Bear Canister Compatible Ultralight Backpacks

Bear canister compatible backpacks - photo by daveynin

California has some of the most incredible backpacking trails in the country. Unfortunately, the majority of the parks where these trails are located require the use of a bear canister.

Personally, I’m not a fan of bear canisters. They’re heavy, hard to pack and take up a ton of space in my pack. The one good thing about a bear canister is that it makes for an excellent camp chair, one of the many comforts I forego on my backpacking adventures.

Sadly, until someone a lot more creative than me comes up with a better solution, or the Ursack is finally approved for use, bear canisters are a necessary evil.

As I continue to work at lightening my load, one of my many considerations is finding a lightweight backpack that is capable of carrying a bear canister. I own a BearVault BV500 bear canister, which is large enough to carry 3-4 days worth of food for two people. At some point in the near future, I will likely buy the smaller and lighter BearVault BV450 Solo bear canister for solo trips lasting up to 4 or 5 days.

Read: Lightweight Hiking: My 5 Strategies for Becoming a Hiking Machine


Recently I started looking for a lighter backpack, preferably under 3lbs with a capacity of about 50 liters that is also bear canister compatible. To date, the following list of backpacks is made up of lightweight backpacks I have found where bear canister compatible is listed in the manufacturer’s description, on a retailer’s description, or in a user’s review.

I’ll continue updating this list as manufacturer models change and new backpacks are found. If you know of a lightweight backpack that is bear canister compatible, let me know about it in the comments and I will add it to the list. Conversely, if you own one of the backpacks listed and have experience using it with a bear canister, I’d like to hear about that as well.

Gossamer Gear G4 54 Backpack
Weight: 16.5 oz
Capacity: 54 liters
Base price: $125

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40 Ultralight Backpack
Weight: 26 oz
Capacity: 40 liters
Base price: $200

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Lightweight Backpack
Weight: 29.1 oz
Capacity: 60 liters
Base price: $210

Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60
Weight: 36 oz
Capacity: 60 liters
Price: $199.95

Klymit Motion 60
Weight: 41.4 oz
Capacity: 60 liters
Base price: $148.62

2014 Six Moon Designs Fusion 50
Weight: 36 oz
Capacity: 50 liters
Price: $100 (closeout)

2014 Six Moon Designs Fusion 65
Weight: 39 oz
Capacity: 65 liters
Price: $110 (closeout)

2015 Six Moon Designs Fusion 50
Weight: 49 oz
Capacity: 50 liters
Price: $230

2015 Six Moon Designs Fusion 65
Weight: 52 oz
Capacity: 65 liters
Price: $250

ULA Catalyst
Weight: 48 oz
Capacity: 75 liters
Base price: $260

ULA Circuit
Weight: 41 oz
Capacity: 68 liters
Base price: $235

Title photo by daveynin

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Robb Keele

Robb Keele

Robb is a native San Diegan and avid hiker, backpacker, picture taker and 52 Hike Challenger. He created Getgo Outdoors with the goal of giving back to the outdoor community and inspiring others to get outdoors.
Robb Keele

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