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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Curious about your source indicating kevlar bear sacks are approved for use in GSMNP?
    https://ursack.com/pages/where-ursack-is-approved

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by renais View Post
    Ursack lists GSMNP as approving of a number of their products for food storage: https://ursack.com/pages/where-ursack-is-approved
    I'd ask at the backcountry office to confirm latest regulations.

    I'd definitely ask, as I seriously doubt an Ursack can be used instead of the cable systems. The Park's backcountry rules online still say this:

    "9. All odorous items (e.g., food, trash, lip balm, toothpaste, stock feed, hay etc) must be hung on the bear cable system at each campsite or shelter. "

    The world of advertising being what it is, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Ursacks are "approved" as long as they're hung from cables, but that we are left to incorrectly infer from the wording that "approved" means they can be used instead of the cables.

    I do not claim to know, just reinforcing that I'd trust but verify 😊

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by renais View Post
    Ursack lists GSMNP as approving of a number of their products for food storage: https://ursack.com/pages/where-ursack-is-approved
    I'd ask at the backcountry office to confirm latest regulations.

    Given that that information is coming from the manufacturer... you need to take it with a grain of salt. Because I have no doubt that GSMNP does indeed allow Ursack... so long as it's hanging from the bear cables.

    I notice the Mt Rainier is also listed by Ursack. While I am NOT familiar with the reg for Mt. Rainier as I am with GSMNP, from what I've read, Mt. Rainier is like GSMNP in that camping is only allowed at designated camp sites, and those camp sites have bear cables. So again, I could see where Mt. Rainier has no issues with someone using a Ursack... when it's hanging from the installed bear cables.



    A few other things I'm noticing that might be a pattern with the Ursack provided info:
    1. Parks listed as NOT being approved are parks that do not have designated campsites (i.e. no bear cables).
    2. Parks without known bear populations are listed as being approved (i.e. some of the parks listed as approved seem to be parks that don't have strong food storage regulations).
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 02-17-2020 at 10:22.

  4. #24

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    After hanging or 25+ years I've been using a bear can for the last four years and don't miss hanging one bit. Rather than searching for the right tree and getting everything just right, I'm relaxing and enjoying the wilderness. For an extra pound of carry weight it's well worth it. For someone like Walter obviously it's not going to work but for most AT hikers, with resupply every 5 days or so, cans make sense in keeping camp areas and wild creatures safer.

  5. #25

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    so currently in GSMNP a bear canister is not an approved method of food storage, am i correct?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by needlefish View Post
    so currently in GSMNP a bear canister is not an approved method of food storage, am i correct?
    This seems pretty clear. Unless the web page is wrong, which I doubt on something like this.

    "9. All odorous items (e.g., food, trash, lip balm, toothpaste, stock feed, hay etc) must be hung on the bear cable system at each campsite or shelter. "

  7. #27
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    Ursacks are not odor proof unless you purchase and use the Opsak within the Ursak. So, even if you have an Ursak in the Smokies, you still have to hang it. The main issue is attracting bears through smell. The only thing an Ursak will do is keep the bear from getting into your food bag. Stomping on your food if left tied to the trunk of a tree or just thrown on the ground isn't really protecting your food.
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  8. #28
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    My biggest concern on canisters isn't the added weight. It's having a bear or other creature decide it's at a tryout for Manchester United using my canister as the ball. Get one of those things rolling any distance away in the woods and good luck finding it. I've been told that putting a clean, empty pot on top of it to create some alarm noise if its disturbed might help. But who wants to intervene with a hungry bear and a food container?

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    My biggest concern on canisters isn't the added weight. It's having a bear or other creature decide it's at a tryout for Manchester United using my canister as the ball. Get one of those things rolling any distance away in the woods and good luck finding it. I've been told that putting a clean, empty pot on top of it to create some alarm noise if its disturbed might help. But who wants to intervene with a hungry bear and a food container?
    Once discovered the bruins will roll a canister wherever they want. I had two Bearvaults set up in a cache and Mr Bear found it and swatted the things a couple hundred feet off the hill and did some gnawing but never got the food. I guess he got frustrated cuz he came back and found my emergency Prolite sleeping pad and got to chewing---




  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by needlefish View Post
    so currently in GSMNP a bear canister is not an approved method of food storage, am i correct?
    Technically correct.

    But I don't think a GSMNP ranger is going to issue you a citation if your food storage method can immediately make them think "that food is protected"...
    ...which is what I think would be the case if you are properly using a commercially constructed hard-sided bear canister (such as the Bear Vault, Garcia, Bearikade, Lighter 1).

    By contrast, a ranger NOT familiar with a Ursack would NOT immediately think food in a sack tied to the trunk of a tree is adequate.
    And a ranger that IS familiar with a Ursack would likely know other parks specifically do NOT allow its use and therefore wouldn't allow you to use it in GSMNP.



    I think in the not too distance future, bear canisters are going to become a required method of food storage along the AT, and when that happens, I believe GSMNP will follow suit... at LEAST for those hiking on AT thru permits.

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    My biggest concern on canisters isn't the added weight. It's having a bear or other creature decide it's at a tryout for Manchester United using my canister as the ball. Get one of those things rolling any distance away in the woods and good luck finding it. I've been told that putting a clean, empty pot on top of it to create some alarm noise if its disturbed might help. But who wants to intervene with a hungry bear and a food container?
    A black bear tried to get into mine Nov 2108. It was in a thicket of small bushes about 75' from my tent. The can was moved about 10 yards from where it was placed. Placing reflective tape on the can can help with finding it should it be investigated. Fears of it rolling off the cliff, or similar, can be avoided with careful selection of its overnight resting place.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Technically correct.

    But I don't think a GSMNP ranger is going to issue you a citation if your food storage method can immediately make them think "that food is protected"...
    ...which is what I think would be the case if you are properly using a commercially constructed hard-sided bear canister (such as the Bear Vault, Garcia, Bearikade, Lighter 1).

    By contrast, a ranger NOT familiar with a Ursack would NOT immediately think food in a sack tied to the trunk of a tree is adequate.
    And a ranger that IS familiar with a Ursack would likely know other parks specifically do NOT allow its use and therefore wouldn't allow you to use it in GSMNP.



    I think in the not too distance future, bear canisters are going to become a required method of food storage along the AT, and when that happens, I believe GSMNP will follow suit... at LEAST for those hiking on AT thru permits.
    Id say this is about right but I would absolutely not count on avoiding a citation if I wasnt using the cables.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Once discovered the bruins will roll a canister wherever they want. I had two Bearvaults set up in a cache and Mr Bear found it and swatted the things a couple hundred feet off the hill and did some gnawing but never got the food. I guess he got frustrated cuz he came back and found my emergency Prolite sleeping pad and got to chewing---


    Walter, this is why I shied away from BV and Berikade when I decided on my can, they are too round. I have a mini garcia (bare boxer) and their shape makes them harder to roll. It will spin in circles if swatted.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleolith54 View Post
    I’d say this is about right but I would absolutely not count on avoiding a citation if I wasn’t using the cables.
    Yeah, I left out the "YMMV" disclaimer before hitting the post button.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Once discovered the bruins will roll a canister wherever they want. I had two Bearvaults set up in a cache and Mr Bear found it and swatted the things a couple hundred feet off the hill and did some gnawing but never got the food. I guess he got frustrated cuz he came back and found my emergency Prolite sleeping pad and got to chewing
    Couple of hundred feet is quite a distance. That's a pretty big area to search off trail in the woods.

    Quote Originally Posted by martinb View Post
    A black bear tried to get into mine Nov 2108. It was in a thicket of small bushes about 75' from my tent. The can was moved about 10 yards from where it was placed. Placing reflective tape on the can can help with finding it should it be investigated. Fears of it rolling off the cliff, or similar, can be avoided with careful selection of its overnight resting place.
    And had it been moved hundreds of feet as in Tipi's case, how easy would it have been to find? Especially if it were in an area where there is a lot of cover or steeply downhill?

    I just have this (future) vision of lost bear canisters littering the woods in the southern Appalachians (yes, likely an exaggeration, but maybe not given the sheer number of and skill level of many hikers) - and ultimately, bear canisters winding up hoisted on metal poles or secured in bear boxes at shelters and camp areas. Losing a canister likely isn't going to happen to most hikers. But if---WHEN that happens (especially so if it's you or me), losing one's food supply and canister when several days from resupply is more than just a inconvenience. There are many areas on the AT where "careful selection" or a level area to avoid a canister rolling off a significant distance, especially with help from a bear, isn't a reasonable option due to terrain (on the side of a mountain). I guess I could hang the canister, but that kind of defeats its reason for existing in the first place and gives the bear a better way of holding it should it get to it.

    There's one sure thing though - the canister manufacturers would be thrilled if they became mandated on the AT.

  16. #36

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    4 eyed, in Walter's case he cached these containers so who knows how long a bear (or several bears) had time to work them. While it is very possible containers would be lost the big difference is the bear still doesn't get the food. Also, whether your container is "lost" or your hang gets purloined, you will still be inconvenienced. I'm sure far more food is lost from improper hanging than we hear about on the Internet.

  17. #37

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    I have not tested it yet but I purchased some "Tiles" for finding your keys or what ever.
    Going to put one in the bear vault and pack it full of food and see how far away I can detect it with my phone.

    The Tile is suppose to have a 300 to 400 foot range.

    https://www.thetileapp.com/store/tiles/pro%E2%80%8B

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiBee View Post
    I have not tested it yet but I purchased some "Tiles" for finding your keys or what ever.
    Going to put one in the bear vault and pack it full of food and see how far away I can detect it with my phone.

    The Tile is suppose to have a 300 to 400 foot range.

    https://www.thetileapp.com/store/tiles/pro%E2%80%8B
    Yeah, I was wondering about using such a device and smartphone compatibility, especially the range.
    Please post results when you do this. Sounds like a good idea.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 02-17-2020 at 15:16.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinb View Post
    4 eyed, in Walter's case he cached these containers so who knows how long a bear (or several bears) had time to work them. While it is very possible containers would be lost the big difference is the bear still doesn't get the food. Also, whether your container is "lost" or your hang gets purloined, you will still be inconvenienced. I'm sure far more food is lost from improper hanging than we hear about on the Internet.
    Agreed. And I'm not saying that there isn't a need to protect against bear/human interaction, I'm just not sure thousands of hikers, many somewhat inexperienced, with canisters scattered all about up and down the AT is a great long term solution. There is existing concern with the compacting/hardening of areas around shelters and tent sites from overuse, especially in the south. Stashing canisters the recommended (and this varies, Yosemite NP says 25 to 50 yards) 100 - 200 feet away from shelter or tent site expands the impacted areas further. Canisters aren't foolproof either - lots of stories out there about lids coming loose from damaged latches, lids not put on properly, etc. Personally, I'd rather see bear boxes or poles with enough capacity to handle the hiker load and stay with the concept of concentrating the human impact. No, that doesn't address the situation in relation to dispersed camping, but those incidents are more rare and don't lead to bears frequenting a specific location. Most bear/human incidents occur at shelters and established campsites, where most of the food is, and where the bears expect it to be. Just my opinion, people can disagree. I don't think there is any one size fits all perfect solution.

  20. #40

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    The canister recommendation for the AT seems to be wild overreach by the tent police. I'd like to see the statistics for bear maulings or killings of hikers on the AT for the last---say--- 50 years. And just because you store all your food in a canister does not mean a bear can't smell you inside a tent---you're a human cheese stick, remember?---and decide to have a meal.

    And then let's compute the chances of dying on the trail or in camp from a falling tree or tree limb---or hikers who have been pit viper bit. What will the tent police do about these dangers? If a bear gets my food he gets my food. Hitch out and restock. If he becomes a "problem" bear and is killed, well, thousands of bears are killed every year by hunters in the Southeast mountains and no one seems to care.

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