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

goslowgofar goslowgofar at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 12 18:55:44 CDT 2014

So, are you saying that PCT hikers don't lose any weight until after they pick up the bear canisters at KM?  Hmmm.  Don't think that's accurate.  I know that on the AT, where bear canisters aren't used, and food resupply options are plentiful, hikers still lose weight.  That was definitely true when I hiked it in '85...
I'd rather use a bear canister and protect the bears.  It's part of the experience!

Ned said:
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.
www.mountaineducation.org ned at mountaineducation.org Mission:
"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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