Nov 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm #1241612
When hiking/camping in bear country, would it be advisable to sleep in a tent over a bivy or a bivy/tarp combo, or does it really matter?
I suppose a half-millimeter of fabric (even Ripstop) is not going help in terms of bear protection, but perhaps that a tent could appear more "intimidating" than a bivy in terms of size may have a psychological advantage.
Thanks…Nov 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm #1544657
Good question. Without hijacking your post, may I pose an additional question?
What is the best thing to do if you're in a tent or bivy, and you hear/see a bear poking around outside? Lay silent? Make noise?
Edit: I see that there was another thread on this topic, but not too much was offered as real "evidence" or "statistically supported" options as to what to do in the situation. Oh, and I promise I'm not trying to hijack the OP's question! Answer his first!Nov 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm #1544658
Put your mind at rest, if he wants to eat ya, one layer or two isn't going to make a difference. That said, I've only heard of this happening twice and it was kids under 12 in both cases. You may want to become a scout master or big brother :o)Nov 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm #1544659
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
They don't call 'em bear burritos for nothin.Nov 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm #1544662
I think I'd follow the advice that's out there. Black Bear: Raise a ruckus, Brown Bear: Slowly draw back the hammer on your Winchester and wait for him to go away.Nov 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm #1544666
A separate, but related question is, do you sleep with your bear spray underneath your pillow, or within reaching distance?Nov 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm #1544667
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
Those times when I have had a bear visit camp at night, I have just started yelling and waving a flashlight around. Of course these have always been black bears. Every time, the bear has just ambled away looking totally unconcerned. The most recent time was after the bear had chewed a hole in one of the waist belt pockets of my pack. This was to get at the trail mix I had forgotten to put in the bear can before bedtime. I'll swear the bear gave me a smirk, a burp, and a brief chuckle as he/she strolled casually away.
Whether I was sleeping under the stars or in a tent has never seemed to make much difference in the way the bear reacted.Nov 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm #1544681
@jamespatsalides-comLocale: New England
I keep my bear spray in easy reach on my right hand side (in one of my sneakers) and my water bottle on the other side. I always keep it in the exact same place, so I can grab it in the dark. I think Mr Bear will leave you alone if you a diligent about sealing and hanging all your smelly stuff – food, candy, garbage, toothpaste etc. Even those tasty medications and fruity perfumes (!).Nov 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm #1544685
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Brown Bear: Slowly draw back the hammer on your Winchester", put the barrel in your mouth, and……Nov 11, 2009 at 7:18 pm #1544688
Actually I don't have a Winchester, but my bear spray hangs from the ridge line of my Hammock.Nov 11, 2009 at 7:23 pm #1544690
>"Brown Bear: Slowly draw back the hammer on your Winchester", put the barrel in your mouth, and……
>>Actually I don't have a Winchester, but my bear spray hangs from the ridge line of my Hammock.
I heard bear spray doesn't taste all that good though….
But seriously, I found this on the Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries website:
"If you hear a bear or other animal outside your tent make sure it is aware that there is a human inside by using a firm monotone voice. Turn on a flashlight or lantern. If the bear enters the tent fight back and yell. Many bears have been driven off this way."Nov 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm #1544712
My speculation is that you will have a small advantage in a tent because it's large and unfamiliar to a bear, so they may leave this 'large unknown object' alone. In a tarp/bivy the bear may be able to discern that you and the tarp are different things and you are just a smaller edible morsel laying underneath a strange tarp.
Maybe I'm over thinking this, but I still feel safer in a tent. If I'm sleeping under a tarp then I'd rather have it pitched pyramid style so I'm mostly enclosed, rather than pitching it with the ends open.Nov 12, 2009 at 1:16 am #1544730
deleted.Nov 12, 2009 at 5:14 am #1544738
@arichardson6Locale: North East
I developed a plan one night when I got to camp early and was laying for hours just enjoying the stars.
That night I decided that if a bear came anywhere near me I would take my sleeping bag (I use it like a quilt), make it into giant pterodactyl wings by grabbing the corners (Color side facing out if possible, ofcourse) and then use my fire steel to make sparks while cawing like a madmen. It made for a good laugh, but to this day, I think that would be my first reaction.
Who knows if it would work, but I imagine the bear being a bit curious and then thinking "What the Eff is that! Forget this, not worth dealing with that thing."Nov 12, 2009 at 5:44 am #1544741
@jdeyoung81Locale: New England
years ago while on a trip in northern NH we had a bear come in on our backcountry site late at night in the fall. after being woken by a fist to the groin to warn me I let out a yelp and the bear just took off…
That being said it was a black bear and they are a little less scarey in then a neighborhood poodle here in New Enland.
Just the introduction of a new noise to a non socialized black bear usually is enough to get them to move along in my opinion. Not sure about those camp ground bears that have no fear.Nov 12, 2009 at 7:43 am #1544749
Not too sure about bears, but I know 9 out of 10 chupacabras prefer people in bivys. Easier to eat your nose off.Nov 12, 2009 at 8:25 am #1544756
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
LOL @ Andrew
If I were to join you on a trip, it would be worth the extra pounds to bring a bear suit, just to see the performanceNov 12, 2009 at 8:41 am #1544762
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
I was out with a friend who preferred to cowboy camp. He was awoken one night by a wet bear nose rubbing across his cheek. He just calmly starting talking to the bear, and as the bear started to amble away, my friend started to turn up the volume. This is when I awoke, poked my head out of my shelter, and saw my friend standing there in his underwear and shouting into the woods. He was known as "Crazy Dave" for the remainder of that hike.Nov 12, 2009 at 10:51 am #1544795
@jcarrLocale: Humboldt County
About 20 years ago on the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway I had a noise wake me up at 2 am. I sat up wondering who is out there when a black bear came to the front of my tent. I was about to make a new door when it stuck its nose into the mesh and took a big whiff emptying the tent of air then turned around and left. I never felt so good about smelling so bad!!Nov 12, 2009 at 11:11 am #1544798
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
My first reaction to any noise is to yell "who's there?" apparently… the wind in branches wakes me up, I holler. Much to the annoyance of my neighbors in their tents.
One night it was a bear… he didn't answer but I heard him walking. And then a number of yards away, one of the group shouted, and a few seconds later the bear blinked in the light of multiple headlamps as he was licking a large Bear Vault… Bear scrammed under the scrutiny of several yelling hikers and left the can, which was then moved a few more yards away from the tents…. I love the JMT, but not for the amount of sleep you get. Anyway, the only thing the bear touched other than the saliva covered canister was a little pringles can left out on a rock – it had fishing tackle in it. There was a nice big tooth puncture in the side. None of the pots, platypus bladders, tents, tarps or packs were disturbed.Nov 12, 2009 at 11:12 am #1544800
I would imagine most of the time bears are no less curious about the strange visitor in the wilderness (you and your tent) then that cute and pesky little chipmunk. Though, when a chipmunk decides to get mad, he doesn't devour you! Its difficult to remember that bears are just another part of the (mostly harmless) outdoors due to that fact.Nov 12, 2009 at 3:24 pm #1544866
LOL @ Andrew indeed!
Instead of cawing, wouldn't it be more effective to bust out your own rendition of Whitney Houston's "And I Will Always Love You"? While doing your sleeping bag pteradactyl dance, of course…Nov 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm #1544877
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I heard bear spray doesn't taste all that good though…."
Bears are reputed to find it quite tasty when spread on haunch of hiker.
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