What is the cope with bear luggage? Which sort ought to I exploit, or ought to I exploit a canister? As soon as I’ve one, what do I do with it?

A reader requested us for a “full lowdown” on bear bagging, so right here we go!

Bear bag

Photograph by Brantley

Shield the Bears and Future Hikers

Correct meals storage prevents bears from changing into habituated to high-calorie hiker meals. Dense fat and sugars aren’t straightforward to seek out in nature, so bears will preserve coming again in the event that they discover it. As soon as a bear habituates to human meals and turns into aggressive, the bear is in peril of being euthanized, whereas future hikers/campers are in peril of the bear.

Bear canisters

Photograph by Brett L.

Some Areas Require Particular Meals Storage Strategies

First, know when canisters are required. Bear bagging is typically ineffective towards sure bear populations, so every park and forest has their very own rules. If in case you have any doubts, seek the advice of the web site for the world you’re heading to.

  • PCT/JMT: Quite a few stretches within the Sierra Nevada of California require bear canisters. It’s essential to know which manufacturers and fashions are allowed. See what’s required by nationwide parks and US forests right here.
  • AT: The ATC strongly recommends that hikers carry bear canisters, however they’re typically not required on the AT.
    • Between March 1 and June 1, a five-mile stretch between Jarrard Hole (northbound mile 26) Neel Hole (mile 31) requires bear-resistant storage containers for in a single day tenting. Most hikers don’t camp throughout this stretch to keep away from carrying a bear canister.
    • As of 2019, hikers in Inexperienced Mountain Nationwide Forest in Vermont are additionally required to retailer their meals correctly in bear-resistant containers.
    • Bear-related AT updates are posted right here.
  • CDT: Canisters aren’t required on the CDT, however the Continental Divide Path Coalition recommends that you simply carry one. The CDT is residence to black bears all through and grizzlies in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

Putting food in bear canister

Photograph by daveynin

A 12L bear canister is a typical measurement. This may occasionally change from hiker to hiker relying on quantity of meals in addition to pack sort.

Retailer the canister 100 yards downwind from camp, away from cliffs or streams, and the other way up to direct a bear’s consideration away from the lid.

If a bear finds your canister, allow them to chunk and claw it till they ultimately lose curiosity and transfer on. Don’t attempt to scare the bear away from it, as they could resolve to confront you. Place reflective tape on it to make it straightforward to see, however don’t connect a rope and tie it off to a tree – this can make it straightforward for a bear to hold off.

What About Bear Luggage?

When a bear canister will not be required, bear luggage are normally most popular. Bear luggage are lighter and the form conforms to the quantity of meals in addition to the within of a pack. Bear luggage aren’t practically as foolproof as canisters or lockers, however in areas the place bears haven’t discovered to hunt out human meals, they’re typically enough to maintain your meals secure from bears and vice versa.

What sorts of bear luggage are on the market?

Bear-resistant luggage:

Ursacks are made from tremendous robust bulletproof Spectra material and maintain as much as the Interagency Grizzly Committee (IGBC) check. Not solely do Ursacks face up to bears, however additionally they shield your meals from mice and raccoons.

Regardless of this, it’s essential to notice that many nationwide parks that require bear canisters won’t settle for an Ursack instead. At all times test with the native land administration company to make sure that an Ursack is suitable. In the event you simply wish to carry one in your personal peace of thoughts reasonably than to adjust to rules, it’s a fantastic selection.

The rope that ties the mouth of the bag closed must also be lengthy sufficient to tie round a tree trunk. There isn’t any want to hold an Ursack, nevertheless it ought to be tied off to a tree 100 yards downwind from the campsite.

Odor-proof luggage:

The OPSAK is a smell-proof plastic bear bag. It’s made from skinny plastic and is supposed to be uased as a liner for a extra sturdy sack or bear canister.

Don’t set the bag on a picnic desk or permit the outside to contact something with a meals scent. If used rigorously, smell-proof luggage ought to preserve their contents undetectable (or no less than much less detectable) to bears and rodents.

Dry luggage:

From my expertise on the AT, the commonest meals bag is a daily dry bag. I used the 20L Sea to Summit light-weight dry sack. At full capability, it held 5-6 days of meals. Waterproofing prevented soggy meals packaging from in a single day moisture. I used the identical dry bag for my total thru-hike. It wasn’t fairly by the tip, nevertheless it served its objective.

How To Hold Odor-Proof and Dry Luggage Utilizing Commonplace and PCT Methodology:

To be utterly secure, cling smell-proof and dry luggage. The bag ought to be 12 ft off the bottom and 4 ft away from the tree trunk. On the AT, that normally means tossing a line over a department, hoisting the meals bag within the air, and tying the road to a tree.

Standard hang

Commonplace cling

To take it one step additional, somebody devised what’s now often known as the PCT methodology. The PCT methodology retains your meals bag suspended, however the rope hangs freely reasonably than being tied off to a tree. This model of cling is safer from bear-tampering.

Right here’s a primary step-by-step:

1. Stroll 250 ft downwind out of your campsite.

2. Discover the proper tree with the proper department. The department ought to be between 20-25 ft from the bottom and prolong no less than 4 ft from the bottom of the tree.

3. Tie a rock to a 50-foot line (or place the rock inside a small bag hooked up to a line) and throw it over your department. Keep away from hitting anybody with the rock (together with your self — be sure to’re not stepping on the road earlier than you throw it!).

4. Let the rock pull the road right down to the bottom.

  • Join a carabiner to the road and cling the meals bag from the carabiner.
  • Feed the free finish of the road by way of the carabiner and pull the meals bag solely as much as the department.
  • Safe a small stick within the line as excessive as you possibly can attain by utilizing a clove hitch knot.
  • Let the meals bag slide again down and the stick will catch on the carabiner. This is called the PCT methodology and is price watching on YouTube.
Clove hitch knot

Clove hitch knot. Increase the meals bag to the department and tie the stick in as excessive off the bottom as you possibly can.

5. Be certain that the bag is 12 ft off the bottom and 4 ft away from the tree trunk.

12 ft off the bottom, 4 ft from the tree

6. To decrease the bag again to the bottom, pull the road down and take away the clove hitch and stick from the road.

In some areas, you will see that bear cables, bear poles, or bear lockers.

Bear cables: Unfasten the cable on the tree and pull it till the meals bag hook comes down. Connect your meals bag, pull the cable, and refasten it to the tree.

Camper's Food Bags Hung Out of Bear Reach

Photograph by J Stephen Conn

Bear poles: Hold your meals bag on the tip of the pole and raise it as much as cling it on the hooks.

Food bag on Bear Pole

Photograph by Nick Postorino

Bear lockers: Retailer your meals bag within the locker and make sure the latch on the door is secured.

bear locker

Photograph by Alyse & Remi

Except for meals, bears might be all in favour of your trash, toothpaste, sunscreen, chap stick, cleaning soap, bug spray, and prepare dinner pot. If there’s any likelihood it has a scent, it ought to go in your meals bag or canister.

Holding meals away from bears is everybody’s duty. Permitting a bear to get its paws on meals will turn into more and more aggressive. Not solely is the bear in peril of being destroyed (killed), however hikers and campers coming later are additionally being put in peril of an aggressive bear.

Bear luggage don’t need to be fancy, odor-proof, or waterproof. In the event you’re in a pinch, you possibly can cling meals in a tree with a rubbish bag or every other manner you will get all the things suspended. The essential factor is to maintain it out of attain of the bears in any manner doable.

Featured picture: Photograph by way of Kate Lysaught. Graphic design by Zack Goldmann.

This text was initially revealed on 9 December 2016. It was final up to date by our editorial employees on 16 April 2024.

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