[pct-l] Bear Canisters: Good for Bear, not for Hungry Hiker?

Jim & Jane Moody moodyjj at comcast.net
Tue Aug 12 18:39:05 CDT 2014

I have a different take on this.  I don't think it makes much difference, unless a hiker is going to try to go 10 days or more without resupply.  You can cram a lot of calories in a full size bear canister, plus the first day's food can be stowed outside the b.c.  However, if you opt to carry the smallest size canister, then perhaps you'll run short of food on a long segment, but that can be anticipated and avoided. 
Or, you could just do what Shroomer does, eat off the land. 
Take care, 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Tibbits, Ned" <ned at mountaineducation.org> 
To: johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com 
Cc: pct-l at backcountry.net 
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 5:12:23 PM 
Subject: [pct-l] Bear Canisters: Good for Bear, not for Hungry Hiker? 

A little reflection on the use of Bear Canisters (BCs) by JMT vs. PCT thru hikers and weight loss... 

I was wondering, with the requirement of BCs thru some of the roughest sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (basically all of the JMT), could it be so simple a statement as to say their food-space limitations are the reason why PCT thru hikers lose so much weight? 

The JMT thru hiker starts out with a BC, but they aren’t that hungry at first, so the BC works for them (at least for a while). 

The PCT thru hiker starts using a BC after their first 30 or so days on-trail, certainly at the point already where they are really hungry, then are limited with the volume of food they can carry and must start a long-term food depreciation phase over the toughest trail and snow of their trip! 

Is there any sense to this? BCs are good for the bear, but not so good for the food-starving, long-distance hiker! 

So, I guess for the areas where BCs are required, it is best to major carbo-load before going in or do these sections after several weeks of packing in town food reserves, otherwise you’re going to lose weight! 

For some, this could be a good thing (to lose weight), but for the skinny people like me, I “bonk” pretty early without eating a ton of food (after being on the trail for at least a week). 

So, a Bear Canister can be a real food volume limiter and we can’t do anything about it except bring two canisters (which my son did when he flip-flopped the JMT a few years ago)... 

Food for thought. (Hey, just sayin’!) 

Ned Tibbits, Director 
Mountain Education, Inc. 
ned at mountaineducation.org 

"To minimize wilderness accidents, injury, and illness in order to maximize wilderness enjoyment, safety, and personal growth, all through experiential education and risk awareness training." 


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