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todd52
03-04-2013, 21:11
Hi everyone

I was wondering if it is generally safe to keep your food with you in your tent at night. I'm talking about sealed containers of food like canned meats, tuna in packets, packets of trail mix, granola bars, individually-wrapped packages of instant oatmeal, jerky, instant coffee, packages of various nuts, dried fruits, etc and even these items would be stored in zip-loc bags and then put with all of the other food into a regular food bag.

Would this be safe to keep in your tent at night?. Would I have to worry about bears, racoons, rats, mice, etc?.

There's just something about hanging your food (which is one of the most important things you can carry) from a tree a hundred or so yards from your tent and leaving it there all night unguarded. I have to be honest and say that I would personally feel uneasy about this and be concerned about it getting stolen (by man or beast) or something else happening to it. Having it with me would make me feel a little more secure I think.

Any thoughts on this and if it's not a good idea, is there a way to protect your food from the nose of a hungry bear (or 2-legged one) while at rthe same time keeping your pack (and food) with you at all times?.

hikerboy57
03-04-2013, 21:13
i sleep with my food in my tent.
no issues

Storm
03-04-2013, 21:15
I kept my food bag in my tent most of the time. No problems.

MuddyWaters
03-04-2013, 21:21
I hang my food
I sleep with my food too

Sleeping with your food, protects it.
Hanging it, protects you.

The incidence of bears entering occupied tents to get food on the AT is extremely low.
It is less so for un-occupied tents. When food is not attended to, it is literally up-for-grabs to a bear.

But small critters like mice will chew their way into your tent even with you in there if they know theres food.
A raccoon will just unzip the door and stroll right in. Literally.

There are times when it makes sense to hang it. But be sure to hang it good.
At a shelter with an aggressive problem bear, you might consider hanging it.
If everyone else at a shelter is hanging, then you should hang too.

By yourself, do what your most comfortable with.

I hang food, when I can find the perfect tree, and have the time.
They arent that easy to find.

T-Rx
03-04-2013, 21:27
I sleep with my food. No problems.

todd52
03-04-2013, 21:41
Thanks, I'll probably go ahead and hang it only when absolutely necessary then or when everyone else is doing it (which would indicate a potential threat in the area). Actually, I'm not even sure how to hang a bear bag and just the other day I was reading that some bears have gotten really smart and figured out a way to get down bags hung from a tree. Ah, can't beat nature I guess :)

Any advice on what one should keep already sealed food in to make sure it's extra safe?. For example, is it enough that, for example, a granola bar is already individually wrapped or should it also be put in a zip-loc bag and then another general purpose bag, etc?. How much protection is needed for the food?. Also, I'm wondering about smells of food in the area, on hands, on clothes, etc. Is there a spray or something that makes these residual smell invisible to bears and other wildlife?.

hikerboy57
03-04-2013, 21:49
Thanks, I'll probably go ahead and hang it only when absolutely necessary then or when everyone else is doing it (which would indicate a potential threat in the area). Actually, I'm not even sure how to hang a bear bag and just the other day I was reading that some bears have gotten really smart and figured out a way to get down bags hung from a tree. Ah, can't beat nature I guess :)

Any advice on what one should keep already sealed food in to make sure it's extra safe?. For example, is it enough that, for example, a granola bar is already individually wrapped or should it also be put in a zip-loc bag and then another general purpose bag, etc?. How much protection is needed for the food?. Also, I'm wondering about smells of food in the area, on hands, on clothes, etc. Is there a spray or something that makes these residual smell invisible to bears and other wildlife?.
i get these?http://www.rei.com/product/758707/loksak-opsak-odor-proof-barrier-bags-20-x-125

dont worry about smells on your person. you smell worse.

Lone Wolf
03-04-2013, 21:51
Hi everyone

I was wondering if it is generally safe to keep your food with you in your tent at night. I'm talking about sealed containers of food like canned meats, tuna in packets, packets of trail mix, granola bars, individually-wrapped packages of instant oatmeal, jerky, instant coffee, packages of various nuts, dried fruits, etc and even these items would be stored in zip-loc bags and then put with all of the other food into a regular food bag.

Would this be safe to keep in your tent at night?. Would I have to worry about bears, racoons, rats, mice, etc?.

There's just something about hanging your food (which is one of the most important things you can carry) from a tree a hundred or so yards from your tent and leaving it there all night unguarded. I have to be honest and say that I would personally feel uneasy about this and be concerned about it getting stolen (by man or beast) or something else happening to it. Having it with me would make me feel a little more secure I think.

Any thoughts on this and if it's not a good idea, is there a way to protect your food from the nose of a hungry bear (or 2-legged one) while at rthe same time keeping your pack (and food) with you at all times?.you're gonna get a bunch of different answers/suggestions. when in my tent i always sleep with my food and garbage which is in a zip lock. i've spent 100s of nites in a tent and never had a problem with bears or any other critter

Dr.Green
03-04-2013, 21:53
You can keep it in your tent I did it for years.. Now I hang my food away from my campsite at night

MuddyWaters
03-04-2013, 21:54
Thanks, I'll probably go ahead and hang it only when absolutely necessary then or when everyone else is doing it (which would indicate a potential threat in the area). Actually, I'm not even sure how to hang a bear bag and just the other day I was reading that some bears have gotten really smart and figured out a way to get down bags hung from a tree. Ah, can't beat nature I guess :)

Any advice on what one should keep already sealed food in to make sure it's extra safe?. For example, is it enough that, for example, a granola bar is already individually wrapped or should it also be put in a zip-loc bag and then another general purpose bag, etc?. How much protection is needed for the food?. Also, I'm wondering about smells of food in the area, on hands, on clothes, etc. Is there a spray or something that makes these residual smell invisible to bears and other wildlife?.

A bear has the best nose in the animal world
5x better than a bloodhound
You arent going to fool him

Polyethylene is porous. Things like ziplocks, the smell goes right thru effectively.
They make an odor resist bag called opsak, but the closure fails a lot.

An easy, cheap one is the Reynold turkey bags. These are made of nylon, and less permeable than polyethylene.
In a larger size, they have nylofume, which you put food in when your house is fumigated, get them from an pest control place. I use these for pack liners .

Line your food bag with one, twist the top up, and you have an extra layer of protection against smells.
Especially good when youve got 5 days garbage in there, and you will.

Del Q
03-04-2013, 22:02
Good thread, my call on this is that I hang my food:

1. Not so much for the bears but all of the other critters that I don't want calling at night, including skunks
2. I usually have time on my hands even if I tent at dark, good skill to keep sharp.
3. Most of all, I put my food up so I don't eat all of the good stuff when I get hungry right before going to sleep. Kind of like putting a lock on the fridge after dinner. Have done a much better job not packing too much food and coming into town/resupply empty or close to empty.

swankfly
03-04-2013, 22:06
I am surprised by the responses to this thread...i have always been taught, if in bear country it's only prudent to hang your food. If not, you may have to fight the raccoon or skunks for it so hang it anyways. Never new so many people were sleeping with food in their tents. I will sleep tighter knowing there is even less of a chance I will get disturbed!

Blissful
03-04-2013, 22:09
Tell these tactics to the bear that ripped up a thru hiker tent at Bearfence in Shenandoah a few years back...

Plus I'd really like to use my tent out west...where grizzlies LOVE food

Plus it's part of Leave No Trace...

Hang your food properly.

Lone Wolf
03-04-2013, 22:12
Tell these tactics to the bear that ripped up a thru hiker tent at Bearfence in Shenandoah a few years back...

Plus I'd really like to use my tent out west...where grizzlies LOVE food

Plus it's part of Leave No Trace...

Hang your food properly.
extremely rare. more folks been murdered, raped and assaulted. should carry guns then

Lone Wolf
03-04-2013, 22:13
I am surprised by the responses to this thread...i have always been taught, if in bear country it's only prudent to hang your food. If not, you may have to fight the raccoon or skunks for it so hang it anyways. Never new so many people were sleeping with food in their tents. I will sleep tighter knowing there is even less of a chance I will get disturbed!

it's called experience

swankfly
03-04-2013, 22:17
Death is an experience, so is sleeping well.

hikerboy57
03-04-2013, 22:22
it is not part of leave no trace.you hang it. you sleep with it. no trace.

Lone Wolf
03-04-2013, 22:27
Death is an experience, so is sleeping well.

i died 4 times in 4 days. i don't remember it

MuddyWaters
03-04-2013, 22:39
In the east, at least, a black bear could best be described as an overgrown raccoon.
Out west, its different.

Yes, you should not eat or cook in a tent you ever expect to use in grizzly country.
Even a pop-up camper should not be taken to bear country if it has ever been cooked in.

garlic08
03-04-2013, 23:09
...Out west, its different.

I think the sleeping with your food method is an AT thing. I never heard of it either until I started reading this forum. I sometimes leave my campsite unattended, and no way will I leave food within reach of the ground then. I've had tents, packs, and food bags chewed into too many times out West by ermine, ravens, and mice, and it only takes a minute, literally. In grizzly country, it's smart to be extremely careful. Hanging well is a good skill to have, and it only takes a minute or two unless you're a total klutz. It takes me less time than pitching my tent.

Fur Queue
03-04-2013, 23:15
Some interesting responses on this thread. In response to the OP I'd paraphrase Dr Tom Smith and say that it only takes one bear to ruin your day...

Lone Wolf
03-04-2013, 23:21
Some interesting responses on this thread. In response to the OP I'd paraphrase Dr Tom Smith and say that it only takes one bear to ruin your day...
what sorta doc is tom?

The Ace
03-04-2013, 23:55
When backpacking in the Appalachians I always sleep with my food in my tent after first placing it in an OPSak and then in a waterproof cuben fiber bag. There is anecdotal information that says OPSaks and at least one other brand are sufficiently odor proof. (However, the OPSak closures are fragile.) It is my belief that it is less likely that a bear or other animal will enter my tent than into the tent of a person who does the following yet hangs his/her food bag every night:
∑ Keeps snacks and empty wrappers in his backpack pockets or pants pockets
∑ Cooks supper at his tent site
∑ Leans over boiling/simmering food
∑ Washes out cooking pot/cup with his handkerchief and wipes his hands on his shirt
∑ Makes a cup of hot chocolate under the tent vestibule
∑ Keep flavored drinks in a Gatorade bottle
∑ Use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint liquid soap
∑ Brushes teeth with toothpaste dots
∑ Uses scented hand sanitizer
∑ Applies medicated or baby powder on feet
∑ Applies cherry flavored Chap Stick on lips
In other words, for tenting in the Appalachians, I disagree with the repeated mantra that the first line of defense against a bear or other critter entering one’s tent is to hang a bear bag away from your campsite, and instead I believe that the correct first line of defense is to avoid generating odors that attract a bear to enter your tent. I sleep well knowing (a) where my food is and (b) knowing that I am generating less bear attracting odors than my bear bagging but otherwise not so careful neighbor.

Fur Queue
03-04-2013, 23:56
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=BKRZiy_sLcg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DBKRZiy_sLcg

Wildlife biologist....many years of research experience....very entertaining also! Definitely worth a listen to and then you can make your choices....

SouthMark
03-05-2013, 00:00
http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/myths-a-misconceptions.html

Fur Queue
03-05-2013, 00:00
what sorta doc is tom?

Here is the correct link:
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=PExlT-5VU-Y&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DPExlT-5VU-Y

Lone Wolf
03-05-2013, 00:08
i'm willin' to bet i got more time in a tent with food on the AT than doc tom has. i ain't got time for experts :cool:

MuddyWaters
03-05-2013, 00:09
The problem with hanging food, is that it is NOT easy to do well, it is hard to do well. It is hard because the right trees, are hard to find.

At some point 2 yrs ago, prior to the bear cannister rule, I recall the folks at MX were keeping a tally.
Something like 75 foodbags had been lost to bears while hanging, 0 had been lost by hikers sleeping with food.
And that was partway thru the spring.
There is no doubt that a poor hang, is much worse than no hang at all.
I observed people hanging foodbags basically off of bushes.

Fur Queue
03-05-2013, 00:14
i'm willin' to bet i got more time in a tent with food on the AT than doc tom has. i ain't got time for experts :cool:

I hear you but I have err on the side of caution...I have to bring my boy home safely to momma bear... :)

Fur Queue
03-05-2013, 00:21
i'm willin' to bet i got more time in a tent with food on the AT than doc tom has. i ain't got time for experts :cool:

And in the Doctors defence I'd place a substantial wager that he's spent a great deal more time up close and personal with bears than you have... :)

Lone Wolf
03-05-2013, 00:24
And in the Doctors defence I'd place a substantial wager that he's spent a great deal more time up close and personal with bears than you have... :)

but not on the AT in their natural habitat. guanteed

Fur Queue
03-05-2013, 00:34
but not on the AT in their natural habitat. guanteed

Natural habitat, yes....AT, I don't think so...you should watch the video, there is some funny stuff in there....

Swordpen
03-05-2013, 01:29
Opsak is supposed to be odor proof (for hunters etc). Opsak stands for Odor Proof Sak.

The opening is similar to a ziplock baggie (read: not easy to get it perfect).

Even the Opsak manufacturer recommends these with I have:

Clip-n-Seal Bag Clips - Medium you can get on Amazon, & they are easily cut down to the size of the Opsak bag you have. This solves the problem of the flaky Opsak ziplock closure.

todd52
03-05-2013, 01:53
So much interesting information and opinions here. I just wanted to say thanks!. I guess one of the things that really caught me by surprise is the person who said that a racoon would literally unzip your tent and amble right in. I guess I'm wondering...um...what exactly would a person do in that type of situation? :eek:

Lone Wolf
03-05-2013, 02:03
So much interesting information and opinions here. I just wanted to say thanks!. I guess one of the things that really caught me by surprise is the person who said that a racoon would literally unzip your tent and amble right in. I guess I'm wondering...um...what exactly would a person do in that type of situation? :eek:
punch the the sumbitch in the head. what else? i ain't gonna waste a bullet on it

MJW155
03-05-2013, 02:07
I think the sleeping with your food method is an AT thing. I never heard of it either until I started reading this forum. I sometimes leave my campsite unattended, and no way will I leave food within reach of the ground then. I've had tents, packs, and food bags chewed into too many times out West by ermine, ravens, and mice, and it only takes a minute, literally. In grizzly country, it's smart to be extremely careful. Hanging well is a good skill to have, and it only takes a minute or two unless you're a total klutz. It takes me less time than pitching my tent.


Hanging is easy. It's finding the right tree that is hard. I never leave my food unattended. But when I go to sleep, I use the food bag as a pillow. Have never had a problem. Animals are just not going to bother when you are next to the food. Besides, the way I figure it, even if a bear bothered me, I'd let it have the food bag while I slipped out of the tent.

Special K
03-05-2013, 02:14
Good question. I was wondering about the food bag hanging scenario too. I wondered how many did and how many did not hang. Personally I was thinking about hanging a bag with my wrappers each night but sleeping with my "sealed, unopened" food in my tent. Kinda made sense to me.

Thanks for starting the thread.

Rocket Jones
03-05-2013, 07:07
Critters become habituated to people food around shelters and heavily used campsites. They know food is around, and they learn how to get at it. Avoid problems by camping away from shelters.

chiefduffy
03-05-2013, 07:40
punch the the sumbitch in the head. what else? i ain't gonna waste a bullet on it

I just spit coffee all over my keyboard

Pedaling Fool
03-05-2013, 09:41
Tell these tactics to the bear that ripped up a thru hiker tent at Bearfence in Shenandoah a few years back...


Hang your food properly.Tents don't protect food, people do. That tent was left unattended, same thing would've happened if he left his fully-loaded pack there.

What about all the foodhangers that lost food to bears in Georgia?

Pedaling Fool
03-05-2013, 09:45
So much interesting information and opinions here. I just wanted to say thanks!. I guess one of the things that really caught me by surprise is the person who said that a racoon would literally unzip your tent and amble right in. I guess I'm wondering...um...what exactly would a person do in that type of situation? :eek:On one of my cycling trips I had something the size of a racoon scratch at my tent; kicked it in the head, problem solved.

The Ace
03-05-2013, 09:51
Good question. I was wondering about the food bag hanging scenario too. I wondered how many did and how many did not hang. Personally I was thinking about hanging a bag with my wrappers each night but sleeping with my "sealed, unopened" food in my tent. Kinda made sense to me.

Thanks for starting the thread.
A lot of factory "sealed and unopened" food is not odor proof to a bear or other critter. Even humans can smell an unopened bar of chocolate. Placing sealed and unopened food in an odor proof bag -- OPSak or similar -- solves this problem along with storing wrappers, toothpaste, flavored soap, etc.

Prime Time
03-05-2013, 10:06
If the chances are, say, a thousand in one that a bear will enter your tent to get the food he can smell, ask yourself this: After many years and hundreds of nights in a tent with your food, at what point do you start to get nervous about your odds. Also, the chances of damage to your tent or other equipment from mice is probably much, much greater. Also, never underestimate what a bear can and can't smell. Just remember this, he can smell you from more than a mile away. They have been known to break into a car trunk to eat a wrapped candy bar. Plus, your food bag itself will smell not just your food inside it. Believe me, they will smell the food in your tent. The question is how hungry or how desensitized to humans is your particular bear. Hang your food, it's just what a seasoned hiker should do. Or just keep hoping your luck holds out.

Parkie Man
03-05-2013, 10:07
So with all the discussion about food....what about your backpack. Thoughout the day, I am sure that you will have crumbs of food find their way into your pack in one place or the other. And those who sleep in hammocks can't just keep it inside it with them.

Lone Wolf
03-05-2013, 10:08
If the chances are, say, a thousand in one that a bear will enter your tent to get the food he can smell, ask yourself this: After many years and hundreds of nights in a tent with your food, at what point do you start to get nervous about your odds. Also, the chances of damage to your tent or other equipment from mice is probably much, much greater. Also, never underestimate what a bear can and can't smell. Just remember this, he can smell you from more than a mile away. They have been known to break into a car trunk to eat a wrapped candy bar. Plus, your food bag itself will smell not just your food inside it. Believe me, they will smell the food in your tent. The question is how hungry or how desensitized to humans is your particular bear. Hang your food, it's just what a seasoned hiker should do. Or just keep hoping your luck holds out.one day a bear may attack you while you're walkin' with your pack on. hope your luck holds out :rolleyes:

Prime Time
03-05-2013, 10:11
one day a bear may attack you while you're walkin' with your pack on. hope your luck holds out :rolleyes:
Your right! But if he comes after me, I'm droppin my pack and not stoppin til I get to Maine :)

HikerMom58
03-05-2013, 10:15
Your right! But if he comes after me, I'm droppin my pack and not stoppin til I get to Maine :)

Smart man you are Prime Time! ;)

Pedaling Fool
03-05-2013, 10:15
If the chances are, say, a thousand in one that a bear will enter your tent to get the food he can smell, ask yourself this: After many years and hundreds of nights in a tent with your food, at what point do you start to get nervous about your odds. Also, the chances of damage to your tent or other equipment from mice is probably much, much greater. Also, never underestimate what a bear can and can't smell. Just remember this, he can smell you from more than a mile away. They have been known to break into a car trunk to eat a wrapped candy bar. Plus, your food bag itself will smell not just your food inside it. Believe me, they will smell the food in your tent. The question is how hungry or how desensitized to humans is your particular bear. Hang your food, it's just what a seasoned hiker should do. Or just keep hoping your luck holds out.Your chances of being seriously injured in a car accident, even with seatbelts and airbags are much greater.

And yes, we're all very aware of the bear's awesome senese of smell.


P.S. I need a new tent anyways, starting to get holes in the floor.:)

HikerMom58
03-05-2013, 10:30
Your chances of being seriously injured in a car accident, even with seatbelts and airbags are much greater.

And yes, we're all very aware of the bear's awesome senese of smell.


P.S. I need a new tent anyways, starting to get holes in the floor.:)

John, don't forget about the "desensitized to humans" factor. That's why they close campsites and shelters. They don't seem to want to take any risks. It happens often in the SMNP. Maybe this year will be different........hope so.

Pedaling Fool
03-05-2013, 10:40
John, don't forget about the "desensitized to humans" factor. That's why they close campsites and shelters. They don't seem to want to take any risks. It happens often in the SMNP. Maybe this year will be different........hope so.Thank God for hunters, they keep the fear in them. ;)

As for the parks, just stick with me, I'll keep you safe :D

The Ace
03-05-2013, 10:42
Your right! But if he comes after me, I'm droppin my pack and not stoppin til I get to Maine :)

Nope, in the Appalachians if I find myself in that position, then I am confronting the bear head on. However, if I have made the mistake of allowing too much separation between me and my stuff and a bear has gotten close enough to claim possession, then I will leave him alone. My stuff now belongs to the bear. The original poster, though, was asking about what to do with food at night while tent camping.

Fur Queue
03-05-2013, 11:10
I ain't got time for experts :cool:

How's the new diet working out?

The Ace
03-05-2013, 11:18
John, don't forget about the "desensitized to humans" factor. That's why they close campsites and shelters. They don't seem to want to take any risks. It happens often in the SMNP. Maybe this year will be different........hope so.

If, in a rare circumstance, an Appalachian bear were to be so desensitized to a specific campsite and have no fear of humans -- i.e., human at campsite = food and absolutely nothing else such as smell matters -- then it makes no difference what you do with your food since you are the target. However, in a less rare (but still infrequent) circumstance of a campsite frequented by a non-human eating but otherwise desensitized bear, I believe, using my example above, that I (call me Hiker A) and my food am safer than the other hiker and his food that I have described (call Him Hiker B) in a tent at a campsite. Neither Hiker A nor Hiker B has any control over a bear that believes campsite = potential source of food. I maintain that the first line of defense is to avoid emitting bear attracting odors and that Hiker A is safer than Hiker B. If a bear is driven by its incredible sense smell, then Hiker B’s actions are not logical. If an OPsak is indeed odor proof to a bear, then Hiker A’s actions are logical.

The Ace
03-05-2013, 11:24
If the chances are, say, a thousand in one that a bear will enter your tent to get the food he can smell, ask yourself this: After many years and hundreds of nights in a tent with your food, at what point do you start to get nervous about your odds. Also, the chances of damage to your tent or other equipment from mice is probably much, much greater. Also, never underestimate what a bear can and can't smell. Just remember this, he can smell you from more than a mile away. They have been known to break into a car trunk to eat a wrapped candy bar. Plus, your food bag itself will smell not just your food inside it. Believe me, they will smell the food in your tent. The question is how hungry or how desensitized to humans is your particular bear. Hang your food, it's just what a seasoned hiker should do. Or just keep hoping your luck holds out.

. . .or grab your shirt because it smells like food, or grab your down jacket because it smells like food, or grab your sleeping bag because it smells like food, or grab your hair because it smells like food – none of which are encased in an odor proof bag. Or, the bear may instead just go walking in a circle a couple of hundred yards away from civilization in the unprotected regions of the forest looking for those trees with the amazingly tasty fruit that grows on them only at night.

Sarcasm the elf
03-05-2013, 11:24
Some folks really like to over think things that are of little consequence in the real world...

SouthMark
03-05-2013, 11:28
And those who sleep in hammocks can't just keep it inside it with them.


I sleep in a hammock and I sleep with my food bag under my knees. I have never had any problems and I have never had a bear confront me on the trail when I have had a pack full of smelly food. It's all about possession. Being an opportunist a black bear will go after unattended food.

Check out the North American Bear Institute. Over 40 years living with and studying black bears. Biologist Dr. Lynn Rogers has written most of the Forest Service's information on dealing with black bears.

http://www.bear.org/website/

The Ace
03-05-2013, 11:33
I hear you but I have err on the side of caution...I have to bring my boy home safely to momma bear... :)

And the anecdotal reports say that you are more likely to bring him home hungry.

The Ace
03-05-2013, 11:43
Opsak is supposed to be odor proof (for hunters etc). Opsak stands for Odor Proof Sak.

The opening is similar to a ziplock baggie (read: not easy to get it perfect).

Even the Opsak manufacturer recommends these with I have:

Clip-n-Seal Bag Clips - Medium you can get on Amazon, & they are easily cut down to the size of the Opsak bag you have. This solves the problem of the flaky Opsak ziplock closure.

Thanks for the info on these. I find that my OPSaks eventually split horizontally right below the black seam seal even though I do not fill the sack above the indicated line. It now appears that I can roll the sack and seal it with the Clip-n-Seal. There is another product called LiteTrail NyloBarrier Odor Proof Bag that is closed by tying. I have not yet tried it, but reviews say it is effective and also lighter than the OPSak.

Slo-go'en
03-05-2013, 12:12
In Grizzly country your advised not to wipe your hands on your clothes when cooking and to store your clothes outside the tent at night.

But I have to belive that odor intensity is also a factor. The stronger the odors, the more likely it will be noticed and deemed worth investigating. Therefore, using odor proof bags should help a lot.

It is amazing how mice will zero in on the exact location of GORP in a food bag and only attack where the peanuts are. I'll often stuff the warper from a candy bar into the side meash water bottle pocket on my pack, then forget it's there. Of course the mice find it and now my side pockets have big holes instead of just little ones.

Prime Time
03-05-2013, 12:12
Boy, once again all of the experts on a subject are apparently wrong. You'd think that by now they'd learn to read WB so they would stop giving people bad advice like "don't sleep with your food in your tent" :)

STINGER1
03-05-2013, 12:28
sleep with your food. its yours. protect it. if its out of arms reach its fair game. this is of course for wilderness travel, if your at a campsite with boxes use them. No body hangs after a few hundered miles anyway.

Coffee
03-05-2013, 12:50
Are the black bears of a different sub-species in the Appalachians versus the bears in the Sierra Nevada? If not, are they just less sophisticated? That seems doubtful given that the population density is so much greater in the east than in the west. I would think bears in the east are more sophisticated. In the Sierras I never knew of anyone who slept with their food and hanging food was the norm except when near locations with bear boxes. Obviously the rangers frown on anyone sleeping with their food. In any case, the need to store food away from my tent has been pounded into my head enough to make it impossible for me to sleep if I haven't stashed my food somewhere: Bear box, canister, hanging, whatever. I find it really surprising how many people sleep with their food based on reading this thread.

Drybones
03-05-2013, 13:08
Death is an experience, .

One we're all guaranteed to have, like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared.

Drybones
03-05-2013, 13:13
On one of my cycling trips I had something the size of a racoon scratch at my tent; kicked it in the head, problem solved.

I was camping in a river bottom bow hunting with some friends, the guy in the tent with me snored so loud my ears were hurting, got up and went about 50 yards down the woods to sleep, pitch dark. Dont know what it was, but coons, possums or something were scrambbling around in the dry oak leaves around me and touching my sleeping bag. They didn't keep me awake but my friends snoring still was.

HikerMom58
03-05-2013, 13:14
If, in a rare circumstance, an Appalachian bear were to be so desensitized to a specific campsite and have no fear of humans -- i.e., human at campsite = food and absolutely nothing else such as smell matters -- then it makes no difference what you do with your food since you are the target. However, in a less rare (but still infrequent) circumstance of a campsite frequented by a non-human eating but otherwise desensitized bear, I believe, using my example above, that I (call me Hiker A) and my food am safer than the other hiker and his food that I have described (call Him Hiker B) in a tent at a campsite. Neither Hiker A nor Hiker B has any control over a bear that believes campsite = potential source of food. I maintain that the first line of defense is to avoid emitting bear attracting odors and that Hiker A is safer than Hiker B. If a bear is driven by its incredible sense smell, then Hiker B’s actions are not logical. If an OPsak is indeed odor proof to a bear, then Hiker A’s actions are logical.

I think I understand what you saying.... The "can of worms" has been opened, with the bears, so we are all on "Plan B". :) We disagree on what "plan B" looks like for each of us, individually. My plan is too ditch the smells, as best I can, & try to get the "prize" far way from me.

Sometimes we have to remove the bears b/c we failed to do our job, properly. The bears learned to do "bad things" and we have no one to blame but ourselves. They have lost their fear of us in the process. So, now, we are more afraid of them.

Like John said, hunters will keep the fear of humans in them. Hikers can do a pretty good job of that as well. ;)

When we visit wild animals in their "home" we are taking a small risk of them reacting poorly to us being there, at times. I'm taking John with me to removed all risks... ;) LOL!!

T.S.Kobzol
03-05-2013, 13:16
I always cook and eat away from my tent. I always sleep with my foodbag.

Sent from my SGH-T889 using Tapatalk 2

swankfly
03-05-2013, 13:17
There is a huge difference in experience vs. having experienced and I think he is just lucky. Probably camps on balds during lightning storms and never been struck by lightning either. Same guy that complains about laws like, seatbelts, helmets and drinking while driving.It would appear that after 25,000 posts, more time is spent on the Internet than in a tent, theorizing. I'll stand by the Doc.

Drybones
03-05-2013, 13:17
If the chances are, say, a thousand in one that a bear will enter your tent to get the food he can smell, ask yourself this: .

As Clint E. would say....do you feel lucky today punk...well...do you punk?

Sarcasm the elf
03-05-2013, 13:19
The problem with hanging food, is that it is NOT easy to do well, it is hard to do well. It is hard because the right trees, are hard to find.At some point 2 yrs ago, prior to the bear cannister rule, I recall the folks at MX were keeping a tally. Something like 75 foodbags had been lost to bears while hanging, 0 had been lost by hikers sleeping with food.And that was partway thru the spring.There is no doubt that a poor hang, is much worse than no hang at all.I observed people hanging foodbags basically off of bushes.This. Probably 90% of the bear bags I've seen hung on the A.T. were put up improperly and probably only made the campsite less safe. Lots of folks like to hang their food five feet off of the ground or only a foot or two away from the trunk of the tree, or hung ten feet away from their tent, all useless for keeping critters away. If you do plan to hang your food, search for "PCT Method" on YouTube and spend some time watching the instructional video, this is one of the only ways to hang your food effectively.

Drybones
03-05-2013, 13:31
This would be good topic for a WB poll...anyone out there know how to set one up?

The Ace
03-05-2013, 14:06
I think I understand what you saying.... The "can of worms" has been opened, with the bears, so we are all on "Plan B". :) We disagree on what "plan B" looks like for each of us, individually. My plan is too ditch the smells, as best I can, & try to get the "prize" far way from me.

Sometimes we have to remove the bears b/c we failed to do our job, properly. The bears learned to do "bad things" and we have no one to blame but ourselves. They have lost their fear of us in the process. So, now, we are more afraid of them.

Like John said, hunters will keep the fear of humans in them. Hikers can do a pretty good job of that as well. ;)

When we visit wild animals in their "home" we are taking a small risk of them reacting poorly to us being there, at times. I'm taking John with me to removed all risks... ;) LOL!!

Yes, I am glad that you are trying to understand, and I am not trying to be stubborn or impolite. What I am trying to address, since the OP asked, is in regards to the conventional response to a “Premise”. This Premise is that you are at some level of risk of a bear attack while sleeping in a tent in the Appalachians because a bear can smell odors from your food. The conventional response to the Premise appears to be this: Protect yourself by eliminating the odor by hanging your food from at tree away from your tent site. This conventional response accepts the second risk that you might sacrifice the loss of your hanging food as a price to protect you from danger of attack in your tent. The conventional response also seems to ignore the risk from emitting other bear drawing smells from your tent (and therefore, if the Premise is correct, would give you a false sense of security.)
My view is that if you accept the Premise, then the better answer today – because (a) anecdotal evidence has suggested that bear behavior in the southern Appalachians has changed to recognition of hanging food bags and (b) technology has advanced – is that the conventional response to the Premise should be replaced with this: Protect yourself from both attack in your tent and your food from being stolen by minimizing any odors that would attract a bear into your tent, including the placing of your food in an odor proof sack and sleeping with it.
However, there are also those hikers that reject the Premise under the belief that the level of risk to you due to food in your possession in a tent in the Appalachians, whether it smells or not, is lower than the risk of many other unfortunate things that can happen to you while backpacking, and therefore, this whole discussion is much ado about nothing.

The Ace
03-05-2013, 14:13
Are the black bears of a different sub-species in the Appalachians versus the bears in the Sierra Nevada? If not, are they just less sophisticated? That seems doubtful given that the population density is so much greater in the east than in the west. I would think bears in the east are more sophisticated. In the Sierras I never knew of anyone who slept with their food and hanging food was the norm except when near locations with bear boxes. Obviously the rangers frown on anyone sleeping with their food. In any case, the need to store food away from my tent has been pounded into my head enough to make it impossible for me to sleep if I haven't stashed my food somewhere: Bear box, canister, hanging, whatever. I find it really surprising how many people sleep with their food based on reading this thread.

Behavior is learned and in certain geographical areas some black bears have learned that more aggressive behavior nets them food – sometimes due to poor practices of hikers and campers. Bad behavior by bears can also be unlearned. According to the web site mentioned by SouthMark, some bears have associated that just lifting and waving your hand means that they are going to receive a dose of bear spray and will run away. (I find that just shouting, “I am HikerMomKD and I am armed with spray” accomplishes the same.)

Parkie Man
03-05-2013, 14:23
[QUOTE=SouthMark;1431975]I sleep in a hammock and I sleep with my food bag under my knees. I have never had any problems and I have never had a bear confront me on the trail when I have had a pack full of smelly food. It's all about possession. Being an opportunist a black bear will go after unattended food.QUOTE (http://www.bear.org/website/[/QUOTE)]

my question is where do you keep your backpack at night. Couple years ago i was awoken in my hammck by a bear pawing at my backpack that I had hung at the foot of my hammck. all i could do was kick him and he finally left for a while, If not clipped on, the pack would be gone. just wanted to know where othes put thier backpacks at night

SouthMark
03-05-2013, 14:37
[QUOTE=SouthMark;1431975]I sleep in a hammock and I sleep with my food bag under my knees. I have never had any problems and I have never had a bear confront me on the trail when I have had a pack full of smelly food. It's all about possession. Being an opportunist a black bear will go after unattended food.QUOTE (http://www.bear.org/website/[/QUOTE)]

my question is where do you keep your backpack at night. Couple years ago i was awoken in my hammck by a bear pawing at my backpack that I had hung at the foot of my hammck. all i could do was kick him and he finally left for a while, If not clipped on, the pack would be gone. just wanted to know where othes put thier backpacks at night

I usually sleep with my empty pack under my feet. I use a 3/4 length under quilt and use my pack as insulation for my calves and feet.

Odd Man Out
03-05-2013, 17:04
The last time this this question came up (it comes up often), I searched the Internet to see if there was some research on this issue. I didn't find much (the "hang your food" dogma prevails from everything I read). But I did find the name of a well published bear researcher at a university so I e-mail him this question. He said that based on his research and experience, he feels that in most cases, the bear's desire to avoid you is greater than his desire to get your food (DISCLAIMER - I was clear that we were discussing east coast Black Bears). This explains why sleeping with food works for so many. But he did go on to say that there are things that could change the equation, such a bear that is very hungry or sick. Or in another case where a woman had used shampoo that was so strongly scented of fruit, the bear went after her head right through the tent wall. He probably thought he was going after a bowl of fruit and not a human head (the EMT even commented on the odor of the victim's hair). In the end, he said he would choose to hang his food, but felt the "sleep with food" strategy and the rationale behind it was not unreasonable (so much for getting a "straight answer" from the expert). I guess the best bit of advice I got from this exchange is that if you are going to sleep with your food, make sure YOU smell like a human and not a bowl of fruit.

Rasty
03-05-2013, 17:10
The only bear incident for me was when my pack was outside of my tent. Had a raccoon enter my tent at Boy Scout camp which was my fault for not following the no-cookie rule!

The Ace
03-05-2013, 17:48
The last time this this question came up (it comes up often), I searched the Internet to see if there was some research on this issue. I didn't find much (the "hang your food" dogma prevails from everything I read). But I did find the name of a well published bear researcher at a university so I e-mail him this question. He said that based on his research and experience, he feels that in most cases, the bear's desire to avoid you is greater than his desire to get your food (DISCLAIMER - I was clear that we were discussing east coast Black Bears). This explains why sleeping with food works for so many. But he did go on to say that there are things that could change the equation, such a bear that is very hungry or sick. Or in another case where a woman had used shampoo that was so strongly scented of fruit, the bear went after her head right through the tent wall. He probably thought he was going after a bowl of fruit and not a human head (the EMT even commented on the odor of the victim's hair). In the end, he said he would choose to hang his food, but felt the "sleep with food" strategy and the rationale behind it was not unreasonable (so much for getting a "straight answer" from the expert). I guess the best bit of advice I got from this exchange is that if you are going to sleep with your food, make sure YOU smell like a human and not a bowl of fruit.

Well said! However, you have also made the point that if you are NOT going to sleep with your food, then you still want to avoid smelling like a bowl of fruit. So, either way the first line of defense is to avoid emitting bear attracting odors from your tent. With the right products you can do this by odor proofing your hair and odor proofing your food.
BTW: I apologize for my font size and lack of spacing between paragraphs. Having computer problems today.

Tinker
03-05-2013, 18:04
A lot of factory "sealed and unopened" food is not odor proof to a bear or other critter. Even humans can smell an unopened bar of chocolate. Placing sealed and unopened food in an odor proof bag -- OPSak or similar -- solves this problem along with storing wrappers, toothpaste, flavored soap, etc.

Make sure you wash your hands before you close the food bag, but after you put the food in it so you don't get food smells on the outside of the bag - WAIT! - you will have already gotten food smells from the food on the outside of the OPsak - make sure you wash the parts of the outside of the sack that your hands have already touched.
:rolleyes:
There's only so much you can (reasonably) do.

I mostly hang my food, but one night I ran out of daylight and energy so I pitched my hammock right next to the trail over a log, and leaned my food bag against the log. I had to chase off something small during the night, but had no trouble with bears.

Shelter dwellers usually hang their food in easy reach of bears, but the bears don't touch it. They're more afraid of us than we (well, most of us ) are of them.

Now, leave your food in your tent when you're not in it and you will likely have a problem eventually.

gizzy bear
03-05-2013, 18:46
Hi everyone

I was wondering if it is generally safe to keep your food with you in your tent at night. I'm talking about sealed containers of food like canned meats, tuna in packets, packets of trail mix, granola bars, individually-wrapped packages of instant oatmeal, jerky, instant coffee, packages of various nuts, dried fruits, etc and even these items would be stored in zip-loc bags and then put with all of the other food into a regular food bag.

Would this be safe to keep in your tent at night?. Would I have to worry about bears, racoons, rats, mice, etc?.
.


my my my .... i think that beats the 47 item buffet bar at myrtle beach ;) as for me...i will not sleep with my food and i WILL carry bear spray, in case... it is my prerogative :D

Odd Man Out
03-05-2013, 18:48
Well said! However, you have also made the point that if you are NOT going to sleep with your food, then you still want to avoid smelling like a bowl of fruit. So, either way the first line of defense is to avoid emitting bear attracting odors from your tent. With the right products you can do this by odor proofing your hair and odor proofing your food.
BTW: I apologize for my font size and lack of spacing between paragraphs. Having computer problems today.

I agree that in all cases you don't want to make yourself smell like food. But you don't really want to odor proof yourself. According to the theory, it is your human smell that repels the bears. I suppose it is most likely the weekend hiker rather than the long distance hiker who is most likely to use hygiene products that minimize or masks their human odors. Also, I suppose you can take steps to minimize the smell of your food, but I tend to agree with earlier posts that nothing a backpacker can carry is really odor proof when it comes to bears.

gizzy bear
03-05-2013, 18:48
my my my .... i think that beats the 47 item buffet bar at myrtle beach ;) as for me...i will not sleep with my food and i WILL carry bear spray, in case... it is my prerogative :D

i also carry rodent spray...it is soooo cute and tiny!!! ;)

todd52
03-05-2013, 19:02
Loving this thread so far and all the really good replies. Definately an interesting read!.

A few things that jump out at me are the people who have mentioned kicking a bear, punching a bear, a racoon crawling into the tent with them, etc. I'm just really surprised that a racoon could crawl into a tent with someone sleeping inside and not result in some sort of attack. I mean, you hear a noise...feel something...poke your head out of your sleeping bag and come eye-to-eye with a racoon. Isn't the racoon going to become fearful or feel trapped and attack?. I can't imagine kicking a 500LB bear either. I'd think the bear would get mad and go nuts or something. Are these animals timid or something?.

Drybones
03-05-2013, 19:05
But you don't really want to odor proof yourself. .

Non hiking town folks may have a different take on that.

Pedaling Fool
03-05-2013, 20:03
The last time this this question came up (it comes up often), I searched the Internet to see if there was some research on this issue. I didn't find much (the "hang your food" dogma prevails from everything I read). But I did find the name of a well published bear researcher at a university so I e-mail him this question. He said that based on his research and experience, he feels that in most cases, the bear's desire to avoid you is greater than his desire to get your food (DISCLAIMER - I was clear that we were discussing east coast Black Bears). This explains why sleeping with food works for so many. But he did go on to say that there are things that could change the equation, such a bear that is very hungry or sick. Or in another case where a woman had used shampoo that was so strongly scented of fruit, the bear went after her head right through the tent wall. He probably thought he was going after a bowl of fruit and not a human head (the EMT even commented on the odor of the victim's hair). In the end, he said he would choose to hang his food, but felt the "sleep with food" strategy and the rationale behind it was not unreasonable (so much for getting a "straight answer" from the expert). I guess the best bit of advice I got from this exchange is that if you are going to sleep with your food, make sure YOU smell like a human and not a bowl of fruit.I pretty much agree with this guy you emailed.

But what I've always wondered: If there was a very hungry or sick bear what's the odds of him going after an occupied tent vs. a hiker with a smelly pack on?

I'm guessing one big factor would be how big the hiker is.

SouthMark
03-05-2013, 20:28
The last time this this question came up (it comes up often), I searched the Internet to see if there was some research on this issue. I didn't find much (the "hang your food" dogma prevails from everything I read). But I did find the name of a well published bear researcher at a university so I e-mail him this question. He said that based on his research and experience, he feels that in most cases, the bear's desire to avoid you is greater than his desire to get your food (DISCLAIMER - I was clear that we were discussing east coast Black Bears). This explains why sleeping with food works for so many. But he did go on to say that there are things that could change the equation, such a bear that is very hungry or sick. Or in another case where a woman had used shampoo that was so strongly scented of fruit, the bear went after her head right through the tent wall. He probably thought he was going after a bowl of fruit and not a human head (the EMT even commented on the odor of the victim's hair). In the end, he said he would choose to hang his food, but felt the "sleep with food" strategy and the rationale behind it was not unreasonable (so much for getting a "straight answer" from the expert). I guess the best bit of advice I got from this exchange is that if you are going to sleep with your food, make sure YOU smell like a human and not a bowl of fruit.


"Most black bears will not enter a tent with people in it, but it is still a good idea to keep food and food odors out of tents and sleeping bags.". This is a quote from a US Dept of Agriculture publication prepared by the Forest Service How to Live with Black Bears.

Black bears are so timid today partly because they evolved alongside such powerful predators as saber-toothed cats, American lions, dire wolves and short-faced bears, all of which became extinct only about 12,000 years ago. Black bears were the only one of these that could climb trees, so black bears survived by staying near trees and developing the attitude: run first and ask questions later. The timid ones passed on their genes to create the black bear of today.

HikerMom58
03-05-2013, 21:24
The last time this this question came up (it comes up often), I searched the Internet to see if there was some research on this issue. I didn't find much (the "hang your food" dogma prevails from everything I read). But I did find the name of a well published bear researcher at a university so I e-mail him this question. He said that based on his research and experience, he feels that in most cases, the bear's desire to avoid you is greater than his desire to get your food (DISCLAIMER - I was clear that we were discussing east coast Black Bears). This explains why sleeping with food works for so many. But he did go on to say that there are things that could change the equation, such a bear that is very hungry or sick. Or in another case where a woman had used shampoo that was so strongly scented of fruit, the bear went after her head right through the tent wall. He probably thought he was going after a bowl of fruit and not a human head (the EMT even commented on the odor of the victim's hair). In the end, he said he would choose to hang his food, but felt the "sleep with food" strategy and the rationale behind it was not unreasonable (so much for getting a "straight answer" from the expert). I guess the best bit of advice I got from this exchange is that if you are going to sleep with your food, make sure YOU smell like a human and not a bowl of fruit.

That is really scary - Odd Man Out... I also read a story about a couple in their tent with a partially opened York Peppermint Pattie, in the side pocket. In the middle of the night, a bear, (the man said it's head was the size of a football) was trying to get inside the tent, for the candy. I can't remember what he did to get it to go away. I think he kicked it with his foot between it's eyes. If I remember correctly, they knew the bear was hanging around before that encounter & tried to scare it away with fire crackers. That worked, at first, but the bear came back later that night.

So that story would prove to the peeps that say- "sleep with your food- don't worry about smells- bears won't attack you".... Well, they are right about the attacking part(they won't attack you, most likely) but they will come around to get the food, if they smell it.

Your story, Odd Man Out, would go down as a human attack but the bear thought her head was FOOD. Oh BOY!

I think, The Ace has made some excellent points... The most important thing is to rid yourself and your sleeping area of all food smells. Even if you hang your food away from you, you should try to keep that food in odor proof sacks.(we can only hope they can't smell the food) Also, he is saying that bears have learned that hanging bags=food so we've opened up that "can of worms" as well.
I dig "it's all about possession theory" but after reading Odd Man Out, Parkie Man's and remember reading my own story, I'm not convinced that the bears honor that idea, so much, while we are resting at night. I think they believe our food is fair game.:eek:

LOL.. The Ace.. I like your idea of telling the bear who (HM ;)) you are and just lettin um know verbally and non-verbally, who's BOSS! Ha!! :cool:

Hope the OP likes that we are all.... wait for it....... just talkin' :D

RedBeerd
03-05-2013, 22:29
I don't have anywhere near the experience of everyone here but I've always kept my food (and toiletries) in an OPsak and Ursack Minor. Ill just tie it to the base of a tree 100ft from my tent.. never been tampered with from what I can tell. Any opinions on this?

Coffee
03-05-2013, 22:54
I don't have anywhere near the experience of everyone here but I've always kept my food (and toiletries) in an OPsak and Ursack Minor. Ill just tie it to the base of a tree 100ft from my tent.. never been tampered with from what I can tell. Any opinions on this?
I am also interested in the Ursack. It can't substitute for canisters out west but I'm thinking about using it along the AT.

Tinker
03-05-2013, 23:46
From John Gault:

"I'm guessing one big factor would be how big the hiker is."

I don't know all that much about a bear's sense of smell, but I find it hard to imagine that he could tell how big the hiker was if
the hiker was inside the tent and the bear was outside..........

In which case it might be prudent to carry a huge canvas wall tent to strike fear in the heart of the bear that there might possibly be a GIANT hiker inside (or many average sized ones). :p;)

Special K
03-05-2013, 23:51
If so many bags are hung improperly anyway (too low, etc.) aren't bears, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons and birds likely to be attracted to the smell and free food? Especially food that is hung FAR away from humans? Wouldn't it make their opportunistic endeavors easier?

Yukon
03-06-2013, 08:12
There is a huge difference in experience vs. having experienced and I think he is just lucky. Probably camps on balds during lightning storms and never been struck by lightning either. Same guy that complains about laws like, seatbelts, helmets and drinking while driving.It would appear that after 25,000 posts, more time is spent on the Internet than in a tent, theorizing. I'll stand by the Doc.

I'd venture to say that Lone Wolf has more time in a tent than you or I will ever have. The man knows a thing or two about hiking the AT...

Yukon
03-06-2013, 08:16
I don't have anywhere near the experience of everyone here but I've always kept my food (and toiletries) in an OPsak and Ursack Minor. Ill just tie it to the base of a tree 100ft from my tent.. never been tampered with from what I can tell. Any opinions on this?


A friend I hike with has done this for awhile and never had a problem...

I have slept with my food and hung it. The only time a critter got into my food bag was when it was hung...

gearfreak
03-06-2013, 08:35
it is not part of leave no trace.you hang it. you sleep with it. no trace.

It falls under Respect Wildlife.

hikerboy57
03-06-2013, 08:48
It falls under Respect Wildlife.
thats a very broad paint stroke

hikerboy57
03-06-2013, 09:23
if you really think you're respecting wildlife by hanging your food on a shrub or too close to the ground/tree, rather than sleeping with your food bag, where the wildlife respect you, well then, think again.
we're not talking grizzlies , brown bears. we're talking eastern black bears.if we really wanted to respect them, we wouldnt build communities in their habitat

Drybones
03-06-2013, 09:34
I don't have anywhere near the experience of everyone here but I've always kept my food (and toiletries) in an OPsak and Ursack Minor. Ill just tie it to the base of a tree 100ft from my tent.. never been tampered with from what I can tell. Any opinions on this?

Sounds like an invitation for a wildlife feast, you are very lucky the coons and mice didn't get it. I left some items on a table at the Lower Falls Shelter on the Pinhoti to find next morning they'd eaten most of a candle and cigar, other various items and left deep teeth marks in the plastic insulated mug I'd been drinking hot choccolot from, you could hear them circling the tent for a while, sometimes touching it. The only time I had a problem on the AT was the first night, hung the food bag, mice got into it, slept with it thereafter.

Drybones
03-06-2013, 09:40
And in the Doctors defence I'd place a substantial wager that he's spent a great deal more time up close and personal with bears than you have... :)

Some of the dumbest people I know have Phd in front of there names...and they're teaching at universities to make our kids just like them.

BirdBrain
03-06-2013, 09:48
I got sucked into the spinning vortex of a bear food debate when I 1st joined Whiteblaze. At 1st blush it appears there are 2 sides. 1st side reads books, gets expert opinion (people who use more than anecdotal evidence), and follows that advice. 2nd group says "just hike dude and don't worry about anything". That was my 1st impression, but it is not accurate. It takes a while to get it, but many that sleep with their food actually have a thought out plan. I have seen very good advice coming from that camp this thread. It can be gathered if you are willing to look past the one liners and read the details. I still believe I will be hanging my food the proper way and staying away from the rat traps, but there is great tidbits to gathered from the "just do it dude" camp on this thread.

BirdBrain
03-06-2013, 09:54
Some of the dumbest people I know have Phd in front of there names...and they're teaching at universities to make our kids just like them.

Truer words have been seldom spoken, but this guy is not an egghead. His life is bears, not people or self.

OzJacko
03-06-2013, 09:59
I'm finding thi interesting reading because I've never been in bear country but will be in 2 weeks.
We do have possums here which are a bit like a largish raccoon.

I'm a bit puzzled by just how much those that hang bags put in their bags.
What about the pot you cooked in/ate from?
Your spoon, the rag you wiped your pot with?
What about the pack that had Snickers bars and raisins in the hipbelt?

I intend to go with the lead of those I am with so as not offend, but it seems that whether hanging or hanging on to, there is more than just a bag of (mostly sealed in plastic) food that needs to be considered.

For what it's worth, I stopped possum and mice issues here with a cheap plastic storage bottle.
No good for a bear but stops rodents and effective for odours as well. Maybe one of those in a very light bag which can be hung when needed to be would work?
Don't always use it but if in an area where possums are a problem it helps me sleep more relaxed.

Drybones
03-06-2013, 10:13
I'm finding thi interesting reading because I've never been in bear country but will be in 2 weeks.
We do have possums here which are a bit like a largish raccoon.

I'm a bit puzzled by just how much those that hang bags put in their bags.
What about the pot you cooked in/ate from?
Your spoon, the rag you wiped your pot with?
What about the pack that had Snickers bars and raisins in the hipbelt?

I intend to go with the lead of those I am with so as not offend, but it seems that whether hanging or hanging on to, there is more than just a bag of (mostly sealed in plastic) food that needs to be considered.

For what it's worth, I stopped possum and mice issues here with a cheap plastic storage bottle.
No good for a bear but stops rodents and effective for odours as well. Maybe one of those in a very light bag which can be hung when needed to be would work?
Don't always use it but if in an area where possums are a problem it helps me sleep more relaxed.

20198
I have a persimmon tree in the back yard so we get a lot of these visiting. Ruger never kills them, just taunts them until they play dead then he lets them go. Wish I'd had a camera one day hiking when Ruger and a big possum were nose to nose, possum hissing, Ruger barking and foaming at the mouth, possum got stiff legged and all of a sudden just tipped over side ways stiff as a board, it appeared that Ruger's breath had killed him.

Pedaling Fool
03-06-2013, 10:39
That is really scary - Odd Man Out... I also read a story about a couple in their tent with a partially opened York Peppermint Pattie, in the side pocket. In the middle of the night, a bear, (the man said it's head was the size of a football) was trying to get inside the tent, for the candy. I can't remember what he did to get it to go away. I think he kicked it with his foot between it's eyes. If I remember correctly, they knew the bear was hanging around before that encounter & tried to scare it away with fire crackers. That worked, at first, but the bear came back later that night.
It may be scary, but it's really nothing new in black bear behavior. This may sound counter-intuitive, but such is life: Most attacks by grizzlies are out of defense for its food or its young. However, most attacks by black bears are for predation on the human. And contrary to popular belief, black bear mom's don't attack humans to protect their young; I've seen this up close when I walked up on a momma and three cubs and I was between momma and one of them, they all ran up a tree.

There are videos of people being stalked by black bears, that's why I don't hang my food, when I'm out there I have the mindset that there is a hungry blackbear and if I run into him it really doesn't matter if I'm in a tent with my food or carrying it on my back...be prepared to fight, because they will out run you. It's a mindset.

If you look at this link, which isn't great, but not much else available, there were many attacks outside the tent. And the ones inside the tent it's just not clear what caused those attacks, but of course since people are notorious for mixing up Cause and Effect, or oversimplifying Cause and Effect, they say it was food in the tent:rolleyes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America


From John Gault:

"I'm guessing one big factor would be how big the hiker is."

I don't know all that much about a bear's sense of smell, but I find it hard to imagine that he could tell how big the hiker was if
the hiker was inside the tent and the bear was outside..........Come on tinker bell, you know that's not what I meant ;)

Odd Man Out
03-06-2013, 10:54
...Your story, Odd Man Out, would go down as a human attack but the bear thought her head was FOOD. Oh BOY!...

Good point to keep in mind. A lot of "bear attacks" you read about are not really attacks, per se.


...I'm not convinced that the bears honor that idea, so much, while we are resting at night. I think they believe our food is fair game.:eek:...

I'm not sure I would put it that way. I would say that bears DO honor the possession idea the vast majority of the time. If every person would report every night they slept with food and did not encounter a bear, we would have the longest and most boring thread on WB (even longer and more boring than the Cyber Cafe:rolleyes:). Of course I don't have any hard data but the fact that many people have slept with their food for hundreds of nights with no incident supports that conclusion (also, remember the incident of a person smelling like a bowl of fruit is entirely preventable). Nevertheless, the advice from the expert I consulted supports the conclusion that hanging food is a good idea to lower the risk even more.


...It takes a while to get it, but many that sleep with their food actually have a thought out plan. I have seen very good advice coming from that camp this thread. It can be gathered if you are willing to look past the one liners and read the details. I still believe I will be hanging my food the proper way...

I think BB hit the nail on the head. This is exactly where I am on this issue. I recognize that both conclusions (hang/sleep) are in fact perfectly reasonable. For me, I probably will correctly hang my food (most of the time), I will be sure to smell like a human, and do what I can to minimize food odors in my tent. But if on occasion, I sleep with my food (in appropriate environments), I will sleep well knowing that this alternate strategy is also an acceptable way to deal with the issue.

gizzy bear
03-06-2013, 11:13
RCBear and i watched a documentary on black bears this past weekend...one of the attacks was the account i have attached...the show went on to tell that there had actually been 3 OTHER times within a 2 week period ( that included the attack that resulted in the death of the lady ) where the bears had been sucessfully run off... one man picking blackberries used pepper spray...another case, one of 3 men doing foresty work, was attacked thru his tent, while sleeping and his buddies used a car horn and lights and threw rocks (after trying the jump and yell method, that didn't work btw) and the other case was actually the father and son that tried to rescue the lady that died... just one hour prior to hearing the husband's screams for help...they were setting up camp amd were stalked by a black bear and when the "jump and yell" method didn't work, the son picked up a hatchet (as they were backing away from the bear that was moving towards them) and hit the nearby picnic table so hard that it made a piercing sound...he did that several times and it is believed that the "pitch" was so loud that the bear couldn't tolerate it and left....so this show sealed the deal for me...i will carry bear spray...and as long as you don't look like a bear that is attcking me...i will not bother you with my bear spray...and in my best interest, i will also hang my food...as i like to say... i would rather err on the side of caution ...than die "hoping" for the best :)
plus i think my new bear spray "holster" looks pretty darn cool ;)

gizzy bear
03-06-2013, 11:15
RCBear and i watched a documentary on black bears this past weekend...one of the attacks was the account i have attached...the show went on to tell that there had actually been 3 OTHER times within a 2 week period ( that included the attack that resulted in the death of the lady ) where the bears had been sucessfully run off... one man picking blackberries used pepper spray...another case, one of 3 men doing foresty work, was attacked thru his tent, while sleeping and his buddies used a car horn and lights and threw rocks (after trying the jump and yell method, that didn't work btw) and the other case was actually the father and son that tried to rescue the lady that died... just one hour prior to hearing the husband's screams for help...they were setting up camp amd were stalked by a black bear and when the "jump and yell" method didn't work, the son picked up a hatchet (as they were backing away from the bear that was moving towards them) and hit the nearby picnic table so hard that it made a piercing sound...he did that several times and it is believed that the "pitch" was so loud that the bear couldn't tolerate it and left....so this show sealed the deal for me...i will carry bear spray...and as long as you don't look like a bear that is attcking me...i will not bother you with my bear spray...and in my best interest, i will also hang my food...as i like to say... i would rather err on the side of caution ...than die "hoping" for the best :)
plus i think my new bear spray "holster" looks pretty darn cool ;)

gizzy bear
03-06-2013, 11:16
sorry for the "double post" ... here is the link that i left off

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2005/09/07/killer_black_bear20050907.html (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2005/09/07/killer_black_bear20050907.html)

Fur Queue
03-06-2013, 11:59
Some of the dumbest people I know have Phd in front of there names...and they're teaching at universities to make our kids just like them.

That's strange.....some of the dumbest people I know DON't have Phd in front of their names and are also teaching their kids to be just like them....

HikerMom58
03-06-2013, 12:04
You're sweet gizzy bear! ;) Thanks for sharing the link. I bet your "holster" is cute. I like mine as well!

Well- after reading all these posts on this thread, I think we've done good! :D I myself have learned/thought about other ways of thinking about this issue. Soo... I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your concern, time and the effort you put into your posts.

I'm still chuckling over "tinker bell".. Ha ha.... you know what I meant... ;) Love y'all!!

The Ace
03-06-2013, 12:04
A friend I hike with has done this for awhile and never had a problem...

I have slept with my food and hung it. The only time a critter got into my food bag was when it was hung...

For my first venture onto the AT, I followed the conventional advice. The first night, after hiking up the Approach Trail and setting up my tent just below Stover Creek shelter, I executed a proper bear hang -- sil-nylon rainproof bag, slick dyneema cord, mini-binder, baffle, PCT method tie off, proper limb size-height-distance from tree, etc. In the middle of the night I got up to answer nature's call, walked out to check my bear bag and there was a critter hanging upside down on the bag gnawing away at the corner, and indeed made a hole. So, I stood there for a moment and thought, okay, do I just leave it there and go back to my tent because after all that's what the experts say, or do I take the darn contraption down and figure out a better way?

The Ace
03-06-2013, 12:12
I don't have anywhere near the experience of everyone here but I've always kept my food (and toiletries) in an OPsak and Ursack Minor. Ill just tie it to the base of a tree 100ft from my tent.. never been tampered with from what I can tell. Any opinions on this?

I do not have any experience with the Ursack other than reading good things about it. While it may be effective, I just donít believe that an Ursack is necessary while tenting on the AT. Iím not critical or judgmental of any oneís personal needs for security. My opinion is do what makes you secure, whether you bring along a little can of bear spray or a big guy named Guido Ė heck, some people bring stuffed animals to sleep with. I just wish for you that your method of security is effective in protecting you and your belongings.
Iím also saying, in response to the original OPís question, that on the AT there is anecdotal evidence that the FIRST line of defense from a bear entering your tent while you occupy it at night for the purpose of finding food is to minimize bear-attracting odors. Included in minimizing attracting odors is that anecdotal evidence suggests that food can be placed in a specially designed sack that a bear cannot smell through and can be retained in your possession under your control.
I believe that this a better defense than the conventional wisdom that says, without consideration of other factors, that the first line of defense for your safety and your foodís safety while tent camping on the AT is that each night you should walk out one hundred yards into the woods away from your tent site and hang your food from a tree. I believe that the anecdotal evidence contradicts this.

vamelungeon
03-06-2013, 12:27
If a bear is willing to attack a human in a tent and take that human's food, then why wouldn't that same bear be willing to attack a human with food in a pack on the human's back??? Makes no sense to me. I think hanging food is just giving some a false sense of security and is encouraging bad behavior in animals since so many have had their food lost to animals when they have hung it, and yet I cannot recall ANYONE who sleeps with their food giving a first hand account on WB of having been attacked by a bear in their tent and having lost their food. I prefer to keep my food. I'm hypoglycemic and losing my food means more to me than just going hungry.
Has anyone on here who sleeps with their food ever been attacked by a bear that was trying to take it? I don't mean "I heard about a guy" or any other 2nd or 3rd hand stories, I mean YOU lost YOUR food, and I mean on the AT, not out west. As far as I can recall, no one has ever said it happened to them.

Fur Queue
03-06-2013, 12:32
Having weighed up all the options I have now formulated a plan. I will be sleeping with my food in an odorless type bag...and I will also be carrying a small bottle of honey or peanut butter, I haven't decided yet, I have to weigh them, for the specific purpose of daubing it on someone else's tent...a tent at a safe distance from mine. The choice of tents should be a no brainier for any curious or hungry bear and the ensuing melee will hopefully give me time to pack up and exit sharpish....

vamelungeon
03-06-2013, 12:36
I'm pretty sure my snoring scares the bears away, so my food has always been safe with me in my tent.

The Ace
03-06-2013, 13:03
You're sweet gizzy bear! ;) Thanks for sharing the link. I bet your "holster" is cute. I like mine as well!

Is your pepper spray can red in color? I read somewhere that bears are attracted to red. All those hikers tooling along the trail with red on their hips . . . . Just sayin . . .

HikerMom58
03-06-2013, 13:12
Is your pepper spray can red in color? I read somewhere that bears are attracted to red. All those hikers tooling along the trail with red on their hips . . . . Just sayin . . .

Nope... my can is black, my holster is black. :) I don't think I will ever need it. I don't carry stuffed animals with me but I do carry bear mace. I'm rethinking the hanging of my food tho. You convinced me to use smell proof sacks. I already had 1 of those sacks for my "trash". If someone is not cool with my decision not to hang my food, I'll be considerate of them & hang it. I don't hang my food unless I know it is hung properly...btw. No chance of failure. :o)

The Ace
03-06-2013, 13:38
Just keep in mind the earlier comments that OPSaks can wear out fast.

Lone Wolf
03-06-2013, 13:49
There is a huge difference in experience vs. having experienced and I think he is just lucky. Probably camps on balds during lightning storms and never been struck by lightning either. Same guy that complains about laws like, seatbelts, helmets and drinking while driving.It would appear that after 25,000 posts, more time is spent on the Internet than in a tent, theorizing. I'll stand by the Doc.

i had 5 thru-hikes and 6000 "other" miles on the AT before i ever typed a word on here bucko

Frozen Achilles
03-06-2013, 13:54
I have always kept food in my tent. No problems.

Astro
03-06-2013, 13:58
That's strange.....some of the dumbest people I know DON't have Phd in front of their names and are also teaching their kids to be just like them....

Some of the smartest people I know are PhDs, I guess it depends on which university you are at. And by the way, the PhD goes after our names, not in front of it. Doctor (or Dr.) would be what you put in front of it.

colorado_rob
03-06-2013, 14:32
I don't have a PHd, merely two Master degrees (but I am a rocket scientist), so take everything I say with a grain of salt...

Despite the usual plethora of annoying, distracting, self-righteous, it's-my-way-or-the-highway responses (yes, I am guilty of this as well), this has been a fascinating thread and thanks to some of you for the good information.

Though I'm personally quite paranoid about black bear encounters, having had my wife's pack shredded recently, plus having a friend of mine's TENT shredded a few years ago by a black bear, I feel better about the black bear population on the AT. I also had MY pack shredded 25 or so years ago, totally my fault, left if on theground overnight, filled with food. All of my personal encounters were out here in the west.

All this being said, for my AT attempt, I will continue using the generally accepted "western US" (PCT, Colorado, etc) technique and properly hang my food. Simple as that. I'd like to keep in practice with this discipline,despite the assurances, apparently valid, that food in the tent would not be a problem on the AT.

gizzy bear
03-06-2013, 14:32
Nope... my can is black, my holster is black. :) I don't think I will ever need it. I don't carry stuffed animals with me but I do carry bear mace. I'm rethinking the hanging of my food tho. You convinced me to use smell proof sacks. I already had 1 of those sacks for my "trash". If someone is not cool with my decision not to hang my food, I'll be considerate of them & hang it. I don't hang my food unless I know it is hung properly...btw. No chance of failure. :o)

i hope i did well on my color choice...i went with the glittery, sparkulee pink bear spray cannister... that also plays the song "dancing bear" by the mommas and the papas, as i spray it....

HikerMom58
03-06-2013, 15:22
i hope i did well on my color choice...i went with the glittery, sparkulee pink bear spray cannister... that also plays the song "dancing bear" by the mommas and the papas, as i spray it....

Hey giz... don't worry about it. That canister sounds so cool ... it plays a song, even? Wow... it's a total girlie thing. :0) The guys can deal with it.:D
I love it!! :)

If all bear would run away from humans, not hang out at campsites or try to grab our packs or food while we are right there, I wouldn't carry bear mace. It just scares me, to death, to think of a huge wild animal getting that close to any human being, for whatever reason. I will carry mace until I hear that has changed.
When we were in the Smokies, this past summer, some guys left food in the shelter they didn't want to carry out.:rolleyes: (they were still cool guys, tho) I'm thinking it's much safer to sleep away from shelter for that reason, alone.....BUT, I like to sleep near shelters.... Oh bother....

BirdBrain
03-06-2013, 15:30
Hey giz... don't worry about it. That canister sounds so cool ... it plays a song, even? Wow... it's a total girlie thing. :0) The guys can deal with it.:D
I love it!! :)

If all bear would run away from humans, not hang out at campsites or try to grab our packs or food while we are right there, I wouldn't carry bear mace. It just scares me, to death, to think of a huge wild animal getting that close to any human being, for whatever reason. I will carry mace until I hear that has changed.
When we were in the Smokies, this past summer, some guys left food in the shelter they didn't want to carry out.:rolleyes: (they were still cool guys, tho) I'm thinking it's much safer to sleep away from shelter for that reason, alone.....BUT, I like to sleep near shelters.... Oh bother....

You are not alone. I am carrying mace too. It may be a 1 in a million chance, but it only takes once to kinda' screw things up. There are worse odds playing the lotto, but people shovel money in there with no thought.

Sarcasm the elf
03-06-2013, 15:49
Since folks are now talking about bear spray, just remember that some states have laws that treat possession of bear spray an possession of regular mace/pepper spray differently. If I correctly recall, Massachusetts in particular will let you carry bear spray without a permit, but requires a license to carry regular pepper spray (unlicensed possession carries a felony charge). If you plan to carry either, be sure to look into the applicable laws in the area that you are hiking.

Sarcasm the elf
03-06-2013, 15:55
Also, I'm curious to I know, are there laws governing when you are justified in using bear spray against wildlife? I assume that you would get the benefit of a doubt, but I am interested if there has ever been a case of someone getting in trouble for "harrassing wildlife" when using bear spray. Specifically, are you allowed to spray a bear simply for encroaching on an occupied camp? To me it would make sense to presume that any bear that has lost it's fear of humans is a potential threat, does the Law see it this way as well?

gizzy bear
03-06-2013, 17:48
You are not alone. I am carrying mace too. It may be a 1 in a million chance, but it only takes once to kinda' screw things up. There are worse odds playing the lotto, but people shovel money in there with no thought.

agreed...i don't think there are many "second chances" after a bear attacks...so i am gonna up my odds with my pretty bear spray ;)

gizzy bear
03-06-2013, 17:51
Also, I'm curious to I know, are there laws governing when you are justified in using bear spray against wildlife? I assume that you would get the benefit of a doubt, but I am interested if there has ever been a case of someone getting in trouble for "harrassing wildlife" when using bear spray. Specifically, are you allowed to spray a bear simply for encroaching on an occupied camp? To me it would make sense to presume that any bear that has lost it's fear of humans is a potential threat, does the Law see it this way as well?

LOVE the new profile pic...one of my fav scenes from the movie!! that and the escalator "split" .... as for your post...i agree...any bear that comes "up" to me and doesn't back down, after hearing my blood curddling scream.... WILL be sprayed!!

RedBeerd
03-06-2013, 20:13
Drybones, ramblinghiker, the ace - in my post I said ursack minor which is intended to be critter proof not bear proof. Not talking about the plain ursack, which is for bears.
So when I just leave my food bag out critters can try and gnaw all they want. I also put faith into the OPsak and hope bears dont smell my Snickers. Cause if a bear wants in, the ursack minor won't keep him out.

The Ace
03-06-2013, 20:24
Drybones, ramblinghiker, the ace - in my post I said ursack minor which is intended to be critter proof not bear proof. Not talking about the plain ursack, which is for bears.
So when I just leave my food bag out critters can try and gnaw all they want. I also put faith into the OPsak and hope bears dont smell my Snickers. Cause if a bear wants in, the ursack minor won't keep him out.

I agree with what you say here, and I was incorrect in applying your description to the plain ursack instead of the Ursack Minor which you clearly stated in your original post.

Teacher & Snacktime
03-06-2013, 20:34
Since folks are now talking about bear spray, just remember that some states have laws that treat possession of bear spray an possession of regular mace/pepper spray differently. If I correctly recall, Massachusetts in particular will let you carry bear spray, but requires a license to carry regular pepper spray (unlicensed possession carries a felony charge). If you plan to carry either, be sure to look into the applicable laws in the area that you are hiking.

There's no law in MA banning the use of bear spray, nor do you need a permit to carry it, but it's illegal for unpermitted retailers to sell it.

Drybones
03-06-2013, 20:44
i had 5 thru-hikes and 6000 "other" miles on the AT before i ever typed a word on here bucko

For quail hunt'n, do you want a dog that shows or do you want a dog that hunts? Doubt that LW has much of a pedigre but bet he can find birds.

Sir-Packs-Alot
03-06-2013, 20:47
Without starting an argument - a post above sited "Sleeping with your food, protects it.Hanging it, protects you." ..... I believe that part of the Appalachian Trail experience is much more than about "US" ... and "OUR" food. Many folks affect bear behavior and the ecosystems of the trail in ways they could never imagine by improperly taking care of their food at night - but since "I" have no problem outside myself and "my" food - little thought seems to be paid to the animals affected. It is projected that this attitude will be requiring hikers to carry 2 lb bear canisters much more prevalently along the AT in years to come (like they are required to have by law on the AT between Jarrad and Neels Gap March 1 to June 1). Maybe when we all have to carry that extra weight and it affects "US" - we might think outside ourselves and into how we affect the trail - not just how it gives to us.

Sarcasm the elf
03-06-2013, 20:52
There's no law in MA banning the use of bear spray, nor do you need a permit to carry it, but it's illegal for unpermitted retailers to sell it.

My phrasing was not the best, what I meant was that in MA you can carry bear spray WITHOUT a permit, but you must have a permit to carry regular mace/pepper type self defense sprays.

RedBeerd
03-06-2013, 21:09
Ace - no problem..your level headed response caught me off guard..I mean this is white blaze...

So in the end, do what makes you comfortable because their is no right or wrong way to food storage?

hikerboy57
03-06-2013, 21:18
Ace - no problem..your level headed response caught me off guard..I mean this is white blaze...

So in the end, do what makes you comfortable because their is no right or wrong way to food storage?
more if you want to hang, learn how to do it right.
poorly hung food is worse than sleeping with it

handlebar
03-06-2013, 21:19
Without starting an argument - a post above sited "Sleeping with your food, protects it.Hanging it, protects you." ..... I believe that part of the Appalachian Trail experience is much more than about "US" ... and "OUR" food. Many folks affect bear behavior and the ecosystems of the trail in ways they could never imagine by improperly taking care of their food at night - but since "I" have no problem outside myself and "my" food - little thought seems to be paid to the animals affected. It is projected that this attitude will be requiring hikers to carry 2 lb bear canisters much more prevalently along the AT in years to come (like they are required to have by law on the AT between Jarrad and Neels Gap March 1 to June 1). Maybe when we all have to carry that extra weight and it affects "US" - we might think outside ourselves and into how we affect the trail - not just how it gives to us.

A minor correction: the requirement is not one of law, but of administrative fiat of the forest service which can promulgate regulations as in this case. No legislature has enacted a law requiring a bear canister, but Congress has authorized the forest service to issue such regulations.

If I'm at a shelter or campsite with bear hanging poles or bars (as in Great Smoky Mtn NP, Shenandoah National Park, Yellowstone, Glacier, or any other place where there's no hunting season, or wherever there might be Grizzly Bears) I always use them. On the PCT, there's a section in the Sierras where you must have a bear can and I carry one there. If at a shelter without those amenities, I hang my food bag from one of the food hanging things in the shelter, the loops of cord with the upside down can (mice preventer). If I'm camping in a location that is an obviously well-used campsite and there's a suitable tree for a hang, then I do hang my food using carabiner and a stick so I don't tie off to a tree (mainly to protect it from mice, racoons, opossums, etc. rather than black bears). However, and this is most of the time on my long distance hikes, if I'm camping at an site that has little or no signs of use, I place my food bag and toiletries kit in an OPSAK and sleep with it in my tent or beside me on my tyvek under the stars.

HikerMom58
03-06-2013, 21:29
Without starting an argument - a post above sited "Sleeping with your food, protects it.Hanging it, protects you." ..... I believe that part of the Appalachian Trail experience is much more than about "US" ... and "OUR" food. Many folks affect bear behavior and the ecosystems of the trail in ways they could never imagine by improperly taking care of their food at night - but since "I" have no problem outside myself and "my" food - little thought seems to be paid to the animals affected. It is projected that this attitude will be requiring hikers to carry 2 lb bear canisters much more prevalently along the AT in years to come (like they are required to have by law on the AT between Jarrad and Neels Gap March 1 to June 1). Maybe when we all have to carry that extra weight and it affects "US" - we might think outside ourselves and into how we affect the trail - not just how it gives to us.

Good post Sir-Packs-Alot! I think the reason I am open to keeping the food with me, is that hanging food is flawed. The bears have learned that they can get "bags of food" from improper hanging techniques etc.. Do you think the bears are lured into campsites and shelter areas b/c they can smell the food hanging in trees/bear cables and also smell food in people's tents, near hammocks and on shelter hooks?

I read where hikers, in 2010, on Blood Mountain "hid" their food in areas around the shelter in hopes bears wouldn't find it... :eek: The bears found their food so they were up all night, in the shelter, scared to death and without their food in the morning. I'm not surprised that we now have a "recommendation"? requiring bear canisters, in that area.
This might be the only solution, at this point, to preventing more bear/human encounters. If bear canisters are proven to be the only way to prevent this trend from continuing, I guess we will all be carrying bear canisters. I think it started with food smells, their ability to snag our food and now has progressed to affecting bear behavior with humans. (they are not as afraid of us & are getting to close)

The Ace
03-06-2013, 22:39
Ace - no problem..your level headed response caught me off guard..I mean this is white blaze...

So in the end, do what makes you comfortable because their is no right or wrong way to food storage?

No, my point in that context was that if doing MORE than what anecdotal evidence suggests is necessary on the AT for personal and food security makes you feel comfortable (and of course does not harm others), then far be it from me to judge you. However, the MAIN point is don;t do something that makes you feel comfortable when anecdotal evidence suggests that it does not actually make you or your food more secure and possibly less secure (or ultimately harms others) -- like hanging your food but getting into your tent smelling like a fruit basket.

BirdBrain
03-07-2013, 01:38
more if you want to hang, learn how to do it right.
poorly hung food is worse than sleeping with it

+1 on that. Improperly hung bear bags leave zero deterrent to critters.

leaftye
03-07-2013, 03:47
1. Not so much for the bears but all of the other critters that I don't want calling at night, including skunks

That's my thing. I don't want to be bothered at night. I don't want to hear noises and wonder if my food is causing it.

JustRob
03-07-2013, 06:07
I'm gunning for a thru on the A.T. in 2015. On my way down I'm stopping in South Carolina and picking up a handfull of firecrackers. Anything that comes sniffing around my hammock at night is getting an M80 sammich.

Sarcasm the elf
03-07-2013, 07:33
I'm gunning for a thru on the A.T. in 2015. On my way down I'm stopping in South Carolina and picking up a handfull of firecrackers. Anything that comes sniffing around my hammock at night is getting an M80 sammich.

The little bricks of multiple smaller firecrackers would probably do a better job than an M-80 at scaring off animals and are less likely to blow your hand off when you try to light them while you're half asleep.

Nooga
03-09-2013, 13:17
I slept with my food in the tent for most of my hike last year. However, after waking up a 4 am with a mouse in the tent and a nice duck tape patch on my tent netting from mice, I'm a firm believer in hanging my food bag!

BradMT
03-09-2013, 20:48
On the AT I wouldn't bother to hang my food except in the Smokies.

Here in Montana, not hanging your food is a fool's errand...

MuddyWaters
03-09-2013, 21:21
Are the black bears of a different sub-species in the Appalachians versus the bears in the Sierra Nevada? If not, are they just less sophisticated? That seems doubtful given that the population density is so much greater in the east than in the west. I would think bears in the east are more sophisticated. In the Sierras I never knew of anyone who slept with their food and hanging food was the norm except when near locations with bear boxes. Obviously the rangers frown on anyone sleeping with their food. In any case, the need to store food away from my tent has been pounded into my head enough to make it impossible for me to sleep if I haven't stashed my food somewhere: Bear box, canister, hanging, whatever. I find it really surprising how many people sleep with their food based on reading this thread.


Are the people in East St. Louis , Detroit, Harlem, or any other notorious crime-ridden area of a different sub-species than the humans most of us live around.

No.

Environment, and socialization , and necessity affects development. It affects how dogs turn out, and I would suggest it affects how bears turn out too.

Drought conditions in the west are known to drive bears to seek other food sources around people more aggressively. Once they do this, they will always do it, even when the drought conditions are not present. They will teach their offspring to do it too. The thing about a bear, is he is actually a slow learner. You can watch them try to figure things out, they are lalmost comical. But once they do, they are a master of what they learned. The reason we are safe from black bears, is they dont know they can kick our butts and eat us. Thats why we have to kill one when it does figure it out.