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blw2
12-26-2017, 15:48
Reading the other currently running thread about hanging food brings another question to my mind....
not about bears, but rodents and such.....

To those of you that sleep with your food, or leave food bags, or even just your backpack with food in it...either in your tent or vestibule...

how many times have you ever had a rodent or any other critters such as possum or coon chew their way in, or try to ....through a tent, backpack, or food bag?....
or how many times have you seen it happen to others first hand?...
and what were the circumstances? (at developed shelter or camp site or not, etc...)

I'm not so interested in having heard from somebody's cousin's sister about some alleged incident that might have happened.... but more about things that you actually experienced or saw.

Personally...I have not backpacked all that much. Mostly front country type camping, tents and later in a tent trailer....state park campgrounds and the like, and some time in dispersed type camp site areas in a Boy Scout reservation. I've seen plenty of times when something during the night has gotten into a carelessly left trash bag. I remember I think twice when something got into a cooler left outside during the night
But
knock on wood I have never seen anything chew through a tent to get at food... Guess the closest would be on youtube someone showing a pocket on a pack that he stepped a few feet away from during the day at some overlook and some chipmunk or marmot or something chewed through his hipbelt pocket to get at a snack....

KDogg
12-26-2017, 15:55
The only time I slept with my food was in the 100 mile. Those damn red squirrels in Maine are aggressive as hell. If you leave anything outside of the tent proper they will try and get it. We had a hung food bag torn into and a pack torn into that was stored in a tent vestibule. I even heard stories about them tearing into the tent to get at food. Hanging your food bag is a pain at first but you get used to it. We hiked in a group of three and two of us would work together to hang bags every night.

moldy
12-26-2017, 16:13
I do not like the mice and rats...Not in a tent...not in a pack...not in a sack...I do not like the mice and rats......After 10 years and 2500 miles, I don't hang my food unless I'm in actual bear country. So for most of the AT I slept with my food bag in my backpack in my tent and have never had such an ambitious rodent.

Sarcasm the elf
12-26-2017, 16:15
I slept with my food for years without issue, although I used common sense such as utilizing cables and bear boxes when available and keeping an eye on reported bear issues prior to hiking in various areas (I wouldn't sleep with my food in an area with a problem bear).
The reason I stopped doing this is that properly sleeping with your food entails keeping it in your direct possession at all times and it's a pain in the ass. It means that I had to keep my food next to me or watched by someone else at all times; my food came with me when setting up my tent; when walking out to get water, when getting up to answer natures call at night etc. It ended up being far more work than other methods. Also, as far as I'm concerned, food stored in a tent vestibule does not qualify as being in one's possession, it's still far enough away for critters to take a chance with it.

This year I gave a canister a try and it's surprisingly convenient and is by far the laziest method of food storage I've found yet. To me it's well worth the extra 2lbs, especially since my pack is still under 25lbs with it.

evyck da fleet
12-26-2017, 16:40
I stopped hanging after NC. As with others I used poles, cables, boxes etc when provided and avoided camping in areas with bear activity once I stopped hanging. I’ve had mice chew through the mesh hip pockets in shelters if zipped and a food bag was chewed through in a cabin when I left it next to me. Never had a problem with food in my tent. I second that food in the vestibule is not in my possession.

HooKooDooKu
12-26-2017, 16:41
This year I gave a canister a try and it's surprisingly convenient and is by far the laziest method of food storage I've found yet. To me it's well worth the extra 2lbs, especially since my pack is still under 25lbs with it.
Reading the 1st half of your post brought these exact same thoughts to me...

I used a Bearikade for my JMT thru, and it was EXTREAMLY convenient to use. So long as you always remembered to close it, you never had to give your food a second thought.

nsherry61
12-26-2017, 16:47
I've only ever had animal problems in areas where there has been significant camping in the past and when the food was outside my shelter.

Animals are significantly more aggressive toward my food in areas where they have had regular opportunities to eat people food in the past than when I camp in areas that are otherwise pristine.
And, I have never had any animal get into my food inside my tent or tarp when I was sleeping with it. I have never had any damage to my backpack or tent when my backpack was on me or I was in my tent.

I have either seen or experienced both backpacks chewed through to get to food while people were within a couple steps of the backpacks and tents chewed through when there was nobody in them, but people were absolutely near the tent fixing dinner or fires or whatnot.

I have had animals get into my food in my tent vestibule while I was in the tent. Vestibules are NOT nearly as animal safe as food fully inside a tent with you next to it.

FrogLevel
12-26-2017, 18:07
I slept with my food for years with no problems....then a bear woke me up after politely knocking on my tent door in the middle of the night. I did all I could to get him to leave (yelling, throwing rocks, etc) but it wasn't having it and after it started behaving aggressively, snorting and charging I left. Hours later I returned to a demolished tent and a missing food bag. I was alone and it was terrifying. I now hang my food without exception. This was in Tennessee.

Mike Steger
12-26-2017, 18:43
slept with my food in tent for about 30 nights on the AT with no problems at all.....have seen others get backpacks chewed at shelters from mice at night

saltysack
12-26-2017, 18:44
I slept with my food for years with no problems....then a bear woke me up after politely knocking on my tent door in the middle of the night. I did all I could to get him to leave (yelling, throwing rocks, etc) but it wasn't having it and after it started behaving aggressively, snorting and charging I left. Hours later I returned to a demolished tent and a missing food bag. I was alone and it was terrifying. I now hang my food without exception. This was in Tennessee.

I hope you packed a spare pair of undies....[emoji51]


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D2maine
12-26-2017, 19:41
*snip*

This year I gave a canister a try and it's surprisingly convenient and is by far the laziest method of food storage I've found yet. To me it's well worth the extra 2lbs, especially since my pack is still under 25lbs with it.

I am this |<->| close to going this route - it also makes a great chair...

fiddlehead
12-26-2017, 20:52
I've slept with my food on most all nights that i use my tarp tent (6 thru-hikes)
I think 2 times that I remember, a mouse chewed a hole in my food bag (or tried to) while I was in there.
Now, if I leave my pack unattended while going for water or a latrine break, I've had chipmunks and mice eat a hole in pockets that held snacks already.
But, never anything bigger than a mouse came into my tarptent while I was in there with my food.
(So far)

This past summer, we were hiking in Croatia and there are a lot of European brown bears and I slept with my food every night.
One night, we were camping near the only spring around and my hiking partners hung their food (it was fun to watch as it took them quite a long time)
In the middle of the night, strange sounds were going on, that could have been a bear. We never found out.
But I must admit I was a bit scared as I have no experience with this type of bear that looks just like a grizzly (hump and all)

anyway, good luck to you.
I hear the bears might be more aggressive on the AT now than back when I hiked it: '77,'89,'91,95, 2001.
I did have a scare on the CDT one year, but it turned out to be a marmot (I had my food in a pile of rocks, but after the scare, I brought it in my tarptent and slept with it the rest of the night (There was a gift in there that I really wanted to eat the next day)

saltysack
12-26-2017, 21:08
Iíve always slept with mine inside a tent, tarp or shelter if no bear box or cables around without issue. I only sleep in shelters when theyíre empty. Disclaimer....always hike with a dog. Few years ago on FHT did have a mouse chew though my ziplock trash bag I left in the vestibule of solong6. Mouse didnít chew through the tent but my dog nearly ripped through trying to catch that dam mouse. My cousin had a mouse chew through his brand new tarp tent last winter in NC. He didnít have a dog and was sleeping with food. With that said I would always hang if I didnít hike with my dog. I worry about those bastards chewing my pack so always make sure all pockets are fully opened....


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soilman
12-26-2017, 22:06
I hang my food probably 99% of the time. I have had rodent problems twice that I can remember. Once I tented about a half mile north of Vandeventer shelter and woke up twice during the night because two mice had somehow got into my TT Contrail. I found the first one clinging to the back end bug net. I got rid of it and woke up later with a mouse on top of my bag. I don't know how many regular opportunities they had to go after hikers food at this site. It's not like it was in close proximity to a shelter. Once in New England somewhere, I don't remember where, I was stealth tenting. I had my pack outside my tent. I woke up the next morning and some rodent, chipmunk, squirrel, mouse, I don't know, gnawed on the top of my pack even though there was no food in it.

Dogwood
12-26-2017, 23:21
The answers depend on where and when you are referring to camping and hiking.


First, you are right, as is Justin "Trauma" Lichter, when he said(paraphrased) in a Backpacking issue, "large animals like bears get most of the ink when it comes to protecting food but it more often is the smaller animals like rodents one should be more concerned."


For the AT, when in camp for the night, I've personally had chipmunks(near sunset/twilight hrs), mice and rats chew through a tent wall. I've had and seen rodents like chipmunks, squirrels, mice and rats chew threw food bags made of silny, eVent and Dyneema Composite kept outside and inside a fully enclosed tent. I've personally, and on several other occasions, witnessed others have their closed food sacks eaten through while hanging 15-20 ft high on bear cables and while bear bagging. These were rodents(maybe the rare Flying Squrrel that hunts at night) or maybe bats?, an owl?, Chupacabra, Jersey Devil, or Spiderman etc. in the middle of the night. These accounts almost always mimic Nsherry's comments, "I've only ever had animal problems in areas where there has been significant camping in the past...Animals are significantly more aggressive toward my food in areas where they have had regular opportunities to eat people food in the past than when I camp in areas that are otherwise pristine." IMO after visiting and backcountry camping in almost 50 different National Parks and having well over 400 nights on the AT beaten down AT and NP campsites are some of the worst offenders for aggressive wildlife...due to human behaviors. And, these past food experiences were in large part contributed to/or created by MYSELF from past food safety ignorance.

Salt is rare in the natural world to find for much wildlife. Hence, larger rodents especially porcupines and to some extent raccoons, etc crave sodium. They will eat through or scurry away with sweaty gear such as clothing, socks, shoes, bandannas, etc. I had a deer steal my sweat soaked bandanna not more than 50 ft away at sunset on the PCT at a spring. I eventually got it back though by getting the deer to drop the sweaty chewed up bandanna by trading it for some apple slices.

garlic08
12-27-2017, 00:46
I once had a couple of food containers ruined by ravens. Another time my backpack was ruined by an ermine going after my food. Both times those I was within sight of the food, doing camp chores. Lesson finally learned--never turn your back on your unprotected food, even 'just a sec.'

I was camping with a friend who kept his food in his tent and a mouse chewed into the silnylon tarptent during the night while he was sleeping. It woke him up when it tried to eat his cookies. A bit of cussing ensued. This was in WA on the PCT, at a fairly well-used backcountry site.

Ditto the salt. I've lost socks, boot tongues, gloves, and pole straps to the larger mammals.

Coffee
12-27-2017, 11:23
I have slept with my food in certain locations where there is no law or regulation specifying required food storage methods. On the AT sections I've hiked, this has primarily been due to laziness since usually reasonable trees are around. On the Foothills trail, I slept with food once on a very cold night. The most I've slept with food was the PCT in Southern California. Also several nights above treeline on the Colorado Trail. Never had any issues with bears or rodents. I've always used an aloksak bag inside a zpacks blast food bag so maybe that helped. In the high Sierra I used a Bearikade which is terrific and easy to use but at two pounds I won't carry it on thru hikes where not required. I have used the Bearikade on quick overnights when I don't care so much about a couple of pounds due to an already light pack and don't want to bother hanging and sleeping with food isn't strictly permitted. I've used the canister for this reason on several occasions in SNP which has a high bear population and requires proper food storage.

martinb
12-27-2017, 11:54
Depends on the location/situation. In GSMNP, I hang everything (including pack) due to bears and pack-holing meece. In national forests I sometimes sleep with the food bag if a decent hang isn't available. If I'm staying at a well-established CS, I'm more likely to hang because there will be a dedicated population of mice/rats zeroing in on your pack/food bag. I've never had a coon or possum come in the tent looking for food..

Glogg
12-27-2017, 12:39
On the AT in 2012 during a heavy evening rainstorm I cooked dinner in my vestibule, and fell asleep with my dirty pot inside the tent.

I was awakened by a mouse that chewed its way into my tent looking for dinner. I slammed the lid on the pot, and chucked it outside. Still have the patched mesh on my tent inner.

Also have some scars on my pole grips from a rabbit going after the salt from my sweat. Don’t drop your poles in tall grass, plant or lean them. :)

QiWiz
12-27-2017, 13:14
When I have forgotten to remove snacks from pack pockets have had rodents (probably mice) chew through the pocket to get to the food. At least two personal experiences of this. Same with (once) forgetting a snack in tent to find a hole chewed in netting to get to it. Have also watched a marmot climb into my pack looking for food. All food in this case was in my bear canister. No luck for marmot, nothing chewed, he/she climbed out with no damage. If varmints are around, and they can smell food, they will go for it IMO.

Puddlefish
12-27-2017, 13:14
I slept with my food one night in 600 miles, when I was stealth camping miles away from the nearest shelter or hardened tentsite, and it was pouring out. Nothing bad happened.

Another night, in the Smokies. I was tenting in the area of a full shelter and I was woken to yelling at 1 or 2 in the morning, then I went back to sleep. A bear went right into the shelter with 15 people sleeping. It tore open two hanging packs with near surgical precision. It got a candy bar wrapper from one pack, and the peppermint soap from another. Someone got a picture of the bear walking within two feet of my tent after I'd fallen back asleep. (Blurry/grainy from the lack of light, I didn't even bother requesting a copy of the pic.) I might have had a bad night had I chosen to have food in my tent on that specific night. A few hikers were previously complaining that the Ridge Runner was being overly militant about telling people not to bring food into the shelter... no doubt they apologized to him in the morning.

So, be aware of your surroundings and and decide when/where you'll risk food in your tent.

tagg
12-27-2017, 13:37
I generally sleep with my food in my hammock, and then lay my empty pack on the ground underneath with all of the pockets open. I've never had anything get to my food in my hammock or chew holes in my pack, however I once had a mouse (or something) chew the mouthpiece off of my water bladder hose one night when I had it laying on top of my pack. I've had a mouse get inside my tent one time on Max Patch, but I've never heard of one finding it's way into a hammock.

Zed
12-27-2017, 14:09
...but I've never heard of one finding it's way into a hammock.

I had one come down my suspension and tightrope the ridgeline before falling off and landing on me. It was a few miles north of Damascus at a very well used site.

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BuckeyeBill
12-27-2017, 14:21
I slept with my food one night in 600 miles, when I was stealth camping miles away from the nearest shelter or hardened tentsite, and it was pouring out. Nothing bad happened.

Another night, in the Smokies. I was tenting in the area of a full shelter and I was woken to yelling at 1 or 2 in the morning, then I went back to sleep. A bear went right into the shelter with 15 people sleeping. It tore open two hanging packs with near surgical precision. It got a candy bar wrapper from one pack, and the peppermint soap from another. Someone got a picture of the bear walking within two feet of my tent after I'd fallen back asleep. (Blurry/grainy from the lack of light, I didn't even bother requesting a copy of the pic.) I might have had a bad night had I chosen to have food in my tent on that specific night. A few hikers were previously complaining that the Ridge Runner was being overly militant about telling people not to bring food into the shelter... no doubt they apologized to him in the morning.

So, be aware of your surroundings and and decide when/where you'll risk food in your tent.

Nothing personal, but could it have your stench masking the odor of your food? :D

tagg
12-27-2017, 14:47
I had one come down my suspension and tightrope the ridgeline before falling off and landing on me. It was a few miles north of Damascus at a very well used site.

Well, I guess I can't say I've never heard of that anymore. I'll probably think about you the next time I'm in a heavily used spot and am debating whether or not I want to zip up the bug net haha.

martinb
12-27-2017, 15:26
Here's a pic of a raw-tailed interloper at CS 29 in GSMNP. This lil bugger was hiding in the fire ring rocks and darting out to claim any of my granola bar crumbs. I don't recommend leaving your pack on the ground in GSMNP. Get it on the wires ASAP.

41321

Puddlefish
12-27-2017, 16:05
Nothing personal, but could it have your stench masking the odor of your food? :D

I considered myself one of the the cleaner hikers on the trail, taking quick sponge (bandana?) baths most nights, and finding a real shower/laundry at least once a week... and I still reeked after a month on the trail!

BuckeyeBill
12-27-2017, 16:36
I considered myself one of the the cleaner hikers on the trail, taking quick sponge (bandana?) baths most nights, and finding a real shower/laundry at least once a week... and I still reeked after a month on the trail!

I would never tell anyone on the trail of stinking. I'm much like you with the sponge down daily and finding a shower that never runs out of hot water. :banana

saltysack
12-27-2017, 19:48
When I have forgotten to remove snacks from pack pockets have had rodents (probably mice) chew through the pocket to get to the food. At least two personal experiences of this. Same with (once) forgetting a snack in tent to find a hole chewed in netting to get to it. Have also watched a marmot climb into my pack looking for food. All food in this case was in my bear canister. No luck for marmot, nothing chewed, he/she climbed out with no damage. If varmints are around, and they can smell food, they will go for it IMO.

Let me guess where....Whitney trail junction? I watched those bastards go in and out of several packs...luckily as you, I had all my pockets and pack open! All I had were paw prints...https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171227/40c97626450e03f2bdf115d2cf495d67.jpg


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ogtheking
12-27-2017, 23:27
I was on a trip in Colorado 2 years ago where we were setting up base camp at Chicago Basin and upon reaching the basin I spoke with a group that were on their last night there. One guy told me to be aware of marmots. One had chewed into heís tent to get his food, he was using a metal mesh food bag. He was woken to the sound of it chewing on the mesh, it scampered out.
The next morning he found that they had also chewed the cork grip off his hiking poles to get the salt he had sweated. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171228/80b3a64353f5832091ba21c041c16ac9.jpg


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swjohnsey
12-28-2017, 14:55
I tented almost every night, slept with my food almost every night. Had a mouse run across my face one night near the beginning of the trail. Tent wasn't quite zipped all the way.

Arkansas Traveler
12-28-2017, 16:03
I hung my food bag about 1/2 to 3/4 of the time I thru-hiked the A.T. Sometimes, there just was not a good tree nearby to hang a bag. If there was a bear pole, or if the area was known for bears, I hung my bag, or even tied it to a short bush to get it away from my tent. (I would rather it eat my food, than eat me!)

I loved sleeping in my tent. I never had to sleep in a shelter, (even in the Smokies since the shelters were full). I did, however, pitch my tent at or near the shelters most of the time I was on the trail. Critters are horrendous around the shelters, because they know there is a steady source of food. I heard mice (and bears) at night around the shelters many times. The times I stealth camped, I rarely heard critters moving about outside my tent.

There was one time at a shelter in Vermont where I pitched my tent right behind the shelter. I had accidentally left a snack bar in my hip belt pocket in my backpack. My backpack was in my tent at my feet. My food bag was hung on a tree away from my tent. A couple of mice chewed a hole through my tent and through my hip belt pocket of my backpack. It's a terrible feeling not only to wake up in the dark with a mouse jumping onto your belly, but also, knowing that your expensive, lightweight tent now has a hole in it. :( ...not to mention your expensive backpack.

The mice at the shelters are brazen and aggressive. It's almost as if they hyped up on sugar-crack and need their fix at all costs! There was one time I was talking to another hiker sitting in a shelter in the Smokies. Her backpack was at her feet, and there was a mouse there crawling on her backpack right by her feet. She had to kick it away two or three times while we were sitting there. It kept coming back.

My advice is hang your bag if there is a good tree available to do so. If you pitch your tent at a shelter, try to pitch your tent as far away from the shelter as you can. There is so much food and trash left in the fire ring, or even thrown on the ground around the shelter. The critters know that area near the shelters is a fast and easy buffet!

kayakpro
01-14-2018, 14:28
Food in a tent is asking for trouble. Mice, ground squirrels and rats will knaw holes through a tent in heart beat. Also, my nephew left food in his pack on a BP in SEKI. Bears visited, stole the pack and ripped it open. We talked with a ranger later and were told of a guy who kept a candy bar in his sleeping bag due to his diabetes. A bear cut through his tent, grabbed the candy bar that was still in the sleeping bag and dragged the candy bar, sleeping bag and the guy in it a good ways down a trail before giving up and running away. I have had mice climb trees and down ropes to get to my foood. Do as you want, but the best is a bear canister or ursack unless you are just willing to "bear" the damage. Unfortunately for the bears, they will more likely be a problem bear after a couple of successful rip offs like this and are more likely to be destroyed. Protecting food properly protects your gear and the bears. Mice.....? take a cat.......

handlebar
01-14-2018, 22:03
When I hiked the AT, I generally hung my food bag on cords with mouse protection (cord strung thru empty can, open end facing up) in shelters. Where camp location had bear poles, etc. always hung food and smellies. On other trails I usually slept with my food next to me. Only time I had a problem was sleeping under the stars at a well used campsite just short of Stehekin on the PCT.

George
01-14-2018, 22:35
I am this |<->| close to going this route - it also makes a great chair...

that makes a good point - something that is 2 lbs but only 1 function is tough to justify for me

thinking of other possible uses:

large water container for occasional use like a far source/ dry camp
bathing/ washing clothes
extra protection for electronics for long periods of rain

any other side uses come to mind??

Sandy of PA
01-14-2018, 22:48
Stool for around the fire, drum for the drum circle, ice bucket for a party. I have over 2000 miles carrying a bearcan and sleep much better at night then when I hang a bag. Have not hit myself on the head with a rock since I got it!

Heliotrope
01-14-2018, 23:05
that makes a good point - something that is 2 lbs but only 1 function is tough to justify for me

thinking of other possible uses:

large water container for occasional use like a far source/ dry camp
bathing/ washing clothes
extra protection for electronics for long periods of rain

any other side uses come to mind??

Beer keg. Tent privy


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reppans
01-15-2018, 09:22
I use Loksak Opsaks (odorproof ziploc type bag) - doubled for garbage - and haven't had any issues. Surprised that I haven't seen any mention of them above.

Bacon
01-15-2018, 09:45
I use an Opsack inside an Ursack AllWhite. Tie it to a tree away from campsite. Never had any problems. www.ursack.com

George
01-15-2018, 14:32
Tent privy


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yeah, in a raging blizzard I could see that happening

BuckeyeBill
01-15-2018, 15:09
I use an Opsack inside an Ursack AllWhite. Tie it to a tree away from campsite. Never had any problems. www.ursack.com (http://www.ursack.com)

What He said except I use the Allmitey Ursack

Berserker
01-16-2018, 17:48
I've seen lots of critter action on the AT in shelters. I've personally seen mice in people's packs, seen my buddy's pack towel that got chewed up while under his head when he was sleeping and had a mouse run over my bag while I was sleeping. I've also had a mouse run through my tent when I left the door open one time when tenting next to a shelter. Oh yeah, and up in NH I had squirrels try to get my food on multiple occasions.

Not near a shelter, one time had a bear nosing around the perimeter of camp at like 12 - 1 in the morning near Blood Mountain (at the Slaughter Creek tent sites). Found out the next morning this guy had stolen food from some hikers at Blood Mountain Shelter. Don't have a pic handy, but something chewed the grip off of one of my hiking poles similar to what a previous poster in this thread posted a pic of while tenting in a gap (pole was being used to pitch a tarp as a hangout area for rain).

Not on the AT, I had a racoon chew through the cord on my hang (not the PCT method, but rather the tie the line off to a tree method) and get my food bag out of a tree. Was able to recover the bag before that sucker got anything out of it. I also had a crow grab stuff out of my bear can...yeah that one was really stupid...left the lid off and walked away for a couple of minutes. Came back to a crow chowing down on my tortillas.

Reverse
01-16-2018, 19:33
Three times: Once during this winter. We hung the pack in the shelter (no mouse hanger) and and forgotten to check one pocket for food. One time a squirrel got into our bear bag and got into our gorp. The last time a mouse got into my cooking pot.:)

shelb
01-20-2018, 00:03
No! Practice Leave No Trace!

If enough people sleep with food, the issues with wildlife will get worse, and then there will be more regulations about food in general!

Night Train
01-20-2018, 23:50
Used to sleep with my food, never had a single problem, but I'm moving to a canister this year, simple, worry free, and convenient.