Gear Pick: Bear Keg for Bear Season

Originally published in The Aspen Daily News July 7, 2014

If you’re camping this weekend, you probably already know that you should keep food out of your tent.

Food attracts bears and there are plenty around these mountains this time of year.

I’ve heard horror stories about campers waking up to bears sniffing for food in their tent. Those stories have been enough to inspire me to keep food far from my campsite. I’ve been told to hang food in trees so bears won’t get near the tent, but that method is not necessarily bear proof.

Martha Moran, recreation supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service’s Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, said there was a recent incident near Crater Lake during which a couple of campers hung their food in a nearby tree. A bear climbed up and swatted it down, Moran said.

That’s why the Bear Keg sounds like a good investment for avid campers.

The Bear Keg looks like its namesake — it’s a cylinder that resembles a mini-beer keg. It has smooth round corners so that bears can’t easily hold onto it and includes three stainless-steel locks, which humans can easily open with a coin or screwdriver but proves impossible for bears. The keg has 716 cubic inches of storage for food — that’s enough for say a gallon of milk and a few sandwiches.

The one negative aspect of the container is its weight. The Bear Keg weighs a little over 3 pounds. That may seem light to some folks, but when you’re going on multi-day hikes into wilderness areas the 3 extra pounds are no joke. It’s also bulky, making it a challenge to pack.

Still, if you want to keep your food safe and bears away from your campsite, the Bear Keg is a reasonable option.

Get Your Own
Ute Mountaineer

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