Wind Rivers, WY & Bear Containers


New Member
Dec 26, 2013
Hi All,
Thanks to all the great posts on this site I'm planning a trip to the WR's for the summer of 2014. Looking at 8 days putting in at Big Sandy. With much of the trip at high elevation and not a lot of trees (my perception based on maps and pics), what do people do to protect their food? Are there sufficient opportunities to hang food or would a bear container be a better solution?

New to the WR's so all comments appreciated.

Plan on a bear container of some kind. You can rent from the FS but heads up that their office in Pinedale is not open on weekends. Based on the amount of time you're planning to spend, you'll require a decent volume container.

Opportunities to hang diminish and even disappear as you move into the higher elevations (and above tree line obviously). An Ursack is an option, though not everyone would agree on their appropriateness (I purchased one from a shop in Pinedale).
subscribed to this thread, I need to start researching/planning for a wind rivers trip.
I don't use them. I use a opsack (seals smells) hang food bag. Always can find a tree or big boulder that will do. No problems yet. Bears in Winds are mostly below timber line.
Every time I've carried a bear container in the Winds I've regretted it. But technically they're required if you can't hang the food 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from the vertical support. And I'm scared of The Man.

But my experience has been that I almost never see anyone else carrying a bear canister in the Winds.
I bought a bear container last year. Twice actually, returned them both unused. I just couldn't stomach packing the extra weight. I've only had a couple of nights actually above treeline in the winds when hanging was a serious challenge, but we were still able to pull it off. And for a trip where you're out for 8 days, it could be really tough to even fit your stuff into a canister. I actually found an ursack in the winds this year and that's what I would use in the event that hanging was not an option and they were allowed (not the case in some national parks, etc.).

Some other threads that might be useful:
Thanks for the ideas and links. I think I am leaning to the ursack. It's about the size of my food bag now and when you swap that for the bearbag set up and current food bag, it only adds just under a pound with the metal liner. With a 21lb pack for 8 days, that probably won't be noticed and may be worth peace of mind. I'm not worried about things getting crushed, there's not much the bear can do to a Cliff bar or dehydrated food. I do like the rock climbing chock idea from one of the posts. I'm still skeptical a bear couldn't rip it off the tree and have their way with it. Any first hand accounts of a ursack/bear encounter?
I have never used bear-resistant containers out west, I have only hung my food bag in a tree. away from my camp.I hated bear canisters at first, but now I love them.I have to carry when using a bear canister, and what I've come hate is the daily ritual of finding and rigging a suitable tree hang, which is not always a trivial effort.For a bear canister to work it has to be larger than the opening of a bears mouth. The BearVault 450 is a slick design & was my original canister however, to the best of my knowledge, they are still not accepted in the Eastern High Peaks. Yellow-Yellow, the first bear known to open the BV 450, died several years ago. Recently came across an interesting video about how bear encounters bear vault :uhhuh:

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I hate my bear canister when it's in my pack and when I'm trying to fit all my food into it, but I love it when I can just go lay it down somewhere after dinner and not deal with hanging my food.

I think the annoyance outweighs the convenience though, for me.
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