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  1. #1
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    Default Bear canister, ursack, hang as usual? Opinions wanted

    Thru hiking this year. Typically I hang food in bear country. But there seems to be mixed information regarding best choice on the CT


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  2. #2
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    It has been eight years since my CT thru hike, so maybe things have changed. My strategy was to bear bag using the PCT method and this worked out just fine. I used the zPacks bear bagging kit. I will admit that there were a couple of nights I slept with my food because there were no suitable trees. I am not suggesting that this is a good idea, but it isn't uncommon (or wasn't uncommon back then). I have hiked a lot in the Sierra Nevada where I carry a Bearikade and that is of course the bullet proof option if you don't mind the two pounds of weight. It also serves as a camp seat and saves time finding a tree to use for hanging a bear bag.

    I never saw a bear or was bothered by any type of animal at night on my thru hike of the Colorado Trail. I did hike through large herds of cows which was interesting, and once I set up camp only to later be surrounded by cows. But they don't want human food.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    It has been eight years since my CT thru hike, so maybe things have changed. My strategy was to bear bag using the PCT method and this worked out just fine. I used the zPacks bear bagging kit. I will admit that there were a couple of nights I slept with my food because there were no suitable trees. I am not suggesting that this is a good idea, but it isn't uncommon (or wasn't uncommon back then). I have hiked a lot in the Sierra Nevada where I carry a Bearikade and that is of course the bullet proof option if you don't mind the two pounds of weight. It also serves as a camp seat and saves time finding a tree to use for hanging a bear bag.

    I never saw a bear or was bothered by any type of animal at night on my thru hike of the Colorado Trail. I did hike through large herds of cows which was interesting, and once I set up camp only to later be surrounded by cows. But they don't want human food.
    I know of some hikers that are considering the Bearikade even where bear cannisters are NOT required simply so they don't have to worry about sleeping with food or taking the time and effort to hang their food.

    The only thing about Bearikade is that is it NOT been IGBC certified, so it's not appropriate for grizzly country.

  4. #4
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    Hello All…

    I thru hiked the CT last year 2021. I used a bear canister, a berikade. Had zero issues. At the end of the day, I could toss it 30 or so feet from camp, people I met along the trail had bear bags, ursacks. When your above 10,000FT there’s not a whole lot of trees, especially if you hit the collegiate west, where the trail spins off 80 miles or so. Only complaint about the bear canister was it took up a lot of space in the pack.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSILVER View Post
    Hello All…

    I thru hiked the CT last year 2021. I used a bear canister, a berikade. Had zero issues. At the end of the day, I could toss it 30 or so feet from camp, people I met along the trail had bear bags, ursacks. When your above 10,000FT there’s not a whole lot of trees, especially if you hit the collegiate west, where the trail spins off 80 miles or so. Only complaint about the bear canister was it took up a lot of space in the pack.
    I loved using a bearikade on my JMT thru hike. Yes, one was required for that trail, but I had a system down... the canister fit in the top of my pack such that I could get lunch out without unloading my backpack. At night, it was so easy to simply lay the canister out of the way... even easier than taking the time to hang my food from the bear cables available at all campsites in Great Smokey Mountains where I do most my hiking. The lid of the bearikade is what makes it so easy to use.

  6. #6
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    The Ursack must be hung on the bear cables inside the GRSMNP, subject to fines/penalties same as food bags. An Ursack was snatched 3 weeks ago South of Fontana due to an improperly tied knot(must be a double figure 8). For you YT surfers, there are 2 vids of the Ursack ripped end to end, the results of properly tied knots and not 'hung' high enough. And as for me, food weighs nothing when the 6-inch post oak limb gets chewed through after 3.5 long hours, and you have a long food-free day out of the wilderness. I ran into a guy near Slickrock, 2 bears ripped the tree out of the ground with the limb the bag was hung on, took it for a drag getting the root ball hung up in the adjacent trees. After they gave up, it was much smaller than when he started for his 7 day wilderness trek(first night). Though the Ursack was not ripped open, I can only say I hoped he didn't mind smoothies. I love my 2 canisters because of the guarantee/security of a very necessary requirement called food. One last cavet from the Sierras, 'odor-proof' bags are useless, the NPS funded a summer long study in the Yosemite backcountry that quickly dispelled that, 250 stolen canisters that summer! They ROLL.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Match View Post
    ...One last cavet from the Sierras, 'odor-proof' bags are useless, the NPS funded a summer long study in the Yosemite backcountry that quickly dispelled that, 250 stolen canisters that summer! They ROLL.
    Can you clarify this...are you saying that odor-proof bags were used in all 250 stolen canisters?

    I personally think that Opsaks are useless (aside from their horrendous durability). I just have no proof. Just don't see how a plastic bag can be odor proof. I'd love to see the company president run a kilo of cocaine through customs in one to put his money where his mouth is. If it can't get past a dog, then there's no way it's getting past a bear.
    It is what it is.

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    Take a bear vault, I've carried one on many hikes and it's security to alleviate any anxiety...
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind........Then Join In........

  9. #9
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    Many of the canisters had different type bags but not all, most had nothing. The bears 'identify' by sight these days, hence not food/odor as that is in the past. Interesting cavet, smashing the lid down often gets in the way of the metal twist lock binding plastic bags which result in a false sense of locking. I can't remember the exact number, but it was many-improperly locked, all 3 must be locked to be secure. Another thing they found was the number of people using their fingernails vice a coin or knife blade. I put Sharpie silver dots beside each lock to remind myself to line coin slots up. I also have attached 2 pennies with a hole drilled through and short Dyneema cord on my food bag and hip belt. On my BV canister, I seamgripped a plastic credit card holder on the lid keeping the old credit card handy for those really cold mornings when the push tabs are stiff. If you happen up on a Backcountry Ranger in the Smoky's, ask them about 'those Opsaks.'

  10. #10
    Registered User travisap's Avatar
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    Slept with our food in our tent using Opsak odor proof bags. With just black bears in CO and an abundance of hikers creating noise to scare bears away, this method worked for us. Saved 2 lbs. of gear. We will use a bear canister anywhere with grizzlies.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by travisap View Post
    Slept with our food in our tent using Opsak odor proof bags. With just black bears in CO and an abundance of hikers creating noise to scare bears away, this method worked for us. Saved 2 lbs. of gear. We will use a bear canister anywhere with grizzlies.
    I've heard of others "just sleeping with their food"... and in some places, that can work. In other places, it's a disaster waiting to happen.
    My take based on discussions about this over the years:
    1. If you are some place where there is very little human-bear interaction, the bear's fear of the humans will tend to out-weigh the desire to follow the scent of food.
    2. If you are some place where human-bear interaction is relatively common, you're going to get a bear visit.
    As an example, I've heard many people hiking most of the AT sleeping with their food in their tent with no issues. But in Great Smokey Mountains National Park, every year, campsites and shelters get closed down for a period of time because of people who won't simply take the time to protect their food and hang it from the bear cables available at ever GSMNP campsite.

  12. #12
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    Little Bear, an AT Lasher was set on sleeping with his food until a bear tore a hole into his tent while he wa sleeping years ago near (the now closed forever Watauga Lake Shelter) and he and his buddie night hiked the heck out of there when the bear wouldn't leave......
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind........Then Join In........

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