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PCT Food Hanging Method & Spectra 725
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Brett Marl
(brettmarl) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
PCT Food Hanging Method & Spectra 725 on 07/19/2007 00:30:09 MDT Print View

Last weekend, I did a quick overnight with a new bit of gear - 50' of Spectra 725 from Gossamer Gear .

It's amazingly light flat (not round) spectra cord that is friendly to branches and doesn't cut into them.

However, I noticed that using the PCT Method to hang my food that the clove-hitch was a nightmare to undo around the twig. And this was with just one night of food in the haul sack, not 5 nights.

Anyone else experienced this? Any tips/thoughts for how to improve on the clove hitch to get the twig out more easily in the morning.


Edited by brettmarl on 07/19/2007 00:30:50 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: PCT Food Hanging Method & Spectra 725 on 07/19/2007 07:12:33 MDT Print View

I hated the pct method too due to difficulty with the clove hitch...went back to old method of tieing cord off to nearby tree knob.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: PCT Food Hanging Method & Spectra 725 on 07/19/2007 07:19:36 MDT Print View

Hi Brett,

I've had the exact problem. I solved it by using a chopstick that has been cut down (it weighs next to nothing) and include it in my bear bag kit. The weight is minimal. The clove hitch will slide right off the smooth surface. You could also use something like the outside of a bic pen or something similar with a smooth surface.


Brett Marl
(brettmarl) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
chopsticks - duh! on 07/20/2007 09:19:14 MDT Print View

love the chopstick idea. i'm gonna give that a shot.

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Smooth stick and racoons on 08/01/2007 10:51:22 MDT Print View

A real man can undo it bare handed...just messing around. The chopstick idea is a great one. I was going to suggest just whittling a small branch down smooth while in camp for the same effect. I have done this before.

And to the poster that went away from the PCT method, I have actually had a racoon chew the cord in half and get to my food bag using the old school "tie it off to a tree" method. So be warned, those racoons are some smart buggers.

Luke Ochsenbein
(LukeOchsen) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Break it on 08/02/2007 15:10:10 MDT Print View

You can also just break the stick where the hitch is to get it out.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Butterfly clove hitch on 08/03/2007 13:55:51 MDT Print View

I haven't tried it with Spectra cord but you might also have success with Jardine's 'patented' butterfly clove hitch:

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
PCT Food Hanging Method & Spectra 725 on 08/03/2007 16:01:56 MDT Print View

In the morning, I'm stumbling to the bear bag in search of coffee. So, Like Luke, I usually just break the darned stick.

Brett Marl
(brettmarl) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Jackpot! - chopstick approach confirmed on 08/05/2007 15:45:27 MDT Print View

I did a quick overnight last night up Kendall Katwalk on the PCT and experimented with the chopstick.

I couldn't find a tapered chopstick, but I did find a simple bamboo skewer - trimmed it down to about 1 1/2 " and I was in business.

Worked like a charm with a 1-day food bag, I need to experiment more with heavier bags.

William Wright
Re: PCT Food Hanging Method & Spectra 725 on 08/05/2007 20:22:17 MDT Print View

Use a slippery clove hitch (

Paul Banbury

Locale: Olympics
Break it, break it, break it on 08/07/2007 19:56:24 MDT Print View

Too easy to break it, so that's what I do. Now remembering the darn hitch is another problem.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Tying off a food hang to a nearby tree. on 08/17/2007 21:41:28 MDT Print View

Most of the backpacking I do up here in the Northwest is in areas where bears are not a problem, so I can't comment on the technique locally. BUT, this I can tell you: If you try that in the Sierra, your food will be history the first time a bear finds your camp site. Even counterbalancing is losing its effectiveness in many parts of the Sierra, as mature bears either reef on the limb until one bag slides up and one down, chew through the limb, or send a cub out on the limb to dive bomb the bags. Which leads me to speculate on how long a chopstick, or small diameter stick for that matter, would last if a cub did his thing and managed to snag a bag on the way down. Pinata? Broken chopstick? Just speculation, but man they're smart, resourceful critters and they are ravenously hungry darn near all the time. Avoidance is the best strategy. Bear canisters a close second.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Slippery clove hitch on 08/18/2007 01:44:37 MDT Print View

NOOOOO!! Do NOT tie a slippery clove hitch while using this method. The bear has all night to mess with your setup, and the very first thing they will try is pulling on the cord that hangs down from the food bag. Bam, hitch is undone, and bear eats food.

If you wish to tie the slippery hitch, feed the running end through the bight you created to lock the hitch. This addition retains your ability to untie the knot in the morning while preventing the collapse of your food defenses.

Ben Klocek
(benklocek) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area
How about a slip type knot? on 08/18/2007 11:21:33 MDT Print View

If you use a slip type knot, you can do it with one-hand! Just make sure the slip is going the right way. Ten in the morning, a little tug on the stick loosens the knot, the stick slides out, and no more knot.

To do the knot, grab a loop, reach through it and pull a side through.