"Cooking clothes" in grizzly country

Walkin' Fool

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So this is probably a dumb question....I don't live in grizzly country, but very occasionally backpack where they live. It's recommended to not sleep (or keep in your tent) the same clothes you wore cooking. That makes sense if you're frying up some fish or cooking food with a strong odor, but does this also apply to just reheating freeze-dried or dehydrated meals? Unless you spill some on yourself, it seems a bit overkill to change clothes after eating Mountain House, but I'll certainly do it if it's the standard. Thanks!
 

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LarryBoy

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I would definitely not worry about wearing cooking clothes if you're just preparing a Mountain House. I would also not forgo brushing my teeth just because a bear might smell residual toothpaste on my breath at night. Reasonable precautions are great but you're definitely right to apply common sense here.
 

Jackson

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So this is probably a dumb question....I don't live in grizzly country, but very occasionally backpack where they live. It's recommended to not sleep (or keep in your tent) the same clothes you wore cooking. That makes sense if you're frying up some fish or cooking food with a strong odor, but does this also apply to just reheating freeze-dried or dehydrated meals? Unless you spill some on yourself, it seems a bit overkill to change clothes after eating Mountain House, but I'll certainly do it if it's the standard. Thanks!
It's beyond the scope of your question, but I think it's relevant to add that the seemingly minor things that you should pay attention to instead is stuff like keeping fuel canisters, sunscreen, bug spray, and other scented non-food items in your bear hang/bear canister overnight. We don't think of that stuff as terribly enticing because it doesn't smell like food, but the strange smells still attract bears.

You may have already known that, but I wanted to say it just in case. I learned about it on here a few years ago.

Also I've probably asked every dumb question in the book when it comes to grizzly bear precautions (like whether to keep your mostly empty backpack inside your tent, in the vestibule, or hung in a tree). Always better to ask!
 

Bob

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As Larry said .. agree. Other simple solution is I hand my entire pack each night with everything not needed for that night in it
 

Outdoor_Fool

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Great question. I agree with everything written so far. One other precaution I take is that I do not use toothpaste when I brush my teeth at night. Probably not a thorough cleansing but I brush with paste in the morning to do the job right. I could go on and on with specifics but as long as you brush teeth, clean dishes, etc at least 50 yards from sleeping area, you probably won't attract bears to your tent.
 

IntrepidXJ

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It's beyond the scope of your question, but I think it's relevant to add that the seemingly minor things that you should pay attention to instead is stuff like keeping fuel canisters, sunscreen, bug spray, and other scented non-food items in your bear hang/bear canister overnight. We don't think of that stuff as terribly enticing because it doesn't smell like food, but the strange smells still attract bears.
I always wondered about bug spray and sunscreen....you cover yourself with them during the day and still smell like them at night in the tent, so why bother putting those in the bear bag? Won't the bear just smell the scents on you anyway?
 

scatman

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I've been backpacking in Grizzly country for just over 30 years now, and I have never changed out of my clothes when heating water for freeze dried meals to eat - unless like you mentioned, if I happened to spill on myself.
 

Jackson

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I always wondered about bug spray and sunscreen....you cover yourself with them during the day and still smell like them at night in the tent, so why bother putting those in the bear bag? Won't the bear just smell the scents on you anyway?
My worthless hypothesis is that when stuff like that is directly on you or under you, a bear's strong sense of smell can detect that. So they usually won't take the risk and thoroughly investigate the smells of that stuff mixed and muddled with stinky human backpacker smell due to their fear of humans. It's like how people can sleep directly on their food in grizzly country and generally be fine (definitely still not advisable). Like I said though, it's just my guess based on other people's anecdotal experiences and evidence.

I generally go wash off my sunscreen and bug spray at night though anyway just because I like the feeling of being clean when I go to bed.
 

Outdoor_Fool

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If I'm spending the night out, I do everything I can to not apply sunscreen or bug spray, which is challenging at times. If I use it, like @Jackson I wash it off as best I can. Bears coming into tents is an extreme rarity, but there's no doubt they can smell us a long ways away before they come in.

By and large, it's a really desperate (starving), or highly food-conditioned bears that will enter a tent. Luckily, in most places, there are not a lot of those (food-conditioned) around. We seem to have a lot of hungry ones in AK this summer as the berry crop appears to be dismal, as are the salmon runs in a lot of streams. No way in heck will I have anything remotely attractive to a hungry bear near my tent.
 

Walkin' Fool

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Thank you all, that's very helpful!! A few years ago, on a backpack along the Rogue River in Oregon (where there are frequently problem bears), I hiked past an unoccupied guard station and a black bear had gotten into the screened-in porch area and chewed up some cans of Raid, among other things. I've been putting my bug spray in the hang/cannister ever since!
 

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Kmatjhwy

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Now as for myself, have been hiking and camping for years in Grizzly Country and am still in one piece. Am like Scatman in that I never change out of my clothes when cooking and eating. Also on my hikes when am usually just all by myself, I will get terribly grungy and wear the same clothes day in and day out. Then only occasionally washing them in some nearby creek. Also I generally do not take much cookable food at all but a lot of food which can eat as is like nuts, raisins, and so forth. I will take Macaroni and Cheese with me though And cook it over a fire. And in all my years, have never never never had a problem with a bear in my camp. In general have learned that it seems the Grizzlies want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them. Give them their space and they will give you your space. Also very important .... Keep A Clean Camp and do believe this this helps prevent bear encounters also. Now to add also, I never wear sunscreen ever, but like I said earlier .... I can get quite grungy on my hikes when by myself.

Again have camped many a night in Grizzly Bear Country and never have had a problem with a bear in my camp. There were many a place where their was abundance of all sorts of bear sign nearby, but they generally it seemed always left my camp alone, even when I was away dayhiking during the day. Once in the Thorofare one morning in early June, after it had snowed a little the night before, saw some very fresh grizzly tracks near my camp. I followed the tracks for a little ways. The Bear had very intentionally and on purpose went around my camp and let me be. In this modern day age, much of the wildlife will have more common sense then many people it seems and respect it seems.

Wishing Everyone the Best!
 

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