What We'll Cover
If you’ve looked into camping in bear country, you’ve probably heard about bear hangs, also called bear bags. Bears have an excellent sense of smell, and they are attracted to food that campers take with them on overnight trips. Bears are also attracted to scented products like lotions and soaps. Many bears in popular camping areas have become acclimated to humans to a certain degree, so they will just amble right into your camp at night in search of an appetizing smell. Obviously, this is an extremely dangerous situation and must be avoided at all costs, so you need to know how to act around wildlife. One of the most popular ways to avoid this situation is by hanging a bear bag. Read on to learn more about hanging a bear bag.
Getting The Right Equipment
The first step to avoiding bears while camping is getting the right supplies. Thankfully, a bear bag setup is quite simple and does not require extensive supplies. The items you will need include:
- Nylon stuff bag with drawstring cord
- 50 feet of nylon cord
- Rock from campsite area
The nylon stuff bag and the cord are available online or from any sporting goods store. Make sure to get a bag that includes a drawstring cord. As for the rock, it should be small enough for you to throw but not too smooth so it can be tied to the cord without risk of slipping out.
Setting Up a Bear Hang
Now, it is time to actually hang the bag. First, find a spot at least 200 feet from your campsite that has a tree with a branch about 15 feet from the ground. This helps prevent animals from coming into your campsite to investigate the bag. Next, find a suitable rock. Take your cord and tie one end to the drawstring of your sack. Tie the other end around the rock. Throw the rock over the tree branch at a point about 10 feet from the trunk. Any closer and the bear may be able to climb up the trunk and reach the sack. When you’ve successfully thrown the rock over the branch, hoist the bag up to a height of about 15 feet. Tie the rock end around the trunk of the tree or around an easily reachable branch.
Bear Canisters: An Effective Alternative
Some established backcountry camps with notable bear populations have bear canisters. These canisters work by locking all the scents of food inside so bears can’t smell it, and they’re also extremely durable. That way, if a bear does catch a whiff of food and go looking for it, it won’t actually be able to reach the goods inside.
Always Take Precautions In Bear Country
You should always use either a bear bag or a bear canister when you’re in bear country. There are also other supplies such as bear spray or bear bells that you may want to have on hand. It may be tempting to not take any precautions if you’re tired after a long hike, but bears can be incredibly dangerous when they’re looking for food. Bears that are used to people actually have less fear of humans and are even more dangerous, so you need to know how to handle animal encounters while camping.