Food storage for backpacking

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pixie1339

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This is an area that has me a little stumped. What do y'all do to keep your food safe from the critters when out in the backcountry? Any storage products or suggestions you swear by? I plan to backpack in both the desert and the mountains. I'm sure the rules are a little different for each scenario.
 

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DOSS

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Well if it is not bear country I am all about properly hanging my foodsack so that critters can't get to it (usually this is just a drybag with part of a garbage compactor bag as a secondary liner to lessen smell release)... the difference between the desert and more forested places for me is that there are so many more good ways to hang your foodbag in the forest than the desert.. Bear country its all about the bearproof container and then just leave it on the ground away from camp as a bear isn't going to move it that far if they get it and they suck to get a rope onto :)

A lot of people swear by Ursack's and other critter proof bags but I have never found the need http://www.ursack.com/ursack-catalog.htm
 

Nick

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I generally keep my main food supply in a gallon ziplock when it's in my pack. I don't hang it unless I'm in bear country or leaving it unattended for a while. If rodents are a concern, I usually just keep it with me (on day hikes, etc.) but next option would be to hang it in a tree. I use the stuff sack from my sleeping bag, that way I'm not carrying something extra. At night, if bears aren't an issue, I keep it in my tent with me inside my backpack. Just never do that unattended or even in an area with highly aggressive rodents. They will tear through the tent and get to it. A

A friend of mine left his box of food inside his tent at the Zion Watchman Campground last July while he did The Subway. Came back to a grapefruit-sized hole in his tent and a stream of ants going in and out of the box. A squirrel or something had made the hole, the ants stuck around until the next day. I guess he was swatting them off all night. :eek:

Another friend once left his backpack out on the ground all evening in Death Hollow. We were close by but not right next to it. Rodents ate a hole in the bottom and got up into his food. So even when attended, I'll typically place it in an inconvenient location for rodents. A tripod can be a nice place to hang a mostly empty backpack. I also make tripods out of three trekking poles to hang water bladders and backpacks when enough poles are available.

We used an Ursack when we did Salt Creek. The NPS lets you borrow them if you're camping in the area without bear boxes. It was okay but pretty bulky and not very light.
 

DOSS

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Like nick said if attended you are fine.. I end up leaving my stuff during the day quite often so hang it I do (thin line is much better than thick line as rodents can't hang onto really thin line), I stopped using my sleeping bag stuff sack when it got chewed on once with nothing in it (still smelled of food)
 

pixie1339

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Cool! Thanks for the feedback guys. I've learned never to underestimate the ability of smaller critters to get to your food. I've seen it happen multiple times when people left their packs unattended on day hikes. I even saw a pair of ravens unzip the gear bag on a motorcycle and steal someone's food in Yellowstone. That was actually pretty entertaining. :lol: I tried to keep them at bay for a while, but I have better things to do with my time than stand guard over a complete strangers food supply.
 

Yvonne

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Because Western New York is bear country, you have to hang your food and in some areas you are required to have a bear container.
I own a food bag that I can hang and I used it last year on my trip into Salt Creek Canyon. And I was really happy I had my bag, because I had a bear at night sneaking around my camp.
Anyway, if bears aren't an issue, I would store my food like Nick in my backpack inside the tent.
Rodents and nasty critters can be a pain in the ass, too. So I'm happy to have my bag along with me and can decide if I use it to hang my food or not.
Just knowing that I have this option really helps. :)
 

HomerJ

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When backpacking (almost always in bear country) I take a few of these giant ziplock bags. I put all our food in them and then I hang them high in the trees with paracord. I really like the giant ziplock bags and have never had an issue with them! For my pack, I hang it off the ground a few feet to keep rodents from chewing it.
 

pixie1339

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Because Western New York is bear country, you have to hang your food and in some areas you are required to have a bear container.
I own a food bag that I can hang and I used it last year on my trip into Salt Creek Canyon. And I was really happy I had my bag, because I had a bear at night sneaking around my camp.
Anyway, if bears aren't an issue, I would store my food like Nick in my backpack inside the tent.
Rodents and nasty critters can be a pain in the ass, too. So I'm happy to have my bag along with me and can decide if I use it to hang my food or not.
Just knowing that I have this option really helps. :)
Sounds like a good idea to have a way to hang food with you at all times, even if you end up not needing it. Keeping your food supply intact is pretty vital, especially if you're a long way from civilization.

When backpacking (almost always in bear country) I take a few of these giant ziplock bags. I put all our food in them and then I hang them high in the trees with paracord. I really like the giant ziplock bags and have never had an issue with them! For my pack, I hang it off the ground a few feet to keep rodents from chewing it.
Thanks! Those bags are cool. What would be a good length of cord to get for hanging food?
 

Nick

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When backpacking (almost always in bear country) I take a few of these giant ziplock bags. I put all our food in them and then I hang them high in the trees with paracord. I really like the giant ziplock bags and have never had an issue with them! For my pack, I hang it off the ground a few feet to keep rodents from chewing it.
Holy crap dude, how much food do you bring!?!?
 

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HomerJ

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Thanks! Those bags are cool. What would be a good length of cord to get for hanging food?
I usually pack a 50 foot length of paracord. It's super light, super strong, and is plenty long enough to hang food/pack and have some left over.
 

HomerJ

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Holy crap dude, how much food do you bring!?!?
WAY TOO MUCH! This has been a constant problem for us. I guess we're scared of running out of food...

The bag is shared between 4 or 5 people.
 

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