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  1. #1

    Default Food Storage / Safety

    Sorry for the most basic of basic questions, but I have just not able to convince myself of an approach.

    I'll be doing a small section hike toward the end of June. I'll be tent camping at Roaring Fork Shelter, Walnut Mountain Shelter, and Deer Park Shelter on my way into Hot Springs.

    What do I do with my food?
    1. Hang in the shelter, even though I'll be just outside in a tent?
    2. Bring my own bag and paracord to hang in a tree?
    3. I've heard something about pre-setup bear hangings?
    4. Ursack? What about critters with that option?
    5. Bear Canister? (do not own at this time, and not thrilled with weight)

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbegis View Post
    Sorry for the most basic of basic questions, but I have just not able to convince myself of an approach.

    I'll be doing a small section hike toward the end of June. I'll be tent camping at Roaring Fork Shelter, Walnut Mountain Shelter, and Deer Park Shelter on my way into Hot Springs.

    What do I do with my food?
    1. Hang in the shelter, even though I'll be just outside in a tent?
    2. Bring my own bag and paracord to hang in a tree?
    3. I've heard something about pre-setup bear hangings?
    4. Ursack? What about critters with that option?
    5. Bear Canister? (do not own at this time, and not thrilled with weight)

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.
    1. Unless the shelter is designed for food to be hung in it... don't do it.
    And by designed, I mean more than just a nail stuck in a rafter.
    About the only part of the AT I've done is in GSMNP, and there is one shelter designed for food to be hung in the shelter.
    First of all, there is a cage in front of the shelter to keep the bears out.
    Second, there are mouse mobiles to prevent mice coming down the wires setup to hang your food from .

    2. Unless you're in an area that requires bear canisters, this is the universally accepted method of storing your food.
    It's also perhaps the most difficult.
    Generic National Park rules simply dictate the food must be 10' off the ground and 4' away from tree trunks, etc.
    PCT method is generally considered the best approach, though the old style of toss the rope over a branch and tie it to the tree is acceptable (but more likely to be defeated by a bear).

    3. Some places I've been have had bear boxes (huge bins with doors bears can't get in), bear poles (tall pole with hooks at the top and another long pole to help you get your food over the hook).
    In GSMNP, every campsite has "Bear Cables". Similar to the basic rope over the branch and tied to the trunk. But the rope is 'wire' the bear can't chew through, and a clip ties it into the tree. In GSMNP, you're required to use the bear cables, and sort of foolish if you don't.

    4. Ursack... well the bear can't take your food, but without the optional metal liner, the bear can still destroy your food leaving you with nothing eatable in the bag.
    Ursack isn't allowed in some places (Yosemite for one) and they've even tried law suits to get it allowed. Last I knew, you can't use Ursack in Yosemite.
    The idea is the bag itself can't be torn by the bear, and you securely tie it to a tree so the bear can't run off with it.
    Doesn't prevent the bear from chewing on the bag, and that in part is why they are not allowed in Yosemite.

    5. Bear canisters are the easiest way to store your food. Of course you have to add the weight of the canister, and you're then limited to the capacity of the canister.
    But the idea is just place the canister somewhere the bear can't roll it down a hill or into a stream. The canister is supposed to be strong enough the bear can't get into it. Where canisters are required, the idea is the bear tries to get into the canister, and when he fails, the next time he sees the same canister, he won't bother to waste so much time.
    To avoid the hassle of trying to rig up a bear hang, I'm starting to hear of some people who are going the canister method even when it's not required.
    On the JMT, I used the Bearikade name brand canister... because it was the biggest you could buy, and getting into it was crazy simple (and it's one of the lightest canisters on the market).

  3. #3

    Default

    Walnut Mt shelter has had a history of bear problems, as do the other shelters in that area. I believe cables or boxes have been installed.

    BTW, the Walnut Mt shelter is a relic, very small and in poor shape. You'll want to tent there.
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  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks Slogoen! Yes, was planning on tent camping at all 3 locations.

  5. #5
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    The Guthook app indicates all 3 shelters have bear cables.

  6. #6
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    If the shelter or camp area has bear cables or bear poles or boxes, use them. That's the easiest thing. If not, the next easiest is an Ursack or bear canister, there is no rope to throw or tree to find. Finally, there is the bear bag hang. The only viable hang IMHO is the "PCT Method." This uses some cord, a small carabiner, and a tent peg or small twig, and a solid branch 20 feet or so off the ground. It's not totally foolproof or bear proof, but it's close when properly executed. You can find how-to videos on Youtube.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  7. #7

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    It’s that “solid branch 20 feet off the ground” bit that gets tricky. Especially as it gets dark.

  8. #8
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    It’s that “solid branch 20 feet off the ground” bit that gets tricky. Especially as it gets dark.
    You are not wrong
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

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