Hang a Foodpack in black bear country

It’s wild blueberry season in Ontario and that means its bear awareness month….at the quickescapes.ca blog anyway. Last week, Darren shared a great experience he had with a bear-visitor (http://quickescapes.ca/trips/bear-scare). In the article he mentioned that he’d followed precautions to eliminate any animal attractants from his site (food, toothpaste, trash, etc) and that will be the focus of this article.

 

Where are you?

Your location dictates your actions. In Yosemite for example, there are bear proof boxes in campsites and you would take bear proof containers or kevlar bear bags with you into the backcountry.

In southern Ontario- black bear country- we hang our food in the back woods. Keep in mind that food barrels and coolers are not bear proof and should also be hung. A properly kept camp, along with properly stored food packs will ensure your trip isn't cut short because a  bear/racoon/etc ate it all.

 

How?

Take a look at the drawing, there’s the one tree method, or failing finding the ideal tree with the ideal branch- the two tree method. There’s many different ways of tying your pack, research the area you’re headed for local tips and guidelines. Some areas have had issues with bears slashing the line so people use a carabiner with a stick and a clove hitch knot and let the retrieval line hang. (PCT style- not yet necessary in Algonquin Park). The important thing is to have your food pack at least 4m(12ft) off the ground and 2m(7ft) from the trunk.

 

What should be hung?

  • Food- all food- no snacks in the tent!!
  • Dishes, utensils, soap
  • Garbage that can’t be burned
  • Toothpaste etc
  • Some fishing tackle
  • Anything else that smells like food: ie: the shirt you slopped chili on :(

 

Tips and tricks:

  • Don’t wait until dark to hang your food pack
  • Tie off your pack to a different tree than the one that's holding your food
  • A bailer bag with a rock in it makes a great throw bag
  • On heavier bags, use the two tree approach and run a line first, then use a carabiner as a pulley.