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Old 04-23-07, 07:30 PM   #1
mcleodja
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touring, campgrounds and bears

Anyone ever camped in a govt campground where they don't provide bear boxes and there really is nowhere to store your food but your trailer? What would someone do with their food because I don't think my neighbour 5 meteres away wants me hanging my food near his site
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Old 04-23-07, 08:35 PM   #2
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you might be interested in checking out bear canisters
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Old 04-23-07, 08:40 PM   #3
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I use a Bear Keg to protect my food:

http://www.bicycletouring101.com/Cam...dContainer.htm

A good book on bear basics is "Backcountry Bear Basics, The definitive guide to avoiding unpleasant encounters" by Dave Smith. ISBN is 0-89886-500-x

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Old 04-23-07, 09:03 PM   #4
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Pick a camping spot well away from other people.

But the in the Banff and Jasper national parks they provide either lockers or a cable system to string up your stuff.

And remember ... it's not just your food, but anything with a scent - i.e. toiletries.
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Old 04-23-07, 09:58 PM   #5
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bring a bear rope, you can hang the food bag 20 meters off the ground pretty easily. your neighbors won't even notice. i hope there are trees nearby. you should be able to find a suitable tree to hang your food 100 meters away, across the road at most campsites.

storing food where there's no trees, bear wire or bear boxes will be a little difficult. bear canisters look like little bear footballs. I 'd want to put the bear cannister closer to my neighbors campsite than mine

there's a 100 meter triangle rule for backcountry camping that is difficult to readily apply at developed campgrounds - although in bear country you definetly do not want to cook near your tentsite

the 100 meter rule is to cook 100 meters away from your tent in bear country, and hang your food 100 meters away at a spot that forms a third point of an imaginary triangle 100meters long on a side.
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Old 04-23-07, 11:05 PM   #6
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In the past while hiking I put my food in a special container then hung it from a tree with a rope...
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Old 04-24-07, 12:20 AM   #7
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"avoiding unpleasant encounters"

People want to avoid encounters with bears? How else can you justify your ATC to carry a handgun in the backcountry?
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Old 04-24-07, 12:31 AM   #8
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Also - -
NEVER eat in your tent.
That applies in Missouri as well as Montana.
Keep your tent food-odor free -
And you are less likely to have a ursine visitor.
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Old 04-24-07, 02:16 PM   #9
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Wait, does this mean the meal I had in my tent in Ireland last year can make me bear bait in Canada *next* year?

Damn!
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Old 04-24-07, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
Pick a camping spot well away from other people.

But the in the Banff and Jasper national parks they provide either lockers or a cable system to string up your stuff.

And remember ... it's not just your food, but anything with a scent - i.e. toiletries.
I once had a bear encounter in Banff. We'd put all our food and toiletries in the bear locker and we were drinking beer at a camp site picnic table. A bear came out of the undergrowth ambled across the clearing and jumped onto the table. It then knocked over each beer and lapped them up before ambing off.

A ranger came around half an hour later to tell us a bear was around.....no sh*t Sherlock.

The following morning a Swedish couple a few campsites over told us that they'd had some toothpaste in the tent and had been visited by the bear in the night. they got out of the tent, but the bear wrecked it and put inch deep claw marks in a rolled up foam mat....pretty sacry
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Old 04-24-07, 04:16 PM   #11
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I'm starting to think about bringing a bear canister like this one on my tour up through Canada to Alaska this summer. I'm afraid I'll get lazy about hanging my food every night and a canister would be a lot easier to deal with (as long as a bear doesn't roll it away where I can't find it). And reading the product description on REI's site, I found one very tempting detail:

Quote:
With the lid fully closed the BearVault™ also makes a great camp seat
I've been wondering what to use for a camp seat. Maybe this is just the ticket.

Last edited by velo2000; 04-24-07 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 04-24-07, 04:40 PM   #12
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http://www.ursack.com/
much better than a canister
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Old 04-24-07, 04:48 PM   #13
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What kind of bear issues will I heve in the UP of Michigan?
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Old 04-24-07, 04:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppereira007
http://www.ursack.com/
much better than a canister
I know they're like 2 pounds lighter, but why else would you recommend an ursack over a canister?
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Old 04-24-07, 07:54 PM   #15
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(snip)

Originally Posted by ppereira007
http://www.ursack.com/
much better than a canister

I know they're like 2 pounds lighter, but why else would you recommend an ursack over a canister?

(end snip)

I seem to recall reading that at one time the Ursack bags were approved in some of the more bear happy US parks like Yellowstone until it was discovered that the bears didn't have much problem getting into them. I believe they were disallowed after this. A quick web search should determine if this is still the case.

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Old 04-25-07, 11:09 AM   #16
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I think there was a model of the Ursack which did have problems and was compromised by bears in a few cases, but they seem confident their newer models (with a better fabric) are bear-proof: http://ursack.blogspot.com/. The Ursack is tempting because it's lighter and easier to pack, but the canister seems easier to use (and a handy camp seat ). I'll stop by REI and see how big/heavy the Bearvault is in person.
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Old 04-25-07, 05:02 PM   #17
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Don't bother with a "ursack", for bears anyways. A black chewed through mine "like butter" in the Sierra. They may be usefull to stop small varments from chewing into your food bag though. Follow others decent advice regarding: keeping a clean camp, not cooking where you camp, strong odors (foods, beverages, lotions) etc.

This happened on a through hike of the John Muir trail.

In areas where bears are used to people (habituated is the term, I think) use one of the approved canisters, or when available camp lockers.
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Old 04-25-07, 05:58 PM   #18
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I did a month and a half tour across central/eastern Canada last summer.
Saw a few bears on the way, but none near my campsite.
I had a rope and tied up my stuff sometimes, but honestly I mostly just left my stuff away from my tent at night.

Didn't worry me much...
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Old 04-25-07, 11:34 PM   #19
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This happened on a through hike of the John Muir trail

did that trail 2 years ago, that trail is a bear highway
the "smartest" bears you'll ever see are on that trail
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Old 04-26-07, 11:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppereira007
This happened on a through hike of the John Muir trail

did that trail 2 years ago, that trail is a bear highway
the "smartest" bears you'll ever see are on that trail
Yeah, I saw a bunch on the first day! Amazing animals!

I went Yosemite to Whitney in '02. The "Ursack" wasn't approved, but I had that and a Garcia canister. There was some slobber on the canister, but it was never moved.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:33 PM   #21
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FYI: I decided to order an Ursack since it was so much lighter than a canister. It arrived yesterday (very fast free shipping!). The fabric is very stiff and seems sturdy enough (I couldn't chew through it ). It's so stiff that it takes a little work to completely close the top of the bag. It's a pretty good size and looks like it will hold my cookpot in addition to any food I have. I hope I never find out if it can deter a bear!
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Old 05-02-07, 11:22 AM   #22
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Remember the way they bait bears when hunting is they put the footstuffs in a box that the bear can't easily get it out of, that way the bear hangs around long enough while trying to access the bait that you may get a good shot at it. So think of these three levels:

- "Attracting" bears, make a really strong bear attractive smell like cooking-off bacon fat, brings them in;

- "Baiting" Something that smells like food and holds their attention, like packs hanging from trees (good cause it opens up the lungs for a shot), tents, and "bear proof" containers.

- "Feeding" bears, something they can easily grab and make off with. Though one shouldn't do this, it is the one transaction that gets them moving away from you. Well maybe.

In Canada, or the UP you have little chance of seeing bears, or being bothered by bears, unless you are in a park. I live part of the year on a farm that has bears on it, and other than seeing their eyes at night out on the blueberry fields, in 47 years I have never seen a bear. I have seen their spoor right up to within a few feet of the house. Probably wouldn't be a great idea to camp in the middle of the BB fields with some bacon sandwiches, though.
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Old 05-02-07, 12:30 PM   #23
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Cliff Jacobson is known as the Minnesota Guru on this stuff.
He has published a lot of information that seems to contradict mainstream procedure.
Take a look at his article on bears here.
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Old 05-02-07, 02:55 PM   #24
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Hmm. A bit of a straw man there. Who believes (I guess he has the brochures) that bears don't climb trees? The idea of hanging food in trees is based on the idea that it's more difficult for them to get it up there, not that they can't climb. The point is you better understand what a food cash does for bear behaviour (holds them), and if you are seriously worried about it then hang your bag in a distant tree. In cases where one is touring from grocery store to grocery store, one may not care too badly who takes the food, in the far north it could be different.

If you think you are going to get into a fight with a bear, as is more than possible if rare, then you need a gun. Mr 45-70 doesn't care what Brair Bear's reason for attacking is. Not something I expect to carry on a bike tour though. Maybe if they build a road into Churchill, Manitoba.
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Old 05-04-07, 10:04 AM   #25
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Just to add a quick note here, I read in several places that bear can smell food up to two miles away. Also, if you're hanging food, which I think is the best and most convenient way for touring cyclists, hang it about 150 feet away from your camp.

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