My son's rucksack was ruined last year this way--a corner of the bag was badly chewed so there was a big hole in it. This was clearly a critter chewing on it and not abrasion (rather new rucksack with very little use).
This is not the first time I've had issues with critters chewing on something but it is the first time the object chewed on was nylon instead of leather. There is little doubt that they like salt (see below), although I suspect in my son's rucksack case, they may have chewed through it to get to food because I don't think his rucksack was very sweaty.
Some of my other experiences:
1982 Russian Wilderness (Klamath Mtns), Smith Lake. I used my hiking boots to prop my pillow while sleeping under the stars. When I awoke, my boots were barely wearable, for a critter had chewed away all the scree guard and then some (from right beneath my head--yes, I slept soundly through all that).
1987 Tower Lake, Hoover Wilderness. Had just gone to sleep in tent with my dad when he awakens me "What's THAT?" Groggily I awoke, listened, and concluded that a critter may be trying to chew on our hiking boots (remembering my 1982 experience). I went outside, grabbed our boots, and brought them into the tent (habitually do this now, even if the boots are, let us say, unpleasantly aromatic). After the usual difficulty falling back asleep after this interruption I was awakened again by my dad. "He's BACK." Reluctantly I staggered outside and inspected our gear. Our external frame packs had leather grommets to tie things to (such as ice axes, crampons, etc.) and I noticed slight damage to these (nothing critical), so I moved the packs inside the tent. Yes, we did in fact have sufficient room for all this in our tent. I didn't then and I don't now sleep in one of those "two man" tents that are only big enough for two spooning individuals. After even more difficulty falling back to sleep, my dad again awakened me "There he goes AGAIN". At this I mumbled something about there not being anything more the critter could damage and then fell back asleep. In the morning I found what the critter had been gnawing on. My dad had a home made wooden walking stick with a leather hand loop. The critter had eaten off the leather loop, leaving only a small piece reminding us of its former existence. Yes, that critter really liked sweat-salted leather. We determined that this critter was a chipmunk whose lair was a pile of talus not far from our tent. After our climb of Tower Pk the morning after, I ran off to fish some lakes, while my dad, who was normally a very gentle soul, wanted serious vengeance on this chipmunk. He took some crackers, crushed them and laid a little trail from the chipmunk's alleged lair to near the foot of where my dad sat, reading a book, with his ice axe ready for the kill. As much as I was pretty upset with that chipmunk, too, I left for fishing silently rooting for the chipmunk to have the good sense not to emerge from its house. It didn't and it probably later had a few bonus pieces of crackers for my dad's efforts.
Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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We left 1 car on Whitney portal while doing HST this June and the heat shield on the firewall was eaten, perhaps 60% of it. It's a reflective shield and fibers behind. I noticed because of smoke coming out of engine bay in Lone Pine. Nothing zip ties can't fix. Sadly no solution for this. Glad it wasn't a hose.
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