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  1. #1

    Default Hanging food - mouse hangers, bear poles/boxes, etc.

    Just curious what amenities the shelters may or may not have around hanging food. Are there bear boxes or poles? At least mouse hangers in the shelters? Will mice be an issue in the northern half of the LT during mid-September?

    Trying to decide on my food storage system. Thank you!

  2. #2

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    Hangers are at all shelters for backpacks, clothes etc. It will be suggested by most to either hang your food in a tree, or sleep with it in your tent. I have had very little problem with mice in the shelters however others will damn the shelters. As for the lower half of the trail, I will be walking up on my first bear box I have seen this weekend at lambert meadows shelter. GA has bear cables as well as the smokies. SNP has bear poles, and up in NE there are bear boxes from my experiences up there. If you look in a guide book, I think there should be a description next to every shelter describing what the shelter offers, bear cables etc.
    Trail Miles: 3,918.6 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1 Completion: 2004.8 - AT Map 2 Completion: 265.0

  3. #3
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
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    Bears on the LT are only an occasional problem, not much to worry about. The mice are present in almost all shelters. Personally, I use a bear canister, but I've also used a plastic pretzel jug - doesn't weigh any more than a food sack, and it keeps small rodents out, and the food dry.

  4. #4

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    When I was going through the Smokies, the shelter filled up and I tented. Everyone in the shelter hung their packs on those neat little nails, all tidily in a row. I heard some noise for a minute during the night and then went back to sleep.

    Turns out a bear entered the shelter with the 15 or so people sleeping and tore apart two packs. One had an empty poptart wrapper, and one had peppermint soap. A section hiker woke and very cleverly started banging on the shelter floor, waking people up and scaring off the bear.

    Met a guy who couldn't get out of the northernmost shelter one morning, because a bear was camped underneath his food bag, and he was alone in the shelter and couldn't scare if off. Met a bunch of hikers who told the same story of a bear hanging out within visible distance of the shelter, waiting for the hikers to leave so it could scavenge through the shelter for bits of food.

    A week or so later, the guy in the tent got bit by a bear and the bear eventually got put down.

    Please don't hang any kind of food in shelters, ever. Don't use or create mouse hangers. It encourages the bears, it teaches them to equate shelters and packs with food, and just conditions the bear to the point where it will need to be relocated or killed.

    It generally depends on what state your in as to there being bear cables/boxes (as well as privies) or not. I'm not the most attentive person at times, I recall Georgia had them, then at some point I stopped seeing them, and someone told me it was because of the state.

  5. #5

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    I just finished my nobo thruhike and hung my food bag and pack on the hangers in the shelter every night. The only place I remember there being a bear box was at the Montclair Glen lodge just south of Camels Hump. They had a bear issue last year so extra precautions were put in place. I talked the some caretakers and bears haven't been an issue this year

  6. #6
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
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    Essex, Vermont
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    I just spent some time on the LT north of Camels Hump - bear box at Bamforth Ridge shelter now, too.

  7. #7
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    The best practice would be hanging your food from a tree or using a bear canister, but when hiking the LT I quickly discovered that everyone else hangs their food in the shelters. This did cause a problem around Camel's Hump last year (caretaker told me the bear was shot and killed, along with bear boxes being installed). Even though this is common practice and seems to not cause problem bears very often, I personally worry we will have more problem bears on the LT in the future if hikers continue doing this, but I'm not an expert on the matter...

  8. #8

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    There are bears around, but it's not usually a big issue on the LT. Other shelters (in addition to camel's hump areas mentioned above) like Peru did have issues when I passed last year
    The typical LT hiker will just stick it on the shelter hang, which usually will have a tuna can or something on it for mice. So if you're staying in a shelter, it's highly likely that someone else's food will be hung right in the middle of it. A common attitude is "well, if there's 2 other food bags there.... what's wrong with one more"

    I usually hung my food and tented if I thought it was an issue. When I was there, dumbasses at Peru shelter stuck all their food bags in the shelter even after being explicitly told there was bear issues within the last week. And one guy did a bear hang 10 ft from the shelter that was only like 9 ft high..... so I just carried on

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