Bear Canisters provide additional safety not just for campers, but also for the bears they’re designed for. The problem with them is they generally take up a ton of space and weigh just as much. The Insider Bear Safe aims to eliminate some of those problems.
A quick glance will reveal that Frontiersman’s Insider Bear Safe is a bit different from others on the market. It’s a tall, rounded triangle like shape that tapers at the bottom. This allows the canister to be packed away in a more convenient matter. Instead of being a large, thick lump in a pack, it instead slides into a pack and allows other items to be stuffed in around it. This creates less of a bulge and more of a panel, which feels much better when pressed against the spine, especially in packs that don’t provide a stiff dedicated frame or air suspension. The shape of the canister also allows it to double as a nice stool; Handy after long treks or in rainy conditions where the ground would normally be saturated.
The storage capacity is impressive despite the high packability. It holds just shy of 12 liters, which is enough for a dedicated packer to store enough food for a full week on the trail, assuming toiletries and other items aren’t taking up too much space. A couple can easily cram 3 days worth of food and snacks inside, with careful planning and a reduction in packaging. This means less resupplies, or longer journeys in generally if you’re planning an out and back trip.
The bear canister locks down with three long screws, creating a fairly tight, but not scent proof seal, thanks to high precision molding and careful design. The screws can be undone with coin, screwdriver, or other items like a blade or narrow rock in a pinch. While this method is incredibly secure (I couldn’t imagine getting in without a tool), it can certainly take some time to get open, especially if you are working with a blade or sharp rock, which I wouldn’t recommend. Expect a full two minutes to crack this safe open, but that’s all the better in the event that a bear does get its paws on this thing.
The orange color makes it rather easy to find after storing it overnight. Assuming it is assaulted by a hungry critter, the odd oblong and narrowing shape makes sure it won’t roll or tumble too far away, as it mostly spins in circles unless it’s on a steep incline. The smooth plastics are fairly slick, which also reduces its ability to be carried away by a hungry visitor, but also make it easier to get in and out of a pack, without actually being hard to hang onto (yay for thumbs!).
Overall, the Frontiersman Insider Bear Canister from Sabre is an excellent evolution of the classic bear canister design. It’s easy to use, if a bit time-consuming, and packs better than anything else I’ve ever tested. It’s also exceptionally durable, fairly light weight, made of some recycled materials, and has been tested and approved for many locations (check with your rangers first as not all canisters are approved for all locations, especially if they’re newer models).
For information on our rating system and our testing procedures, check out our About us/ Contact us page.
I want to extend a huge thanks to Sabre for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
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