bear proof food storage

homestead

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Jul 14, 2013
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Headed to the Maroon Bells wilderness elk hunting this September and I've come to learn that I'll need bear proof food storage. I know about the IGBC requirements, but was wondering about others' experiences with different makes, models, etc... I'd also like to hear any advice on packing them as they look like they could be somewhat difficult. Thanks for any help.
 

Muskeez

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I did that trip last summer with my son. Amazing experience. I would be glad to share what I learned but don't have time to type a novel now. Shoot me a PM with your phone number and maybe we can chat. I bought a bear canister, likely won't use it many more times so I can ship it to you to use if you pay the freight both ways.
 

Kaitum

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New Mexico
I used the Bear Vault style canisters quite a bit in AK. Depended on length of trip on whether I could fit all my food inside one or not. If you're using a larger backpack with a separate lid, you can usually put the canister at the top of your pack opening under the lid. Cinching the lid down around the canister holds it pretty well. On a multi-day backpack style hunting trip you're usually looking to shave ounces off your pack weight. If so, and regulations permit, you could hang your food in a stuff sack.
 

HighWildFree

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Missoula, MT
Are you backpacking in or horseback? Bear hangs are what we've always done in bear country so long as your near timber. Very effective, minimal gear required.
 

JLS

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Where the Wild Things Are
Not sure what the food storage order requires in that area, but I've always hung my food for both backpacking and horsepacking. We used the bear kegs for a trip into Glacier NP once. I think we rented them as I recall.
 

Ben Long

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Kalispell, MT
Your mode of transport makes a big difference. If you have stock, bear-resistant panniers are the best, but spendy. You might consider a portable electric fence. if you're backpacking, I agree that a bear keg is handy, though if you've got good trees you can usually make do with p-cord and a carabiner.
 

Muskeez

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In the Maroon Bells area Bear canisters or Bear vaults are absolutely required by law. When we were there in August they were anyway. If you were checked by a Forest employee you would be sent home if you did not have all of your food in one. Porcupines were also troublesome for some campers. Hanging food was not legally sufficient. This area gets a TON of hiking traffic and overnight campers as it takes 3-5 days to make the hiking loop, depending on your speed. Too many campers have left scraps and have trained the bears, so bear canisters have been required by law. They take up a lot of room in your pack and weigh plenty when you are trying to shave ounces already.
 

homestead

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Jul 14, 2013
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Thanks guys for all the advice, but as Muskeez stated, canisters are required by law. I'm sending you a PM here shortly Muskeez, I am eager to hear anything you have to say. Your write up of your trip with your son was one I looked at when I started researching this hunt.
 

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