the canister top. 

Our vault kept our food, etc., safe and bear-free for the night. It was in the same place as we left it the night before with no evidence of tampering. Not only does the canister keep you safe from bears, but it also doubles as a camp stool. How genius is that design? 

More information: 

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