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Cheap alternative to Blue Barrels

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    Cheap alternative to Blue Barrels

    Since my first trip into the BWCA, I have used 5 gal. buckets with snap lids. I know now days, people are paying big money for Blue Barrels and harnesses.
    I get blue, 4 gal latex paint pails for free, from the Grounds keeper at my local High School. A source you might want to check into !
    Here's a couple of pics, of my set up.
    Two 5 gal pails, one inside the other. Bottom pail carries fuel, and odds and ends, things chip monks don't like to eat !
    Second green pail carries cooking gear, the lid serves to hold my stove and pan, keeping everything off the ground. The Blue pail has my food. Plenty big enough for a one week solo.
    Snap lids are water and at least small critter proof !

    The real secret to this set up is the Nylon GI duffel bag, that easily holds the three buckets ! The shoulder straps are comfortable ! There is plenty of room for a tarp, or even a pad to sit on between the buckets and the bag.




    Oh my Umbrella, that I never camp without, photo bombed my bucket pack ! If you ever have to go in a rain storm that umbrella is a necessity !

    The way I pack my canoe, the #4 Duluth pack with clothes and sleeping, go behind my seat, tent in small duffel, and the cook gear bag ahead of my forward thwart.


    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Dodd; 10-13-2017, 01:09 PM.
    Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

    #2
    What are Blue bear barrels? Cause, blue barrel are not bear proof... A bear would get into it in no time guaranteed. And you pails are not bear proof either. It might be how people call them in other places, but up here(bear country) we just call them blue barrel and would never dare to cal them Bear barrels... The only thing that is bear proof that I know of is the Ursac ,the Bear vault https://www.bearvault.com and the Garcia bear canister and the likes https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...0fcc9476bc1cb4
    The rest will just slow them down... One big + of using plastic pails and blue barrels, is that they conceal the odours and that is a good thing in bear country!!

    Comment


      #3
      Yes Canotrouge ! Neither pails or the Blue barrels are bear proof ! I miss labeled the "Blue Barrels" !
      Thanks for pointing that out !
      Correction made !


      Jim
      Last edited by Jim Dodd; 10-13-2017, 01:09 PM.
      Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Jim Dodd View Post
        Yes Canotrouge ! Neither pails or the Blue barrels are bear proof ! I miss labeled the "Blue Barrels" !
        Thanks for pointing that out !
        Correction made !


        Jim
        Good... Didn't want to sound to critics...

        I don't really like barrels much, and I sure don't like pails that much either. I thought about a few pails with Gamma lids in the past, but never bought any...

        Comment


          #5
          I'm a blue barrel fan. Frequently use 2 on a trip. While not "bear proof", they keep odors in and water out and on numerous occasions have proven to be critter proof. In bear country the food barrel does get hung and I've never has any issues. Guess it all boils down to personal preference... whatever works for you.
          ...better to be up the creek without a paddle than not be on the water at all!!!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Canotrouge View Post

            Good... Didn't want to sound to critics...

            I don't really like barrels much, and I sure don't like pails that much either. I thought about a few pails with Gamma lids in the past, but never bought any...
            No problem ! Again thanks for pointing out my error !
            Jim
            Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

            Comment


              #7
              I've spent many years opening paint pails (20L-5gal). Once upon a time there was no tear tab, just slots around the perimeter to cut with a knife, and then pry, try, cry. We had a metal gadget like an enormous can opener for the lids. That made life easier. And then finally a genius introduced the tear tabs. Thank you Mr/Ms genius. I have nearly a dozen of those empty pails around all the time, doing double duty as catchalls for garbage junk, handy junk, undecided junk. Oh, and tools. Once upon a time when I was young, strong and handsome I used to carry a full one over the shoulder and two in the other hand, up flights of stairs on construction sites. I have no idea where the handsome went but I can tell you the young and strong is long gone. But carrying pails full of paint isn't the same as pails full of gear. In September my wife handled the 60L barrel with ease. We had soft stuff in it like tent, tarp, sleeping bags etc. A good harness helps too. (Thank you 2 Manitoban fishin' magicians.) There's no reason those pails couldn't work reasonably well, but I'd hate like heck to have to pry, try, cry those lids open every time we needed to get inside. Those Gamma lids might be an answer. Or a blue barrel.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Grandpa Paddler View Post
                I'm a blue barrel fan. Frequently use 2 on a trip. While not "bear proof", they keep odors in and water out and on numerous occasions have proven to be critter proof. In bear country the food barrel does get hung and I've never has any issues. Guess it all boils down to personal preference... whatever works for you.


                How do you carry your Blue barrels on the portage ?

                Jim
                Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have made a few webbing harnesses based on a design that a fellow on our Quetico Trip had on his barrels. I shot some video when I made mine and plan to edit as a DIY project one of these days.

                  Essentially, it's 8 feet of webbing that holds the barrel and provides a top and side handle to carry. put one in each hand and a pack on your back and your good to go.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just checked out the Gamma lids as Canotrouge, and Odyssey suggested !
                    Menards is supposed to have them for $6.95. Next trip, I'll check them out !
                    Peeling those lids off is hard, but I too have pulled alot of them off ! I used to be the High School grounds keeper.

                    Jim
                    Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jim Dodd View Post



                      How do you carry your Blue barrels on the portage ?

                      Jim
                      If the trip requires carries/portages, I usually only take 1 barrel and it has a harness. On shorter carries (less than 400m) I just carry it by the handle and wear my backpack to avoid tripling. However, there are times when all the rules change.
                      ...better to be up the creek without a paddle than not be on the water at all!!!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Jim Dodd View Post



                        How do you carry your Blue barrels on the portage ?

                        Jim
                        I've had an Ostrom harness for years. Carrying a 60 l is quite comfy though it's too high for my solos. I've used the same harness on 30 liter
                        I don't need any more barrels. One from 1990 did go out of round and now holds our driveway sand,

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I only use my barrel on short trips or trips with just a few carries. This pack frame carries the weight well but is a bit heavy for big trips. I don't like the round barrel riding against my spine.


                          P1240859 by Kevin French, on Flickr

                          P1240296 by Kevin French, on Flickr

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I want to get rid of my blue barrel, I will replace them with a wanigan for my food, I have for the kitchen stuff and love it, it would just make sense to have one for the food!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              This would be my alternative to the blue barrel. If only. (Very cool video BTW)
                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNp3E-SuQw
                              Éirinn go Brách!

                              I once met an old cooper and spent some time with him as he showed me around his small sawmill and cooperage in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. He said he no longer plied his trade, but kept his hand at it entirely for the pleasure making small barrels and buckets.
                              Beautiful workmanship. A smallish one of those might be pretty cool for tripping, whatever I chose to fill it with.
                              Tappin' the keg on the Kap would be a nice annual tradition.
                              Last edited by Odyssey; 10-14-2017, 09:24 AM.

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