View Full Version : Some bear bagging questions from a newbie

02-24-2015, 12:11
Hi. I've done a ton of hiking in Hawaii and many dayhikes in PA but never anything super long distance. I am leaving early April to hike from Springer to Pennsylvania and I am sooo excited. I have never had to deal with anything involving bears. I've been reviewing the pct method, etc.... And I'm wondering how much paracord you bring with you. I currently have 50'. Do you think this is enough to properly hang my food bag? Should I also consider hanging my pack so mice/squirrels don't get to it? Another question I have is... What is the most amount of food you plan on carrying with you at one time and where.... The smokies? Thanks-Grizzle

Rocket Jones
02-24-2015, 12:31
Skip the paracord. I use 50' of braided mason's line. You can find it in the big hardware stores. Make sure you find the braided stuff, it's much stronger than the twisted kind. I once hung three full food bags from my line and it was fine.

Lawson's Equipment offers several kinds of line suitable for bear bag hanging, all much lighter and more compact than paracord.

02-24-2015, 13:23
Just sleep with your food. Bears were only a problem around Blood Mountain. Never say anyone hang their food using PCT method on the AT.

02-24-2015, 13:26
I carry about 50' of paracord and that has always been plenty for me. I don't always hang my food, but when I do, I use the PCT method.

02-24-2015, 13:47
I think I'm just gonna stick with the paracord. I'm leaving Springer on Apr 7th and I'm sure I'll run into tons of people. If I see everybody hanging, I'll hang. I am actually more worried about rodents chewing through my pack to get to food than I am bears... Is this a major issue on the trail?

02-24-2015, 13:50
I used paracord, about 50' with a big carabiner on it and it works well for me. There are lots of lighter solutions but my pack is generally light enough that I don't have to go searching for ways to cut down on my paracord weight.

I mostly hang only if other people are hanging or I suspect that sleeping with my food may be an issue. Keeping rodents away is sometimes hard in shelters so I prefer to tent.

02-24-2015, 15:35
Thru Hiked once; and done almost the whole trail again in sections while, unfortunately, remaining employed. Never hung a bag for anything but mice at the shelters. And pesky hiker trash - the thieving kind.
bring the paracord cause its fun and useful - learn to tie knots well. But don't need to hang anything.

02-24-2015, 15:48
paracord works, there are better alternatives.

most hikers sleep with their food

02-24-2015, 23:29
I would say most just hang it from the mouse trapezes in the shelters they stay in. Or on cables if present.

The average thruhiker has poor skill at making a good hang, IMO. Unfortunately, a poor hang, may be worse than none at all.

I have seen foodbags hung from bushes, seriously.

02-25-2015, 00:00
I often mouse hang. I buy some pringles and poke a small hole in the lid for the paracord to go through. Then hang it with about two feet of paracord over a little branch or a hook at the shelter. It kept my bag safe on nights others had rodent issues.

02-25-2015, 00:01
I look forward to seeing you on the trail on the 7th, I'm starting the GA section that day, including the approach trail.

As to the question you ask ... in the the nearly half of the AT I've hiked I've never found it necessary to hang my food where there weren't poles or bear boxes. When I'm not in a developed area, generally bears simply aren't a problem. And in the southern NC to central PA section that I have hiked, nearly every shelter and developed campsite has either poles or bear boxes. I do carry light weight braided cording, but it is for setting up my tarp as needed.

Ron (aka Turtle)