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Figuring out how to protect your food from bears in the backcountry is a puzzle that has been debated by backpackers, food storage gear vendors, and agency land managers for decades.

Hanging a bear bag is time-consuming and prone to error, portable hard-sided bear canisters are heavy, soft bags made from bulletproof fabrics are controversial, and permanent food storage lockers are expensive. In this Member Q&A, we discuss the pros and cons of all methods of food storage in bear country, including one that’s practiced by more hikers than you may think: sleeping with your food. You’ll learn a solid base of skills in this webinar that will help you make a good decision about how to manage food storage while backpacking in bear country.

Keynote: Protecting Your Food From Bears (~40 minutes)

  • But first, a disclaimer…
  • Anecdotes are not appropriate right now
  • A case for protecting your food from bears in the backcountry
  • Food storage orders and land management agencies
  • Food storage methods: pros and cons
  • Techniques for mitigating risk

Q&A (~ 20 minutes)

  • Why do you need to keep toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, deoderant, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.) in with your food and protect those items from bears?
  • Can you use Challenge Sailcloth EPL Ultra 800 fabric for bear bags? How does it compare to the fabric used in Ursacks?
  • Is the extra weight of the Ursack Allmitey worth the added critter protection?
  • Why are we always told to hang our food if it doesn’t really work? Shouldn’t we just use bear canisters?
  • Bear bag vs. Ursack vs. canister – what are your preferences?
  • How far do you keep the bear can from your shelter in the Sierras?
  • What’s the purpose of food storage in the context of wildlife preservation vs. protecting my food?
  • What about sleeping with your food? Or otherwise not worrying about bear-proofing anything? Is this ever OK?
  • When black bears are out and about (spring through fall in the Western US), in a place where canisters are not required and trees are not suitable for hanging, what are my options?

About the Event & Access Info

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Live Event Info:

  • Event Description: Protecting Your Food From Bears
  • Livestream Date and Time: May 26, 2022 6 PM US Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)

Backpacking Light Member Q&A Sessions are Hour-Long Members-Only Live Events – they are recorded, and the recorded session will be made available below after the live event has ended.

Members-Only: Watch the Recorded Video & Access Additional Resources

  • Download the Slide Deck (PDF)

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