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  1. #1
    my feet hurt skeeter's Avatar
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    Default Backpacks in tents

    I bought a tent w/ good vestibule space and was planning on keeping my pack in that area, food hung in bear bag. I have read many times that hikers say they never keep their pack in their tent. Why would this be a prefrence over keeping your bag in your tent or vestibule?

  2. #2

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    I always keep my pack in food in my tent; given enough rain it can get wet in the vestibule and bugs are an issue.

  3. #3
    Nicksaari's Avatar
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    bear and critters have a more acute sense of smell. the food smell and small particles of food are all over your food bag, whether its a dry bag, or a trash bag. this smell and particulates transfer to anything it touches, i.e. the inside/outside/cinch cord on your bag. anything.
    depending on the area, and its critter activity, i would decide to sleep with my bag OR not on an individualistic basis.
    remember that after you eat, its also a good idea to wash your hands and face clean after eating, as you dont not want a bear to come and take a bite out of your ramen smelling face.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    I always keep my pack in food in my tent...
    Correction: I always keep my pack and food in my tent

  5. #5
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    well that is what I used to do. Stuff flopps out and gets all over the tent. Now I hang it below eye level from a branch next to the tent, and its far more manageable.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  6. #6

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    When I do carry a tent, especially without a vestibule, I virtually always bring my pack into my tent. Never had a problem. I don't see why it would be a problem. I almost always use my empty pack(meaning I carefully shake out my unloaded empty pack before bringing it into the tent) under my lower half for additional comfort and insulation from the ground. What I don't do is bring food or scented items that might attract animals, like bears, into my tent. I leave items like my food, cookware, sunscreen, insect repellant, tootpaste, etc. outside my tent, in a separate stuff sack bear bagged or bear canister, especially in known bear areas.

    Aside from concerns about animals the only reason I can see for not bringing my empty pack into a tent is if it has gotten soaking wet or muddy.

  7. #7

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    My routine is to hang the two food bags up(and the dog's pack), put the empty pack in the tent vestibule, and not look at it again until the next morning. The only time I keep my food bags in the tent vestibule(and only in the vestibule)is during a sleet/rain storm. Otherwise they have to be hung due to rodent activity. Over the years I probably have had several hundred rodents(mice mostly, sometimes a raccoon or skunks) come into my unzipped tent looking for food, or waking me up by running across my face and neck. And of these hundreds(including up at the tipi)about 30 or them decided to chew holes in my food bags, whether hanging or not. The only reason I hang my food at all is 1, to keep the big mammals occupied elsewhere, and 2, to keep the clever mice away from my tent.

    People who say they never get chew holes in their food bags or in their tents if that's where they keep their food, makes me wonder how often they camp or where they set up. Any established campsite(not AT shelter)will have mice, the only rodent free camping spots I've found have been ones never used before. And when the temps fall to zero or below the rodents don't seem to care or get out much.

  8. #8

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    I can certainly understand Nicksaari's arguement. He makes a very valid pt. If I was in grizzly country, then perhaps, no, I wouldn't bring my pack into the tent. Other animals, I'm not so concerned with.

    If you look at known grizzly habitat in the lower 48 it isn't that large of an area.

  9. #9
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    Your backpack is fine in your tent. In fact, it's safer there. I've heard of at least two folks who lost their packs entirely (i.e. they were dragged off God knows where) in the middle of the night: One had been tied loosely to a tree and one had been bear-bagged.

  10. #10
    Henry birdog's Avatar
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    Tipi Walter, I'm with you. I seem to attract mice wherever I go in the Smoky's. Had holes chewed in packs and tents. Too expensive a lesson for me to continue storing stuff inside the tent. I hang everything save a headlamp and a water bottle.
    Birdog

    Underestimation is the mother of all failure

  11. #11
    Henry birdog's Avatar
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    As far as grizz country is concerned, and your right, the area is small in the lower 48, hang everything, and I mean everything. Maybe even yourself! In Montana where the bear population is strong it doesnt take but one newspaper clipping to convince most people to abide by ALL food storage precautions. You just can't appreciate the danger posed by an animal that is 10 feet long, 1200 lbs, and HUNGRY all the time until you see one up close and personal.
    Birdog

    Underestimation is the mother of all failure

  12. #12

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    I wouldn't say I have never experienced chew holes in food bags or gear, but I don't often have this problem because of what Tipi Walter alluded to - I make a concerted effort not to camp in established or trashed campsites. Harder to do this on the AT, though. My biggest problems with animals, from the smallest mouse to the largest bear, from the east coast to the west coast, normally occur in areas where animals have become accustomed to the food and smells left behind or generated by humans.

  13. #13
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    I keep my unloaded pack inside my tent at all times when camping. Anything that is food-related—or smells like it might be—gets hung from a sturdy tree branch at least 10 ft. up and at least four feet out from the main tree trunk.

    The pack would (barely) fit in my tent's vestibule but it's then susceptible to invasion by rodents, bugs, water/mud if raining, or theft by four-legged or two-legged creatures. The pack won't be excessively wet because I use a pack cover (which will likely go in the vestibule or be hung securely nearby).

    Never had a problem keeping a pack inside my tent. In grizzly country out west I might reconsider and probably hang it even higher than in the east, but for most of the AT and other trails in the east I don't see the need to reconsider.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    Your backpack is fine in your tent. In fact, it's safer there. I've heard of at least two folks who lost their packs entirely (i.e. they were dragged off God knows where) in the middle of the night: One had been tied loosely to a tree and one had been bear-bagged.
    I saw a guy up around 5,240 feet last year in a blizzard with around 10F temps and he bailed from his hammock in the middle of the night for a buddy's tent and during it all he left his pack sitting outside by a tree. In the morning when they were gearing up his backpack looked like it got dipped in a frozen lake and left to harden. No zipper worked and the three straps were stuck fast. The problem was, he left his pack out a couple days before and it got soaked, and then the temps dipped and what was wet became concrete. Now add frozen fingers trying to zip up stuff and loosen straps . . .

    I've never had an empty pack dragged off, then again, my packs are usually big butt models 8lbs empty. I did have a cur stray hunting dog jump up into a tree and pull down a dogpack and attempt to eat like a king before I got to him. One time I was packing up and had a nice new loaf of whole wheat bread in an unzipped pack pocket and I turned my back to roll up the tent when a stray dog reached in and pulled out the bread and ate it in about 10 seconds.

  15. #15
    Registered User Dances with Mice's Avatar
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    I use a 3/4 length sleeping pad and the unloaded backpack is the padding under my knees and feet. Works for me.
    You never turned around to see the frowns
    On the jugglers and the clowns
    When they all did tricks for you.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdog View Post
    As far as grizz country is concerned, and your right, the area is small in the lower 48, hang everything, and I mean everything. Maybe even yourself! In Montana where the bear population is strong it doesnt take but one newspaper clipping to convince most people to abide by ALL food storage precautions. You just can't appreciate the danger posed by an animal that is 10 feet long, 1200 lbs, and HUNGRY all the time until you see one up close and personal.
    The area is small but contains some country you would not want to miss. Fortunately, lower 48 grizzlies are "only" 300-400 pounds, and not very aggressive outside Glacier NP. My food gets hung, pack's in the tent. I believe people who expect to have no food odors on them are dreaming.

    FB
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    The area is small but contains some country you would not want to miss. Fortunately, lower 48 grizzlies are "only" 300-400 pounds, and not very aggressive outside Glacier NP. My food gets hung, pack's in the tent. I believe people who expect to have no food odors on them are dreaming.

    FB
    I agree. We are covered in smells and we can't exactly hang outselves from trees. What I wonder about is the stomach: it's a full food bag sitting right inside the tent all night long.

  18. #18

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    My tent is a Mountain Hardware PCT-2, officially a 2-person tent but not in reality. So I have plenty of room to keep the pack inside with only extra clothes in it. Like others have said, my food bag which I hang at least 100' away also includes cookware, toothbrush & paste, and anything remotely connected to food.

  19. #19

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    Put my stinky or wet pack inside my cramped tent? No thank you. Put it under the vestibule where rain can splash mud onto it or get it even wetter? Not a good idea either.

    I hang my pack off a stubby tree branch next the the trunk with the pack cover on. It is a good idea to take your wallet into the tent, just in case something does walk off with the pack. Definately hang the food bag away from the tent. Better safe than sorry.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  20. #20
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    If you want to keep your pack in the tent - then keep your pack in the tent. I use an external frame pack and just put a pack cover on it at night - outside of tent. My Jam2 and my Catalyst were used as pillows when I carried them - under a tarp, in the shelter, or cowboy. Never had any problems.

    If someone ever gets eaten by a lion, tiger or bear (Oh My) that was after their pack I will start hanging my pack with my food, but for now its not a concern.
    Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.

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