Bear bagging

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Bumblebee
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 04 2017 7:50 am
City, State: Kassel, Germany

Bear bagging

Post by Bumblebee » Jan 06 2018 9:38 am

Hi,

this is going to be my first thru-hike and I`m not really an outdoor expert. So what about bears? I heard about bear bagging, safe boxes, ursacks.. What is your favorite way to protect food and stuff from bears, rodents or whatever? Do I have to store my food outside my tent all the time? I read the blog of a woman who kept her food in her tent. Anyone here who tried that? How common are bear safes along the trail?

Is it common to encounter bears, mountain lions, rattle snakes? I will start in February..many snakes out there this time of the year?

Thanks for useful informations. :)

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ssthomas19
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Joined: Jan 10 2018 11:25 am
City, State: Ohio

Re: Bear bagging

Post by ssthomas19 » Jan 10 2018 12:04 pm

Hello! This is my first thru-hike too so you're not alone. I have done a lot of long distance hiking, though, so I have a little advice as far as food storage.

Your best bet would be to get an Ursack and use odor-proof plastic bags. That way you can camp anywhere and not have to worry about finding a suitable tree to hang a bear bag. Bear canisters are heavy and bulky but unless you're going ultra-light they're an option. I rented one in the Adirondacks because it was required and rangers check everybody. I found it to be a nuisance but a neighboring camp about a quarter mile away had a bear problem so I guess it saved me.

And sleeping with your food, while I have done it, is incredibly dumb. In southern AZ especially the risk is minimal; few bears, and mountain lions don't want your food. But if a bear DOES smell your food and investigate you'll end up with a ripped tent, ripped sleeping bag if he drags you out, and no food, which would cost way more than the 90 odd dollars an Ursack costs and possibly end your trip or put you in the hospital.

So yeah Ursack. Second choice is hanging a bag. Third is a bear canister.

As far as snakes, I wish ALL snakes were rattlesnakes. They are polite snakes in that they have many lines of defense. First is hiding, second is running away, third is rattling, and fourth is biting, and even when they bite it's a dry bite 50% of the time. Basically stay on the path and if you see a snake, don't pick it up, don't step on it, give it a wide berth, and be careful when the trail is overgrown.

Hope that helps. I'd love to hear more about your planning!

Sara

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RedRoxx44
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Joined: Feb 15 2003 8:07 am
City, State: outside, anywhere

Re: Bear bagging

Post by RedRoxx44 » Jan 10 2018 1:24 pm

Used to hang my food years ago. too many times no suitable areas and if in really bad weather don't want to be out trying to toss a rock with a line over a branch. I use Aloksaks, take several sizes and all odorous items go in there. A food bag, a bag for stuff like sunblock, bug spray, a bag for items that might have scent-- a coffee cup, wrappers from consumed snacks, spoon. So I have slept for many years and trips in bear country with my food in my tent. I do make sure things are well sealed. To date no problems. Also choose a camp if you can that does not have sign of heavy use so already has possible food contaminants in the area and the animals are acclimated to go there and check things out. Also do not camp on an animal trail.

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cactuscat
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Re: Bear bagging

Post by cactuscat » Jan 10 2018 1:33 pm

I've never bear bagged anything - even after I saw a family of bears just across the creek after dinner in Aravaipa Canyon. I too use Aloksaks, which then go into a Ratsak and hang nearby on any convenient low branch. Of course, I am not a long distance hiker and losing food wouldn't be a huge deal, but I go for simplicity and it's worked fine so far (knock on wood). ;)
Where is the "dislike" button?

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Bumblebee
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 04 2017 7:50 am
City, State: Kassel, Germany

Re: Bear bagging

Post by Bumblebee » Jan 22 2018 1:11 pm

Thank you very much. Guess I`ll figure out what works best for me when I`m underway.

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