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  1. #21

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    New Jersey has some pretty big bear boxes near shelters and signs stating "Your're in Bear Country, Be Bear Aware". I made it a pont to follow the use of the boxes.

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    I slept with my food on multiple occasions on my thru. Though I would use provided cables/box/poles. I would also do what is customary if I used a shelter with others, or areas with bear activity. But even when I didn't sleep with my food, I would often have some food with me after I learned about hiker hunger. One night I had to eat in the middle of the night, which I had to get my food off a bear pole, so I was clanging around in the dark to pull it down. Everyone in the shelter (also thru hikers) understood, but from that point on I always had something with me to snack on if and when that hit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Looks like a blood bath!

    I got off the Opsak train really quick when I first started backpacking. For one, their durability is horrendous...
    The "blood" on the ripped pack was red gatorade powder residue. And boy, did it stink! Bear slobber mixed with gatorade???

    And yeah, maybe, just maybe OP sacks actually work briefly, when brand new. The OP sack the bear ripped out of that pack was a week old.

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    While I am not a thru-hiker, I have completed over 1,000 miles of the AT. Two years ago while staying at a shelter in the northern part of the Smoky's, we woke up to a guy screaming, "Get out of Here" at a bear that had come INTO the shelter and was standing in front of the fireplace. It took a lot of screaming - and then banging hiking poles ... and one guy jumped out at it chasing it off while screaming and banging poles together - to get it to retreat into the woods. The next morning, a gal turned to the guy she was with and said, "Gee, I told you not to bring your food in here with you." The guy had hung his backpack and hiking boots, yet he brought his food into the shelter. The bright side / Karma to this was that it rained during the night, and his boots had puddles of water in them.

  5. #25

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    You just have to use Saran Wrap.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  6. #26
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    You just have to use Saran Wrap.
    Much respect for holding on to a link (for years?) until the perfect posting time and place.

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    Two years ago while staying at a shelter in the northern part of the Smoky's, we woke up to a guy screaming, "Get out of Here" at a bear that had come INTO the shelter and was standing in front of the fireplace


    i'll take a guess and say this was Cosby Knob shelter...


    this shelter and russell field shelter (and i would imagine others, i just know specifically about these two and bears) have
    "resident" bears that hang around the shelter.....

    if a pack (even empty) is left at shelter, and there's no one around, bears have been known to come around
    and snatch the bag.........

    the bears have learned to associate a bag with food......

    so they take that chance.........

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    I think that's something that varies depending on who's jurisdiction the land you are in is under:

    Some places it's illegal.
    True. And even the better informed locals might not be aware.

    For example anywhere in the Whites you are required to use a bear box or canister or hang 10 up (4 horizontal). Here is the actual reg:

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...rdb5275812.pdf

    Violators will be eaten (AT Reference intentional)

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    I am trying to figure out if claims that making food "odor proof" for animals works, or is just campfire myth. Mice have olfactory bulbs 200 times larger than humans that are able to find specific scents among masking odors, coyotes have a sense of smell some 400 times better than humans (better than most domestic dogs), bears have a sense of smell that is 2,100 times more sensitive. This makes it highly improbable masking food odors works. Like Slo-Go'en I have had my tent gnawed through by mice, literally in a matter of minutes of getting it set up, to reach a partially eaten granola bar in it. I was amazed how fast that occurred.
    Hanging food (as pointed out above properly) protects ones food and tent fabric. Trying to mask food odors may work with human olfactory sense, but animals with sense of smell hundreds of times more sensitive can sort them out much like human eyesight can find pine trees in a standing forest when looking at vistas. Trouble found me a few times as rodents chewed their way into my tent or pack, I decided to get good hanging food before the bear showed up to create mischief.
    I agree that "odor proof" is an inaccurate term. But this does not mean it plays no role in food storage. The science behind keeping your food with you 24/7 (i.e. "sleep with your food") is that bear's desire to avoid you is greater than their desire to get your food. So the strategy of keeping your food in an odor barrier bag to minimize the food smell is only half of the strategy. The other half is to maximize the smell of you. This is why you should avoid fruity smelling toiletries, or washing in general. The goal is to smell more than the food.

    On my first AT hike (central VA), I used the famous trash compactor bag as a pack liner and a Spectra fiber food bag with regular zip lock bags to keep things organized. After 5 days on the trail, everything in my pack smelled of what I had been eating for the past 5 days. I decided the best food bag hang was of little use if I am sleeping in a cheese and sausage scented sleeping bag. So after that trip I got some Nylobarrier odor barrier bags. The large one is the size of a pack liner. All clothes and sleeping bag go in there. The small one is the size of the food bag. All the food goes in there. Thus there are two odor barriers between my food and my sleeping gear. Now, even when my garbage bag is getting good and ripe, I notice no odors. I'm not claiming that the animals can't smell them, but if I notice it less, then certainly the animals notice it less and that must be a good thing.

    I would also point out that in these discussions, there is always someone who cites an incident where a bear gets at an unattended food container and thinks this is somehow relevant to the discussion. If there is one thing all can agree on is you should never leave your food unattended. That's why I don't like the term "sleep with food". The strategy is really "keep your food with you 24/7". You NEVER NEVER leave it unattended. It is to be in your possession at all times. Much is made of poor bear bagging technique. This certainly contributes to bad bear behavior. But leaving food unattended also teaches bears that unattended tents and backpacks are good places to find food. But note that a backpack or tent with a person is NOT a good place to get food (from the bear's perspective).

  10. #30

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    Like the other thread,, everyone and their brother eating, cooking, dropping crumbs, stuffing trash,,, in and around camp areas, and folks get hung up on someone with food in their ruck ?
    I suggest if you are worried about critters stay away from the shelters.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropdeadfred View Post
    Like the other thread,, everyone and their brother eating, cooking, dropping crumbs, stuffing trash,,, in and around camp areas, and folks get hung up on someone with food in their ruck ?
    I suggest if you are worried about critters stay away from the shelters.
    That's the ticket. Avoid established camping areas - especially shelters.

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    Ive slept with my food on a few occasions with my food in opsacks (which Im skeptical of). A couple of times on the Colorado trail above tree line and once on the Foothills trail on a winter hike when I arrived near dark, was dead tired, and it was super cold. No incidents but I have to say that I sleep better with my food securely stored, either hung using PCT method or in a canister. In some ways my hikes in the Sierra Nevada have less hassle factor because I have to carry my bearikade canister. Just finish eating and place canister 30 or 40 feet away. Done.

  13. #33
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    I hang if and only if I'm staying in a shelter (rare) and there's no bear box or cables. If tenting, I'll use bear box or cables if available, otherwise I sleep with my food in my tent. I keep all food and trash inside ziplock bags, inside my food bag, and cook away from my tent unless it's pouring outside. I usually can't smell my food even if I press my nose into the food bag. This is really just a personal preference - I sleep much better knowing my food is right next to me.

    IMHO, the ATC should require either cables or bear box at every shelter and established campsite. I think this would cut down on a lot of the improper food storage issues. At most of the shelters I have been to where there was neither bear box nor cables, there were also no useable branches for hanging within 200 ft. of the shelter. Previous hikers had probably pulled them all down over time.
    It's all good in the woods.

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    IMHO, the ATC should require either cables or bear box at every shelter and established campsite.


    eventually, it will come down to this....

    right now (and since it's way cheaper than putting a box or cables up)---they recommending using a canister.....

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    I suppose the ATC can recommend anything they what, but they do not and should not, have the authority to require anything.

    Used to be everyone hanged their food at the front of the shelter, and any suggestion to do otherwise would have been laughed at.

    When and how did that change?

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I suppose the ATC can recommend anything they what, but they do not and should not, have the authority to require anything.

    Used to be everyone hanged their food at the front of the shelter, and any suggestion to do otherwise would have been laughed at.

    When and how did that change?
    Just a guess, but I'd say when the bears started coming into the shelter to grab the bags smart folks figured out that if the bears were going to change their behavior it might be a good idea if people did too. Shelter mice have mutated into gravity defying, bag devouring demons in recent years anyway so I'm thinking canisters really are the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    . . . Used to be everyone hanged their food at the front of the shelter, and any suggestion to do otherwise would have been laughed at.
    When and how did that change?
    When the most feared pest changed from a mouse to a bear.

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneStranger View Post
    . . . I'm thinking canisters really are the future.
    I'm thinking canisters are a responsible PART of the futures, not unlike the present. To think there is, or ever will be, a reasonable one-size-fits-all-all-the-time solution is silly.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    I'm thinking canisters are a responsible PART of the futures, not unlike the present. To think there is, or ever will be, a reasonable one-size-fits-all-all-the-time solution is silly.
    Well you are welcome to that thought. TYOT as they say. Hope you don't mind if I do likewise.
    The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...~Henry David Thoreau

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  19. #39

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    And, Rickb, in1983 there was much lower human density on the AT.

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubblehead View Post
    I also took a bear cannister with me in 2019 on my LASH from NY to NH...this year I'm going to lighten my load and take my Zpacks food bag with me, and I am going to learn the PCT hang method before I head out...
    Is it a question of weight? Pack room? I would like to hear your thoughts on it. In full disclosure I have always slept with my food and never had an issue, but that doesn't mean someday I won't encounter a problem. I agree, canisters are a prudent option and I will be purchasing one for bowhunt out west this year.

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