Mechanical Engineering Department
BS in Mechanical Engineering
A bear canister is the primary tool used by outdoor enthusiasts to protect their food from bears while camping or backpacking. There are many effective products currently on the market, however many are not designed with reduced weight in mind. Hardcore backpackers want to have the lightest gear possible to ease the strain of carrying a large pack for sometimes weeks at a time.
Current bear canisters exist that utilize carbon fiber for weight reduction, however they rely on stock carbon tubes and lack engineering analysis, and no competitor has a fully composite bear canister available. Our sponsor, Nick Hellewell, approached our team with a unique challenge to design an ultralight bear canister that could withstand testing requirements set by national parks and weigh under one pound. In a marketplace where niche consumers will pay hundreds of dollars for the lightest backpacking equipment available, an ultra-light bear canister could relieve precious weight, and carry a significant price premium.