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Bear Can Use on The Hot Springs Trail Explained

Are bear canisters required on The Hot Springs Trail? What about on The Siskiyou Peaks Trail? Learn the answer here plus see what your options are between them, other uses of them, and my opinion overall as far as if you "need" them. I know you can barely stand it, so let’s dive in, like a Yosemite bear into a Honda Civic!

Bears - and bear canisters - come in different sizes


Bear Can Use on The Hot Springs Trail Explained


In the backcountry, there are typically 3 ways to protect your food from bears.

Option 1: HANGING

Hanging from rodents in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, on the SPT

This is a classic and useful technique that works to protect your food from animals and rodents but may not be sufficient in National Parks or against more voracious predators, such as bears. When in their territory, it’s better to have something a bit more substantial.

Option 2: BEAR BAGS

The Ursack Bear Bag - 7.3oz

Using a bear bag is just like using a stuff sack. Typically, it’s hung from a tree out of reach from bears. A second technique is to use the inner metal liner that comes with the Ursack then tie it securely to something, so that if a bear should find it, at least it can’t escape with your stash. However, it can still practically destroy your contents by pouncing on it and biting away at it.


Approved Bear Canisters: BearVault & Backpackers' Cache

Bear Canisters a Glance:

The BearVault

  • 2lbs 1oz

  • 7.2 Liters Capacity

  • ~ $70

The Backpackers' Cache

  • 2lbs. 12oz

  • 10 Liters Capacity

  • ~ $70

These simple yet ingenious devices protect your food from bears and practically everything else. Required in some National Parks to camp or travel in the backcountry, bear cans are oftentimes shunned for their size, bulkiness, and weight. Their presence is never regretted however when an encounter actually happens. Also, when hiking the HST, one of these canisters can be sent directly to Kernville or Mono Hot Springs Resort, already loaded with food. Both of these places have post offices and are at each end of the bear can requirement zone, mentioned ahead.


Bear Can Use on The Hot Springs Trail Explained


On the Hot Springs Trail:

Bear cans are (not really) required while traveling on the High Sierra Hot Springs Trail section of the Hot Springs Trail. During this time, 2 specific zones are passed thru where they are required to camp overnight. On-trail inspections are not unheard of. Tickets may be issued if caught camping without one while inside of these 2 zones. These zones have been outlined in the guidebooks and present little issue to completing this section of trail without one. For the remainder of the HST, there are no mandatory food storage zones but taking precautionary measures to protect your food is still recommended.


On The Siskiyou Peaks Trail:

As stated in the SPT guidebook: “Black bears can be found throughout the Siskiyou Mountains and are to be expected for the entirety of this trail. Although not required by law, bear canisters are highly recommended for ultimate peace of mind and food security.”

Other Common Uses for Bear Canisters:

  • As a Camp Chair

  • As a Produce Box

  • As a Drumming Device

  • As a Stash Can for Remote Caches

  • As a Creative Implement for Camp Yoga/Exercise


In Summary:

Another quote from the Official Guidebook says it best: “The benefit of having a bear canister is that it protects your food from the myriad of other creatures that want to eat your food as well.”

Isn’t your food worth protecting, even if it’s not required? One way or another, I think so.



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