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#155369 - 10/03/11 02:00 PM bear bag line?
james__12345 Offline
member

Registered: 10/06/10
Posts: 189
Loc: Tennessee
What type of line should I use to hang a bear bag with? I tried paracord, and it worked ok with a very light bag. The problem is, with a heavier load, the line wouldn't slide across the limb hardly at all. I read somewhere that it was a good line to use because its width wouldn't dig in as bad as thinner lines, but with it not sliding well it seems I need to be looking for something else.

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#155370 - 10/03/11 02:05 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: james__12345]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1491
Loc: Napa, CA
Or a different kind of tree?

I have used paracord in the past, and it worked fine. But I prefer to use a limb that's dead. Seems to be less friction there, and I hate getting pitch on my hands, because it will be there all trip long. But a simply 3/16 inch dacron cord will also work, and will probably be a little slicker than the paracord.

These days I use a bear canister. Some places require them...and now it's habit.
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#155371 - 10/03/11 03:24 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: james__12345]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I use an arborist's line, Zing It. It's very light, strong, and doesn't stretch. It also is kinder than other ropes/cords to tree bark. But most often I just take a bear canister where there are actually bears - the line/bag I only ever use on the coast, where the raccoons are the real issue.
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#155372 - 10/03/11 03:54 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1105
Loc: Colorado
Some advice.

Don't tie anything to the end of the rope to toss over the branch that will hurt when it comes back and hits you on the head. (Don't ask how I know that.)

Don't stand on the rope when you toss one end or you will know what I mean by the first advice.



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#155373 - 10/03/11 04:36 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: Gershon]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I am an inept bear bagger. I have spent a lot of time wandering through the woods searching for acceptable locations. After an acceptable site has been found, the next dilemma is the “toss.” Rocks tied onto lines and thrown into trees sometimes loops around a limb or become hopelessly tangled. Then you have to decide whether to pull hard enough to break the limb or climb the tree to untangle the line. When you finally manage to throw the line over a limb some times it is too close to the trunk, sometimes it is too far from the trunk. Try, try again. Often after a successful toss the line is too high to grab. Try, try again. I have spent many wonderful hours throwing rocks and lines unsuccessfully into trees. There is a reason why I backpack instead of quarterback in the NFL.

The bear bag is the reason that I try to set up camp before dark. I can cook and hang a hammock just fine in the dark. Rigging a bear bag is difficult in with good light, but a real challenge in the dark.

The perfect limb sometimes is just rough enough that there is too much friction to hoist a heavy bag without an assist. Boost the bag with one hand while pulling down on the line with the other hand is standard technique. You just have to hope that the bears in the area are shorter than you.

I have broken camp before sunrise and could not find the food bag in the dark. More time spent wandering through the woods shining my headlamp up into the trees.

After much trial & error I finally have a satisfactory bear bag system. It is not a light solution because the complete kit is 3.7 oz. I use a modified Marrison Haul System from “The Backpacker’s Field Manual” by Rick Curtis

http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/training/bearbag.html

My throw rope is 50' of UrsaLite Bear Bag Hanging Cord:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/...nging_cord.html

For me that is the smallest diameter that does not get caught and it seems to be fairly easy on the bark. I wrap about 20' of the cord around a rock and it toss over a limb. The cord can be close to the trunk because the B end will be tied to an adjacent tree to pull the food away from the trunk of the main tree. This is one modification from the Marrison Haul System. The other modification is that the UrsaLite cord is joined to a 50' length of Triptease with a slipped sheet bend. One carabineer is put in the loop on the Triptease and the slipped sheet bend is tied behind the carabineer. Place the Triptease line inside the carabineer then the other carabineer is hooked on the Triptease between the sheetbend and the first carabineer.

This may be quite elementary for very experienced people, but even with a pretty well defined system my single most time consuming task in pitching camp continues to be rigging the bear bag


Edited by ringtail (10/03/11 04:38 PM)
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#155374 - 10/03/11 05:56 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: ringtail]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1491
Loc: Napa, CA
Just to be clear, in most areas of the Sierra in California, where a bear canister is not required, they strongly recommend the counterbalance technique.

In this technique, you toss the line over an appropriate limb (and I LOVE the previous poster's notes on how easy that is!) and then tie one food bag to one end of the line. Pull the other end until the food bag is snug up against the limb. Then tie on another, equally weighted food bag.

Now use a long stick to push the second bag up---and keep both bags above the ground far enough that a bear can't reach them. To get the food back down again, you use the stick to push one bag up, which drops the other bag down.

Why do it this way? Because I have seen a bear follow the line from a perfectly hung bag...and effortlessly cut that line with a single blow of its claws. Down came the pack, and the bear had dinner.

It was a long and hungry hike home.


Edited by balzaccom (10/03/11 05:57 PM)
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#155376 - 10/03/11 06:27 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: james__12345]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1695
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Kennedy Meadows to the Kearsarge Pass trail then out over Kearsarge Pass. At almost every campsite I passed before Crabtree Meadows, there was at least one bear bag line stuck in every suitable tree and some others in the damnedest places. A lot of them still had pricey-looking carabiners attached. From this experience, I suspect that the best bear bagging line would be the cheapest because you could easily be leaving a fair amount of it hanging in trees along your way. This, incidentally, sort of offends my sense of LNT.
I, too, use a bear canister if bears are likely to be a problem.
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#155377 - 10/03/11 06:32 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: balzaccom]
james__12345 Offline
member

Registered: 10/06/10
Posts: 189
Loc: Tennessee
Balzaccom, thanks for the line suggestion. I have used the PCT method for hanging so far, which uses a carabiner attached to the bag, and a stick to keep the line from sliding back through the carabiner. It still accomplishes the goal of no line tied off to the tree like the counter balance method.

Lori, I'll look into the zing it. I actually read a bit about that while I was searching for info on this topic before and after posting the question here.

Gershon, those lessons have already been learned the hard way, but thanks for the warning. Hopefully someone else will read this and be spared. I really stress the dont stand on it part. You can usually dodge something coming on a predictable path at a predictable time, its that sudden jerk that will throw your timing off and get you hit :P.

Ringtail, the push up with your hands and hope for the best technique is what I had to resort to this time. I haven't heard of much bear trouble where we were, so I was mainly worried about the smaller animals. I would prefer a system that doesn't leave the end of the line tied off to the tree, because I've heard of animals knowing to cut the line to the tree to drop the bag. I have an idea of incorperating the pulley concept into the pct method, if I get it worked out I'll post a diagram.

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#155378 - 10/03/11 07:52 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: james__12345]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 499
Loc: Virginia
Phat showed me a great article (which I've misplaced) from Backpacking Light explaining the PCT method.

While I've found that to be too much to bother with on the EAST coast, the way the article showed to get the line up the tree was priceless.

Rather than tie a rock or a stick to your rope, clip your rope to a stuff sack, put a baseball to softball sized rock in the stuff sack, and hurl the rock over the tree limb in question.

Helps to put a loop in the other end of the rope (that I put around my wrist).

To a proficient PCT hang user: how do you get the bag more than 8 feet up in the air? I got confused by this when I tried to put the article into practice, and it's the big reason I went back to tying my bags off to adjacent trees.

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#155380 - 10/03/11 08:48 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: ringtail]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I should mention that I have given up on the bear bag and now use an UrSack.
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"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#155381 - 10/03/11 08:49 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: Steadman]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Steadman


Rather than tie a rock or a stick to your rope, clip your rope to a stuff sack, put a baseball to softball sized rock in the stuff sack, and hurl the rock over the tree limb in question.

To a proficient PCT hang user: how do you get the bag more than 8 feet up in the air? I got confused by this when I tried to put the article into practice, and it's the big reason I went back to tying my bags off to adjacent trees.


I keep the rope and biner in a homemade stuff sack that I do just that with.

A good bear hang (for pesky bag-getting bears that have yet to reach the heights of Yosemite bears, which get them no matter how you hang them) is 20 feet off the ground, 10 feet down, on a limb that won't support a 40-50 lb cub.

You can get the PCT hang that high if you get a limb that's high enough in the first place. You hoist the bag all the way up to the limb, get the stick butterflied into the line as high as you possibly can, and let it down until the stick catches in the biner. Roll up the rope high as you can and secure it with a half hitch so it doesn't dangle low.

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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#155383 - 10/03/11 11:38 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1105
Loc: Colorado
Lori,

Any chance you could video a good bear hang? I'm not really understanding it.

Thanks
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#155391 - 10/04/11 07:23 AM Re: bear bag line? [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
There are about a dozen videos of the PCT method on Youtube. The things I would point out are that many don't hang them high enough or from the right branch - maybe this is a California thing but picking a nice broad branch invites cubs (or the momma bear) to go right out the branch to chew or tear the rope and drop the sack (heard many descriptions of this from folks who have hiked Yosemite before the era of the bear can). A live tree with green branches lets you get a smaller diameter branch. Getting the hang out from the trunk far enough and off the ground high enough is a matter of practice.

The other thing some bears here will do is climb the tree to a different branch, leap off it, and grab the bag on the way down. Unfortunately I don't have any tips for that other than to do as most of us do and just take the canister.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#155406 - 10/04/11 03:29 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: james__12345]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1570
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“ I tried paracord, and it worked ok with a very light bag. The problem is, with a heavier load, the line wouldn't slide across the limb hardly at all.”

I know what you mean. The 3mm black or any other flat-color paracord can snag a little. Then I tried the rainbow colored paracord http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/cam...ffiliateid=2626 and that slid MUCH easier over harsh bark. Plus, it is easier to see.

I use the PCT method and have good luck with throwing my bag of stone over a limb. I’ve had to do this more often now that I’ve moved out of the Midwest. I also do the half hitch reaching high above me w/o needing either end of the rope to do the hitch.

-Barry
The mountains were made for Tevas smile

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#155412 - 10/04/11 04:20 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: james__12345]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3925
Loc: Bend, Oregon
If you use the pull till it breaks to get down method - you will essentially have a bow and arrow aimed directly at you crazy and when it breaks and accelerates at you at a couple hundred feet per second laugh - it could seriously injure you. frown Instead pull with your rope diverted to the side of you by having the rope going just a bit around another tree near the line of fire so when it breaks it will be aimed at said tree. smile smile

I suppose I should have capitalized this - doing this could save your life or eyes.
Jim
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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#155420 - 10/04/11 06:18 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I use a stick and push up the bag at the same time I am pulling the paracord. That way there is no weight on the cord when you are pulling, and then it doesn't snag. It snags if I don't do this.
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#155422 - 10/04/11 07:21 PM Re: bear bag line? [Re: finallyME]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6027
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Like Ringtail, I avoid all this fuss and bother by using an Ursack.

If I were in the Sierra, or in a place where it's required, I'd use a canister, regardless of weight.
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