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Old 08-09-2016, 10:24 AM   #1
jkauff73
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Overnight Backpacking

I'm slowly obtaining the gear and experience I will need to do overnight High Peaks trips. I'm planning my first overnight trip at a state park in PA. The park has no regulations on food storage.
What would you do with your food to protect it from critters during the night?
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:52 AM   #2
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Since you're planning on doing overnights in the High Peaks, your going to need, by regulation, a bear canister for your food. Elsewhere, at the least, I would hang my food in a solid box, such as a ammo box or boaters box, as little critters can chew thru most cloth bags.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:02 AM   #3
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I've never lost food to bears, but have had plenty of little nibbling varmints help themselves to my food, regardless of how well hung and how encapsulated the food bag is. If I'm backpacking now I usually bring my bear canister regardless of where I'm going.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:49 PM   #4
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This is not applicable in the High Peaks but I have had good luck with hanging my food in a cloth bag with everything inside stored in plastic. I hang about 10-15 feet off the ground, usually over a tree branch. I have a metal jar lid with a hole punched in the center, and the paracord runs through it so that the little varmints who climb down the rope can't get past it. Since I have been using this system I have had no problems on about 20-25 nights. Earlier I had a mouse chew through the bag once, before I put the lid on the line.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:06 PM   #5
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I hang my food in a dry bag and make sure it's sealed and separated with ziploc bags. I usually don't bring fresh food but stick to freeze dried meals, nuts, maybe some jerky. I've never had a problem with any creature of the woods getting into the bag. I put my toiletries in there too because they give off a scent. There's a ton of videos on YouTube showing how to hang a bear bag. You'll need some paracord, a carabiner, a rock, and the right tree branch.

As mentioned above if you're going into the High Peaks you'll need a NYSDEC approved bear canister. They used to rent then at the Loj and probably still do. They are huge and heavy but rules are rules in NYS. Please see the NYSDEC website for the brands that are approved. Garcia comes to mind. Best of luck!
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. In light of the fact I will need a bear canister at some point, I plan to buy one for this first overnight. The point of the trip is to eventually be ready for an overnight in the High Peaks. Might as well have all the gear necessary to test and get used to.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:23 AM   #7
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I think that familiarizing yourself with the bear canister is definitely a good idea, but I would also encourage you to practice with a bear hang as well. You may find that you have a strong preference for doing the hang in areas where the canister isn't required. There's a bunch of different techniques for doing hangs, and if you look through old threads here you'll find some good ones.

When you are comfortable and familiar with doing both, you can better choose for yourself which method you want to use outside of the Eastern High Peaks (although I hear that bears are starting to become a problem in the Gill Brook area of the Dix Mountain Wilderness, so continuing to use a canister there isn't a bad idea).
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:45 PM   #8
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Getting a canister is a good idea, before you show up at the Loj. There may be a space issue and you wish to find that out while planning your meals instead of showing up with to much stuff. After you become familiar with the size renting one up there is great.

I also recommend you try a bear bag. I love the security of a bear can but dislike the weight and unforgiving size when backpacking.

When camping out of a canoe or a car I really like a five gallon bucket with screw top lid for my entire kitchen set up (food, dishes, scented items). That is when I am lazy and just start tossing gear/food in. The Girl Scouts taught me they make decent seats too. And I can usually fit an entire trip in a few buckets (shelter, kitchen, clothing, sleeping bags).

The five gallon set up is not bear proof unless hung. But it is critter resistant for the ferocious veracious north eastern chipmunk.
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:18 PM   #9
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Bear hangs can be tricky, esp. in the dark. If you plan to do any serious number of overnights, buy a bear can. A proper one, not the one that looks like a giant nalgene - those don't work.
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:43 PM   #10
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This is an old post but I will put a vote in for the Ursack. It is illegal in the High Peaks during canister season. It is legal in lots of other places with bear canister regulations and allowed anywhere a bear bag is allowed. I always use it when backpacking, kayak camping, etc. Never put up a bear bag again!

http://www.ursack.com/
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:19 PM   #11
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Sure, as long as one understands Ursack's limited definition of the word "bearproof".

It may prevent the bear from eating your food but not from crushing it into an unpalatable mess. The victory is Pyrrhic.

I call that rodentproof, not truly bearproof ... and that's why they offer an optional metal liner to improve its "bearproofness".
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:22 PM   #12
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I looked at the ursack and was concerned Yogi would snatch and run. He may not get into bag, but he has it at his house now instead of yours.
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:28 PM   #13
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there are many methods to hang a bear bag, but I am partial to the Marrison Method. Of course you will need a legal canister (do not hang a canister) if you plan to spend much time in the High Peaks.
http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/training/bearbag.html
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Old 05-02-2017, 02:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
Sure, as long as one understands Ursack's limited definition of the word "bearproof".

It may prevent the bear from eating your food but not from crushing it into an unpalatable mess. The victory is Pyrrhic.

I call that rodentproof, not truly bearproof ... and that's why they offer an optional metal liner to improve its "bearproofness".
I have never had my stuff messed up enough that it was not usable. Mashed trail bars are fine as are extra mashed dehydrated meals.

I have had black bears mess with the ursack and when they get nothing they move on.
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:06 PM   #15
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I looked at the ursack and was concerned Yogi would snatch and run. He may not get into bag, but he has it at his house now instead of yours.
The sack is tied to a tree with the included kevlar rope. It goes no where.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by jkauff73 View Post
Thanks for the feedback everyone. In light of the fact I will need a bear canister at some point, I plan to buy one for this first overnight. The point of the trip is to eventually be ready for an overnight in the High Peaks. Might as well have all the gear necessary to test and get used to.
Where did you order your canister from? How did it perform first time out?
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:54 AM   #17
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The Backpackers’ Cache is the one that the local places in the Adirondacks rent.
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