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What do you put in a bear bag?
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Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

What do you put in a bear bag? on 04/29/2008 12:02:30 MDT Print View

Probably a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway…

What do you put in your bear bag – other than food (if anything)? When I'm playing “adventurer”, I always hang my food in an OPSAK within a mesh bag and sling it over a tree limb at least 10 ft off the ground. My question is, do you put anything else in the bag such as medicines, soap, deodorant, or anything with an inherent scent?

If not, is it because you think it is unnecessary, because you think bears and other animals won't be attracted to it, or because you have faith in the claims of scent-blocking abilities for items which you have in an OPSAK or similar derivative?

I do a lot of solo backpacking and the last thing I need in the middle of the night is a visit by an animal. Other than food, I carry Dr. Bonner’s soap and several medicines which have a scent to them. Although I store them in an OPSAK, I still error on the side of caution and put them in the bear bag 100 feet from my site and in a tree. My concern is that one of these days, assuming a storm breaks the limb of the tree or an animal has a high-altitude engineering degree, I’m going to lose the contents of the bear bag. It may seem trivial, but being without food on a long trek, or in my case, daily necessary medication, could be a pretty significant problem.


David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: What do you put in a bear bag? on 04/29/2008 12:15:14 MDT Print View

everything that could possibly be misconstrued as food. Dr. B's, med kit, trash, cook pot, stove, anything that comes in contact with food. I figure I wont be needing any of that while im sleeping anyway, and a cookpot makes a terrible pillow :)

I've had mice come visit my OP sacks a few times and have stopped using them since and just bear bag things.

Your bear bag branch falling or the system not being 100% failure free is just part of the risk of backpacking. You can't eliminate all risk, but takes steps to reduce it as much as you feel necessary. If you are concerned enough about those things, you could carry a bear canister.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: What do you put in a bear bag? on 04/29/2008 13:05:37 MDT Print View

I put my food, garbage and items like lip balm. I don't though put my med kit in my Ursack. Why? I need my meds and if something DID happen I'll fight for them! My meds though don't have an odor.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
What do you put in a bear bag? on 04/29/2008 15:24:52 MDT Print View

How in the world do you get the Bear to stand still long enough to stuff him in a bag?

John Sixbey
(Wolfeye) - F
what about...? on 05/04/2008 01:06:03 MDT Print View

I normally put anything with a potentially food-like or perfumy odor into my bag/canister. And that gets me thinking... would the scent eliminating soaps/lip balms/etc. that hunters use have to be placed in the container as well? If they supposedly get rid of odor, you'd think they wouldn't attract animals by themselves.

Now that I think it over, I'd probably place them in there anyway. They have to go somewhere.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Esbit on 05/05/2008 19:22:20 MDT Print View

Supposedly Esbit fuel cubes have a bit of a scent and should be bear bagged.

Certainly chapstick, deodoant, toothpaste, sunscreen, soap, and the like should be in the bear bag. I also put clothing in the bear bag if I get a food spill.

Mike Nielsen
(geophagous) - F

Locale: Pacific North West
First aid kit too? on 05/06/2008 16:13:00 MDT Print View

This brings up something I have thought of as well. My first aid kit has stuff like a small pack of antibiotic and such.

I sometimes remember to put this in a bear can or sack but sometimes don't.

How likely for it to cause issues?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
What do you put in a bear bag? on 05/07/2008 16:00:29 MDT Print View

I haven't ever had a problem, but it's probably better to be on the safe side and bear bag it.