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Relative Odor-proofness
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(strong806) - F
Relative Odor-proofness on 02/24/2009 09:32:48 MST Print View

I'm thinking that energy bars or mountain house foods might be more odor proof than foods resealed in ziploc bags. Any merit to this?

They may not be at all, enlighten me.

I'm trying to figure out how to allocate limited space in OP sacks.

Edit: grammar

Edited by strong806 on 02/24/2009 10:42:28 MST.

Stuart Burke
(burkest) - F

Locale: Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
Re: Relative Odor-proofness on 02/24/2009 10:29:02 MST Print View

I don't know the answer for sure but I have a few thoughts. Energy bar wrappers have a tendency to pop when packed tightly in a back pack if this happens then they are certainly not odor proof. Also the wrappers came from the factory were the food was produced so they probably have food odors on the outside.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Not really on 02/24/2009 10:39:26 MST Print View

my dog can locate them very easily.....even when fully wrapped. (not popped).

As far as odor proof bags go, I've been told by several people that they do not work and a bear can smell right through them. (Rangers, salesperson at outdoor store). I haven't found confirmation of this online, but I'd be curious to see any evidence that they do work....

Edited by Rezniem on 02/24/2009 10:43:52 MST.

(strong806) - F
Re: OP on 02/24/2009 10:41:03 MST Print View

You're probably right. I may be deluding myself in thinking that factory sealed foods have ANY level of odorproofness. They really have no reason to design the packaging that way.

I'm just trying to find a compromise between not sleeping with my food, not bear bagging and not carrying every single item in an OP sack.

The area I'm going only has "100 pound black bears" and "one reported attack ever" so maybe I'll just sleep with my food.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Bear-Bagging on 02/24/2009 11:09:45 MST Print View

What's the matter with hanging your food? Very little weight penalty and it's kind of fun!

Reported attacks may not be the best measure of bear activity, since black bears rarely attack but frequently forage through camper's food.....hate to see your trip ruined by a bear experience! Though I'm paranoid about bears in camp. You'd probably be fine unless you're in a high bear traffic area. (Chances are, if you were, they would require some sort of bear-proofing).

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Relative Odor-proofness on 02/24/2009 11:35:57 MST Print View

The problem is that even if commercially packaged materials are truely air tight, they still weren't packaged carefully to remove all residue from the outside of the packaging.

Packaged carefully in an OP sack, my dog won't know her food is in her pack she wears (she's smart enough to take it off if she really wants). However, if I put any thing like a candy bar or pre-packaged meal, she'll try to get to it - unless I double bag it into an OP sack.

Same story with mice. I apparently I had some (never saw them) that got into my food cache. They opened a half dozen commercially packed meals but left all the stuff I had in OP sacks alone, much of which was just re-packaged oatmeal or peanut butter flavor stuff which is about as much of a mouse bait as you can get.

To make OP sacks work like this, you have to have 100% food free hands while handling the bag and be careful to drop it in with out touching the food to the outside of the bags.

In my experience, OP sacks work as advertised, but you have to be careful how you bag it.

Edited by slacklinejoe on 02/24/2009 11:37:00 MST.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Bear Bagging on 02/24/2009 11:41:51 MST Print View

I'm with Nathan; bear bagging is the best option I think, at least if there are trees tall enough for it. It will only cost you about 1-2 oz. weight penalty, and a nice system can be designed for less than $20. You need a small carabiner, your food bag, a little bag for a rock, and 40-50 ft. of line, preferably something with a smooth coating so it won't saw into tree limbs. And you need a tree, of course, and a stiff twig about 4-6" long. There's a good article here about it, and also a description on the MLD website.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Hanging Food on 02/24/2009 11:42:54 MST Print View

I tend to hang food whether bears are an issue or not. Mice, chipmunks, etc. are enough to make me want to take SOME steps to keep my food for me.

OP sacks are a help. Wish they were cheaper!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Avoiding bear problems on 02/24/2009 12:07:31 MST Print View

I feel the best approach to avoiding bear problems is a combination of techniques:
1) Avoid camping in areas where people congregate or where
bears are likely to be(e.g. along streams, meadows).
2) Avoid bringing foods which have a strong odor when in
notorious bear areas(e.g. chocolate, peanut butter).
3) Use OP sacks.
4) Hang your food if a suitable tree can be found.
5) Consider going cold food when in notorious bear areas.
6) Don't sleep where you eat, especially if you cook.
It doesn't mean you have to use all of these techniques all the time, but one or more of them as conditions dictate will
go a long way toward avoiding problems. A lot has been said about sleeping with your food, so I won't get into that
again here.

(strong806) - F
Re: Bearbagging on 02/24/2009 14:47:26 MST Print View

I can't afford any new gear right now and my current homemade bearbag setup weighs like 6 ounces.

Bear bagging is probably the best. I also wanted to avoid it because I will be setting up camp after dark.

Bagging will give me piece of mind, so I'll just get out the headlamp and fire away!

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
You can probably lighten that up on 02/24/2009 15:28:21 MST Print View

6 oz is a bit heavy....for cheap, get some mason line at the hardware store if you don't have light rope, a plastic carbiner from walmart. Other than a stuff sack, that's all you need...(you don't need the "rock-bag" in the PCT method because you can just tie the rope to the carbiner and throw that over the branch. Have fun!

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: You can probably lighten that up on 02/24/2009 15:40:04 MST Print View


I like the home-made independence idea, but have a couple of questions.

"get some mason line at the hardware store if you don't have light rope"

Will this line cut into softwood bark, and possibly wedge? The expensive-bear-line purveyors would have one think so.

"a plastic carbiner from walmart. ... you can just tie the rope to the carbiner and throw that over the branch."

I have not tried it, so I could be wrong, but I am having trouble visualizing a 0.1 oz plastic carabiner being much of a throwing weight. That said, there are cheap and light alternatives for a rock sack, such as the plastic mesh bag that some produce comes in or the foot part of some worn out hosiery.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 02/24/2009 15:40:47 MST.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Bob on 02/24/2009 15:47:06 MST Print View

Good points. The mason line may not be appropriate for all trees (or so they who sell 20 dollar rope say). I haven't had a problem getting the carabiner over the branch, but don't throw your arm out of whack! You can also attach a rock to the carabiner with the rope if you know your knots or you can just bring along he end of some pantyhose!

Use your dry-sack bag (or force flex trash bag) to hang the food in if you can....(dual usage and all).

This process shouldn't break anyone's bank.

Edited by Rezniem on 02/24/2009 15:48:31 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Relative Odor-proofness on 02/24/2009 17:00:26 MST Print View

Commercial prepared food will have scent - due to the handling.

Long,long ago I found out that - I didn't have room for one MH meal. It was chewed open by a small rodent (probably a Chipmunk).

Hence.....I use an Ursack for everything. The OP bags I find too fragile on the zipper area, though they do work. If you do use them, you need to wash your hands before handling the outside part of the bag.

Peter Burke
(Fishmonger) - F

Locale: Midwest
bears on 05/12/2009 14:55:05 MDT Print View

bears can smell food inside commercial tin cans in the trunk of a car, and then rip both open to get to the tasty core.