Forum Index » Backpacking Light with Scouts » What to do with pack at night?


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Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
What to do with a pack at night on 12/21/2013 10:53:57 MST Print View

@ Caleb
This question was posted in the context of a BSA Troop backpacking with what I assumed to be traditional gear.

If it is just one or two folks with lightweight packs, I assume you could hang the whole pack in such a way that raccoons and bears could not get to it. Since I use a short pad, I usually stuff my pack under my feet at night.

When I lead a group of 12 to 20 or more twelve-year olds, I focus on hanging the food in "bear" bags. You can have 3, 4 or 5 Scouts attach their bags to one small carabiner on a rope which simplifies the whole process. If you are base camping, you can leave the rope and carabiner in place and just haul the bag up at night and down in the morning. Having the food in bags, also helps the Scouts keep the food together in their packs during the day especially on longer trips.

Caleb Johnson
(fastpakr) - M
Scouts on 12/21/2013 11:02:00 MST Print View

You're right, I definitely jumped off the original topic at hand a bit. It was more of a personal curiosity than a relevant point. I've been debating purchasing a full bear bagging kit for my upcoming section hike versus just picking up some cord and a mini carabiner.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
pack on 12/21/2013 12:07:19 MST Print View

"Assuming the pack were weathertight (compactor liner, etc) and relatively light, is there any obvious reason not to just hang the whole thing rather than using a separate bear bag?"

How about because now instead of just losing your food to a bear, you lost your pack too. Makes it hard to carry your gear out if you know what I mean.

If a bear gets a food bag, he might eat the food there, or carry it off a ways and you never find the remains.

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
What do to do with pack at Night on 12/21/2013 14:02:08 MST Print View

@ M.B.
>>
How about because now instead of just losing your food to a bear, you lost your pack too. Makes it hard to carry your gear out if you know what I mean.
>>
Precisely!

Caleb Johnson
(fastpakr) - M
Eh? on 12/21/2013 14:35:19 MST Print View

How, exactly, is a bear going to escape with a pack that's hung from a tree well over its head?

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Eh What to do with pack on 12/21/2013 15:09:41 MST Print View

'If Bear takes the pack....

Admittedly, the probability is low that this could happen, and I have never seen it happen but if it did, the bear would most likely shred the pack to get to the food.

I have seen bears go for my hung food. And I have had bears approach my camp while cooking dinner.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Eh? on 12/21/2013 18:47:09 MST Print View

"How, exactly, is a bear going to escape with a pack that's hung from a tree well over its head?"

Black bears can climb trees. I admit that a mature black bear might be too fat to climb some trees, but that is why the mother bear sends her cubs up the tree. Cubs can climb pretty fast, and they are not always careful. The cub might get just one paw of claws on the pack as it falls, but that might be enough to destroy a pack.

We used to refer to bear cubs as Kamikaze Bears.

--B.G.--

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
?? on 12/22/2013 09:00:13 MST Print View

"How, exactly, is a bear going to escape with a pack that's hung from a tree well over its head?"

Are you thinking that hanging food is 100% effective?

There is a reason the bear cannister exists and is required in many areas.

A determined bear, will eventually get food hung from a tree, given enough time.


They can gnaw the limb off, gnaw thru the cord, drop onto the bag and pop the cord or rip it open.

They are incredibly strong acrobatic climbers. Small bears live in trees, Ive watched them eating in the top of a tree 50' off the ground. They can climb and hold on for hours on a branch with legs and one paw, using the other paw and teeth to gnaw thru something.

Edited by livingontheroad on 12/22/2013 09:08:41 MST.

Dan Lee
(scoutbuff) - M

Locale: Colorado
NEVER TEST A BEAR... on 01/02/2014 12:38:01 MST Print View

I was backpacking in the Sierras with a couple of buddies in my younger years (~20 years ago) and had an encounter that taught me to NEVER underestimate bears.

We had dinner (fresh lake trout BTW), "cleared" our packs of smellables in a cannister and stashed the cannister several hundred feet from our site. As we began to fall asleep, a scraping sound woke us up only to realize that a bear had my pack in his mouth about 25 feet from us. We jumped up, roared and threw some rocks at him. He dropped the pack, took a long look at us and lumbered off.

Here are my biggest lessons... 1) Bears are silent and can seem to appear out of nowhere. To get to my pack (we were camped between some very large rocks) he had to step over one of us when we weren't fully off to dreamland. 2) Clear EVERYTHING that MIGHT smell and stash your pack away from where you're sleeping. After retrieving my pack, I found that I had inadvertently left an empty baggie in one of my side pockets that had previously carried some trail mix. We suspect he smelled our dinner, simply came into our camp and found what he could.

Whether you choose to hang your food or stash it in a cannister, make sure you get all smellables out of your pack. Unless I'm snow caving, my pack is always away from my sleep area. You can make your own risk/reward decision but I'll never test a bear. -DL

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Never provide positive reinforcement to a black bear on 01/02/2014 13:18:30 MST Print View

>"but I'll never test a bear."

Whereas I always challenge black bears. Grizzlies, OTOH, I don't confront nor run from. I move away slowly while they move away, eventually, quickly.

As a teenager backpacking in the Sierra, black bears would freak me out. I gave that up. It can BE my breakfast, but I won't let it EAT my breakfast.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
bears on 01/02/2014 16:18:12 MST Print View

heres what you need to know about black bears and hanging food:

bear 1

bear 2

bear 3

bar 4

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Never provide positive reinforcement to a black bear on 01/02/2014 17:09:21 MST Print View

I say we put David and his breakfast in a huge cage with a hungry black bear, and you know, see what happens, and how he does it. Kat Pee will film it, -B.G.- and the Idester will be the referees, and I'll sell tickets to pay the zoo for the cage rental and also our travel expenses to get to/from there. Animal Planet is sure to buy the rights to Kat's footage, and we'll all be well funded for our 2014 gear purchases!

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: ?? on 01/02/2014 17:34:03 MST Print View

Re: those pics of the black bear getting the food.


and he must be, an acrobat, to talk like this, and hang like that..