28 Comments

  1. David Masten
    David Masten January 30, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Number 2 is trivial, number 1 has a major disadvantage, and 3 addresses the wrong problem.
    Box shaped bear cans are no problem – if you don’t mind 3-4 times the weight of a similar volume Garcia canister. The roughly cylinder shape is to keep the strength to weight and volume to weight reasonable.
    Number 3 – batteries are getting much better, but I don’t see any battery improvements that phones won’t eat up. The problem is that smart phones are designed for use in urban and suburban areas with as much power draw as possible with the constraint of lasting about one day under normal use patterns. Any charging battery improvements will also end up in the phone battery so it seems to me that the charging battery will always be good for what they are currently good for and no more. I’d like to see some “rural mode” and “wilderness mode” features on my phone that are smarter about being away from the city.

    1. Derek Koonce
      Derek Koonce January 31, 2018 at 10:57 am

      David, for the phone usage, I put mine in airplane mode. This keeps the phone from searching for cell towers. It is this search that drains a cell phone battery as it has to increase power in the attempt to find a cell tower. Putting the phone in airplane mode cuts this out. One can still use the phone for pictures and GPS. However, using the GPS will also increase current drain – thus I use a separate GPS for that purpose.

    2. Danica Radulovich Berner
      Danica Radulovich Berner February 1, 2018 at 11:44 pm

      Titanium is strong and light, buf a third factor can be economics. Fourth factor seems to be the notion that bears can grip box vs cylinder/round shapes better.

  2. Dana
    Dana January 30, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Ray, I have been wondering the same thing. Between carbon fiber, aluminum and or titanium one would believe it possible to build an ergonomic shape with enough integrity to keep supplies and wildlife safe! As for the multi compartment issue, I have been after my cousin Dana Gleason of Mystery Ranch packs to jump into the UL market with such a configuration. Concerning the battery idea, that would be great however I for one have concluded that electronics in the wilderness don’t mix well. Outside of my GPS/EPIRB I won’t be carrying any gadgets in the future… Thanks for your great book and sage advise and hope to meet you the trail this coming year. I’m planning a SOBO with my step daughter!

  3. Robert (Bob) Dunlop
    Robert (Bob) Dunlop January 31, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Hi Ray,
    Regarding item #3: I’m assuming you are already aware of this, but…
    The two most power-hungry devices on your phone are the radio (wifi) and the GPS. So, part of the strategy for battery conservation is to ony enable those devices when needed.
    That said, when I look at rechargable Lithium Polymer batteries, I see opportunities such as this (https://www.amazon.com/5000mAH-Rechargeable-Lithium-Battery-Yellow/dp/B00HQVTP02) on Amazon. Packaged appropriately and with regulated output circuit (and recharge circuit) your 1 pound, energy dense “spare power” should provide a significant level of backup power.
    Seems like it might be an interesting little project to put atop my list of “things-to-try.”
    I read your JMT posts on Yahoo with interest. I’m planning a NOBO JMT hike for later this year. I want to reprise my Y2K hike with a better camera (another power-demanding device).
    Best,
    Bob Dunlop

    1. Derek Koonce
      Derek Koonce February 1, 2018 at 7:00 am

      Here is what I take on a long trip. I found it very helpful since it includes a solar charger. Small enough to carry. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M3Z1OVD

  4. Rob Brandt
    Rob Brandt January 31, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Regarding smartphones, it’s true that they aren’t engineered for use outside of “civilization”. What we need is a backcountry smartphone built like the original Kindles, using “ink” display technology. Very low power requirements. Would display in black & white but I would presume capable of taking/storing color photos.

    1. Derek Koonce
      Derek Koonce February 1, 2018 at 7:03 am

      That “ink” display is a proprietary technology developed by eInk. They were my customer when I was a senior applications engineer for a semiconductor company. Essentially it is a display with small plastic spheres that are attracted or repelled to produce black and white. The beauty of the technology is that once the display is generated there is no power required to keep the image. Furthermore, it takes very little power to change the display. Not great for video due to speed, but fantastic for ebooks.

  5. Derek Koonce
    Derek Koonce January 31, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Ray, as for #3, it is simply battery technology that is a factor. I have been watching this technology for years and lithium is the highest density so far, but not able to meet your needs.

    I would like to suggest a fourth item though – flashlight. Problem I see is that many are just too bright and do not last long enough. I am in the process of fixing this issue now. I have designed a light that is about the size of a thumb, lasts for over 200 hours and does not blind the user or others nearby. When I get a decent package put together, would you like to check it out? It does have some other very nice features that I do not want to mention yet, but very valuable based on my talks with some REI backpacking enthusiasts.

    1. Danica Radulovich Berner
      Danica Radulovich Berner February 1, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Very reasonable and modified flashlight technology. Much needed.

  6. Sundance
    Sundance February 1, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Since the size and shape of bear canisters is established by the fact that cylindrical shapes are stronger per unit weight (regardless of the material used) and by the need for them to be a size and shape bears can’t get their jaws around, let’s tackle the “wasted space” around bear canisters: I ordered a few stuff sacks from Cascade Designs, makers of ThermaRest pads, etc. They’re good quality and lightweight, and >>> longer and narrower than typical stuff sacks. It works quite well to put one in each corner of a pack, around a bear canister.

  7. David Terrie
    David Terrie February 7, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Hi Ray, can’t resist chiming in. My take is that you need a collapsible cylinder that locks in it’s open shape for night time use. Like the dishware that collapses on steroids. This way, your food goes in a sack during the day, and the collapsed cannister can be carried inside or outside the pack. Capacity might be bigger this way too. NOBO 8/24.

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