Don’t even test the bear’s nose.
Do you want to backpack in bear country? Well, it is worth to spend more time to do additional research and then plan that you and your bear friends are safe and happy. The important thing to consider is to make sure that you set up your camp properly to avoid the smelly items attract the bears.
So, if you plan a backpacking trip especially in bear country, these tips are what you need. You should use these tips to make sure that there are no bears are sniffing around your camp and make you able to go back to your car safely.
1. Stay safe
When you are about hiking, camping and doing things in the bear country, it is always good to carry bear spray. This is helpful whether you are above or below the treeline.
Below The Treeline
We think it is useful to research the rules for the food storage before you go. After that, plan everything carefully. You should also check whether the proposed campsites provide the bear-proof food storage locker or not, the food pole and find your tree to hang your food. For example, if you backpack to National Parks, they provide the storage lockers or food poles. The wilderness campsite also let you find your tree that you can hang your food. If you want to pick your own tree, it is good to know the best choice. The suitable tree to hang your food must be 100 yards minimum or 91 meters from the tent. You can hang the food sacks from a branch with the height 100 feet and make sure that the sack is hanging at 4 feet from the trunk’s tree.
3. Smelly Stuff
You should also handle the smelly stuff. It also means that you need to deal with the used toilet paper. Stop burning your garbage that the odors will only attract bears. The best thing to do is to use smell-proof plastic bags that will trap the odors inside and tight seal to pack out the garbage and keep the odors least. In addition, these plastic bags are washable so you can reuse it on the future trip.
4. Minimize Scent
Garbage, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, and toiletries are the scented items that you must hang these products in the same manner as your food. You should not store these items in your tent even though you keep these things in the smell-proof bags. It is good to use unscented products for your backpacking trip to reduce the chance of bears smelling the odors.
5. Rope and Sacks
You will need 30 feet of rope and enough sacks if you want to hang food, scented items, and garbage from trees or food poles if you are backpacking with your group. For example, it is good to instruct to bring one stuff sack for two people. The best option is waterproof stuff sacks because of the material can deal with rains. Eventually, you can use this product to seal everything while keeping the contents dry.
6. Scented Items
Do not even leave your stuff unattended even for five or ten minutes. It can increase the risk of attracting a bear and keep in mind that you can hurt others because of your mistake. If you allow a bear to access human food, it will only make the bear becomes aggressive to deal with human food in the future. It will also create a problem bear for the land managers. Therefore, do not let yourself to become the person who creates the matter.
Above The Treeline
7. A Bear Canister
In fact, campsites above the treeline are less likely to deal with bear-proof food storage. Nevertheless, it is still better to check with a ranger to find whether you need to carry a bear canister or not. If you backpack in National Parks or National Forests, some ranger stations even help you by renting a bear canister in case that you do not have it.
Ursack is the less bulky and lighter-weight option to carry your bear canister. It is the bear resistant food sack from the flexible, lightweight, and bulletproof fabric. It is good to check first whether or not the area to backpack approved you to use Ursacks.
9. Bear Canister or Ursacks?
It is hard to compare the better option, bear canister or Ursacks. In fact, the choice offers pros and cons. Therefore, you should choose in advance to find the best that works for you. If the land manager has the rule to give you the choice, you should plan carefully.
What is actually a bear canister? It is bulky and heavy but you do not have to find a boulder to hang them. It means that you can even leave the 30 feet of rope as well as carabiner for your backpack.
What about Ursacks? It is easier to pack and lighter. The volume can decrease because the contents you stored in Ursacks decreases in your trip. If you want to use Ursack, it also means that you need a large boulder. Alternatively, you need rocky outcropping so you can hang the sack, and then tie the other end by using your 30 feet of rope.
10. The Rules
Last but not least is about the rules. Remember that the rules are always the same when it comes to storing food, storing garbage, and keeping your scented items. Whether you are above the treeline or below the treeline, you cannot change the rules here. You should place all the scented products in the bear canister or Ursack. After that, you need to pack out your garbage and then stay with your gear until you can see that you can safely pack away or stay hung.
If you do the rules above, there will be no problems that will happen to you especially the bears. Doing the things above will also prevent attracting bears to come to your camp. One thing for sure is that you should not plan a solo backpack in the bears country.