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#139169 - 07/09/08 08:21 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: ]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains

You just have to be smarter than the average bear!

#139172 - 07/09/08 08:28 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: jaywalke]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1085
Loc: Channeled Scablands
The PCT method is not as bear resistant as a proper counterbalance
method using a retrieval cord and the right tree and limb. The
PCT method is prefered by those like to carry a little less gear
and deal with less human habituated bears.

Counterbalance link


#139177 - 07/09/08 08:57 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: clearwater]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
So there you are in the back of beyond - or at least a long hungry walk from the nearest food - and you choose to hope the bears and other critters in your area haven't yet learned how to defeat your hanging bag trick, that no high wind comes up that puts your bag beyond retreival, that your knots, bag, sticks, or cord do not fail, etc.

As opposed to choosing a container that weighs two pounds, that's 32 ounces, but has been repeatedly bear-tested with success?

What would you recommend to a person who is concerned with survival and energency preparedness?

#139181 - 07/09/08 09:16 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: dweste]

Sorry to be the devil's advocate today dweste but the smallest bear vault is over $200...that's just too much for most people. For me space is at a premium and I just can't afford a $225 dollar stool that also keeps bears away from my food.

If I were to go with a bear proof solution I'd likely get something like the Ursack ( http://www.ursack.com/ursack-S29.htm ). It's much cheaper, lighter, isn't bulky like a hard empty cannister, and seems to be effective from what I can tell.

In researching this I've read reports of Grizzlys figuring out the screws on the Bear Vault using their claws to uncrew them. I doubt they're confirmed but still good food for thought.

Bears are damn smart. But they also prefer the easy meal. All of this is just deterent. If your food is harder to get than walking to the river and scooping a salmon, your food is safe. If the bear decides that your food is worth the effort, it will eventually find a way unless it's locked up in a steel locker...but those have been gotten into too.

#139183 - 07/09/08 09:50 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: dweste]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1085
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Where I have used the bear hangs was with groups
where we would have sometimes 200 lbs of food- 20+ lbs per
person. It would have taken 3 canisters each, at least, just
for the food, not counting pots and pans (which wouldn't
fit in a canister), toilet items, etc.
Did this for several summer seasons. Never lost food, though had
some bears try. And we used them in Sequoia-Kings Canyon (with
special permit) where some of the cleverest bears live.

There is always a way to retrieve them, believe me I know. One
trick to to carry more 1mm cord and a carabiner. This can be used
in various ways to grab the hang bag or cord.

A canister is recommended for most folks with problem bears as
they are more fool proof. However they have limitations as to
how much they can carry.

Edited by clearwater (07/09/08 09:51 PM)

#139184 - 07/09/08 10:01 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: clearwater]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1085
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Lets see 6 lbs of canisters and $700.

Versus say some rope and
a carabiner and 2 stuffsacks and under 1/2 lb and $30.

I would have
money and weight left over for a PLB, multitool, extra fuel,
food and water.

Edited by clearwater (07/09/08 10:08 PM)

#139187 - 07/09/08 10:35 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: Chaotiklown]
falcon5000 Offline

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 662
Another option may be to hang a watershed bag, they will seal up any odor and can be used for other things as well. I have several of these bags and also have solar cells, electronics and cloths and my sleeping bag in them and they fit in my backpack. I do not worry about water intrusion whatsoever. I can scuba dive with these bags or if I have to cross a river with a pack I have no worry about using my pack as a raft because everything inside is water proof (not water resistant). When shopping for a bag and the bag says don't submerge below 3 feet, I'm not interested in it. These bags can go down to 200 feet easy and are hardcore. With all the flooding and hurricanes, I keep all my important documents in them plus my BOB and backpack has them in there. I could easily use one of the small ones for food and hang it if needed. I wouldn't have to worry about the smell or any rain that comes down, everything is high and dry. Money well spent on a bad that will last a lifetime. I like there bags more than there back packs. The back packs have no support like my Osprey, so I put the watershed duffles inside the pack and I have a comfortable long range waterproof back pack with Solar capability and I don't worry about my down sleeping bag getting wet (unless the water level goes bellow 200 feet underwater). Water flooding and smell are not an issues. Why carry more bags than you need when you can carry one.

1. Water proof to 200 feet
2. Has a purge valve to compact it and remove air out of the bag
3. Lifetime warranty
4. Easy to open and seal bag, very durable, orderless and waterproof once inside.


Failure is not an option!
USMC Jungle Environmental Survival Training PI 1985

#139191 - 07/09/08 10:38 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: NightHiker]
samhain Offline

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 598
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I use the rope/bag rig as well, even though I'm not in "bear country".

Good idea with putting the toothpaste/etc in there as well.

There's enough raccoons, bobcats (had one molest my pack in a tree one time), fire ants, etc running around that I sleep better with my food hanging from a branch way up in the air.

samhain autumnwood

#139193 - 07/09/08 11:12 PM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: samhain]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Hacksaw, advocate away, you devil!

The forum wouldn't be interesting without the debate.

I agree most people will not choose to buy a bear canister, whether it is $60, $100, or $200. And I agree almost no one will buy 2.

As long as it is a reasoned choice, I am good with it.

The question I am left with is, if money were no object what would you choose for an extended trek in grizzly country?

Edited by dweste (07/09/08 11:12 PM)

#139206 - 07/10/08 12:12 AM Re: Black bears and my food supplies [Re: samhain]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 788
Loc: wellington, fl
In the middle ages, travelers feared that the devil would take them if they slept on the ground-so they tied their thumbs together and hung themselves from a branch. eliminates the need for sleeping bag, pad, ground cloth, tent...so you could hang yourself next to the bear bag, and solve lotsa problems.
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

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