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Packing Bear CansThis page offers tips on packing food into bear canisters and packing gear into kayaks.  

How to Pack a Bear Resistant Canister

The Bear Resistant Canister (BRC) is a hard plastic container with a flush fitting lid, the bears can smell what is inside but cannot access the contents.

If you have not packed a BRC before, having an understanding of how to pack the can will enable you to pack your food efficiently, allowing you to take more.

First, line the inside of the can with a heavy duty garbage bag. Be sure to bring a good supply of garbage bags and zip locks with you. The canister is not water proof and will fill up with water if it is laying on its side in water or left standing upright in the rain (even if the lid is on).

Put all of your food items into their own zip locks (everything should be water tight even if it is in a package) and squeeze out the air and place it in the can.

You will find that you will need to repack most of your foods from their original package into smaller packages to fit through the opening of the can.

The lid and opening of the BRC is circular and about 4” in diameter.  Large items will not fit though the opening and square large items will definitely not fit through the small round hole.

Dehydrated foods pack really well. See also our web page on Bear Canisters.

Kayak Packing

Your strategy for loading the kayaks will be the same for both singles and doubles. (see the webpage describing our equipment for details). 

NPS issued Bear Resistant Containers (BRC) come in one size: short. The double kayaks can fit two short BRC‘s standing upright or laying down behind the bow seat, and two more will fit laying down in the stern compartment of the kayak. You may also be able to fit one more behind the bow person's seat, depending on how tall the stern person is. You will want to avoid packing heavily weighted items, such as the BRCs, in the front of the kayak in order to prevent your kayak nose from dipping down. As a general rule, 4-5 canisters will fit in a double kayak, depending on how much other gear you have and how big the kayakers are.

In the single kayaks, you may lay two short BRCs on their sides in the stern compartment, then balance out your kayak with something heavy in the front for example; your tent and a water bladder. 

Numerous smaller bags are easier to pack into the kayaks than a few large bags, however carrying lots of small bags up and down the beach is not practical.  Therefore, we suggest bringing some large duffel bags which you can use when toting your small bags up and down the beach when making camp, getting onto and off of the camper drop off vessel, and traveling by airplane. Stow the empty duffels in the kayak when paddling.

Dry bags the length of an average arm and the diameter of a small dinner plate should be the largest size you use. If you don’t have or wish to purchase any dry bags, small duffel bags or stuff sacks about the size of a sleeping bag stuff sack, all lined with plastic garbage bags, work just fine. The idea here is that the outer duffel or stuff sack will protect the plastic garbage bag liner from getting ripped or snagged and it doesn't matter if the duffel or stuff sack gets wet. 

Use gallon ziplocks to organize and double waterproof items such as clothing and your stove. We do this even when using dry bags. Water bladders don't need to be put in waterproof dry bags or sacks  and can be packed individually into the smaller spaces of the kayak. Store cook gear in a stuff sack (lined or unlined with a plastic bag, your choice) and put your stove in a ziplock. Tents don't need a dry bag but should have a thicker plastic ground cloth which you may then use to wrap your tent into when stowing into its stuff sack. If it's raining, your tent will be packed away wet. If it's sunny (or at least not raining) when you set your tent back up, it will dry quickly.

We do not rent or supply dry bags for overnight trips.

A double kayak can fit:

  • 1 X 2-3 person
  • 4 season tent
  • 2 x tightly stuffed (individually stuffed) sleeping bags
  • 2 X bed rolls
  • 1 x two burner stove or 2 x single burner stove plus fuel
  • 1 x cook kit, 1 qt. water bottle and 1 Two gallon bladder per person. Note: more water capacity is better; if empty they take up no space and it's better to have them if you need them.
  • 4 x small BRC
  • 4 x dry bags
  • 2 X small stuff sacks or deck bags

A single kayak can fit:

  • 1 X 1-2 person
  • 4 season tent
  • 1 x tightly packed sleeping bag
  • 1 x bed roll
  • 2 x single burner stoves plus fuel
  • 1 x cook kit, 1 qt. water bottle and 1 Two gallon bladder per person. Note: more water capacity is better; if empty they take up no space and it's better to have them if you need them.
  • 2 x small BRC 
  • 2 x dry bags
  • 1 x stuff sac or deck bag

Note: All of your gear must fit inside the kayak. It is dangerous to have weight on the top deck of your kayak, this could cause the kayak to capsize.

Food Drops

In the past food drops have been possible by the daily tour boat which provides the camper transportation service. However this is always a subject of debate and comes down to the whim of the boat captain and crew. If at all possible, food drops should be avoided.

That said, if the crew will accommodate your food drop, then you will need to have your BRC clearly marked with your name, date of drop and location of drop site (which can only be at one of the designated drop sites).

You must be present at the drop site to collect your food, they will not leave BRC unattended due to bear incident risk. Bear Resistant Containers must not be left unattended at anytime for a pick up for the same reason.

Please note: Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks will not take responsibility for organizing your food drop or reminding the day boat crew when to drop it and we will not take responsibility if your food goes missing while you are out camping. You are responsible for making food drop arrangements directly with the crew.

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