How Many Snickers Can Fit in a Bear Canister?

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 bear 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 freeze-dried meals (typically 400-600 calories, about 4 ounces) are bulky and 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.

BV500 Capacity

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


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 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.