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#94917 - 04/22/08 05:18 PM Food bags/bear poles
haikublue Offline
member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 205
Loc: Berkeley, California
Not sure which thread this should be in...move it to another admins if there is a better one! I will be hiking in bear country without a bear canister (not required...yippee!) in Sept. There will be bear poles. I am unclear on what those are...but I think you have to throw your bag of food up at them. I am thrilled to not have a canister...and also, have never actually done the whole throw your food up a tree routine. I am 5"3...and throw like a girl (which luckily I am...but still). What kind of bag should I buy for food storage? I don't have gobs of money! And ideas about the whole throw your food in a tree (up a pole) gig? Thanks in advance!

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#94918 - 04/22/08 05:54 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
Hector Offline
member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 325
Loc: LA/ARK/TX corner
Um, you don't throw your food, you throw the line. Tie a rock to 40-50 ft of strong, smooth cord (or attach the cord to a small stuff sack and put (a) rock(s) in the sack). Attach the other end to the food bag (a large nylon bag will work fine, I use a silnyl stuff sack of appropriate size). Throw the rock over a stout tree limb about 12' or so off the ground or over the bear pole line. Pull your food up, tie off the line somewhere convenient (or do a search for the PCT bear bag method and use that).

If you can find a good tree and limb (or have bear poles), it's pretty simple.

Other sources of info that might be more clear:

Click "Search" here, set "Keyword search terms" to "bear bagging," set "Date range" to "Newer than 1 year," and get a list.

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

http://pweb.jps.net/~heber/bearbag/bearbag.htm

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

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#94919 - 04/22/08 07:45 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
I prefer a watertight bag or two with strong attachment point and a small biner. Cord strong enough to hold whatever weight you anticipate. I also put stove, toothbrush, any fragrant things, utensils, and dishes in the food bag if I anticipate increased risk of bear traffic. The thing I dislike about heavy use areas is that I do not know what the folks before me did. Did they wash dishes and pour it on the ground - did they pour the juice from a tuna can on the ground. Is my tarp set up over that spot. So I scope the area for signs of past visitors as well.
One of the places I love to go is also the place where problem bears from the Smoky Mountains are relocated, but I have never had a problem.
Last weekend my dog freaked out about 2 hours after dark. He is not a barker, but he got really scared and alert. It may have been a bear checking us out- who knows. But I slept well knowing that our food was hung a long distance from us on a stout limb and there was no reason for a healthy bear to come any closer.

Where are you going?

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#94920 - 04/22/08 09:01 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Coming to Rainier?

Ok bear poles: easy to use, about the simplest design ever.

They are a huge piece of rebar essentially. They have a divot in the ground, set in concrete that the pole goes into in summer time (one person can set it up if you beat the rangers there as the snow melts). At the top is 4 smaller bars of rebar. Think a sparse X-Mas tree. The rangers set the pole up in summer and take it down after the first hard snows.

Said pole comes with a second metal pole. You put your stuff sack's handle on it and use the pole to hang your bag up on the rebar bars. And that is all you do.

Done. Simple. I am 5'4" and the bear poles at Rainier are made for shorties <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Compared to the bear wires in ONP they are a dream - and need little arm strength (all you need is to be able to lift the second pole)

Btw, every backcountry camp at Rainier has one in camp. You can fit a ton on these poles.
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#94921 - 04/22/08 09:06 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Btw..for what bag to use on a bear pole? This is one case where you can use anything. I often just take my Ursack bear bag and use hat (since it keeps birds out) but you could use a stuff sack as well or a cotton bag. What ever you use, I often place my food bag in a plastic grocery sack and tie the sack around it in case it rains.

If, as I said, you are doing Rainier....there are a couple camps with mice issues but those are not on the Wonderland Trail. There the Ursack works wonders.

And if again...it is Rainier...the bears are small up here and rarely come into camp. Even when I go cross country at Rainier I rarely feel any fear. I have seen most of my bears at Rainier....but the bears actually fear us. Which is good!
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#94922 - 04/22/08 09:51 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: sarbar]
haikublue Offline
member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 205
Loc: Berkeley, California
Thanks everyone! I knew if I asked...I would get expert advice. I am excited about the poles...I can't wait to NOT have a canister! I see a lighter pack!

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#94923 - 04/22/08 10:53 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
Stevenfolly Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/16/07
Posts: 9
Loc: Illinois
I'm sort of glad I donít have to deal with that I just use a tree far enough away. I can't relate on being a shorty because I'm 6'2 so that kind of sucks for girls if you cant reach the bear pole. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
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#94924 - 04/23/08 08:29 AM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
They typically look something like this:



The better ones are constructed of metal, not a wood pole, so they can't be climbed.

They are a very very common feature in canadian parks, where we don't have canister requirements but do have requirements to have your food up one of those. With *most* designs (not all) they have a clip to hold the loop of wire at the bottom, and a loop of wire to attach your bag - it really helps to take a
micro-carabiner to clip into the loop, rather than having to tie it on.

I hang either my silnylon food bag, or more typically, my whole pack (after taking out what I need
for the night). I take a regular green garbage bag, poke a hole in the middle of the bottom, pull my top
strap of my pack through it so the pack is wearing the garbage bag with only the top strap poking through, clip a mini-biner to the strap, and hoist it up. Then it doesn't matter how rainy it is my pack isn't
soaked, and I'm not worried about critters getting into it.
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#94925 - 04/23/08 10:14 AM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: phat]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Phat, I gotta find a photo of the ones at Rainier. Jeez, ya think I would have taken one over the years?

Ours don't have cables or anything and are thinner.
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#94926 - 04/23/08 10:23 AM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: sarbar]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Ok, here is a photo I found:


It came from . This site
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#94927 - 04/23/08 12:37 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: sarbar]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Yeah, you got the "hang it up types" - no grizzlies down there <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#94928 - 04/23/08 12:47 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: phat]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Quote:

Yeah, you got the "hang it up types" - no grizzlies down there <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />


Yep... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#94929 - 04/23/08 12:54 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Hector]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Oh, and haiku, in spite of the poles, it doesn't hurt (for the amount it weighs) to carry a small
pct method hang rig in case you want to random camp - I always do. Just read hector's first link, find
some line, as small bag, and a mini-biner and go try it a few times on an overhaning branch or traffic light pole. once you have the hang of it (and remember how to tie a clove hitch) it's really really easy.
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#94930 - 04/23/08 04:51 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: phat]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
I remember the ones on the Wonderland had this long piece of conduit laying somewhere nearby with a "hook" on the end to put the cord of the food bag on, then you raised it up and hooked it on a hook on the pole, which took a little while at a couple camps -- especially getting it down.

You'd be lost if that "hanging tool" wasn't there.

Disclaimer on Canadian idiosyncracies:

Note in phat's photo the advanced design of the bear poles in the Canadian parks. You place bag on carbiner, pull up, tie off and done. And note the redundancy in the systems that these Canadians have.

As the photo shows, if for some reason you CAN'T figure out how to do those three steps, there is a conveniently located bear box with the large stenciled word "FOOD" strategically placed nearby. And inversely, if you have trouble opening the lock on the box -- it is bearproof, you know -- or perchance you can't read, then you have that bear pole right there as backup.

This considerate redundancy is why I've seen so many Canadians wear both belts AND suspenders -- and why I've yet to hike on a trail in the Canadian Rockies and encounter a local hiker with his pants down around his ankles. (Thanks.)


Quote:
...but I think you have to throw your bag of food up at them.


Concerning the OP, thank god sarbar and phat have answered this post. Can you imagine, haikublue, if you had gone to Canada's Yoho or Jasper NPs and not had this knowledge? Look again at phat's photo. Can you imagine the crowd of Canadian hikers that eventually would have gathered to watch you throwing your food at that bear pole? Maybe even taken a photo of you standing on that bear box -- labeled "FOOD" BTW -- as you heaved your silnylon sack of food at that contraption? You'd have surely made the Calgary evening news. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

hb, I was completely clueless when I met my first Canadian bearpole. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
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(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#94931 - 04/23/08 11:16 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: kevonionia]
haikublue Offline
member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 205
Loc: Berkeley, California
I was absolutely laughing out loud as I read your post... iced tea spit out at coffee table... of course I am not Canadian...maybe Phat is not laughing as hard as I am. ...and I was thinking the same thing when I saw that photo...WHY the food storage bin next to the pole...! (but I was so truly grateful for the info I didn't want to point that out) and yes...the sight of me throwing food up there..(and I could see myself standing on the dang bin...trying to throw my bag up there on that pole)....it would probably be a ticketed event that would raise money for Canadian parks! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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#94932 - 04/24/08 06:32 AM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: kevonionia]
Hector Offline
member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 325
Loc: LA/ARK/TX corner
It seems obvious to me that the box is for the English-speaking Canadians and the pole is for the French-speaking Canadians who can't read the lettering on the box. Disclaimer: I am not Canadian and have never been in sub-zero weather in my entire life, eh?

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#94933 - 04/24/08 02:38 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Hector]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Quote:
It seems obvious to me that the box is for the English-speaking Canadians and the pole is for the French-speaking Canadians who can't read the lettering on the box. Disclaimer: I am not Canadian and have never been in sub-zero weather in my entire life, eh?


No, no, no, no, no . . . . .

It's a decoy -- when the educated Canadian bears see "Food" labeled on the bin, that distracts them noticing all the food bags hanging on the poles.

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#94934 - 04/24/08 04:23 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Keith]
Hector Offline
member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 325
Loc: LA/ARK/TX corner
Quote:
Quote:
It seems obvious to me that the box is for the English-speaking Canadians and the pole is for the French-speaking Canadians who can't read the lettering on the box. Disclaimer: I am not Canadian and have never been in sub-zero weather in my entire life, eh?

No, no, no, no, no . . . . .

It's a decoy -- when the educated Canadian bears see "Food" labeled on the bin, that distracts them noticing all the food bags hanging on the poles.

That is so obvious and I am so humiliated...

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#94935 - 04/25/08 05:41 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: haikublue]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Haiku <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Sometimes when you are above tree line you can stretch a line over a "crack" about 50 feet wide and atleast 20 feet high. I've tied a spare 100 foot line between two trees nearly 100 apart and the food bag hung 30 feet off the ground even with the "V" in the rope. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Somebears are more skilled with knots than some humans. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

When its your turn, the bear WILL get your food, but its rare.

You can hang food over a vertical or overhanging rock/cliff.

OTOH
I've seen 4" diameter 10 foot long branches broken off trees in Yosemite.
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
AND _ DANGER _ WARNING <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
If your rope gets stuck over a flexible branch, and you have to pull really hard to get it down, its gonna accelerate in your direction to very high velocities when it does come loose. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> I mean LETHAL velocity. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> AND it comes straight at you.

If you do get in such a situation you MUST pass your pull rope around a tree and back up so the projectile will go towards the tree and not your torso. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Seriously <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#94936 - 04/25/08 05:57 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Jimshaw]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Maybe that how the catapult was invented. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#94937 - 04/25/08 09:42 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: kevonionia]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:

redundancy..
in case you can't read...
smirk giggle...


( Man, I haven't laughed so hard at a post in ages.. )

The boxes aren't for us western canadians, we hang our food. It's for all them southerners who come up to jasper - that box is supposed to look just like an AT shelter - the lettering on it is just for the grizzlies so they know which one to open and leave the canadian tents alone <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Now people from quebec would be smarter and read the lettering, but we were sneaky and made it only in english...

Although in all seriousness, for me what made your post so darn funny is I don't think I can walk into a camp in high season in the rockies and not have to teach some baffled newbie or foreign hiker how to use the bear pole <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Quote:

-- and why I've yet to hike on a trail in the Canadian Rockies and encounter a local hiker with his pants down around his ankles. (Thanks.)


Well, you can sure tell who hasn't hiked with me <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#94938 - 09/02/08 06:52 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Stevenfolly]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Shorty! Shorty! Haiku is not a shorty and neither am I. Five foot three is a perfectly respectable height. Our feet reach the floor and everything! Of course, I did have to hunt high and low for a "short torso" pack that I liked . . .

As a diminutive friend of mine from Ireland once told me, "Anyone shorter than me is a dwarf, anyone taller is a mutant."

(Haiku, how is the food/rope tossing coming? I can't hang a bag to save my life. I always get my intrepid hiking partner, my sister, to do it. She is a whopping five foot four.)
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#94939 - 09/02/08 07:43 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Folkalist]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Folkalist-

Is the issue getting the line over a tree limb? Some methods I've tried: Tie the line to a water bottle (Mine is a Gatorade bottle with a strap added.), fill about 1/3 with water, toss over the limb. If that way is not working for me, I have a small silnylon bag for my Petzl Headlamp. A small rock in the bag, the bag tied to the line does it some days. I have heard that because of the way women's arms develop, some have an easier time throwing the line back over their shoulders, behind them, and over a branch. You might want to keep trying until you find a couple of methods tha you can use. One of these days your sister may not be with you, or not feel up to the rope-placement task.

A couple of cautions. I was most pleased with myself for chosing to practice in the back yard before taking emw gear on the trail. I had a lovely small bag for first aid in one color, another color for my toiletries, and a third for my food bag. After hooking the three of them onto a mini wire 'biner, I hung them with the PCT method. All was well and good until I tried to get them down. They became tangled before the dropped enough for me to reach them. So, while one heavy bag is hard to set up with thin rope (The stuff that doesn't cut trees from BPL), it at least doesn't get tangled. that was a much better issue to ahve in the back yard than on the trail. Some people choose to use a stake bag to hold the rock tossed over a limb. Well, a nice, skinny stake bag does a great job of wrapping around tree limbs and getting stuck. Guess how I know/ that is why I started fiddling with my water bottle and headlamp bag...

Regards,

CamperMom

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#94940 - 09/03/08 03:41 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: CamperMom]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
The next thing I was going to try is the rock in a little bag. Throwing over my shoulder might work. Of course, I could also just eat all the food the first night out. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
My sister has no choice but to do the bear hang. If she doesn't, I won't dig the privy or clean up after meals. Plus I pout really well.

I should probably point out that I tried out for softball in seventh grade. I was encouraged to go home after the first ball hit me in the head 'cause I couldn't catch it.

Oh, is there such a thing as an anti-rain dance, well actually I don't care about the rain it's the hurricanes about to blow in that irk me. I wanted to hit the trail this weekend.
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#94941 - 09/04/08 04:02 AM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Folkalist]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Folkalist-

I'm not great on eye-hand coordination, either. Do you happen to have astigmatismand/or inner ear pressure from allergies? These can mess subtly with your depth perception and balance. We could have quite a bit in common, except my sisters consider anything less than a 3 star hotel roughing it. (Not really, but they do NOT backpack.) I would be happy to divide labor so as not to do all the tasks.

This is not the weekend to be on the trail on the east coast. We should be feeling Hanna about 2 AM on Sunday up near Boston.

Cheers!

Rosaleen

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#94942 - 09/04/08 04:16 PM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: CamperMom]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Inner ear stuff. It's improved a lot since I switched allergy drugs a couple years ago and then had sinus surgery last year.

I promise to stay home while the $@#*&^$ tropical storms and hurricanes blow in. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> Anyway, I've got some gear to make now that my sewing machine is out of the shop. Gonna make a little sack for a rock! Also gonna make a cozy for freezer bag cooking. God, I love this forum!!!!!

Deborah <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
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#94943 - 09/05/08 09:49 AM Re: Food bags/bear poles [Re: Folkalist]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Yep, we have a lot in common! As my age advances, I'm developing more allergies and symptoms. In addition to the itchy eyes, runny nose, and sinus/ear congestion, I'm developing asthma. I hope it doesn't get as bad as my kids' asthma was/is. So far, it is pretty mild, as these things go. Diphenhydramine is my best friend...

CM

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