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Bear Bagging Question: Using something like the Home Depot Tote
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Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
Bear Bagging Question: Using something like the Home Depot Tote on 01/28/2013 14:43:37 MST Print View

So, I was talking to someone at work about bear bagging and using something like a burlap bag. He suggested looking at the Home Depot shopping tote:
Though they have officially been discontinued, I believe my local HD still has them. They hold 6-gallons of stuff and are very strong. What do you think? Would these make acceptable bear bags (assuming I can still get them...)? Thanks!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bear Bagging Question: Using something like the Home Depot Tote on 01/28/2013 14:52:33 MST Print View

Those might work. However, the taller the thing is from the top of the handles to the bottom, the higher up you have to pull it. Or, the worse that it will hang down closer to the bear. You could beat part of that by shortening the handle straps.

Also, it is a good idea to hang food in a dark-colored bag rather than a brightly colored bag.

Bears operate to find the food by several methods. First, they remember about where the backpacker camps used to be, so they know where to start searching. Then they operate by sense of smell. If you can keep your food tightly air sealed, it might help. Then when the bear gets close enough to smell the food, it starts looking upward. If it sees a brightly-colored bag with a white rope running to it, it knows it has a target. A dark-colored bag and rope might help there.

I've had bears in camp, and they were all climbing the trees looking for the food, but they never scored any.


Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
Orange bad = Food. :) Better to go with something like burlap on 01/29/2013 07:28:24 MST Print View

Thanks for the info on bears being able to see colors. Orange bag hanging from pole = food. I think we'll stick with something like a burlap feed bag. I'm looking for them from my local feed & seed stores, or if it comes down to it, Amazon has them:

ed dzierzak
(dzierzak) - F

Locale: SE
climbing bears on 01/29/2013 10:29:25 MST Print View


Interesting that you've seen climbing bears. I've been to Philmont 6 times and have yet to see one. Perhaps they're stealth bears in camo... We always check our hang by having our tallest camper try to touch the bags while jumping - no touch = good hang.

We've always used the Philmont bags and or ones we've brought (greyish, not bright colors).

Edited by dzierzak on 01/29/2013 10:30:38 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: climbing bears on 01/29/2013 13:38:58 MST Print View

Black bears climb trees. That is a given. They evolved with curved claws that are perfect for engaging the tree bark. In contrast, brown bears evolved with claws that are straighter, and that made them better for digging.

I've seen lots of bear cubs and half-grown bears in the trees looking for a food bag. Sometimes the mother bear is down on the ground giving instructions, or so it seems. Besides, the lighter weight bears are better for going out on the tree branch to cut the rope. Full grown bears are better for simply jumping on the tree branch until it crashes to the ground.


david richardson
(drichi) - MLife

Locale: midwest
walmart laundry bags on 01/30/2013 05:54:04 MST Print View

We have been using this bag on shakedown hikes and troop adventures.
My recommendation is to use the nylon feed bags that Philmont issues when at Philmont, they are light enough and strong. We did carry different color ribbons for each pair of tent pardners so we could identify the bags easily. They can be pinned on or tied after attaching bag to bear rope. It is best if every one has a stuff sack of there own to keep all smellables in. Makes sorting bear bags quick and easy in the morning while packing up each day. dave

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Philmont bear bag alternatives on 01/30/2013 09:25:04 MST Print View

FWIW ... here is an additional thread that discusses Philmont bear bag alternatives: