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To haul a bear resistant canister or not to haul a bear resistant canister???

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To haul a bear resistant canister or not to haul a bear resistant canister???

Old 05-29-10, 11:16 AM
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To haul a bear resistant canister or not to haul a bear resistant canister???

So I'm leaving tomorrow for my Adirondack's trip and I still have mixed feelings about this. Should I take the canister or not? I never hung food and according to some people, including some BF members, it could be an exercise in frustration.

My friends who hike up there insist on the bear canister, but I won't be going deep into the woods, right? On the other hand bears are accustomed to people and are known to roam campsites at night. I would love to not to take this thing. It proved to be a nuisance. But it did keep raccoons away from my chow at night.

I'm not worried about being attacked by a bear over the food, since I'd keep it far from the tent. What I'm worried about is having no breakfast in the morning while 20 miles from the nearest town.

I was unable to confirm if the campsites offer bear lockers or containers rental.

Any last minute ideas?
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Old 05-29-10, 11:31 AM
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Take this for what it's worth from a Sierra backpackers point of reference; I don't know how bad it is in your neck of the woods, but in more and more of the Sierras the bear 'problem' is getting worse and worse. Many of the Parks here are 'requiring' approved bear canisters before they will issue a permit to backpack there. The canister is not necessarily for your safety, it's for the bears. Once they have associated food with people, they can become a big enough problem that they have to be put down. This does not just apply to food. Any scented items such as toiletries, should be included in the canister. If you are going to be touring in an area that may have bears, I'd consider taking a good canister big enough to hold all your food, scented items, and trash that you generate.
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Old 05-29-10, 11:32 AM
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Well, you could put your food far from your campsite to avoid the whole getting mauled thing, and keep a few energy bars stashed in your tent just in case.

Surely they can't smell an unopened energy bar? The way most taste, even if they could it might prove to be a repellent anyways.

With care taken to seal up your main food supply air-tight it may not even be a problem.
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Old 05-29-10, 11:37 AM
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I'd take it. As if it'll add a lot of weight to your gear. Better safe than sorry. Better to have it and not need than need it and not have it.
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Old 05-29-10, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
Take this for what it's worth from a Sierra backpackers point of reference; I don't know how bad it is in your neck of the woods, but in more and more of the Sierras the bear 'problem' is getting worse and worse. Many of the Parks here are 'requiring' approved bear canisters before they will issue a permit to backpack there. The canister is not necessarily for your safety, it's for the bears. Once they have associated food with people, they can become a big enough problem that they have to be put down. This does not just apply to food. Any scented items such as toiletries, should be included in the canister. If you are going to be touring in an area that may have bears, I'd consider taking a good canister big enough to hold all your food, scented items, and trash that you generate.
Yup, that's what my hiking friends say. One of them actually hiked in the Sierras as well. There is over 3000 black bears in that part of the state I know, the toiletries go in there too. I have the container that was suggested by the park service.

Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
Well, you could put your food far from your campsite to avoid the whole getting mauled thing, and keep a few energy bars stashed in your tent just in case.

Surely they can't smell an unopened energy bar? The way most taste, even if they could it might prove to be a repellent anyways.

With care taken to seal up your main food supply air-tight it may not even be a problem.
Apparently bears have 1000x more sensitive sense of smell than dogs and they can smell food through layers of airtight ziplock bags from hundreds of feet away They're omnivores more than humans, they'll eat anything that has strong scent including toothpaste and soap. I'm not afraid of getting hurt, I just would hate to lose my food

DEC (NYS dept of environmental conservation) suggests keeping camphor or mothballs around trash area to keep bears away, they hate those smells. I wonder how effective would that be on a campsite?

Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
I'd take it. As if it'll add a lot of weight to your gear. Better safe than sorry. Better to have it and not need than need it and not have it.
I guess, I'll just haul it. Yeah, better be safe than sorry. It's about 4 lbs. But my bike plus gear is around 80-90 lbs... yeah, I know, I know There was a whole thread about how I carry a lot of crap
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Old 05-29-10, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
Surely they can't smell an unopened energy bar?
Oh yes they can!
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Old 05-29-10, 01:09 PM
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How bout instead of a canister just bring some rope, and haul your food way up high in a tree? And that rope can be used for many different purposes, unlike a canister?
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Old 05-29-10, 02:50 PM
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When in bear country and there's no locker I hang one of these:

https://www.simpleoutdoorstore.com/20...specifications

When not in bear country all my food goes in it anyway, but I don't bother to hang it: instead I leave it on the ground next to the bike. Deters all the smaller critters.
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Old 05-29-10, 03:19 PM
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I don't want to mess around with hanging any bags. Many people described it as a hit and miss, frustrating experience. Next time I'll try animal resistant the bag. I didn't know they existed.
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Old 05-29-10, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
As if it'll add a lot of weight to your gear.
Four pounds is a lot of weight in my book.

BTW, Odor proof bags may help as well. Opsak and Ursack both sell them. I have not tried them myself. Any one have experience with them?
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Old 05-29-10, 03:55 PM
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hanging stuff is really easy... take a small carabiner and some parachute cord. use the biner as a weight to throw, and as a clip. put all food/smelly stuff/ cookware in a front pannier and up it goes. takes 5 mins, and uses stuff that you would carry anyhow.

thats my suggestion, and my practice.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:01 PM
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I read about the various hanging methods. But some people say that sometimes you just can't find a suitable tree/branch (far enough from trunks and other branches), canopies may be too thick for an easy throw, and screwing around with rope and stone at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to.

Adam
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Old 05-29-10, 04:22 PM
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Bears will eat anything including you if you smell like something close to food. Even sleeping in the clothes you cooked in is a no no. Bite the bullet and leave out some stuff you don't REALLY need and take the food container. What are the chances of something bad happening? probably not very high but its early in the season and they are trying to fatten up for winter, thats all they have in mind is to find food. They find it with a very accute sense of smell and besides if you are the one getting mauled by a bear those odds don't mean diddly.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Four pounds is a lot of weight in my book.
I agree. I only said that because the OP is already carrying a lot of stuff. Slight sarcasm.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by stringbreaker View Post
Bears will eat anything including you if you smell like something close to food. Even sleeping in the clothes you cooked in is a no no. Bite the bullet and leave out some stuff you don't REALLY need and take the food container. What are the chances of something bad happening? probably not very high but its early in the season and they are trying to fatten up for winter, thats all they have in mind is to find food. They find it with a very accute sense of smell and besides if you are the one getting mauled by a bear those odds don't mean diddly.
Point well taken

Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
I agree. I only said that because the OP is already carrying a lot of stuff. Slight sarcasm.
Oh, I know, I know We've had a long discussion on the subject I've been trying hard to cut some weight, but I just can seem to be able to do that I trimmed clothing, tools, got some light camping stuff. But still, just can't. I've spent all day today going through stuff and no matter what, it's still over 60lbs (plus the bike). But that includes 2.8l L camelbak bladder full of water, 3 days worth of emergency backup food and big-ass DSLR camera with big lens.

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Old 05-29-10, 04:43 PM
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You can always mail stuff back home once you decide it is no longer needed.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You can always mail stuff back home once you decide it is no longer needed.
True. Since this is my first time I really don't know for sure what I need what I don't don't. But I also would like to limit my dependence on stores and services. I don't want to look for shops to buy stuff other than food and water. At least during the first week, so I can get into riding more and don't worry about finding places to buy stuff.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:49 PM
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"Bear resistant" is a relative term. They have been known to beat their way through fiberglass truck canopies when motivated by the smell of food.
By the same token "Tightly sealed" is a relative term as well. It depends how hungry the bear is.
I think the best way to avoid issues is to divert their one track minds to a food stash (or smell) preferably hanging over by the motor home parking area.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I read about the various hanging methods. But some people say that sometimes you just can't find a suitable tree/branch (far enough from trunks and other branches), canopies may be too thick for an easy throw, and screwing around with rope and stone at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to.

Adam
I sort of understand your thought experiment, and I know you have the can already, but I would suggest this: take a parachute cord and carabiner, and practice hanging stuff a few times. Even if you take the bear can too... theres always time at the end of a riding day for this sort of stuff, and it will help you decide if you can get along without the bear can next time, or whether the four pounds is really worth it since it is functionally redundant.

Ive never had a problem hanging food anywhere. Its really not very hard... At the end of the day, the whole "some people say" argument is a straw man, the same thing could be said of almost anything...

"screwing around with finding a campsite at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to"
"screwing around with tent and fly at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to"
"screwing around with sourcing water at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to"
"screwing around with cooking a meal at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to"
"screwing around with bike repairs at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to"
"screwing around with cleaning up at the end of a long day isn't something they'd look forward to"
etc. etc. etc.

regardless, have a nice trip. maybe halfway youll find the hanging method handy enough that you can send the can back home via usps..
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Old 05-29-10, 05:06 PM
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I didn't think to get a proper paracord so I don't have anything to experiment with. Any rope I have is bulky and white (not suggested, right?). Maybe I can pickup something along the way. Don't get me wrong, I would really love to get rid of this can but so far it seems like most advice (on the net and off the net) is to try the canister.
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Old 05-29-10, 05:07 PM
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I would give a call to one of the campsite owners and see what they say about the bears. My visits to the Adirondack's have taught me that bears love the garbage dumps, but I have no idea about the campgrounds. It's possible the campgrounds you will stay at have no bear trouble at all. If it was me I would just bring some oats...and dried fruit in a good plastic sealed package. It's not like you're cooking hamburgers on an open grill or something.
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Old 05-29-10, 05:18 PM
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I called the DEC (https://www.dec.ny.gov/) that runs the campsites in the Adirondack Park and they say the bear canisters are required at certain campgrounds in the North-East High Peaks are and strongly recommended everywhere else. They said some camps may have lockers, but that's not guaranteed. And I really don't feel like calling 10-20 campgrounds. I really don't know for sure where I'll be staying.

No, I won't be cooking most of the time at the campsites at all. I'll eat cooked food during the day. I don't eat real diners biking or not. I will have some trail mix and oat snackbars, bagels, cookies, crackers, tea and sugar, may some oranges basically in the can. I may cook some ramen or couscous if I'm really hungry. The couscous mix smells of garlic and seasonings. That's what I had during my overnighters and raccoons were all over the can I have three bags of Mountain House dried meals as a backup too.

I was actually reasoning for a while: I'll be staying at state campgrounds where people will have tons of real food, will be grilling meat, etc so my stuff may really be less interesting

If I left the ramen, couscous, eat enough before reaching the campground I may even arrange not to have any food at all at the end of the day. I'm just not sure if I'll be able to do that so some backup food may be necessary. Again: I just don't know And there is the issue of the breakfast. I wake up usually ravenous and I can't ride too far in the morning to get food.
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Old 05-29-10, 05:35 PM
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Sounds good, and always good to have extra food at the end of the day- cant really eat too much when biking all day (especially with your load ).

The cord I really like and have settled on is this stuff I picked up at an army navy store. Its thin (2-3mm?), strong and slippery. It was about 8 bucks for a roll of it, maybe sixty feet. Its nylon (pretty sure) and olive drab.
I beleive, but am not sure it was called parachute cord- maybe someone else can confirm.

Its been really handy to have a decent amount of this for all sorts of reasons, actually. You could then ditch the rope, which sounds bulkier and heavier.
Also, a good point about being in populated campgrounds, I guess that there will likely be tastier options, but also probably very many more small animals and bears than dispersed camping which is what i am more accustomed to.

Im sure the can will be convenient, in the end, you will have to decide whether its worth the weight and bulk. Safe travels
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Old 05-29-10, 05:49 PM
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I know exactly which cord you're talking about, but I just learned about it this week too late to order, and I have no idea where to find it in NYC. Paragon Sports in Manhattan may have that stuff, but I didn't have the time today to ride to Manhattan and they'll be closed in the morning tomorrow when I'll be riding through Manhattan.

In the end I think I'll haul this thing just to be on the safe side since I just can't decide and it does seem like a SAFER solution for a beginner. It would suck to be left without breakfast in the morning. I'll just pack less food, I probably don't need all the ramen AND couscous AND Mountain House meals. I can re-supply along the way. That would be several pounds less to carry and the can won't cause the bike to be so top heavy. Meantime, I'll look at what others do, maybe pickup some cord along the way and I may end up mailing the can back home.

This is learning experience for me after all
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Old 05-29-10, 05:59 PM
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always something to learn thats a huge part of the fun for me I guess

One of the hardest things to me is food planning, especially when travelling to "wilder" areas with fewer amenities, and routes that are not well known. I always try to carry dried staples that can be the base of a meal, incorporating whatever I may find fresh along the way. Sometimes im left over with a huge bag of lentils or oats or something though, since I tend to overpack in the food department. Cooking is one of the fun parts of the whole experience for me though... I have also carried those foil bags of curry or similar pouch type things which are pretty easy and tasty. Too salty for me mostly though. Pretty into dehydrated refried beans these days.

If you take stock of your stores each evening, you will get into a rythym of knowing how much stuff to carry for your needs day to day, and what youll need to stop for at the end of each day. Then it will be easier to know how the can fits in to your needs.

Oh, and if it were me, Id take the couscous and leave a mountain meal and the ramen... but I love cous cous
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