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MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 17:24:30 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 17:42:49 MDT Print View

Great instructional video!

For those that still use the clove hitch method, there are alternative ways to tie a clove hitch which I use when I am sailing. When boat comes to a dock you often only have seconds to tie a clove hitch to secure the boat before it drifts back.

I am awful at explaining it, but you can make two loops and overlap them and then put a stick, etc. through the two lips and you will get a clove hitch. Thus, if there is 20 feet of extra line there is no need to pass all that line through a loop to tie the knot.

You can find a video of it here

Edited by jeff.k on 04/27/2010 17:43:38 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 17:48:47 MDT Print View

There is an alternative method that (I find) works much better. You don't need any clove hitches or sticks or any of that. Besides, with the PCT method, you end up with a rope dangling down toward the ground. Any self-respecting bear can bite on that and pull it to see what happens.

The Two-Rope Counterbalance Method requires two ropes or cords, but there is no rope dangling down to the ground for the bear to grab.

For about twenty years prior to bear canisters, I used the Two-Rope method in Yosemite without any loss of food to the bears. Arguably, the Yosemite black bear is pretty intelligent.


Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
I like it! on 04/27/2010 17:53:56 MDT Print View

Great knotless method - easy to do and easy to remember! I'll be using it this season whenever I need to hang food. Thanks!

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 19:25:27 MDT Print View

I just love it when such simple things turn out to be so brilliant!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 19:30:17 MDT Print View

My problem is not the knot; I can deal with that. I don't know who got the idea you have to thread the whole rope through the clove hitch loop--JeffK has the right idea! My problem is that due to shoulder arthritis I can't throw! (Not that I was ever good at throwing when I was young, either--couldn't hit the side of a barn when inside it!) There's also the issue that I'm short with short arms, which limits the height I can get the bag to what is probably within the bear's reach.

It's the Ursack for me, or, if I have no other choice, a bear canister.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/27/2010 20:17:42 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 20:08:13 MDT Print View

Clove hitch tying while under a load:

1. Take stick (or extra stake, chop stick, spoon handle, etc) in right hand, reach over head, place stick parallel and left of cord, wrap upper end of stick around cord (back to right to front), turn stick perpendicular to cord (stick now has a single loop of cord around it); now you can control load with stick in right hand using right thumb on cord

2. With left hand (thumb down), grab cord below stick, turn hand up (thumb up), place loop on left end of stick

3. Tighten your clove hitch

For easier removal, it's best to use something smooth like extra stake, dowel, chop stick, skewer.

Edited by jshann on 04/27/2010 20:46:31 MDT.

Josh Taylor
(josht) - F

Locale: North Carolina
Thanks Backpacking Light for the MYOG spot. on 04/27/2010 20:22:16 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the comments people. JeffK that video you posted certainly looks easier than how I was attempting to tie the clove hitch on the stick but I wasn't joking when I said I was no good with knots! My little PVC trick allows for me to do what I do best....not think too much. Haha! If anyone tries it out in the real life let me know what you think...until this article was posted only myself and three of my friends had seen it in action and only I have really used it.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/27/2010 21:21:21 MDT Print View

What about just using two bags -- perhaps one for food and one for trash? Secure the second bag to the line instead of either a stick or the length of PVC the OP suggests. The only requirement is that bag #2 cannot pull through the min-biner.

Advantage over PCT: no stick or PVC, and (if desired) one could tuck the rope end into bag #2 (as with normal counter-bagging).

Advantage over normal counter-bagging: bag #2 does not need to be equal weight -- it can be any weight not greater than bag #1.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 04/27/2010 21:53:14 MDT.

Ken Charpie
(kencharpie) - MLife

Locale: Western Oregon
Going to try it out! on 04/28/2010 01:35:08 MDT Print View

I love this idea! This would seem to add some simplicity to my bear bag set up (no need to search for an appropriate stick/twig and easier than the clove hitch to tie). I could add a hole large enough to clip the pvc sleeve to my caribiner, keeping everything nice and organized.

I plan on trying it out this weekend on an over-nighter in the Cascades.

Mike McHenry
(mtmche2) - F
Multi Use on 04/28/2010 01:57:48 MDT Print View

With multiple use in mind, is there anything else you could use the piece of PVC for or is there anything in your kit already that would serve or could serve the same purpose with two holes drilled into it?

Some initial thoughts:

-A MSR Pocket Rocket Case for those of you who carry those

-A measuring cup with two holes drilled towards the top

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Mystified on 04/28/2010 03:35:47 MDT Print View

I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I am mystified -- what problem is being solved here?

One of the ultralight precepts is substituting knowledge for gear. This gadget looks to me as if it does just the opposite. As far as I can tell, the only "problem" being solved is the alleged difficulty of tying a clove hitch.

Unlike what the video says, one can easily tie a clove hitch without pulling the whole end through when one has access to the end of the stick. (FWIW I just took another look and both of the youTube videos I found show doing it right -- no pulling the end through.)

You do, however, need to pull the whole end through this new gadget. I just do not see how the proposed way is easier than the traditional way. It seems like one more light (but slightly bulky) piece of unnecessary gear.

OK -- feel free to point out what I am missing -- what problem does this piece of gear actually solve?

Your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon,

Edited by blean on 04/28/2010 04:02:15 MDT.

Mike McHenry
(mtmche2) - F
Problem being solved on 04/28/2010 03:53:13 MDT Print View


I am kind of in your boat. I guess I would consider using this method if there was something I was already carrying that could be used if I drilled holes in it. To me, a clove hitch on a bight is not really all that hard to tie.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Front/Back on 04/28/2010 05:53:26 MDT Print View

To make untying easier in the AM, write "FRONT" on the front of the PVC, so you know where to start.

Tracy Novak
(tracyn) - F
Not sure this is much easier on 04/28/2010 05:54:04 MDT Print View

I'm going to have to try it because I don't see it being that much easier either.

Alfred Lemire
(atkeys91) - F
MYOG? on 04/28/2010 06:37:59 MDT Print View

One should spell out an acronym in the first reference. And I haven't been hanging around the correct places, obviously.

What does MYOG mean? My guess: Make Your Own Gear. Ditto FWIW: For What It's Worth?

If both are true, then I should be able to hang a bear bag with no difficulty. But familiarity with words does not translate to familiarity with knots or bear-bag hanging. Thanks for the video and for the intelligent, knowledgeable comments here.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
MYOG: Knotless PCT Bear Bag Hang on 04/28/2010 06:43:14 MDT Print View

+1 with Bob B. Thanks for the time and effort to make the video. But a clove hitch couldn't be easier to tie. If you need two hands for whatever reason you could stand on the rope until you get it tied.

Alfred look here for a glossary

Edited by kthompson on 04/28/2010 06:55:12 MDT.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re: quick clove hitch on 04/28/2010 07:38:01 MDT Print View

For tying a quick clove hitch on my tarp and trekking poles, I just use the mnemonic: clove and clockwise start with "cl", so I make 2 clockwise turns in the line and run my trekking pole through both of them. I'm sure this has been around since the dark ages, but I found it in Jardine's book.

FWIW: The MYOG bear bag hang is a major PITA, and will have you screaming WTF over and over. Make sure you have a good trip and LOL lots, but don't let a bear get your food bag or you will be SOL. (No children or small animals were harmed in the use of these acronyms)

WV Hiker

Locale: West Virginia
Hang question on 04/28/2010 07:49:03 MDT Print View

Here in the East we don't have to worry about bears too much but when I have I use a counterbalance method I learned at This is a counterbalance method but it doesn't entail anything complicated. This MYOG project appears to be a modification to the PCT hang method - correct? My question about the PCT method is, as stated by another poster, what keeps the bear from pulling on the dangling cord and possibly retrieving your food?

Josh Taylor
(josht) - F

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Front/Back on 04/28/2010 07:58:46 MDT Print View

Hey Joe Geib no need to write Front on the front, it is pretty easy to tell which end you pull around to the back to release. Which ever line is hanging to the ground that is the one you pull around to the back to release.

For the minimalists and peeps comfortable with knots this system might not be your cup of tea however give it a try - I'd like the (post)opinion of those who are good at the traditional knot on stick. Thanks!