Apr 22, 2011 at 8:36 am #1272677
My son and I are getting ready to backpack about 115 miles on the Kungsleden in Arctic Sweden this summer. Because of the latitude, most of the hiking will be above treeline–a radical departure from the backpacking we've done.
In the absence of trees, how do you keep food away from critters who might want to share your tasty meal? A makeshift cairn? For reference, we'll have our food in an Ursack Minor and a ZPacks Blast Food Bag.Apr 22, 2011 at 8:55 am #1727929
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I am not familiar with "above treeline" in Sweden. When I am above treeline it is due to altitude not latitude, but if you have any large boulders or small cliffs with an overhang, I typically just hang my food bag as high as I can get it by jamming the cord or cord-lock in a crack or on a protrusion of rock.
This has worked for years with only one time where a rodent either dropped onto the bag or climbed down the cord to chew a small hole and eat some dried potatoes and oatmeal.Apr 22, 2011 at 9:03 am #1727935
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
FWIW consider this method.
If you can find a natural outcropping of rocks that will provide a stable and secure tie off point, you could tie your bear bag line off to it and pitch your food bags over the side into "space".
If rodents are a consideration do what I've seen in shelters and put an empty small aluminum can with a hole in the center, knotted into position, above the food bags.
Take all of the above with a grain of salt because I'm a flatlander who sees mountains only on hikes and I am rarely above the tree line myself. ;-)
NewtonApr 22, 2011 at 9:06 am #1727936
"I am not familiar with "above treeline" in Sweden. When I am above treeline it is due to altitude not latitude…"
In the Arctic, it's a function of both. The closer you get to the poles, the lower the altitude at which tree growth ends.
And good idea about seeking out a cliff. Any troubles getting the jammed cord-lock out in the morning?Apr 22, 2011 at 9:19 am #1727947
David, what animals will you be protecting your food from? If it's only rodents and small birds, and not bears, you would probably be fine with a steel mesh food bag, such as the ones made by Outsak. It wouldn't need to be hung. You could just secure it to a rock so that an animal couldn't drag it away.Apr 22, 2011 at 9:38 am #1727956
Gary, I think we're talking about both bears and rodents, although I've heard that Nordic bears tend to be shyer than their North American cousins.
Here's a fairly typical picture. Looks tough to find anywhere decent to hang a bag.Apr 22, 2011 at 10:13 am #1727972
Pretty scene. If a bear does wander near your campsite, it looks like you'll see it coming. So, if there might be bears, it seems like your Ursack is the only dependable option. I would imagine that an intent bear could breach a cuben bag eventually (rodents likely not). My vote is to take two regular (stronger) Ursacks and tie them to one of those rocks. By the way, what do the locals use for food protection?Apr 22, 2011 at 11:15 am #1728007
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
There's the submarine option of packing food in a dry bag (with venting valve) and either sinking it with a weighted cord or weighing it down and tying it off. If lakes are plentiful this can be an easy solution.
RickApr 26, 2011 at 8:56 am #1729620
Yet another reason why the weight of a bear can is worth the peace of mind. Where you're going seems like a place you wouldn't want to be without food. Whenever I gripe about the weight of my can, I remember hey, if I'm three or more days from a trailhead and an animal swipes my food, I could be up the creek real quick. They also make a good camp seat, seeing as you won't have logs to sit on, might be nice.May 11, 2011 at 6:53 am #1735304
David: I'm from Finland and visited Kungsleden only once about 10 years ago, so I might not be the correct person to give advice, but you will probably be the only person in the Kungsleden area carrying a bear canister or ursack. As far as I know, you cannot even easily buy those in whole Scandinavia. The scandinavian bears are very shy, and even more so in the reideer areas as reindeer owners generally do not like animals that are capable of eating their cattle. Ofcourse, I'm not saying that bringing the bear canister would be a dumb idea :)
However, walking between the mother bear and it's cubs is possible and some people bring bear chimes to get some peace of mind (especially when walking with a dog). Unfortunately a lot of other wildlife remains unseen at the same time because of the chime.
From time to time I've heard about rodents trying to get to peoples food, mostly near the huts, but even that is not so common thing to happen.
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