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Old 07-21-2014, 05:30 PM   #1
TxTiger OP
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Bear Country - Necessary to hang Mountain House?

I know about the recommendations to hang your food, toothpaste, etc from a tree when camping in bear country, but I'm wondering if any odor/sent of food gets past the foil wrapping in freeze dried foods like Mountain House. Also canned foods, like tuna. I will be camping in bear country in September and don't want to draw them to me. Do I need to hang these types of foods? Anyone have an opinion on this?

Thanks
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:33 PM   #2
kneeslider
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Bear Country

if it looks like food, smells like food, don't keep it near your tent!
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxTiger View Post
I know about the recommendations to hang your food, toothpaste, etc from a tree when camping in bear country, but I'm wondering if any odor/sent of food gets past the foil wrapping in freeze dried foods like Mountain House. Also canned foods, like tuna. I will be camping in bear country in September and don't want to draw them to me. Do I need to hang these types of foods? Anyone have an opinion on this?

Thanks
Yes. Hang it. Even if the bears don't happen by, the mini-bears always will, and while not as dangerous, they can be a nuisance.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:33 PM   #4
riverflow
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*Ahem*

It is actually not recommended to hang foodstuffs anymore. Black bears can easily reach or knock down hung food.

An electric fence is a good option while on a bike since you already have a battery, and you just need to carry a hot line and controller with you.

The other option is a bear can. The Bearikade is a favorite of mine. The expedition one of the largest and lightest available. Easily over a week of food storage.

You can also rent bear cans, and there are cheaper ones available. The aforementioned is $6 per day to rent, and a cheap bear can is around $60.

That being said, a $5 rope is a lot more accessible for most people and is certainly a better option than keeping anything with you.

Just know that it is not adequate in heavy bear territory (Sierras, any grizzly country... seriously, you want NOTHING to do with grizzlies. Like, you cook in one camp, then change clothes and go sleep in another)

*dismounts soapbox*

TL/DR there are better options than hanging food, but don't keep it with you.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:04 AM   #5
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I don't cook much, and never take food into the tent. But there's usually snacks (unopened) in the saddlebags. Suppose I should do better, but it's worked. Blackie has always left me alone.
In griz country, I head for the campgrounds.
Not trying to tell you what to do. Just saying it's worked for me.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:08 AM   #6
bush pilot
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A polar bear can smell a seal through 6 feet of ice. So your can of tuna is not safe.
I've seen where grizzly bears chew wooden doors and fiberglass insulation. I've seen grizzly shit with fiberglass in it.

That said if you're hunting grizzly in the wild and he gets a whiff of human that bear will be 15 miles away before you can say boo.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:22 AM   #7
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TXT, after 30 years in Wyoming/ British Columbia I would not have anything of a "smell' inside my tent.

Bear proof camping containers are neat, you store all your food/toothpaste/chewing gum,etc and then at night place a distance from your tent. I have used this for backpacking many times, have not tried it on my bike yet

A length of good rope to hang the food is cheaper and will work to a point and still much safer than having any smell except yourself in the tent.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:18 AM   #8
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Griz - the top of the food chain

Most campgrounds in the parks and the likes provide "bear boxes". I put everything, stove, pots, toiletry kit, first aid kit and trash in the box. Only thing left in the tent is me, a flash light, my smelly boots and a can of bear spray. If there is not a box available it is recommended to hang everything that is edible. Also cook 50 yards away from where you sleep if not using the box. If you are doing true wilderness camping, do everything 50 yards away from where you sleep. Don't just hang the food in a tree, suspend the food 15' between two trees. Bears do clime trees. Forest service recommends locking food in your vehicle but I don't want a griz to destroy my pannier overnight. Sooo every thing up the tree in a water proof bag. (in case it rains) The bear balls are cute but a pain on a bike. Carry at least two ropes, one for between the trees and one for hiking the load at least 15' up in the air. Bears are omnivorous, opportunistic, predatory feeders. They are around in the west and are way bigger than us. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you don't want to do that get a motel room. You can watch them from the window eating your stuff.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:42 AM   #9
High Country Herb
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Yup. Tuna juice gets all over in the cannery, and I would assume the same at the MH packaging plant.

Hang it far out on a flimsy limb so it is more difficult for animals to get at. Use a rock for balancing weight so that food and rock are both suspended, and use a long branch to push up on one to retrieve the other.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:20 PM   #10
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not sure if it was mentioned, but don't bring the clothes you cooked in inside the tent either, put em in your saddlebag. When I camp in bear country, only things in my tent are me, in clean clothes( or at least non-cooking clothes) by sleeping bag and mattress, my flashlight, a bottle of water, and a can of bear spray. Everything else is either in the saddlebags, or if provided, in a bear box.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #11
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Absolutely even packaged food, while it might seem sealed to us, the bears are amazing creatures for finding that stuff. All of the other advice is spot on, you and your sleeping area should not smell of food at all.

And ... if you are tired / road weary, make sure to double check your precautions. This was the result from a tired friend, not double checking the bear box (closed, but with the pack toggle hanging out, is what we figure). It ended with me chasing a black bear out of camp in the middle of the night after he got the pack, and got a hold of a mtn house meal, and a few other "sealed" products in the pack. In the dark of night, standing tall to a black bear will kick in some really primal adrenaline rush, i do not ever want to have that kind of moment with a Grizzly.

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Old 07-28-2014, 04:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froger View Post
I don't cook much, and never take food into the tent. But there's usually snacks (unopened) in the saddlebags. Suppose I should do better, but it's worked. Blackie has always left me alone.
In griz country, I head for the campgrounds.
Not trying to tell you what to do. Just saying it's worked for me.
+1...works for me also.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:18 PM   #13
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Bear can..

Pack a lightweight bear can at the very least. Pack any and all foodstuf in it. when you cook clean everything away from your area. I usually have a campfire and burn away all sent of food on my utenciles I even go as far as to eat using a piece of firewood as a plate and cuttingboard then burn it when I am done along with any leftovers, this goes for cans and bottles also. they go in the fire to be cooked clean and are pulled out of the coals in the morning. A friend of mine sinks his can in water. I just cable mine to a tree away from camp and hope for the best. any loose food in your tent or soft bags in an invitation for mice ,and munks also and those little brats can do more dammage the the bears
http://www.ultralightbackpacker.com/bear-cans.html#Cans
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:07 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=bush pilot;24678902]I've seen grizzly shit with fiberglass in it./QUOTE]

I saw black bear poo with button's in it. just saying.

and those racoons have opposing thumbs so stuff in jars and your bike may not be safe
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:28 PM   #15
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If I'm too lazy to tie things up I will at least put it a couple hundred metres away. I'd rather a bear find my food than a bear finding my food and me.

I had a terrible night sleep in Romania camping near the reservoir just south of the Transfagarasan pass. I didn't really do anything about the bear issue aside from cooking and then riding on before setting up camp. I was thinking it wasn't such a big issue in Romania compared to North America or Siberia. The bear came sniffing around and then picking at some rubbish down an embankment I didn't know was there when setting up camp. It wandered off then came back again, the sniffing sounded like a monster dog. It wasn't long before it had pushed the wall of the tent right over my head to see what was inside. It did this a few more times from different angles while I was curled up in the middle of the tent silent.
It eventually went to my food bag I had at least had the sense to put under the bicycle instead of in the tent. It dragged it out and was soon spooked by a lone empty logging truck coming by at 3am. Thank god for rough potholed roads and me not finding anywhere to get away from the road for the night.

I've since taken the proper measures to keep the bears at least away from me at night. I can survive without food for a while, but without food and mauled by a bear I don't want to find out.
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