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Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it?
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Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it? on 10/20/2013 20:35:23 MDT Print View

I just picked up some Spectra bear bag line for hanging food (from ultralightdesigns.com, "the griz," a flat weave with slick urethane coating). When I'm not in bear country, does this cord deter rodents? Do they shimmy down the line with no problem, or is it too slick for them to descend?

Any tips on rodent-proofing appreciated; I've lost waaaay more food to rodents than bears. Already own the OutSack.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
bear bag line on 10/20/2013 22:24:54 MDT Print View

I've wondered about this, too. I also have an Outsak, but I've wondered if I might be able to leave it at home and just hang the food bag from a slippery, small-diameter string in areas where ravens and magpies are not a problem. I looked into a lot of different kinds of string for this purpose, and ended up buying some BCY 450 Plus Dyneema/Vectran bowstring. It has a nominal breaking strength of 155 lbs, it is very thin (about 0.2-0.3 mm), and it has a slick, waxy surface. I plan to use it as a "leader", only for the last 2 feet or so of line where it attaches to the bag.

I've done one climbability test in my backyard. I have a bird feeder that is frequently raided by squirrels. They climb down the twine it hangs from. So, I got another bird feeder of the same design and hung them both from the same tree branch. The birdseed disappeared from the one hanging from jute twine, but not from the other. I switched the birdfeeders and repeated the test and again the one hanging from the bowstring was not raided. I even observed a squirrel attempting to climb down the bowstring and giving up.

I don't know if the bowstring would also frustrate mice, and I don't know if it will survive repeated abrasion against branches.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
spectra on 10/20/2013 22:32:25 MDT Print View

Spectra lines arent that slick, it has a woven surface usually.

I have never thought it would deter rodents, at least not in a normal 1-2mm diameter.

I like the idea of a thinner "leader", as long as the rodents arent smart enough to chew thru it.

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/20/2013 22:33:53 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Info Needed on 10/20/2013 22:39:42 MDT Print View

Ugh, rodents. Would LOVE info on combating mini-bears.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it? on 10/20/2013 22:52:25 MDT Print View

I've hung silnylon bag from branch with both nylon and spectra and rodents never bothered it - either the line, the bag, or the combination

When I leave silnylon bag on ground there's maybe a 10% chance of rodent getting in.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Thanks to the Empiricists on 10/20/2013 23:56:05 MDT Print View

Colin -- love the experiment, kudos!

Jerry -- thanks for the real world observation.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby)

Locale: North Carolina
Interesting on 10/21/2013 09:30:32 MDT Print View

Yep - raccoons, mice and squirrels are the main culprits on the trips I go on with my sons scout troop. We tend to use somewhat established campsites when backpacking ... i.e. mini bears know food will be available. I'm encouraging my son to be a bit better in selecting a tree - i.e. maybe go a bit away from the campsite - but any additional techniques are helpful.

I've personally never had a problem - I am probably more careful than he it however and make sure my stuff is really 5 feet out and down - makes it harder to find at least - and I use 3mm black line which isn't the easiest to traverse but far from the lines described thus far...

I like the idea of a thinner and perhaps slicker "leader" ...

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Food bag leader on 10/21/2013 10:12:26 MDT Print View

When I was hunting for line for this purpose, I considered bowstring, "fused" fishing line, monofilament fishing line, and metal wire. I chose the bowstring because it is stronger than any fused fishing line I could find, thinner than monofilament of the same strength, and lighter and less prone to kinking and breaking than steel or titanium wire. So, I didn't try any of those other options, but they might work.

If anyone happens to have any wire or fishing line around, and happens to have a clever idea for testing it, I'd love to hear about it. Surely someone has a pet rodent that would be willing to climb a string for a treat? Or some uninvited mice in a shed or garage?

Edited by ckrusor on 10/21/2013 10:16:51 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it? on 10/21/2013 10:44:33 MDT Print View

I've heard of people using a cone of plastic or aluminum on the top of a bear bag so the mice slide off. It would be hilarious to watch. I Imagine you could use something like drafting Mylar.


Pixie and Dixie going after the coned bear bag:

"You go first"
"Oh no, I wouldn't dream of it, after you"
"If you insist! Helllllllp!" {{{{{{thud}}}}}}}

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it? on 10/21/2013 11:16:12 MDT Print View

Do people have experience with rodents climbing down line and getting into their food?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it? on 10/21/2013 11:36:14 MDT Print View

}Do people have experience with rodents climbing down line and getting into their food?

I have been raided several times. They are either climbing down the line or jumping from the tree. Since I have been raided when food is hanging from a steel bear cable in the Smokies, I assume they are sliding down like its a firepole. I have not been raided since I switched to a slick, tough cuben food sack. I suspect its easir for the mice to slip off before cutting a hole. Or maybe I've been lucky lately.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Does slick Spectra bear bag line deter rodents climbing down it? on 10/21/2013 12:30:10 MDT Print View

What kind of container did they break into? (hanging from a line)

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
What kind of container on 10/21/2013 13:03:25 MDT Print View

I have been present 3x when rodents ate through a backpack. One of them was my son's GoLite Pinnacle, which is a fairly hefty fabric. The other was my lighter REI UL bag. The third was a pretty heavy plastic hang.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Disc on 10/21/2013 17:30:11 MDT Print View

For extra security, I'd like to make a light plastic disc (milk carton cutout?), and situate it on my spectra line, above my hanging food bag.

How small can I make the disc, to effectively foil the little beasties?

Would a 2" diameter plastic disc be enough, you think?

And should the disc be a certain distance above the food bag? Twelve inches or so?

Edited by Bolster on 10/21/2013 19:09:55 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Disc on 10/21/2013 17:57:08 MDT Print View

A plastic disc might help. I think that any size would work as long as its radius is larger than the girth of the animal. If the radius were smaller than the animal girth, it might be able to jump or crawl around it.

The trick is in estimating the animal in advance. Marmots can be bad, but they do not climb trees. Raccoons climb and can be a problem. The opossum can climb, but they are not normally that aggressive. I've never seen a feline go out after a food hang that way. Fishers, pine martens, and ringtails climb well, but they are oriented toward meat of any sort. Black bear cubs are the worst of all, and they seem to have little fear about jumping or falling, especially if they are half-grown.

--B.G.--

Steve G
(sgrobben)

Locale: Ohio
Re: Disc on 10/21/2013 18:35:12 MDT Print View

Would a 2" circumference plastic disc be enough, you think?"

I'm guessing you meant diameter as 2" circumference isn't even a 1" disc? I would think you'd need a disc that exceeds the diameter of your hang bag or else they could drop onto the bag? I base this on what I've seen squirrels do, they are quite amazing to watch when trying to thwart "squirrel-proof" bird feeders.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Diameter not Circumference on 10/21/2013 19:09:11 MDT Print View

Geez, yes, I meant 2" diameter. Why did I say circumference. Corrected on previous post. Sorry.

So you think a diameter as large as the bag? Shoot, that would be 10" or maybe a foot. But I see your point. I guess I will be looking for a long, skinny food bag with a small diameter! My hope is that, a rodent launching off the spectra cord, would merely carom off the bag.

Ah ha ha ha ha -- just "got" your avatar. Bicycle inside with the guy, girl must sleep outside.

Edited by Bolster on 10/21/2013 19:16:10 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Diameter not Circumference on 10/21/2013 19:16:13 MDT Print View

I like the disc idea better than a cone-- a disk would be inherently unstable as well as slippery. I would want the disk as wide as the sack under it, so they ssssssssssslide right on by. It would be a hoot to watch. Muhahahahaha!

That same disk could have kitchen functions, like a cutting board or stove insulator.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Interesting discussion! on 10/21/2013 19:28:43 MDT Print View

Dang, multi-use barrier, interesting idea.

I could punch a small hole in the middle of my aluminum windscreen and hang it, convex side up, on the line above my food bag. It should be very unstable that way.

It would also catch the wind and move around a lot, potentially knocking rodents off as it swung, but also potentially slicing into the line.

If you made a complete circle of the windscreen, it'd be more wind stable, but would also give a rodent a toe-hold if he happened to get into the circle and rest in the concave portion.

I like the idea of using something I'm already carrying as a line barrier.

Calling on creative thinkers! What else that's already carried, be used as a rodent barrier on a line?

Edited by Bolster on 10/21/2013 19:30:29 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Interesting discussion! on 10/21/2013 19:36:40 MDT Print View

need to add one of those wildlife cameras