Home Made Bear Keg

Picture of Home Made Bear Keg
I decided to build a bear canister rather than buying one. The Bear Kegs on the market range from 50 to 80 bucks for a good sized one. These containers are designed to withstand the crushing blow of a bear. They are generally intended to be hung from a rope about 30 or 40 feet up in a tree. This keeps bears from getting their paws on your food in the first place. For under ten dollars I made an equivalent to this product and tested it in the mountains in Kentucky. Made at Techshop.
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Step 1: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started
Collect Materials and tools: The materials you will need are as follows: 1 leak tight construction bucket with one leak tight twist on lid (these are sold as separate products), two key chain rings,  two bike inner tubes or straps, one tube of 100 % silicone bathroom calk, 1 vinyl cut or hand drawn message to detour bears and 50 plus feet of light rope. Home Depot will have all the materials needed for this project except inner tubes. Feel free to use something else rather than inner tubes for the straps or talk to a local bike shop to get used or damaged tubes. The only tools you will need are: 1 razor blade or knife, 1 calk gun and a mallet or hammer.

Step 2: Step 1

Picture of Step 1
First step is to apply silicone calk to the top rim of the bucket. This is to help in securing the rim to the leak tight twist top. This will also help in keeping the container air tight to lock in smells. The rim top will be permanently attached to the bucket after it is installed even without the silicone, so this is slight over kill. Once you have laid a small bead on the rim of the bucket place the leak tight ring on the top of the bucket without smudging the silicon off of the rim. After the ring is in place press the ring down to snap it on the the rim. Start in a single spot on the ring and press down working in both directions to apply fasten it to the bucket. If this doesn’t work, try a mallet.

Step 3: Step two

Picture of Step two
After you have applied the ring to the bucket it is time to make straps that will allow it to be fastened to a hiking backpack. These can be made from any material. I re-purposed some used bike inner tubes. Cut the valve off both tubes. Next hook the key rings to the small holes the handle mounts in on the bucket. This gives you a spot to tie the ends of the inner tube to create a strap to tie to a back pack. Next cut two slits in each side of the inner tube to create a loop for a cross strap to thread through the other inner tube. Connect the ends after you have threaded it through the other inner tube.

Step 4: Step 3

Picture of Step 3
At this point the Bear Keg is constructed but to truly protect your food from theses burly wooly mammals there is one last step. Either by cutting out a decal using the vinyl cutter or simply illustrating it by hand with a marker, write something that clearly indicates “BEARS KEEP OUT”. This is the only way for the bears to truly understand that your food is not for them.You are now ready to sling this bad boy up in a tree. Using the 50ft of rope hang the bucket from the handle about 30 feet up and 4 feet from the trunk of the tree.
Blacsdad10 months ago
Strong smells of any kind will attract bears...BBQ, deoderant, bug spray, febreeze, whatever....
This is NOT bear-proof and no one should rely on this in an environment where bears are common. Bears in the continental U.S. can easily weigh upwards of 300 pounds, and that's just a black bear. Go to a place like Glacier National Park and you've got grizzlies to contend with.

As other people have mentioned, many parks and national forests have rules for bear-proof food storage, and they're not messing around. The ones they install are made of very solid welded steel and are either Dumpster-style (weighing more than a ton) with steel-covered top and self-locking small openings that require hands to operate or are chained/cemented into place and also made of heavy steel. Certified bear kegs are smell-proof as well as puncture resistant in addition to being able to withstand a hungry and persistent bear jumping on them over and over.

Things like Febreeze do not eliminate odors, no matter what the commercials claim; it simply masks them and is in no way sufficient to stop a bear from detecting your tasty morsels.

Spend the money and buy a real one if it's actually a concern, or save your money and don't bother making this.
chokapi1 year ago
Buy a bear can. As mentioned, if you go to a place where they require a certain kind of can and you don't have it, you'll either have to leave or rent one of theirs if they have one. Besides, for the amount of time it would take, spend the $50.

People do and should hang bear cans. A bear may not be able to open it, but they can smell the contents and will spend an undue amount of time trying to open it, inclusive of smacking it, dropping it, and kicking it. Half an hour later, the bear will have left your can three-quarters of a mile away on the wrong end of a 200 foot cliff.
I love the inner tube straps, I could see using something similar on any bear keg (homemade or not,) to fasten to a pack.

I think this is a really nice critter proof bucket, but I would have some concerns about using it in "bear country." The two concerns I would have is the lack of locking mechanism on the screw top (bears have been known to unscrew lids,) and the thinness of the plastic bucket. I determined bear would probably be able to gnaw through a regular bucket.

Hanging eliminates these problems by keeping it out of reach, but If you are going to be hanging it, why use a bucket at all? I've never seen anyone hang a bear keg. What is the benefit of this over a simple waterproof bear bag?

Additionally, I've been to some National Parks (Grand Teton for example) where they require approved bear canisters during bear season.
Strider30192 years ago
EPDM straps (also at Home Depot) might work better than rubber innertubes. They are less prone to oxidative and UV degradation.

Also, a thought: could odor eliminator (like Febreeze) be used to minimize the effect of odorous residues after sealing the container?
rickharris2 years ago
Very Very disappointed with this Instructable - I miss read the title and thought it said "BEER KEG" :-)
Me too, though, I realize in fact this is perfectly suitable to put beer in. Then it's a bear-proof beer-proofed keg.