Have you ever been lying in your tent at night, listening to something scratching at your cooler or crunching on your food? Questions running through your head: “Should I get out and scare it away? What if it’s a bear? What if it attacks us? …” This doesn’t have to be you. There are three very simple things that you can do to keep animals out of your food. You can hang your food in a tree, put your food into a canoe and anchor it out in the lake or you can put it in a bear barrel.
Hanging your food
If you are going to hang your food in a tree, you want to find a tree that is nowhere near any tents (at least 75 m (245 ft.) away from tents and it has to have strong branches. When you hang the food, hang it at least 3 m (15 ft.) off of the ground, 2 metres (6.5 ft) away from the trunk and 1 m (3 ft.) lower than the branch.
- Put your food into a stuff sack, backpack, cooler, etc.
- Put a rock into a sock and tie a rope around it the open end of the sock.
- Throw the sock over a sturdy branch that is at least 3.5 m (11.5 ft.) off of the ground.
- Untie the rope and tie it around the food pack.
- Hoist the food up to, about 1 m (3 ft.) lower than the branch and at least 3 metres (10 ft.) off of the ground.
- Tie the loose end of the rope to the tree to anchor it.
There are a few issues that can arise with this method. The knots can come loose and the bag can fall, animals can chew through the rope, racoons and squirrels can still get at the bag even if it lower than the branch and no matter what you do, if a bear wants your food, it will find a way to get it.
Anchoring your food
This method is a classic but it is still one of the most effective ways to keep animals of your food. It also helps keep animals away from your site.
- Once your food is in the pack, stuff sack or cooler, put it in a canoe.
- Tie one end of a rope to a tree and the other end to the canoe.
- Paddle the canoe out until the rope becomes tight.
- Drop your anchor so that the canoe won’t go anywhere.
- Have someone come out in another canoe come and pick you up.
Make sure that the canoe is firmly anchored and tied to shore so that a storm will not carry it away or run it ashore and damage.
These barrels generally come in 30L and 60L sizes and they’re made from materials that can withstand gnawing, chewing, clawing, and pulling by bears and raccoons. You wouldn’t think that these barrels would be very comfortable when they’re in a harness, on your back but, they’re not too bad. For what they are, they’re pretty comfortable.
- Put your food, pots and pans, anything else that has a smell (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) into the barrel.
- Tie the barrel to a tree that is at least 75 m (246 ft.) away.
Tying the barrel to a tree will keep it from being dragged or rolled away. However, nothing is completely bear-proof but this will give it a good challenge.
Storing your food and anything with an odour, properly, will help keep you and your party safe. Plus, the trip will be a lot more enjoyable if you don’t have to search for food because your food was eaten by animals.