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jonestownpenn
07-23-2009, 10:37
Hi everyone Ė Would someone mind briefly telling me how to best hang a Bear Bag? I plan on staying in shelters every night (except maybe at Lewis Mountain one night) and Iíve seen pictures of the Bear Poles provided by the park at each shelter. One picture I saw had someone with a long pole in their hands while they were reaching for a bag. I donít have a lot of experience hanging so I just wanted to know the best way to do so using the Bear Poles Ė and any helpful tips. I am bringing a dry bag, approx 20 ft of nylon rope and two carabineers. Iím sure itís easy and Iím making a big deal about it, but I donít want to look like a fool (may be unavoidable) and I donít want to lose my food! Thanks Again!

Yahtzee
07-23-2009, 10:46
Sorry, my fellow Pennsylvanian, there is no way to avoid looking like a fool trying to hang on those poles in SNP. Those contraptions were either designed by chimpanzees with a mean streak or government contractors.

Pedaling Fool
07-23-2009, 10:47
Go to the gym and workout your upper body. Of all the people I've seen give up on using those poles were because they did not have the upper body strength to support the extension bar high above their body while trying to minutely manuver that little slit in their foodbag line over the hanger.

take-a-knee
07-23-2009, 10:56
Hi everyone Ė Would someone mind briefly telling me how to best hang a Bear Bag? I plan on staying in shelters every night (except maybe at LewisMountain one night) and Iíve seen pictures of the Bear Poles provided by the park at each shelter. One picture I saw had someone with a long pole in their hands while they were reaching for a bag. I donít have a lot of experience hanging so I just wanted to know the best way to do so using the Bear Poles Ė and any helpful tips. I am bringing a dry bag, approx 20 ft of nylon rope and two carabineers. Iím sure itís easy and Iím making a big deal about it, but I donít want to look like a fool (may be unavoidable) and I donít want to lose my food! Thanks Again!

Read the article and acquire the reccomended materials (to include the kevlar line) and practice on a local tree BEFORE your hike, or you will look like a moron:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bear_bag_hanging_technique.html

This is a decent video of the process, the guys' "rock sack" is about eight times bigger than necessary. You will NEVER have a problem finding a proper rock on the AT. DO NOT use some fragile netting or some other ridiculous fabric for the rock/throw bag as it takes quite a bit of abuse. I learned that the hard way.

jonestownpenn
07-23-2009, 10:57
extension bar? So you actually put the bag on the bar and raise it to a hanger? So there is no need for rope?

DAKS
07-23-2009, 10:57
use the PCT method utilizing the bear pole. good luck!

CowHead
07-23-2009, 11:54
use the PCT method utilizing the bear pole. good luck!

it is the best, I agree i take my little rock sack where ever I go into the woods

Yahtzee
07-23-2009, 12:16
extension bar? So you actually put the bag on the bar and raise it to a hanger? So there is no need for rope?

No need for a rope, that is correct. Unless you plan on hanging yourself upon failing to successfully transfer your food bag from one pole to the other. Or upon realizing after you have made the transfer that you are now hungry from the effort it took to hang your food bag.

Berserker
07-23-2009, 12:44
it is the best, I agree i take my little rock sack where ever I go into the woods
Tying a rock to the end of the cord works too...then you don't need a "rock sack".

jonestownpenn
07-23-2009, 12:49
I see. So I’ll give it a try with the extension bar (I can see how that might get frustrating at the end of a long day), but will bring a rock sack for the PCT method if I give up. I take it you can throw your rock or rock sack over the Bear Pole support and use it like a tree limb. The PCT method makes sense on paper, but I’ll be practice it tonight! Thanks everyone.

Hooch
07-23-2009, 12:56
You must have the proper pumpitude to be able to operate the bear poles without looking like a girly man.

http://wrathofnino.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/hans_franz.jpg

LaurieAnn
07-23-2009, 12:58
Tying a rock to the end of the cord works too...then you don't need a "rock sack".


that's what we do - once we couldn't find a rock and Bryan used his Swiss Army Knife (then spent 1/2 an hour looking for it on the forest floor - lol - guess it was funnier being there)

and if you are in an area where there aren't conveniently placed poles and have to use a tree.... find your tree before dark as it makes life much easier.

ShoelessWanderer
07-23-2009, 13:13
I've seen people do the PCT method, but they never seem to be able to get their bags down...someone enlighten me?

CowHead
07-23-2009, 14:15
Tying a rock to the end of the cord works too...then you don't need a "rock sack".

yeah but the sack is soooooooo much easier can't always find that perfect rock to tie the rope around

DAKS
07-23-2009, 14:39
tie yer' water bottle to the rope. just be careful not to get it stuck or break it.

Nean
07-23-2009, 14:49
yeah but the sack is soooooooo much easier can't always find that perfect rock to tie the rope around

And yet that is soooooooo much easier than finding a good limb that protects your food, the bear and future hikers.:eek::D

sherrill
07-23-2009, 15:07
I've seen people do the PCT method, but they never seem to be able to get their bags down...someone enlighten me?

You just pull the slack towards you, undo the hitch around the stick, and let 'er go.

This is a great method if you want to hang your food.

Terraducky
07-23-2009, 16:01
Go to the gym and workout your upper body. Of all the people I've seen give up on using those poles were because they did not have the upper body strength to support the extension bar high above their body while trying to minutely manuver that little slit in their foodbag line over the hanger.


I got to use this pole method when we were near Pine Grove Furnace...it was not that bad!!! I am about 5' tall, and no body builder...I had no trouble. If you can carry a pack you can do this! Guess it looks harder than it is- when you get there you will see it's a fairly simple thing...the only thing I thought was a potential problem, the pole didn't look high enough. I think our Pocono bears would just have a good laugh, stand up and swipe the bags down! We grow 'em big in these parts!!!

SawnieRobertson
07-23-2009, 16:29
You must have the proper pumpitude to be able to operate the bear poles without looking like a girly man.

http://wrathofnino.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/hans_franz.jpg

Oh, dear. Thank goodness Shenandoah has restaurants placed rather evenly near the trail. Nothing makes me more nervous than the thought of having to hang my food. You see, I'm a girly old girl who finds this to be a skill for which I have no talent (muscle).--Gonna-Starve-in-Shenandoah Kinnickinic

Homer&Marje
07-23-2009, 16:58
I agree with John Gault, the Poles in Shenandoah are are a beast to handle, although I do possess the upper body strength to wield it.

I however compounded my efforts by waiting until dark, to try the challenge with my head lamp. It was March, 20 F, 20 + wind gusts and my hands were frozen to that pole. All in all it went well. Using a tree is easy, If I can do it, anyone can

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=32037&original=1&c=member&orderby=dateline&direction=DESC&imageuser=17846&cutoffdate=-1

CowHead
07-23-2009, 18:57
And yet that is soooooooo much easier than finding a good limb that protects your food, the bear and future hikers.:eek::D

really is it not hard to find a decent limb out there usually I settle for a leaning tree and hang from there

SunnyWalker
07-25-2009, 21:09
The one night on a trip I did not or could not hang so I put everything in a garbage bag and hiked about 100 yards from camp and left it on the ground. In the morning it was fine. This was in an area of high traffic for bears, so I lucked out. I decided never to put myself in that kind of spot again. Now I use the PCT Method. It really is quite easy. I use a sock-put rock in the sock. The sock is easy to tie the rope to. Have fun. Have someone take your photo while your doing your hanging!

Nean
07-26-2009, 15:59
I got to use this pole method when we were near Pine Grove Furnace...it was not that bad!!! I am about 5' tall, and no body builder...I had no trouble. If you can carry a pack you can do this! Guess it looks harder than it is- when you get there you will see it's a fairly simple thing...the only thing I thought was a potential problem, the pole didn't look high enough. I think our Pocono bears would just have a good laugh, stand up and swipe the bags down! We grow 'em big in these parts!!!

Thank you for this pointing out . Most who hang do so to protect themselves, not the bear or the other hikers who then have to deal with a problem bear.:(

TIDE-HSV
07-27-2009, 13:17
Before the bear cables, the NPS experimented with it at Walnut Bottoms (#37) in the GSMNP. I remember it as being irritating but not super-difficult. One night, staying there with my wife, our sleep kept being disturbed by a strange noise, sounded like a bag of pots and pans being dropped on the ground. The ranger there came up with the answer - the bear was trying to climb the greased pole and falling back down on the chain, sitting on the concrete base, securing the lifting pole to the support pole. They tried several other methods, including placing a cable under the bridge at the site. They also tried mounting a long pole mounted between two utility posts cut off at about 4'. The bottom of the short end of the pole was counter-weighted with a blob of concrete. Food and packs went on the long end. The counter-weighted end was swung down and locked into place with a bolt (they had to changed the locking method, after the bears learned to snag the chain and flip the bolt out). This lifted the food bag end up into the air. Problem was the long part of the pole wasn't long enough and the bears could stand up on them and reach a pack, but not quite a smaller food bag. Thinking I had a bright idea, and knowing I was taking in a group of green hikers the next week, I hiked in with a bag of 8d nails, a hammer and a file. I'd clipped off the heads of the nails and sharpened them. I hammered in my homemade spikes and re-sharpened them with my file. The next week, I hurried over to look at my handiwork. The nails were as squashed flat as if they'd been hammered down. It appeared the bear thought I'd put them there to scratch an itchy foot. I thought about moving up to 16d nails, but I believe the bear would have treated them the same...

Blissful
07-27-2009, 19:21
If you plan to stay in the shelter areas in SNP, might as well use the poles. There are bears around. They also have poles in the tenting areas near the shelters. But I'd also bring rope just in case.

VTATHiker
07-27-2009, 19:37
I've seen people do the PCT method, but they never seem to be able to get their bags down...someone enlighten me?


When I first started using the PCT method I had trouble getting my bag down as the rope end leading up to the branch and the one coming down tend to get twisted together. I found that to be a problem only with narrow branches. If you can find thicker branches the rope doesn't get twisted together so much. Either way, if it does get twisted you just have to let it unwind before you pull down on the hanging end to get the bag down in the morning. Hope that helps!

LaurieAnn
07-29-2009, 11:39
http://www.videojug.com/webvideo/how-to-hang-a-bear-bag

TIDE-HSV
07-29-2009, 13:23
Was that for comic relief, LaurieAnn? :)

Mighty Mouse
07-29-2009, 13:49
I usually have a bandana handy and wrap one around the rock. I then tie the rope around the bandana. This makes things little easier for me.

LaurieAnn
07-29-2009, 19:54
Was that for comic relief, LaurieAnn? :)

It sure was... I hope it made you smile as much as it did me... it reminds me of my husband when he was new to the whole bear bag hanging act.

On one of our first backpacking trips he got lost in the woods trying to find a tree (in the dark) and I had to go rescue him. He was about 1 km away and totally disoriented. Ever since he has hung his ropes in the daylight. Good thing voices carry.

Then there was the time his best friend, Brad, used the cheapo yellow nylon rope and it broke several times. Sometimes you can't afford the cheap stuff.

LaurieAnn
07-29-2009, 19:55
I usually have a bandana handy and wrap one around the rock. I then tie the rope around the bandana. This makes things little easier for me.

The bandana is a great idea. I'll have to add that to my list of bandana uses.

Blissful
07-29-2009, 19:59
On one of our first backpacking trips he got lost in the woods trying to find a tree (in the dark) and I had to go rescue him.


Hurray for lady rescuers!!

:D

mister krabs
07-29-2009, 20:01
tie yer' water bottle to the rope. just be careful not to get it stuck or break it.


This is what I always do as well. I leave a slip knot in the end of my line for easy on and off. The bottle is a great weight and doesn't get hung up as easily as a stick or bag or rock.

TIDE-HSV
07-29-2009, 20:30
It sure was... I hope it made you smile as much as it did me.

I have a whole bunch of hanging stories. One that sticks in my mind was years ago at a fairly remote campsite in the GSMNP, down on Eagle Creek. My hiking buddy and I had gotten really late and there was only one other camper, a KIWI who was grumpy because he seemed to feel he should have had the site to himself. Since it was already dusk, I started looking for hanging trees. My friend, Chris, just said "I hate this time of day..."

LaurieAnn
07-29-2009, 21:18
Hurray for lady rescuers!!

:D


lol - I have to rescue him... I don't know how to drive so when we get back to an access point I don't have a ride home without my darling Bryan :D

The Weasel
07-29-2009, 21:23
A useful trick is to get orange lacing in 100' lengths (sometimes para cord, if you can't find the lacing), which is strong and shows up in twilight (including in the morning) and with a flashlight.

TW

Nasty Dog Virus
07-29-2009, 22:43
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=21422&c=566
...nice pic of the bear pole DAKS...

I dont like hanging my food right next to where I sleep like you do on the poles in SNP...

I prefer the "bait" further away hanging with reflective guyline so its easily seen if I want a late-night snack or I'm up before dawn.

LaurieAnn
07-30-2009, 07:10
I've never had experience with bear poles. We do have cables in some of the parks we've been in but not so much as you get further into the backcountry. We've always been of the mind that food should be 100 metres (or more) away from camp.

In 2003, the folks who wrote Lipsmackin' Backpackin' came up to Canada and did a week-long trip with us. They had a different approach. Tim and Christine, who had thru-hiked quite a bit and had backpacked in grizzly bear territory, hung their food right in camp. Tim collected a good pile of rocks and placed them by the tent door. I queried him about it because I tend to be a bit concerned about camp practices.

Tim explained that they did this because then they could hear the bear and hurl rocks at it to scare it off. He said the last thing you wanted was a bear that actually gets the food and then realizes campers=free food. While I am not sure I entirely agreed with his point I did wonder if there was something to the logic. I still do, however, I also still hang the food and other smellables away from camp.

We've been fortunate to never have a serious issue with a bear but we do know people who have actually had to leave their camp in the middle of the night - not because they had bad practices but because someone else did at a previous time and the bear now associated the campsite with dinner.

sly dog
07-30-2009, 09:49
I like having the poles in SNP. A bunch of times I rolled into camp after dark and it was nice not to have to go limb looking in the dark. I know it is a little funny using the poles but no need to pull out my rope or bundle it back up in the morning.

Homer&Marje
07-30-2009, 09:58
Personally I like the Bear Cable system that a lot of places in MA are equipped with. Seems like the easiest, least impact way of promoting the use of the system.

Bear boxes are great but heavy to get into some areas and those poles like in SNP...well, nice they are there....5' from the shelter....but what does that accomplish? Frustrated bear?

CowHead
07-30-2009, 10:16
when i carring my beer bag i perfer to keep it by my side
http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/20070605/CrumplerBeerBagBlog.jpg

Lone Wolf
07-30-2009, 10:18
food and beer stays in the tent with me. i ain't hangin' nothin'. bear schmear :cool:

TIDE-HSV
07-30-2009, 10:51
Tim explained that they did this because then they could hear the bear and hurl rocks at it to scare it off.My experience is that this method only works temporarily and they don't leave the area permanently. For example, I ran the bear that stole my wife's pack at Sheep Pen Gap off with rocks several times that day, but he came back at night and stole her (empty) pack. He stole empty packs habitually, but he'd probably had luck with some containing food in the past. A Ziplok with her drinking tube fell out on the ground. This bag had never had food in it or been near food. Nevertheless, he bit it several times - obviously habituation again...

Edit: I've read that even bear spray will not make them leave the area permanently...