[pct-l] hanging food

Town Food pctl at marcusschwartz.com
Sat Jan 28 14:37:50 CST 2017

For what it's worth, on my 2016 thru-hike, I saw literally zero proper
bear hangs.  A few people tried, but seeing a PCT hiker doing a bear
hang of any kind was a rare occurrence.  I saw a couple of determined
hikers do a counterbalance hang just north of Sierra City that was
almost right, but too close to the trunk (the branch wasn't long
enough), and too close to the campsite (about 50 feet).  That was by far
the best one I saw.  So bear bagging is not a common practice on the
PCT, so far as I can tell.

The vast majority of hangs I did see were from weekenders at
heavily-used campsites, with hangs much too low, and tied to the trunk.
I saw one hang that was a plastic shopping bag, tied to a branch by its
handles, about 6 feet off the ground.

I started my hike with the intention of getting some practice with the
Skilman hang, and I carried gear for it the whole way.  But it seems
that the areas with bears are also areas with no trees suitable for
hanging.  For example, in sugar pine forests, with only short,
downward-sloped branches, starting 50 feet off the ground.

I ended up keeping my food in an Opsak, which itself was inside a trash
compactor bag, inside my backpack, in my vestibule.  I was careful to
not drop crumbs, and I had no animal problems throughout the hike.

My sister took the same approach, but was not so careful about dropping
food, and a mouse burrowed into her tent to retrieve some stray
sunflower seeds in northern Washington.  So, I'm guessing that making
sure to not drop food is much more important than hanging your food.
Which makes sense -- it would be easier for an animal to smell food
that's loose on the ground than in an Opsak.

Now, I'm sure my Opsak was not perfectly scentproof -- after any kind of
use, they develop tiny holes.  But, my way of thinking is, while it may
be possible for animals to smell the food inside, it reduces the risk a
whole lot.


On 01/27/2017 09:34 AM, Stephen Adams wrote:
> Most simple hangs will keep the little critters at bay.  Not so
> bears.  And in many places, especially in the high country, there
> simply can be no good place to make a decent anti-bear hang.  They
> are really smart, good climbers, tall when they stand up, and really
> strong.  Most lodgepole forest wont offer many good branches high
> enough or strong enough to dissuade a determined bear from getting
> the food stash. A good counter balance is like 16ft off the ground
> and way out on a branch far from the trunk of the tree.  On another
> note...  I've seen parachute cord and small twine dangling from
> branches more than I've seen poor or simply stupid food hangs.  So,
> you not only have to hang the food so hopefully the bears are not
> going to risk injury to get it, and you have to be able to recover it
> yourself. _______________________________________________ Pct-L
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