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How Many Snickers Can Fit in a Bear Canister?

Snickers bars are a very popular thru-hiking and backpacking food not only because they're delicious, but also because they're high-calorie and compact. We decided to see how many Snickers we could fit into the average bear canister. Because...why not?

Paul Bodnar      Gear Review       10/02/2020
Paul Bodnar
Gear Review
10/02/2020

A BV500 bear canister full of snickers.

It’s important to understand calorie density when packing food in your bear canister. If you are out for a long hike that requires a canister, you want to get as many calories as possible in the bear canister. Snickers are dense and high-calorie (250 calories for a 1.9 ounce bar), while other foods like ramen noodles (about 190 calories for a typical 3 ounce package) or freeze-dried meals (typically 400-600 calories, about 4 ounces) are bulky and may have excessive packaging.

A BearVault BV450 full of ramen and a BV500 full of Snickers bars sitting next to each other on some grass.
Bear Vault BV450 (left) and BV500 (right)

***No company solicited this review, and I purchased all tested items.***

We thought it would be fun to see how many Snickers, ramen noodles, and Mountain House meals we could cram into the BearVault BV450 and BV500 bear canisters. Unsurprisingly you can fit a lot more Snickers-calories into these bear canisters than you can fit ramen-calories or Mountain House-calories.  As you see in the chart below, a BV500 bear canister can fit 143 Snickers bars (35,750 calories), or 24 ramen noodle packages (8,880 calories), or 10 Mountain House meals (5,945 calories). While the BV450 bear can holds 80 Snickers bars (20,000 calories), or 15 ramen noodle packages (5,550 calories) or 6 Mountain House meals (3,490 calories).

A BV500 bear canister can fit 143 Snickers bars.

Calorie density varies slightly for each Mountain House meal.

(Pinch to zoom.)

143 Snickers bars laid out next to a BV500 bear canister.
143 Snickers bars fit in a BV500 bear canister
24 Ramen packages laid out next to a BV500 bear canister.
24 Ramen packages fit in a BV500 bear canister
10 Mountain House Meals laid out next to a BV500 bear canister.
10 Mountain House Meals fit in a BV500 bear canister

Conclusion

We do not suggest packing a bear canister full of just Snicker bars to maximize calories. A variety of healthy food is important for your diet on trail. The important point is that calorie density matters when thinking about what food you want to load into your limited-size bear canister. High-density, high-calorie food items can significantly increase the amount of food you can take into the wilderness.

*The BV450 and BV500 we used have a measured capacity of 6.8 liters and 10.8 liters, respectively.


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A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

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About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the PCT again in 2010 to do research for his guide book, Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the PCT.