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  1. #1
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Default Bear Canisters to be Required on Parts of the AT

    Just received my electronic issue of the ATC's magazine "Journeys." There is an article in it about food storage on the trail. Here is an excerpt from the article titled Harmful Habits.

    "Land management supervisors in North Carolina are close to ratifying food storage regulations for the A.T. that will require the use of hard-sided canisters. Whether hikers like them or not, canisters may soon become the de facto storage method for the A.T. in most of the southeast, as well as in Vermont’s Green Mountains."

    So, pretty soon it could be time to dig deep and buy a bear canister if you want to hike the AT.
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  2. #2

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    As much as I don't want to carry one, this has been a long time coming. It will probably force me out of the smaller packs that I typically use on weekend trips though.

  3. #3
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    As much as I don't want to carry one, this has been a long time coming. It will probably force me out of the smaller packs that I typically use on weekend trips though.
    You're right about the larger pack. My current Zpack Arc Haul was bought with the possibility of having to carry a bear canister in the future.
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  4. #4

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    I usually use an MLD Core. Starting with 25 liters really doesn't allow for a canister...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Just received my electronic issue of the ATC's magazine "Journeys." There is an article in it about food storage on the trail. Here is an excerpt from the article titled Harmful Habits.

    "Land management supervisors in North Carolina are close to ratifying food storage regulations for the A.T. that will require the use of hard-sided canisters. Whether hikers like them or not, canisters may soon become the de facto storage method for the A.T. in most of the southeast, as well as in Vermont’s Green Mountains."

    So, pretty soon it could be time to dig deep and buy a bear canister if you want to hike the AT.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    Only if people use them...

    GSMNP has bear cables A EVERY SINGLE CAMP SITE. Yet every year, camp sites are closed due to bear activity... meaning someone didn't use the bear cables, and a bear got to people food and became a problem bear (LeConte Shelter is currently closed because someone left an unguarded pack with food in the shelter a bear was able to access).

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    Yet every year, camp sites are closed due to bear activity... meaning someone didn't use the bear cables,


    along with not using the cables----but also bad food habits such as having crumbs and all that get on the ground.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Only if people use them...

    GSMNP has bear cables A EVERY SINGLE CAMP SITE. Yet every year, camp sites are closed due to bear activity... meaning someone didn't use the bear cables, and a bear got to people food and became a problem bear (LeConte Shelter is currently closed because someone left an unguarded pack with food in the shelter a bear was able to access).
    The first year I hiked the AT, I was camped at a shelter not many miles from Springer at the beginning of April. There were so many campers there that all the bear cable spots were taken, so hikers threw lines over the cable and hoisted their food up on their own lines. Well, in the night the weight of all that food brought down the entire cable and everyone's food was in the dirt the next morning. I often wondered if anyone lost food to a bear that night.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Only if people use them...

    GSMNP has bear cables A EVERY SINGLE CAMP SITE. Yet every year, camp sites are closed due to bear activity... meaning someone didn't use the bear cables, and a bear got to people food and became a problem bear (LeConte Shelter is currently closed because someone left an unguarded pack with food in the shelter a bear was able to access).
    One advantage of canisters versus cables/poles from a practical standpoint is that there is an investment in both time and effort to use a canister before the trip begins. I’d contend that that sort of required buy-in is going to at least partially filter out the least responsible hikers before they even hit the trail. What’s more is that since food is already packed in canisters beforehand, it takes very little effort to remember to use them once in camp.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    meaning someone didn't use the bear cables,


    also----people need to use a redundant system of clipping a carabiner onto the cable...

    this is the one fault that the Park Service should have known about these cables with the open faced hooks...

    bears have learned to shake the cables to get bags to drop...

  11. #11

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    I have a Kumo, my BV450 slides right in. My MLD core is SOL.

    Hard to say I’m surprised by reading this. Even if ten times out of ten we comply some bozo will mess it up

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    also----people need to use a redundant system of clipping a carabiner onto the cable...

    this is the one fault that the Park Service should have known about these cables with the open faced hooks...

    bears have learned to shake the cables to get bags to drop...
    If you don't have a carabiner, you can utilize the fact that the open faced hooks come in pairs to better secure your hang...

    Rather than simply passing your "loop" over the hooks, instead, place the "loop" behind the hooks. Then separate the hooks and have the ends of the loop hang down between the hooks. The weight of the item will pinch the hooks together giving some "hold" power.

    Alternately, you can separate the hook and pass your loop between the hooks. Then close the hooks and run the loop over the ends of and to the bottom of the the hooks.

    The idea is the same between the two... the only difference is whether the loop is in front or behind the ends hanging down between the hooks.

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    But most people won't utilize what you just described and especially if trying to hang multiple bags.....

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    And then again, there's a lot of people who use the closed hook---the one that goes to the eye hook on the tree---to hang bags which evidentially stretches the cable and leads to breakage...

  15. #15

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    I didn't purchase anywhere near the most expensive versions of any of my equipment for my upcoming 2020 thru hike and I'm in a little over $1000.00. That includes around $70.00USD for a BV-500. The price wasn't prohibitive when compared to the other equipment. My decision was based on my perceived ease of use and the bear canister seemed to offer the best chance of keeping the food away from bears, and rodents. The down side is the bulk and the weight but it's not so bad. Without the canister I could have dropped from a 65 liter pack to a 50 or 55 liter and managed all the rest of my load out plus loosing a little over two pounds with the canister. As it stands my sleep system is good to go down to 0 to 10f and with the canister, two liters of water and four days food I'm tipping the scales at 31lbs. Maybe too heavy for some and it's certainly not "ultra light", but it's manageable for me and much lighter than my early years in the outdoors. I'm not a big fan of Government regulations but if it's happening maybe it will have a positive impact on wildlife and hiker health and welfare. I've watched videos of hikers munching on snacks after a mouse has spent the night, doing what mice do, in their food bag. Besides being gross it's a real health concern eating after critters. The canisters make good camp chairs and a decent improvised washing machine if you're so inclined. If you have to pack it, embrace it and make the most of it!
    "I love the unimproved works of God" Horace Kephart 1862-1931

  16. #16

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    When bear cables are available I have always hung my food and the pack separately and correctly as far as I know.
    I will gladly carry my BV-500 and let it double as a stool although I wonder if the bear problem will be all that improved because then you have the problem of the food being on the ground.Even if it is in an impenetrable container,what's to keep the bear from coming into camp to try and get into it?Not every bozo is going to put their bear can far enough away or line their can with an odor proof bag,are they?

    From my perspective the large metal impenetrable boxes you see in places are the best bet for the camper and the wildlife I would think;sorta hard to do that one the wrong way.

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    My daughter and I were stunned by the ridiculous bear hangs we saw on our thru hike this year both south and north. In truth they were little more than sacrificial offerings or, perhaps, training exercises for bears who have yet to figure out how to pull down hiker food. A month into our hike we bought bear canisters and packs to carry them. No more lost food. No more staying up all night throwing rocks and chasing bears through the woods. Best of all, we could finally get a good night's sleep. Worth every penny and the extra weight we had to carry.
    As a beekeeper I am surprised that wildlife officials do so little with negative reinforcement of bear behavior, but perhaps having to deal with PETA and other "animal rights" organizations precludes such an approach.
    I predict it will be only a matter of time before bears figure out how to access food in some of the cheaper canisters. It is already happening out west.
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  18. #18
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    Default Bear Canisters to be Required on Parts of the AT

    I felt really guilty after losing my food bag to a bear near Mt Mitchell this summer. I was pretty confident in how my food was hung but in the morning my line, carabiner, and toggle were all still hanging and my food was gone. Time for me to get a canister.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slumgum View Post
    My daughter and I were stunned by the ridiculous bear hangs we saw on our thru hike this year both south and north. In truth they were little more than sacrificial offerings or, perhaps, training exercises for bears who have yet to figure out how to pull down hiker food. A month into our hike we bought bear canisters and packs to carry them. No more lost food. No more staying up all night throwing rocks and chasing bears through the woods. Best of all, we could finally get a good night's sleep. Worth every penny and the extra weight we had to carry.
    As a beekeeper I am surprised that wildlife officials do so little with negative reinforcement of bear behavior, but perhaps having to deal with PETA and other "animal rights" organizations precludes such an approach.
    I predict it will be only a matter of time before bears figure out how to access food in some of the cheaper canisters. It is already happening out west.
    -Slumgum
    One of our former members put this together after his second A.T. thru hike:

    http://nighthikingtomars.blogspot.co...ppy_3.html?m=1
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  20. #20

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    Metal bear boxes were greatly appreciated when available at shelters on my thru hike this year. Why would they require everyone to carry a bear canister prior to trying to solve the problem with bear boxes? Most people camp near a shelter. The bear boxes work great and are convenient. And bear issues are almost exclusively at shelters.

    And you would almost certainly get a higher level of compliance with bear boxes over a bear canister requirement.

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