Mar 29, 2021 at 5:43 pm #3706848Steve HBPL Member
I found some dated posts, & perhaps little has changed, but I’m interested in where you store you pack.
In bear country, if using a bear can, is it ok to keep your backpack (free of food & smelly things) in the vestibule or tent? Or do you still stick it in your pack liner bag & leave away from your shelter?Mar 29, 2021 at 7:42 pm #3706909
The pack is always in the tent. I want to hear if a mouse is chewing on it at 3 AM. I’m not worried about smells. There is probably more food smell on me and realistically you can’t really “hide” from a bear that is close.Mar 29, 2021 at 7:50 pm #3706911
Most of my pack’s contents go with me into the tent, except for the bear canister. Everything else, and it’s all non-smelly, is in my pack with a garbage bag liner over it if it’s raining. And it’s away from my tent. The garbage bag liner keeps 100% of moisture out. So there’s no need to have my pack in my vestibule.
In bear country, I figure that there are residual food smells in my pack. why tempt fate?
Sure, one could argue that my sleeping bag and clothes have ‘residual food smells’ too. But I have to have my bag in my tent at night. I don’t need to have my pack in the tent. For what purpose? So best practice is to keep it dry and outside of my tent.Mar 29, 2021 at 8:06 pm #3706912
I think most places the vestibule is fine. Depending on which tent I’m using I either keep mine in the vestibule or outside with its rain cover on. But if you hike in places where knuckleheads have let bears find food in their vestibules, all bets are off.Mar 29, 2021 at 8:19 pm #3706917Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 to what Todd said.
But apart from that, I think the most important variable is where you cook your food. When in bear country, I have adopted the habit of trying to have dinner 1/2 mile or so on the way to the place where I plan to spend the night. Or if base camping, having the kitchen 100 or 200 yards away from my tent. When you can find the bear scat on the ground but not see the bears, it motivates you to be careful. And of course, the food and other smellables go into the bear canister.
Most all the non smellables come into the tent with me. Sometimes if expecting a very cold night or camping on rocky ground I might empty the pack and use it as extra insulation/padding under my legs or under my torso and head.Mar 29, 2021 at 8:20 pm #3706918
I walked up on a bait site once. There was food on the ground but a curious bear had chewed up the foam sit pad in the hunting blind instead. Bears can be odd.
But I trust that the vast majority are scared of me or more interested in actual food than me.Mar 29, 2021 at 8:46 pm #3706919
I think bears don’t naturally recognize the smell of most people food as food. It’s not until they try it, out of curiosity maybe, that they realize it’s a rich source of calories. Then they associate the smell and maybe the packaging (packs, stuff sacks, etc.) with junk food.Mar 29, 2021 at 9:29 pm #3706921Chris FormyDuvalBPL Member
I often put it on a hammock strap. Inside when using a tent. Food is stored per local conditions.Mar 30, 2021 at 6:20 am #3706950BonzoBPL Member
@bon-zoLocale: Virgo Supercluster
I always keep packs within the tent vestibule and I try to keep most of the food stored per whatever the local situation demands…but when one hikes with someone else that has hypoglycemia and has to eat every two hours – sometimes even in the middle of the night – one finds themselves bending the bear/mouse rules to the point of willful breakage. Like Luke said, you really can’t hide from a bear: their noses are like over-the-horizon radars, for realsies. This being the case, I just try to be a very unpalatable target, and I usually worry more about the smaller fuzzy things that think they’re bigger than than the bigger fuzzy things, anyway.Mar 30, 2021 at 7:50 am #3706960Bob .BPL Member
@bcbobLocale: Vancouver Island
I keep my pack clean of food smells and put it in the vestibule overnight.
I think a three-bean-chili fart in your sleeping bag is more of an issue.Mar 30, 2021 at 9:31 am #3706976
I’m just curious as to why people feel the need to stash their pack in the vestibule? Is it worries over theft?Mar 30, 2021 at 9:45 am #3706981
I just like it dry (no pack cover). And if a mouse is chewing on it I want to hear it an i intervene.Mar 30, 2021 at 10:17 am #3706985
I’m just curious as to why people feel the need to stash their pack in the vestibule? Is it worries over theft?
What they said about keeping things dry and unchewed, plus easy access to stuff without having to always bring individual items into the tent.Mar 30, 2021 at 10:42 am #3706993
All good points.
I bring a Schnozzle, which doubles as a dry bag. My nearly empty pack will slide inside of it, so I have a pack cover if it’s raining. I never need anything from inside my pack once I’m in bed-down mode, so I don’t need access to it. I’ve never had a critter go after my pack, which is amazing as I’ve had other things chewed. But only once that I can recall, now that I do!
I do keep my boots in a vestibule out of fear of them being chewed.
my understanding is that bears generally avoid human smells, but of course are attracted to food smells. So smelling a human in a tent is not attractive to bears. So anything with a food smell stays out. I doubt my pack smells much like food.Mar 30, 2021 at 11:00 am #3706998dirtbagBPL Member
Hanging in my hammock, my pack usually hangs (empty), on the foot end of my hammock. If I am in a tent, my empty pack is always inside my tent with me. If I am in a bivy, empty pack is inside my bivy with me. If I am under a tarp.. It is right there under tarp with me..Mar 30, 2021 at 11:24 am #3707005KarenBPL Member
I’ve mostly hiked in grizzly country, or mixed black bear/grizzly areas. I cook away from my tent area, put all smellies in the bear can, and everything else goes in the vestibule or tent. Never had anything investigate my tent except ptarmigan. That’s a sound in your ear that will get you out of your tent for a middle of the night pee break!Mar 30, 2021 at 11:45 am #3707010
Grouse and ptarmigan have nearly killed me several times. Almost had a heart attack when they flew up right in front of me!Mar 31, 2021 at 11:43 am #3707124Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
I usually hang my pack, with raincover on, from a carabiner near the tent. I don’t store it in the vestibule because I’ve had mice go for the salty straps, and then I don’t sleep. Bears aren’t as much of a concern as the darned rodents.
The only bear-related concern I have with hanging the pack like this is that even if it doesn’t contain food, bears are very curious creatures and might mess with it just because it represents something new and intriguing in their space. I’ve had them toy with a water-filled drombag hanging from a tree in Yellowstone; the darn bear must have batted it around and flipped the valve, draining the container. His tracks led into camp, meandered around a bit, visited the tree, and then meandered down the beach. Didn’t really bother us, just exploring I guess. I was going to chew out my companions for leaving the valve open, then we saw the tracks. Now it’s lore.Mar 31, 2021 at 7:44 pm #3707196obx hikerBPL Member
That’s a sound in your ear that will get you out of your tent for a middle of the night pee break!
I was in a deep sleep and had a screech owl let it rip about 3AM and from the intensity of the sound I’d say the owl was somewhere between my left and right ears.
Pretty sure I levitated. It was about like grabbing a live 120V line. So intense I realized what had happened and started to laugh while I could still feel the surge of neural lightning coursing through my body.Mar 31, 2021 at 7:49 pm #3707197StumphgesBPL Member
Pack either in vestibule or resting against a tree near tent if no rain threatening. Strict about no food smells on pack. Almost never put pack inside tent. Only time I’ve ever hung the whole pack was in the Smokies, where the cable system makes it convenient to just hang the whole shebang. My pack has never been molested. Food bag on the other hand…Mar 31, 2021 at 8:16 pm #3707208Paul LeavittBPL Member
Pack minus the smelly things goes in tent with me. It’s part of my sleep system. I have never had a bear visit the tent itself. Just food prep and food storage areas. Other critters though are more interested. Marmots , racoons, goats, sheep, deer, mice, pine martin, chipmunk, squirrels have all visited. I think they are after salt in sweaty gear. love cork handles on trekking poles. …Apr 1, 2021 at 11:36 am #3707270Richard RenoBPL Member
@scubahhhLocale: White Mountains, mostly.
Yes. In remember as a kid hanging dirty socks and underwear on our tents so bears could smell humans and sat away. I no longer recommend that.Apr 1, 2021 at 2:59 pm #3707292David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Black-bear country? I keep it close and am willing to chase off the bear.
Grizzly country? I cook dinner and store food far from the sleeping location.Apr 1, 2021 at 6:23 pm #3707328
David, where do you keep your pack in grizzly country?Apr 3, 2021 at 8:41 am #3707542Chris BellBPL Member
@hobbitLocale: PA Wilds
Same here for smaller critters going after the pack. I have had many more issues with mice crawling around waking me up with the pack outside. On the other hand when the pack is inside the tent I have had mice chew on the netting to check out the pack. So my preference it to leave it outside with pockets wide open.
Where I live, Potter County PA, there is on average 3 black bear per square mile of forest. In recent years they are having 3 and 4 cubs at a time, plenty of them to go around. Generally speaking most are quite wild and stay away. There are a few areas noted for state park or garbage bears roaming about but even still never had problems with them around camp getting into things. Yet.
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