The following is the contents of an email I sent to the PCT-L mailing list. It explains how we packed our food into a Garcia bear canister for the 10 days between Kennedy Meadows and Vermillion Valley Resort on Lake Edison. Actually food does not have to be in the canister for the first 2 days. And the current days food can be outside the canister.
Don’t take this description as “the way” to pack your food into a canister. It is meant to provide ideas of how to deal with long food carries in zones requiring bear canisters.
Check the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks and SIBBG for more information on and requirements for food storage in the Sierra.
We planned for 10 days from KM to VVR. We carried the first 2+ days outside the Garcia canister. I think we entered the restricted zone with some bars and maybe part of a bag of potato chips outside the canister, plus that nights meal. Not much as I recall.
We removed all the packaging that we could from the food. We smashed the food into the canister at home and mailed it to KM. When loading the canister we try to keep food we need the first few days higher in the canister. We do not want to unload any food and have to put it back in the canister. We used a flat plate or pot to smash the food into the canister and put our full weight onto the flat surface. We don’t plan on carrying as many calories as we burn in the high sierra or other long carries. But we eat well when we arrive at a re-supply.
Here’s what I remember about our food:
Dinners – Packed dehydrated black beans in one of those grocery store vegetable bags. Packed instant brown rice and dehydrated salsa in another vegetable bag. We measured both out for 10 days. We had hot chocolate (dumped the contents out of the packets into another bag)
Lunches – We carried 2 packages of 8-inch tortillas. One at the bottom of the canister and the other high so we could easily get it out. Must have had 2 packages of sliced cheese (total 20 slices?). We used Gatorade powder at half strength for lunch and afternoon snack.
Breakfast was our usual – 2 pop tarts, 1 tea bag and 1 hot chocolate from the bag above.
Snacks – we carried 2-3 bars per person per day. I think we had a bag of chips or chex mix that was pretty smashed. We probably ate it with a spoon.
That’s it – 8 days food for 2 people in a Garcia.
I carried the Garcia upright in my ULA Circuit. Stuffed clothing and tent around the canister to help pad it. We arrived at VVR on the morning shuttle of our 10th day. Darn, carried that extra food all the way to VVR. We didn’t eat black beans and brown rice for a few days after VVR.