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Original Frameless Info Page

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The Bears Ears combine a light pack with superior support for a bear canister.   

Info page only - see pack availability elsewhere 

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One of a kind lightweight pack that hauls big bear canisters comfortably and conveniently in rugged terrain.


30 liters plus pocket, plus bear can.

30 lbs max carrying capacity.

Supports canisters 10.5" or longer. Optimized for: Bear Vault 500, Bearikade Weekender, Blazer, Expedition and larger. Does not work with BV 450 and Scout sized cans.


Frameless design with padded hipbelt

Carry the canister full and access food easily during the day, without removing the can from the pack.

Full wrap, floating hipbelt with direct load transfer from the canister. User replaceable.

Secure accordion style roll top with one strap. Quick access without snaps, Velcro or side buckles. No Y-strap to untangle.

Single wrap around exterior pocket for cold soak jar, wet DCF, rain gear, Melly, Kettle Chips.

Dedicated ice axe/ trekking pole carry and CCF pad attachment

Dual water bottle holders with non-contortionist access, on hipbelt. User replaceable.

Optional removable shoulder strap pockets

Replace the bear canister with our Cargo Sack, Ursack, packraft, climbing equipment, winter specific bulk, when on trips without bear pressure.


210d GridStop and 420d Robic

Removable foam back panel


Size medium with one bottle holder on hipbelt (included), otherwise stripped: 25 ounces

Additional weight:

Sternum strap, plus 0.7 oz (included in purchase)

Foam frame sheet, plus 1.1 oz (included in purchase)

Ice axe loops, plus 0.3 oz (included in purchase)

CCF pad loops, plus 0.3 oz (included in purchase)

Additional water bottle holder, plus 1.2 oz (optional)

Shoulder strap pocket, plus 1.0 oz (optional)


With hipbelt resting on hip bone (right below waist), the correct torso sizing is indicated by shoulder straps going horizontal or either very slightly uphill or downhill from user's shoulders to pack. 

A pack that is too small is indicated by shoulder straps wrapping user's shoulders and going down to pack.

If the top of pack is leaning away from user it is likely too small.

When in doubt size up. Our torso sizing jumps in 1.5" increments

Designed for long term usage 

Non-laminate main fabrics, with years of proven performance in the industry.

Bottle holders/shoulder strap pockets user replaceable.

Shockcords user replaceable.

Hipbelt foam/entire hipbelt user replaceable.

Shoulder straps user/factory replaceable.

Back panel foam user replaceable.

No Lycra pockets, no sewn-in Lycra stretch banding.

No bottom fabric to abrade/abuse.


Always attach canister before stuffing pack.

Avoid packing hard, angular items in area against bear canister.

Shown here with Bearikade Blazer

Carrying harness and bear canister area close-up.

Big wrap-around pocket with no-mesh sides to avoid snagging on brush.

Accordion style top closure

Ice axe and CCF pad attachments. Trekking poles can be bundled with pad or shorter ones stuck in the big pocket

Taking advantage of the pack's modularity can broaden the usage. Left to right:

Snow mode. Our Cargo Sack carry bulky winter stuff while snowshoes are handy

Areas of low bear pressure can allow the use of an Ursack. Shown here is the Major XL with 7-8 days of food

Packrafting. The Cargo sack easily holds a full size raft; in this case an Alpaca Llama. Using a sack prevents holing the raft when hiking. Note that a short line is keeping the paddle shaft from sliding downwards

In-house testing by CousCous on a 30 day trip down the spine of the Sierra.


Great pack for the Sierra

I just got back from a 4 night and then a 7 night trip with my Nunatak Original Frameless and a BV500 bear can. I carried 28-30 lbs starting starting out, no problem at all, very comfortable. I am 5'10.5", 175-180lbs, inseam length 30in and although at first a Large was recommended, we agreed that a Medium would be the better fit based on how I like to wear the hip belt relatively high, and I think that was the right choice. The pack felt great both trips, which were about 2/3 on trail and 1/3 off trail/XC, 10-12k'. I also used the pack as a day pack to summit Langley, just remove and stash the canister, fine for that too. I bought mine with a right-hand gear pouch and a left-hand bottle pouch on the hip belt; I ended up moving the bottle pouch to the left shoulder, works better there for me. The single exterior mesh pocket is awesome- just use it, no wondering which pocket things are in. Although I don't love carrying a bear can, that's a done deal and I love how the pack is designed around the purpose and allows access to the can at any time without having to dig it out of the pack. Love it, way to go Nunatak!


Follow up

So, I just completed thru hiking the AT with this pack, and I thought I’d provide a follow up report.

The pack held up very well. Nothing failed. As such, I can confirm that not only does this pack work well, but it is well made!

It turned out to be a little bigger than needed for summertime hiking. Hopefully there will be a slightly smaller version some day.

Still, it is a great pack!


Brilliant idea, well done

If you have ever carried a bear canister, then you know that one of the challenges of doing so is that there is no easy way to carry one in most packs - at least not one that can hold more than a couple of days of food. This pack solves that problem. Brilliantly!

I am currently a month in to hiking the AT, and I have used this pack, with a Bearikade Weekender, for the whole trip. I love it. It really works great! The pack is light, large, well made, and comfortable.

Since the canister and the water bottle holders attach to the hip belt, the center of gravity is low, on your hips not your shoulders. This makes it very comfortable.

The position of the water bottle holders makes it super easy to reach them.

Or you can use the optional hip belt pocket, which provides easy access for small things.

Note: the vertical straps that hold the canister are about 8 inches apart, so it might not work well with a smaller canister like the BV450. But it works great with a full sized canister.

I had questions before purchasing this pack, and Jan was very responsive and helpful. Ordering was easy and the pack arrived quickly. Service was great.

In short, if you want to carry a bear canister, keep it light (pack and Bearikade together less than 4 pounds!), and be comfortable, get this pack. It’s the only pack that I know of that is designed for the purpose, and it is an extremely well-made solution.


Great Pack

Jan was very helpful in choosing the pack size and hipbelt that matched my body and verifying that it was fitting as intended.
I hiked 170 miles on the JMT in July and the pack performed phenomenally. I initially was disappointed that the back was a single pocket instead of a main and two sides but I found that when filled with gear the pockets held my stuff where I put it with no problems. The straps were comfortable and the hipbelt never crossed my mind as an issue. The only change I made was to add some aftermarket hipbelt pockets which were attached a little bit wonky but without issue. Overall, a great pack for the money. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who spends most of their time in bear country.


Excellent pack for Sierra

I live in Bishop, CA, and we require bear canisters from pretty much any local trailhead. I've been looking for an easier way to carry bear canisters for years. The Bears Ears 50 solves that problem perfectly. I love the weight distribution.

The solid 'pros' are the water bottle holders, for sure. I have NEVER used a pack with perfect water bottle holders until this one. No matter what i did, including falling and rolling with the pack on (not on purpose), and the bottles never came out. Every other pack that claim to secure bottles always has a use case where they fall out. But, not these. The placement is perfect - far enough behind the widest point of the hips so that your hands won't hit them while trekking with poles or without, but super easy to reach, and pull out a bottle for a quick drink while walking.

Using the 'bag in lieu of canister' option makes for a good day/summit pack. I climbed Mt. Tom (13,6xx feet) recently, and used it as my summit pack, which held four liters of water, emergency rain gear, food, and my full frame camera/tripod easily.

Cons: Not many. Maybe some other storage option for walking? I found I'd like a place to store snacks while walking. I used the strap pocket on the right for my phone (very convenient), but the left strap help my camera with a Peak Designs clip. I don't know if there's a way to add a hip belt pocket or fanny pack type situation in front without over complicating things, but that might be the one suggestion I have.

Otherwise, it worked great for me. Perhaps you'll find it equally useful.



Prototype Tester

Since no one else had posted a review yet, I thought that I'd post my thoughts on the Bear Ears Prototype. Keep in mind that I did not pay for this backpack, but I sure do love it!

Write your review!

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Original Frameless Info Page

Original Frameless Info Page

The Bears Ears combine a light pack with superior support for a bear canister.   

Info page only - see pack availability elsewhere 

Product Options
Torso Size
Small 15 - 16.5"
Medium 17" - 18.5"
Large 19" - 20.5"
Tall 21" - 22 ½"
Hipbelt Size
Hipbelt should at least partially ride on the upper part of the hipbone. The body's circumference here is usually greater that the waist; if in doubt measure yourself
Small ; Waist 28 - 30 ; Minimum Cinched Size 26"
Medium ; Waist 32 - 34 ; Minimum Cinched Size 30"
Large ; Waist 36 - 38 ; Minimum Cinched Size 34"
Extra Large ; Waist 40 - 44 ; Minimum Cinched Size 38"
Water Bottle Location

The hipbelt is capable of carrying up to two bottle holders - or two hipbelt pockets - or one bottle holder and one hipbelt pocket.

No Holders Needed
Left Side Only
Right Side Only
Both Sides
Bottle Size

Please indicate bottle type so we can mount the correct size for you

No Bottles
Smart Water style, 0.75 and 1 liter
Nalgene 1 liter and Smart Water style 1.5 liter