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Bear-proof container or NOT???

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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Alpine high » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:17 am

Wow, things are certainly different in the Trinities and Marbles. Hanging is all I have done for 40+ years of backpacking and all I have ever did in the Sierras, not one single incident, but it's been awhile since I've been there.I guess things have changed dramatically since I was a ranger out of High Sierra. Sounds like I may have to bite the bullet and use a bear can. Too many people doing the wrong thing will attract bears. I cleaned up so many campsites where people left all kinds of garbage, took a crap next to camp, cleaned their fish near camp, built campfire pits the size of couches. My god, what happened to low impact, leave no trace behind camping anyway? I learned a long time ago how to hang food, but it sounds like that may not work any longer because of lazy, uninformed people who have now caused this problem. Thanks for all the responses, I knew this would light a fire.



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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby paul » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:32 pm

There are still a lot of places in the SIerra where hanging works just fie, and even places where I would just not worry about it. But those are not anywhere near popular or commonly visited areas. You need to be off-trail and in areas where few people go.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby sparky » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:29 pm

I just want to chime in that I have seen evidence of bear and mountain lion above 11k.

I also have never seen or heard a bear in any of my camps at night. I have backpacked the majority of my lifetime and have spent countless nights out backpacking. I use a bear canister.

You know whats more annoying than a bear canister? Hanging food properly. "Hot damn I want a midnight snack! Oh nevermind...."
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby The hermit » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:08 pm

+1 on hanging being a pain. Always seem to be doing it just before bed(set up your rope before dark) I can't fit everything in the can. Then there are those spots that are over used and you realize the tree you hung from has been robbed a million times . Of course this always happens when I'm almost asleep! ](*,)
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Scouter9 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:56 am

4 guys spent 35 minutes roping and rigging our sacks to suspend across a 30' wide arroyo with the lowest point of the bags about 15' off the ground in the center of the little canyon up at the head of Lyell Creek. That night, an epic thunder and lightning storm that rained flecks of gravel on us in camp after a strike hit the headwall of the canyon 100' away from us.

That next morning, after very little sleep, our bags were secure...but the bottom had been torn off of two and we had 2 days left of food for 6 more on trail. We determined that escaped circus bears either stood on each other's shoulders or Yogi in the tree was heavier than any of us and able to induce a sag that 200lb'ers couldn't. We also had to pack up and sprint to Tuolumne meadows to beat the departure of our drop-off ride that had camped the night after we hit trail the day before.

That led to a switch to Garcia bear canisters which, although heavy and accursed, are better and more convenient than dealing with bagging in inclement weather or simply the price of failure. Once I discovered the BearVaults, the Garcia became a display model. The BearVault lets me sleep confidently and is generally left unmolested, anyway.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:15 am

I wish that backpack manufacturer's started seriously designing packs with the idea that a bear canister will be carried. Bear cans are designed to be slippery, thus tend to fall off if strapped to the outside of a pack. "Is that my food rolling down that snowfield?". I am experimenting with an old Kelty external frame - trying to figure out a clip system to carry the bear can on top next to the extender bar. Carried inside, little room is left for anything else. Maybe not a problem for men's x-large packs where you can put the can in horizontal, but for a woman's small it is a huge issue. A stiff bear can set vertically in an internal frame pack is literally a pain. Seems like you almost would need a hybrid external-internal frame pack.

I have read suggestions that you carry the empty bear can outside the pack and the food inside in a bag. That seems to me to just add more weight and does not solve the bear can falling off the pack issue.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Jimr » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:43 am

I have two large Garcia's and use one or both every trip. Although they are a pain to pack (especially when I carry two), I love them as camp stools. I've only hung food once, at Simpson Meadow, and slept with a food pillow twice (those were the two most nervous nights of my life). I'll stick with the cans.

Hey WD, you may consider using a stuff sack. Get a grommet tool from the hardware store and install two grommets on each end of the stuff sack. Stuff the can into the stuff sack and tie off, then thread lightweight rope in one grommet and out the other on each end and tie them off to either side of the pack. Sort of like a completely enclosed hammock.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby cahikr » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:09 pm

My large Garcia fits perfectly in a horizontal potion in the lower compartment of my Deuter ACT65 lite.
If I need additional food during my travel it is easily removed without disturbing anything else in my pack. Although I dont enjoy carrying a bear canister, I would rather not take any chances of loosing my food when I could be day's from a resupply.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby sparky » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:15 pm

WD, i have imagined trying to use some sort of stretchy netting to keep it in place outside the pack.

Also i have carried food seperate the canister, and it seems "lighter" i think mainly because dense can objects create leverage. I also imagine fluffy down objects that want to expand in a way "holds up" some weight. I cant imagine this force to be very strong, but any bit helps!
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby ndwoods » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:34 pm

I once had a bear climb a tree where my food was hung and spend 3 hours breaking off every single branch until the branch with my food fell!
And I don't like to camp in the trees anyway...I prefer ridges and passes and high places with views and breezes to keep the skeeters away....
I use a bearikade. :)
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