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judeczz
member (6)member
  
10/10/2022 01:43PM  
Soooooooo, I have another question. Do you guys prefer to have a bear grade barrel or to hang your food sack from a tree? I would gladly read the pros and cons in preparation of being the mastermind behind my future adventures.

As always happy paddling.
 
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straighthairedcurly
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10/10/2022 03:03PM  
Personally, I am really bad at placing a rope to be able to adequately hang my food. Especially on a solo trip, I feel like I increase my chance of injury if I try to hang (throwing rocks fly/bounce back in my face, reinjure my throwing arm, rope gets stuck and I am tempted to climb, etc.). So I either pack my food in a bear barrel/canister (certified) or in an Ursack with "odor-proof" bags inside. The "odor-proof" bags are just to decrease the scent radius. I am under no illusion that a bear would NOT be able to smell it if nearby.

The active bear on Rose visited my campsite while I was eating and found 2 empty wrappers I had forgotten in my PFD pocket that evening. I fully expected him to return and make an attempt on my Ursack that night, but all was quiet. My travel partner's bear canister was also undisturbed. I found that interesting, though certainly no conclusions can be drawn from it. Maybe just an experienced bear who knows that the Ursack and bear canister are low yield.
 
10/10/2022 03:40PM  
I quit hanging long ago. Some sites do not have suitable trees for hanging. I have used a Backpacker's Cache and Bearvault BV 500, both of which were certified, i.e. could be used in places where such bear canisters are required. Like straighthairedcurly I have used the Ursacks with OpSaks for several years now. The BV500 is about the largest canister at 11L, which is not large. Ursacks come in some larger sizes now.

You should be sure you know how large they are in relation to the food you usually take. I take all dehydrated food, cold cereal, and calorie-dense nuts, along with ProBars, which is pretty compact food. In addition it is low odor and non-liquid.

Many people hang and they'll add their 2 cents.
 
10/10/2022 04:46PM  
5-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids. Not bear grade, but pretty good. See results of bear attack on Knife Lake...
 
10/10/2022 05:26PM  
Neither, I use an Ursack
 
billconner
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10/10/2022 06:26PM  
Long time hanger. It's a one of the traditions. I have a well developed system that I'm pleased with and has worked to for me for over 20+ years. We also never leave it for a day trip, where I have observed in reports is a large number of bear and hanging incidents. I hang a whole CCS Deluxe Food Pack, and would need a bunch of bear cannisters or ursaks.

No one has mentioned the blue barrle and stash in option yet in this thread.
 
MReid
distinguished member (447)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/10/2022 06:40PM  
Just curious, as I've never been to BWCA, but I've been to Quetico 3x now. Are the trees different in BWCA? I've had no problem finding hanging trees at Quetico.
 
alpinebrule
distinguished member (329)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/10/2022 07:14PM  
Days of the single branch hang off a big white pine in the BWCA are gone,
If you master the art of using two trees with a horizontal line and a pulley in the middle still doable, but not easy. Embrace the challenge.
 
10/10/2022 07:19PM  
MReid: "Just curious, as I've never been to BWCA, but I've been to Quetico 3x now. Are the trees different in BWCA? I've had no problem finding hanging trees at Quetico."


Burn zones more specifically.
 
10/10/2022 08:01PM  
I use a blue barrel and I probably hang it half the time and stash it the other half -- usually if I'm wiped out from the day's travel and it's during the shoulder seasons.
 
10/10/2022 09:43PM  
We stopped hanging long ago and now just stash a blue barrel. 30L for two of us, 60L if there's four of us. Our food is dehydrated and vacuum sealed.
 
StLouisPaddler
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
  
10/10/2022 09:44PM  
alpinebrule: "Days of the single branch hang off a big white pine in the BWCA are gone,
If you master the art of using two trees with a horizontal line and a pulley in the middle still doable, but not easy. Embrace the challenge."


+1. We typically use a 100 foot line of amsteel for the “clothesline” and another 100 footer on a 4:1 pulley. Works really well. The downside is the time it takes to get up.
 
10/11/2022 07:23AM  
MReid: "Just curious, as I've never been to BWCA, but I've been to Quetico 3x now. Are the trees different in BWCA? I've had no problem finding hanging trees at Quetico."


With the recent fires I am not sure this will be the case in the Q anymore either.

I’ve never personally been at a sight where I couldn’t hang…now hang exactly per the guidelines to ensure a bear couldn’t get the food? Same…almost never. Technically you need to be 10-12 feet off the ground and 5-6 feet away from any tree or branch. You can do it with a 2 rope pulley system sometimes…I’ve see some great hangs by people on this sight, but most look like bear food/piñatas :) Branch too near, too close to the tree, not high enough, other trees too close etc…

I think you need to do what you feel competent doing. If hanging appeals to yiou and you are confident by all means…if not then the canister is a better option.

T
 
MidwestFirecraft
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10/11/2022 07:57AM  
If I'm solo or with my tripping partner we generally just tie our Ursacks to a tree. In bigger groups I like to hang on the line system with pulleys.
 
10/11/2022 10:33AM  
Used to bring two Bear Vaults. Starting this year began bringing a blue barrel instead and stashing it. Never thought I'd go down that road but it happened.
 
10/11/2022 02:11PM  
I have hung in the past, but like others have said, it's hard to find a good tree for it. The last 2 trips I have used a BV500 and an Ursack with Opsak inside. I didn't have any problems with bears disturbing either one.
 
10/11/2022 03:40PM  
As one new to camping in bear country, we used a 60L blue barrel complete with pack harness on our first trip last year. Arrived at site, setup camp and left to fish. We had stashed the barrel a ways from camp. Return to find barrel lying in camp. Bear had clawed up pack surrounding barrel, but barrel was intact. Stashed far, far from camp thereafter and had no issues.

We have used BV500s since this first trip, stashing from site and taking with us when away from camp without any further encounters.
 
straighthairedcurly
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10/11/2022 06:49PM  
Like some of the other posters, we always take our food with us when we do day trips away from the campsite.
 
kjw
distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/11/2022 07:32PM  
Never hang. Use either 30L blue barrel and/or several bearvaults. Leave them under tarp. Keeps little critters out of food. Sometimes I put something on top of 30L blue barrel to make noise if I think it is possible bear will come into camp. I also bring bear spray to handle problems.
 
billconner
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10/12/2022 06:42AM  
The idea of a blue barrel (or even a pack) with metal bands or aluminized or something, in combination with an electric bear fence power supply is intriguing.
 
Saberboys
distinguished member(902)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/12/2022 11:21AM  
I use two BV500 BearVaults and never looked back. They hold the appropriate amount of food for our group, so no over packing & extra weight with unnecessary items. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't go. Any one in the group can easily access them without assistance. It never fails with hanging a bag that someone needs something as soon as you've tied off the rope.

Everyone has their preference, but these work great for me!
 
10/12/2022 07:04PM  
Saberboys: "It never fails with hanging a bag that someone needs something as soon as you've tied off the rope. "


Ain't that the truth :)
 
10/12/2022 08:16PM  
BV500 barrel. Easy, accessible, waterproof, and and makes for a great stool or footrest.
 
10/12/2022 08:38PM  
AndySG: "BV500 barrel. Easy, accessible, waterproof, and and makes for a great stool or footrest. "


Bear Vaults are not waterproof. It specifically states that on their website. Otherwise I’d be a bigger proponent. It says “rainproof” IF you leave it upright. If you leave it on it’s side water can get in, you cannot submerge it in water or water will get in. They suggest using a dry sack for it if canoeing and making sure you package everything in side the barrel in bags to reduce smells and moisture spoiling the food

It also is not airtight so it does allow critters to find it easier.

I have 4 now. They are what they are…but not perfect. Still prefer my blue barrels. Scent proof, waterproof less likely for a bear to find, but the BV is better if a bear does find it and sometimes locations require a BV or other technique.

T
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1318)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/13/2022 07:02AM  
Folks don't consider that a BV will fit IN a blue barrel. Sure makes it easy to carry and double scent-proofs the food within.
Just sayin'.
 
10/13/2022 07:11AM  
Water is unlikely to enter a Bearvault if it is standing upright, but I have used a liner to further protect. Using an OPSak as a liner will accomplish waterproofing and scent control.
 
Bjfinnegan
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
  
10/13/2022 12:14PM  
With all the talk about food storage options and scent-proof or not, what are the thoughts on the following:

1. What value is a scent proof container of stored food when a site is splattered with grease from frying fish, meat, or even dumping cooking water from grains/noodles? (around fire grate, airborne onto trees, wherever cleaning occurred, etc)

2. What does everyone do with their trash that is often times more fragrant? Just mixing a trash bag into your barrel? What about the Ursacks?

For what it's worth, this full circle look is why we use rubberized dry bags hanging. Each person carries their own 10L of food in a lighter dry bag in their pack, then we combine 2 per 20L rubberized dry bags + unpack 1x20L that is dedicated to the trash bag. We only boil water and cook fish on foil packets that can be balled up and put into our trash to minimize any scents/cleaning/etc.
 
10/13/2022 01:13PM  
I tend to agree that scent reduction/control is the first line of defense. I also only boil water for meals (no fish). I eat them out of the bag (no leftovers & the bags can be rinsed) which is then sealed, put in another ziplock which gets put in the OPSak in the Ursack or BearVault which I try not to get food odors on. It is then stored outside camp, usually some distance.



Video discussing much the same that you may find nteresting.
 
10/13/2022 01:42PM  
We hang with the two tree method. If you have enough rope you can do it with only one tree and tie off the other side on a small tree. We bring a small throw sack that we put in rocks .
Then we hang ANYTHING with an odor, food, garbage, toothpaste, deodorant (ha ha yeah we don’t bring that!) and don’t worry. We leave it at camp ‘cause we usually have it a good 20’ up in the air.
 
10/13/2022 07:45PM  
It depends on where I am. On solos in the BW or Upper Michigan I always hang. In Canada I have always traveled on group trips and we have never hung the food barrels. In 15 years of Wabakimi Project trips plus several private trips to the greater Wabakimi area the food barrels always went under a tarp at the campsite with never any problems. On other Canadian trips in Killarney, Lake Superior PP’s we always put the barrels under a tarp at the campsite. However, in Quetico we have always hung the food. Probably relates to areas that seen heavier camping use as opposed to the areas that have much less human impact.
 
ockycamper
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10/14/2022 04:16PM  
timatkn: "
AndySG: "BV500 barrel. Easy, accessible, waterproof, and and makes for a great stool or footrest. "



Bear Vaults are not waterproof. It specifically states that on their website. Otherwise I’d be a bigger proponent. It says “rainproof” IF you leave it upright. If you leave it on it’s side water can get in, you cannot submerge it in water or water will get in. They suggest using a dry sack for it if canoeing and making sure you package everything in side the barrel in bags to reduce smells and moisture spoiling the food


It also is not airtight so it does allow critters to find it easier.


I have 4 now. They are what they are…but not perfect. Still prefer my blue barrels. Scent proof, waterproof less likely for a bear to find, but the BV is better if a bear does find it and sometimes locations require a BV or other technique.


T"


If you wrap duct tape around the lid to barrel seal they are. We use one bearvault per day for a group of 6 guys so the other bear vaults don't need to be opened until the day they are used. Once the day is done ,the trash goes into the empty bearvault, lids screwed on, and duct tape again wrapped around it. No odors get out, and absolutely water tight
 
mudhen
member (23)member
  
10/23/2022 07:17PM  
We use both blue barrels and bear vaults. Depends on the trip as to which ones we bring. The longer the trip and base camps usually calls for Blue barrels. More time to rig it for hanging and extended trips need the room extra food. If we are on a trip where we move every morning bear vaults are nice and easy to stash. Pick them up in the morning and go. When we base camp we throw up a clothes line rig with pulley in the middle. One time and done and rehanging it every night is pretty easy.
 
10/23/2022 10:51PM  
I’ve got 2 CCS deluxe food packs and we hang them in BWCA and Quetico. I’ve got a good two pulley system down and have a lead Petzl throwing thing like arborists use. Makes the throw a lot safer and a lot more accurate.

That being said I’m picking up a 60 liter barrel and pack system from CCS. I’m doing a 14 day trip in Wabakimi which is Boreal forest. Hanging is going to be way harder if not impossible most days. Figure we’ll have to do the hide it in the woods technique in Wabakimi and eventually Woodland Caribou.

I know the blue barrels aren’t bear proof. I’m actually more concerned about the mini bears and rodents if the food is on the ground. The barrel will keep those out.

Ryan
 
10/24/2022 12:13PM  
This will most likely display my ignorance but is there a way to electrify just your food container? I'm thinking of something that will shock a critter that touches the food pack like an electric fence but encompassing just the pack. I'm picturing a blue barrel with wires on the sides that will shock a bear if they touch a wire. A battery powered wire mesh bag that fits over or around the barrel with an on/off switch? Does any of this make any sense?
If this is a brilliant million $ idea I want a commission, if it's stupid, someone hijacked my name.
 
10/24/2022 04:15PM  
They have grizzly bear fences for those areas people camp in grizzly bear country. I don’t think anyone has built a system for a food bag yet. Not really sure it would work though. Plastic and pack materials wouldn’t conduct electricity. You’d need a conductive outer around the food pack. You also need a battery source and whatever would manage the load and the on & off.

Ryan
 
tomo
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10/24/2022 06:17PM  
I’ve typically used a 60 or 30 liter barrel stashed a bit away from camp.
 
billconner
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10/24/2022 06:17PM  
I did suggest this above, Oct 12. Metal bands or a metalicized coating on a blue barrel and basic bear fence supply. It should already be insulated, fencer could be mounted on barrel lid, just needs a ground stake.
 
gravelroad
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10/24/2022 10:21PM  
Ahem. The power source for the electrical current needs to be separated from the bear. It’s why my charger is inside my bear fence and why this experiment failed:


Bears in the Modern World - Electric Deer
 
Loony_canoe
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10/25/2022 12:04PM  
I have done both. Some trips I do both.
I like the BV500 hard sided for storage of crushable items and the absolute ease of storage. But, I have always been worried it will just be rolled away to be accessed. elsewhere. The largest downside is the barrel stays the same size the whole trip, and weighs a lot more than other options.

In the past I have had a bear use my food bag as a piñata, but that was my fault for not adjusting for leaning distance from the branch.

I like a DSF bag for light weight storage. I always bring two ropes so I can hang the bag between two trees if needed, since it is hard to find the perfect trees. I haven't had problems with rodents getting to the bag, when hung. I like the bag for it's light weight and it size collapses as food is eaten. I tend to be much more conservatives when estimating distances from the trees and ground.

I was at one time, a real fan of the USRACK. Super easy to use and provided a good compromise between hanging a bag and a barrel. Not as heavy as a barrel or light as a bag. Not hard to hang, and no baseball practice to get to a high branch and no possibility of it rolling away. However, I have had a couple encounters where the bear got to the bag and punctured the contents inside, making the food worthless. It did its function to keep the bear from taking or eating the food. But no longer useful for human consumption. The company was great fulfilling the warranty.
Because of the encounters, I now tend to the other methods of food storage. tending towards the light weight bag most of the time.


 
10/25/2022 12:18PM  
timatkn: "
AndySG: "BV500 barrel. Easy, accessible, waterproof, and and makes for a great stool or footrest. "


Bear Vaults are not waterproof.
T"


May not be waterPROOF if submerged in water, but no idea how that might happen. Unlike a pack, never had any water in them during transport or left out in the rain.
 
10/26/2022 12:35PM  
I have not hung a pack nor used a bear vault for at least 10 years. Rarely spend more than one night at a site, and when I do, food goes with me.

At night, food gets stashed in a pack and buckled to a tree on the shoreline. No issues with any critters with this method.
 
10/27/2022 03:28PM  
Food in an Opsak inside a Ursak tied to a small tree in view out the tent door. No issues
 
10/28/2022 07:23AM  
AndySG: "
timatkn: "
AndySG: "BV500 barrel. Easy, accessible, waterproof, and and makes for a great stool or footrest. "



Bear Vaults are not waterproof.
T"



May not be waterPROOF if submerged in water, but no idea how that might happen. Unlike a pack, never had any water in them during transport or left out in the rain. "


If you capsize and they sit in the water for a little bit your food will get soaked. If you stash the barrel on its side and it rains your food will get wet/damp, if you get a lot of morning dew your food can get wet/condensation can build up inside—probably depends on the time of year you travel.

If you leave them upright…most of us don’t capsize, most likley they will be fine, but there are limitations. My first trip I stashed mine between not perfectly upright…some food was ruined due to moisture. The bottom of the barrel had 2 inches of water in it from an all nite rain. This is within specs according to the company.

T
 
ockycamper
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10/28/2022 07:49AM  
timatkn: "
AndySG: "
timatkn: "
AndySG: "BV500 barrel. Easy, accessible, waterproof, and and makes for a great stool or footrest. "




Bear Vaults are not waterproof.
T"




May not be waterPROOF if submerged in water, but no idea how that might happen. Unlike a pack, never had any water in them during transport or left out in the rain. "



If you capsize and they sit in the water for a little bit your food will get soaked. If you stash the barrel on its side and it rains your food will get wet/damp, if you get a lot of morning dew your food can get wet/condensation can build up inside—probably depends on the time of year you travel.


If you leave them upright…most of us don’t capsize, most likley they will be fine, but there are limitations. My first trip I stashed mine between not perfectly upright…some food was ruined due to moisture. The bottom of the barrel had 2 inches of water in it from an all nite rain. This is within specs according to the company.


T"


I have used exclusively bearvaults for the last 5 years. We have yet to have any of our comps get water in them from rain or condensation (might be time of year as we do mid to late september). We also keep the bearvaults under a tarp so they are out of the rain. As to capsizing. . . if there is a chance that this will happen the solution is simple. Wrap duct tape around the area the lid joins the container. . .then they are absoluetely water tight.
 
10/28/2022 09:23AM  
The solution is simple, line it like you line packs or use an OPSack. Either way your food won't get wet and you have another layer of scent reduction.
 
canoemama3
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
  
10/28/2022 08:28PM  
I hung food packs back in college but haven't done that on our more recent trips. We have two bear containers, a BV500 and another orange one (can't remember the brand). Those held enough food for our 5 person family on a 5 day trip. I minimize any extra packaging, vacuum seal as much as possible and use other bags/ziplock bags to add an extra layer or two to help minimize scents. Most of our food is dehydrated. The food all goes into the canisters which then go into our food pack/kitchen gear pack, which is lined with 3 layers of plastic pack liners to help additionally seal out any smells. Sometimes I'll strap the pack to a tree, but often we leave it under a tarp away from the main campsite/cooking area and away from the tents. Haven't had critters of any size disturb our food so far. I also bring a couple extra bags for garbage. The "smelliest" garbage gets sealed into the extra plastic bags, which then go into a bigger main garbage bag, to help keep any odors in, which then gets put into a bear canister as space is made from food eaten. I'm probably a little more cautious with my food/keeping a clean kitchen area, but it's what works for us and gives me peace of mind! I've considered buying a bear barrel for kitchen gear/food, but we haven't made the splurge and would probably still be just as cautious with sealing out smells. I don't know that I could just rely on the barrel itself to seal out most smells. I guess I'll find out how I feel about that if we ever get one!
 
MReid
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10/29/2022 12:56PM  
canoemama3: We have two bear containers, a BV500 and another orange one (can't remember the brand). Those held enough food for our 5 person family on a 5 day trip. The food all goes into the canisters which then go into our food pack/kitchen gear pack, which is lined with 3 layers of plastic pack liners to help additionally seal out any smells. Sometimes I'll strap the pack to a tree, but often we leave it under a tarp away from the main campsite/cooking area and away from the tents.

You get 25 person-days of food in two BRFCs?? That's impressive. Most people get maybe 8 person-days per BRFC at the most.

Keeping the BRFCs in a pack reduces some of the effectiveness of the BRFC. One of their advantages is that the bears can't really grasp the slick, rounded surfaces of the container, so it can't run off with it (and yes, keep it away from cliffs and the lake). Keeping them in packs gives the bear something to grab and haul away. In areas with lots of nuisance bear activity (food conditioning), the bear doesn't need to smell the food in the pack--it may just grab a pack and take it away, figuring it'll deal with the contents away from the humans. (e.g. the last pack had food in it, so what about this one?) Bears are smart and inquisitive. Of course fewer smells is always a positive, but it's not a panacea.
 
straighthairedcurly
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10/29/2022 05:25PM  
Bjfinnegan: "With all the talk about food storage options and scent-proof or not, what are the thoughts on the following:


1. What value is a scent proof container of stored food when a site is splattered with grease from frying fish, meat, or even dumping cooking water from grains/noodles? (around fire grate, airborne onto trees, wherever cleaning occurred, etc)


2. What does everyone do with their trash that is often times more fragrant? Just mixing a trash bag into your barrel? What about the Ursacks?


For what it's worth, this full circle look is why we use rubberized dry bags hanging. Each person carries their own 10L of food in a lighter dry bag in their pack, then we combine 2 per 20L rubberized dry bags + unpack 1x20L that is dedicated to the trash bag. We only boil water and cook fish on foil packets that can be balled up and put into our trash to minimize any scents/cleaning/etc. "


1) On solo trips, I do meals that just require boiled water and then a 15 minute soak. I do this in a soaking jar (food safe plastic). Wash up is easy, I add a little warm water, shake the jar and drink the water. On group trips where we might have pasta water, we walk well back into the woods, dig a hole, pour it in and fill the hole...same for washing dishes. When we cook fish on a group trip (I don't fish on solos), we clean the fish in a part of woods far from our campsite (like a different part of the lake far). We don't cook them in oil, we just cook the fish whole with just a tiny amount of oil rubbed on the skin.

2) I carry an extra scent reducing bag for our garbage (which is minimal). As a wrapper or bag is emptied of its dry ingredients, it gets placed in the scent reducing bag and placed in the Ursack.
 
canoemama3
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
  
10/30/2022 05:25PM  
MReid: "
canoemama3: We have two bear containers, a BV500 and another orange one (can't remember the brand). Those held enough food for our 5 person family on a 5 day trip. The food all goes into the canisters which then go into our food pack/kitchen gear pack, which is lined with 3 layers of plastic pack liners to help additionally seal out any smells. Sometimes I'll strap the pack to a tree, but often we leave it under a tarp away from the main campsite/cooking area and away from the tents.

You get 25 person-days of food in two BRFCs?? That's impressive. Most people get maybe 8 person-days per BRFC at the most.


Keeping the BRFCs in a pack reduces some of the effectiveness of the BRFC. One of their advantages is that the bears can't really grasp the slick, rounded surfaces of the container, so it can't run off with it (and yes, keep it away from cliffs and the lake). Keeping them in packs gives the bear something to grab and haul away. In areas with lots of nuisance bear activity (food conditioning), the bear doesn't need to smell the food in the pack--it may just grab a pack and take it away, figuring it'll deal with the contents away from the humans. (e.g. the last pack had food in it, so what about this one?) Bears are smart and inquisitive. Of course fewer smells is always a positive, but it's not a panacea. "


Should add that my kids are 13, 9 and 7! So not 5 adults worth of food. My little two definitely do not eat as much as the rest of us! Our most recent menu consisted of granola, oatmeal and malt o meal for breakfasts, Hudson Bay Bread, beef jerky, nutella and dried fruit for lunches, snacks like skittles, gummy bears, M&Ms and granola bars/clif bars, and supper was chicken noodle soup, "thanksgiving dinner" (instant mashed potatoes, stove top, powdered gravy packet and dried corn), another soup, and dehydrated spag sauce with noodles . Hot Chocolate, instant coffee, powdered creamer, koolaid powder. Probably forgetting something, I know I had an extra supper packed as a just in case. The first night was a squeeze fitting it all in but after the first supper, we had plenty of room.

I do agree that our system isn't perfect. I feel like every system (BV on their own, blue barrels, ursack/opsacks, hanging or not) has their different pluses and minuses. Everyone does what works for them and their comfort level! Do people have issues with bears stealing their other packs that aren't food packs? Not trying to be snarky, just never even thought of that as a concern!

edited to add: I never used to use a bear vault container until we entered at a point that required it a couple years back. When we left it out, things inside got wet (It was left undisturbed and upright all night, but it was a heavy rain night), which wasn't an issue since the food itself was sealed inside well. But I still found it annoying, lol!
 
11/16/2022 09:52AM  
If you are a hanger, look closely at midwest firecrafts picture. That is the bomb set up. I have same with amsteel rope, love it. The double pulleys make hiking it up a cinch. I also bring a tennis ball cut with slits in it, one bigger slit one small slit. Small slit holds rope end, larger slit holds small pebbles/rock. Add them, fire away, best aiming method I have found.
 
OldGuide2
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11/16/2022 05:24PM  
Have been hanger for fifty years, but my brother, who has decades of experience in Yosemite, uses barrels, where they are required. I suspect the BWCA may go to that. They already have bear vaults in Voyageurs National Park. May look into barrels, but till now my method has been simple. I put a rock in a bandana, tie a length of parachute cord to it, and toss away. I know of others who use fishing line. You want something light enough so you can get it up quite a ways. With heavy packs you can splice rope to the cord/line and pull it up to use. The key is getting it way up and far away from the tree trunk. Everything inside the bear pack is double bagged or in a container both to keep out rain and cut down odors. I have heard isolated stories of bears cutting bear pack ropes, but never had that experience. Finally, to keep bears away you need a clean campsite. I will scour a site for anything human and any food scraps. Never fail to find useful things when doing this, from fishing gear to rope. Unfortunately, you also find a lot of crap which has to be packed out.
 
ockycamper
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11/17/2022 09:01AM  
We gave up hanging years ago in favor of bearvaults. Hanging took a lot of time and inevitably we needed things out of the food pack througout the day and were continually hanging it back up when we left for fishing.

Bear Vaults allow you to see what is inside, and disperse the food portaging among the group/canoes so no one is carrying a 50-70 lb food pack or blue barrel. As to them not being waterproof, just bring some duct tape and wrap around the lid when transporting them.

We keep the bear vaults together in the center of camp with a trip alarm so if a bear tries to mess with them at night we an chase it off.

In all the years bringing bearvaults we have never had a bear enter camp. However several groups on the same lakes we were on. . .and even near us. . .had bears come into camp and try to get their food packs.

 
11/19/2022 06:55PM  
Hanger for 35 or so years. Sometimes we would find a good situation for hanging and feel confident in our hang. Often there wasn't a good situation and we had a marginal hang but luck has always been with us(knock on wood) and no incidents. Not to mention the real, if small risk of injury, especially as we get older.

We got a couple BV 500's several years ago and feel like they were among the better gear improvements we have made over the years. I used to actually stress out a little bit once in camp about finding a suitable hanging spot early in the day while it was still light and we had time to find one. Worked sometimes, sometimes not. The convenience now of stashing them in the woods shortly before bed, after we are done snacking and having a hot chocolate is so much easier. Usually just walk into the woods and find a hollow or downed log to stash it under, somewhat out of sight and well off any trails. If nothing else we are more confident in this system than we were most of the time with hanging. We stash them upright and have never had a problem with moisture but everything inside is usually weatherproofed anyways.

For trash, we usually hang a very small bag the first night or two until there is room in a BV, After that everything goes into the Bear Vaults as room becomes available. Hanging the trash is not as big of a concern of ours - we try to do a good hang close to camp but feel like if in a worst case scenario a bear gets our trash...oh well. We are not out any food and just have to clean up the mess.

There are other benefits as mentioned - you can see into them and locate what you are looking for and they make a very nice table for the cribbage board under the tarp:) No stress anymore, usually find a good stash place for the BV while it is light and put it away before bed. Totally worth the weight/volume sacrifice in my opinion.
 
CASLO
  
03/06/2023 12:58AM  
Merlyn,
I thought of rigging a dog eCollar to something metallic on the food container. Maybe bungee it so that the 2 prongs contact the metallic portion. It has a remote control with varying shock strengths. Of course you would have to witness the bear approach, etc. Maybe a bell alert system? (wind may give false alerts though). But this forum is loaded with smarts and ingenuity to make something work reasonably well.
Now I may have just revealed my ignorance.
I like the PCT hand system when I backpack. I am working on a way to use it with a pulley system so as to not cut through the branches bark by heavier loads.
Just my 2cents...
 
03/06/2023 07:02AM  
I don't hang. I just use a barrel. I'm far more concerned about rodents and such.
Garbage is incinerated if there's no fire ban. I always bring an extra plastic bag or two if the garbage needs to added to the barrel overnight.
 
ockycamper
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03/06/2023 08:41AM  
With the introduction of Bearvaults I don't know why trippers continue to work at hanging heavy food packs. With the Bearvaults you can see what's in them, you can sit on them, and use for tables. They can in fact be made waterproof with duct tape wrapped around the lid.
 
03/06/2023 08:48AM  
ockycamper: "With the introduction of Bearvaults I don't know why trippers continue to work at hanging heavy food packs. With the Bearvaults you can see what's in them, you can sit on them, and use for tables. They can in fact be made waterproof with duct tape wrapped around the lid."


What kind of duct tape are you using to avoid residue buildup?
 
ockycamper
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03/06/2023 08:50AM  
plmn: "
ockycamper: "With the introduction of Bearvaults I don't know why trippers continue to work at hanging heavy food packs. With the Bearvaults you can see what's in them, you can sit on them, and use for tables. They can in fact be made waterproof with duct tape wrapped around the lid."



What kind of duct tape are you using to avoid residue buildup?"


Just ordinary duct tape. We only use it when paddling and the bearvaults are in the canoes. Once in camp, we keep the bearvaults under a tarp. After the trip I clean up the bearvaults. Glue residue comes right with products like "oops" glue remover.

We don't keep the vaults in the woods away from camp. We keep them under the group tarp in the middle of camp. Since we use all dehydrated foods that are sealed in vacuum packs, and then in the bearvaults, we have never had an issue with bears, etc.
 
Tomcat
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03/06/2023 09:04AM  
I prefer to use an approved bear resistant canister primarily because I am convinced that it provides superior protection and convenience.
 
salukiguy
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03/07/2023 05:03PM  
I think I am going to use a hybrid approach this year. I have 2 bear vaults to store most of the food. I also have a cooler backpack from REI that i will store the first two days of fresh food. The cooler backpack will have to be hung but it will be much lighter and easier to hang than a traditional food pack.
 
JohnGalt
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03/07/2023 11:17PM  
billconner: "No one has mentioned the blue barrle and stash in option yet in this thread."


Big brother is always watching haha
 
JohnGalt
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03/07/2023 11:19PM  
+1. We typically use a 100 foot line of amsteel for the “clothesline” and another 100 footer on a 4:1 pulley. Works really well. The downside is the time it takes to get up. "


I was being daft & used some of that reflective CCS cordage for my pulley rope... After a couple of months the cordage chewed its way through the plastic pulley (sailing pulleys ain't cheap ugh) & my pack came crashing down as I was hoisting it. Of course, it landed on the bread lol
 
JohnGalt
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03/07/2023 11:24PM  
Saberboys: "It never fails with hanging a bag that someone needs something as soon as you've tied off the rope. "


I found a different but same same issue, that being wanting campfire snacks though not wanting to raise the food pack late at night. I get around this by having a second line run which can hoist a small dry bag/pack up easily with the remaining snacks that weren't hoisted with the main pack.
 
schweady
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03/08/2023 05:28PM  
salukiguy: "I think I am going to use a hybrid approach this year. I have 2 bear vaults to store most of the food. I also have a cooler backpack from REI that i will store the first two days of fresh food. The cooler backpack will have to be hung but it will be much lighter and easier to hang than a traditional food pack.
"

For my wife and me, it's a BV and 100% non-refrigerated. But, I've been toying with your same idea for our the men's group. Or! try stuffing smaller insulated cooler bags -- as large as the opening will allow -- with frozen items for Day 1 and 2 inside a "cooler" Bear Vault (we have up to 4 available) and just stash as usual.

We've been pretending to properly hang our full fresh foods pack (60 lbs at the start?) for decades, and rather sick of it. Many of those first night bear piñatas, I could reach myself...
 
billconner
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03/08/2023 06:24PM  
Reread whole thread. I must be a dinosaur (which I believe we're worse than bears). I still hang and enjoy it. It's like stopping at Norske Nooke on the way up or Ely Steakhouse on out day.
 
Lawnchair107
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03/11/2023 07:03AM  
ockycamper: "With the introduction of Bearvaults I don't know why trippers continue to work at hanging heavy food packs. With the Bearvaults you can see what's in them, you can sit on them, and use for tables. They can in fact be made waterproof with duct tape wrapped around the lid."


I still believe hanging is the best method. Plus, BVs arent really an option for us with the style trips we take. We bring 2 pulleys, its actually pretty easy to hoist.
 
03/12/2023 08:54PM  
billconner: "Reread whole thread. I must be a dinosaur (which I believe we're worse than bears). I still hang and enjoy it. It's like stopping at Norske Nooke on the way up or Ely Steakhouse on out day. "



While probably not you, I think what most people are finding is the bear piñatas don’t work and is just extra work for a false peace of mind. I am guessing you take pride in your hang and it is bear proof as you can get…but I see hung packs every year…I’ve never seen one that wasn’t easily reached by a bear.

I know it can be done…I’ve see great pics on this very site.

T
 
HayRiverDrifter
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03/12/2023 09:26PM  
I use 5 gallon buckets with gamma lids left off to the side of the fire pit, and I where ear plugs so I cannot hear the bear ripping open my food bucket.

Bears smell 10 times as good as a blood hound. A dog can be trained to track a human through the streets of New York smelling the skin cells that we all shed as we wander around in life. That means a bear can smell your poop and tell you each individual ingredient in the food you ate yesterday. They can smell your camp from several miles away. If they associate humans at a camp site with food, they make an instinctual choice between risk and reward.

I would personally rather have a bear make off with my $10 five gal bucket instead of playing tether ball with my $300+ CCS pack.

I mean absolutely no offence to anyone who chooses to hang their food. I have done it in the past. It's really entertaining to watch a pair of 12 year-olds hang two five gallon buckets, then ask them to drop them and raise them 3 or 4 times a day.

This is mostly for humor sake so no need for negative replies :-)
 
billconner
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03/13/2023 08:17AM  
"...tell you each individual ingredient in the food you ate yesterday..."

Do you have regular conversations with bears? :)
 
03/13/2023 09:54AM  
billconner: "Reread whole thread. I must be a dinosaur (which I believe we're worse than bears). I still hang and enjoy it. It's like stopping at Norske Nooke on the way up or Ely Steakhouse on out day. "


Dinosaurs are definitely worse - particularly the northern thesaurus which not only eats your camp food, but consumes and devours it as well.
 
Tomcat
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03/13/2023 12:02PM  
Deleted
 
Lawnchair107
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03/13/2023 06:59PM  

Bears smell 10 times as good as a blood hound. .


This is one of the reasons why our group does not just stash our food in the woods off the trail.
 
Lawnchair107
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03/13/2023 07:02PM  
 
TimSkoog
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04/06/2023 11:23AM  
bobbernumber3: "5-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids. Not bear grade, but pretty good. See results of bear attack on Knife Lake...
"


I’ve used the same job bucket & gamma seals for nearly 20 years. Separate buckets for stove/fuel gear. Historically will only hang trash/refuse triple bagged.
 
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