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  1. #1

    Default Keeping sealed food in tent vs using a bear bag?

    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?.

  2. #2

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    i sleep with my food in my tent.
    no issues

  3. #3
    Registered User Storm's Avatar
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    I kept my food bag in my tent most of the time. No problems.
    "The difficult can be done immediately, the impossible takes a little longer"

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    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.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-04-2013 at 21:25.

  5. #5
    T-Rx T-Rx's Avatar
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    I sleep with my food. No problems.

  6. #6

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    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?.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by todd52 View Post
    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/lo...-bags-20-x-125

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

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by todd52 View Post
    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

  9. #9

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    You can keep it in your tent I did it for years.. Now I hang my food away from my campsite at night

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    Quote Originally Posted by todd52 View Post
    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.

  11. #11
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    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.

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    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!
    An avid hanging backpacker with a fly fishing problem.

    Looking for an ultra-light fast boiling Alky Stove, try the Black Kat Alky Stove!


    http://brstoves.miiduu.com/

  13. #13
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    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.







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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by swankfly View Post
    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

  16. #16
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    Death is an experience, so is sleeping well.
    An avid hanging backpacker with a fly fishing problem.

    Looking for an ultra-light fast boiling Alky Stove, try the Black Kat Alky Stove!


    http://brstoves.miiduu.com/

  17. #17

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    it is not part of leave no trace.you hang it. you sleep with it. no trace.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by swankfly View Post
    Death is an experience, so is sleeping well.
    i died 4 times in 4 days. i don't remember it

  19. #19

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    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.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    ...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.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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