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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Default Food Storage Options - Hanging food

Apologize if this has been covered, i took a look through the forum using search but didn't find what i was looking for.

Do a lot of backpacking in BC and AB, bears are an obvious concern, but birds and squirrels are actually more real.

Generally use the provided bear hangs or lockers if available, or use milspec paracord and do a bear hang.

Late last year using this method a pesky squirrel some how climbed down the line and chewed through the silnylon stuffsack everything was in and ended up ruining about half the food.

I don't really want to drop $70 on a URsack bear bag or go to a bear canister. Hanging seems to work well from the actual bears...

Are there things people do to combat the pesky rodents? I was debating going to a thinner cord line high strength fishing line, though i dont know if that would handle 15lbs+ of food, and would be tough on hands. The thinner cord would provide no grip ability to rodents trying to climb down. The other option was maybe take an empty can or bottle, poke a hole in the bottom, run the paracord through the bottle with a small knot on the bottom to stop it sliding down to the bag, rig that up creating a barrier thats go no grip for the squirrel to climb down and hopefully stops them.

I'd like to keep something generally lightweight and simple, i see no reason why i need to add lots of volume or weight to combat this issue.


Thoughts?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 10:36 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Maybe a circular plate like you see on power lines, it doesnt have to be very big but should be placed halfway down the line or well before the bag. I guess the diameter has to be larger than it can crawl over, saucer size?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 10:41 AM
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I have heard, and will try this summer, that sealing the food in an opsack (odor proof bag from MEC) prevents any animal from smelling it and hence they have no reason to chew into the bag.

Steel wool makes an excellent barrier if they're getting in through a small opening, but that doesn't sound like the case here.

Fishing line might not be the best idea as it frays very easily...you might only be able to hang it a few times before it snapped.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 11:14 AM
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Along the lines of thinner cord, you could try 2mm cord. You could also try Dyneema cord which will work at a smaller diameter, but a really thin cord could be annoying to handle if it's holding a lot of weight.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 12:57 PM
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Rodents can be a real problem as in popular areas like the Beach at Gimli, they get super smart at dropping food bags. We use a 2.5 mm length of climbing cord and one of those manky fake carabiners used for key-rings. It's thin, light, strong,and you can manage to pull up quite a few days of food. We've tried suspending it between trees and/or boulders which sometimes keeps the rodents at bay, but not always, particularly in popular areas where they have learnt to walk out along the cord. The other thing, as someone suggested is a yoghurt lid threaded on to stop them getting around. You could suspend your munchies between trees/boulders and thread a yoghurt tub lid on either side to stop them crawling around. Of course, they can still drop down from above .....
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,
Sandy I hadn't thought of a yoghurt lid but its almost the perfect size I was thinking for something like this.
My thought is if the line is small enough diameter they cant really "climb" along it, and if you suspend it low enough from the branch they cant drop onto it from above easily.

Certainly some good ideas. Hell even a 4L ice cream pail type thing might work and they are dead light.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 11:40 PM
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I've heard someone suggest a metallic pie plate. It seems logical since they are light and cheap and it would be hard for a little critter to grip it. I could imagine a mouse being able to get a grip on a soft plastic lid. I imagine that the plate device would have to be wider than the bag to prevent the mouse from falling onto the bag and grabbing hold.

I've been using the URsack since I don't always have a place to hang stuff, especially in the alpine. I normally put the food and garbage inside Opsacks before putting them in the URsack. I'll then generally throw the whole thing in a drysack to keep out insects and water and to make it easier to see if a critter has chewed its way in. No problems so far.

Important and obvious point about the URsack: Try putting all your stuff into it at home to make sure it will fit. Our food is usually split between our backpacks on the way up and I've almost had to do some midnight binge eating in order to fit all the food into the URsack before going to bed in locations that don't have a hang or locker.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2013, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by RONDAL


Certainly some good ideas. Hell even a 4L ice cream pail type thing might work and they are dead light.

Experiments please, and video them! Hilarity will ensue.

Good topic, btw.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by RONDAL


My thought is if the line is small enough diameter they cant really "climb" along it, and if you suspend it low enough from the branch they cant drop onto it from above easily.
You'd think! But last time we camped at the beach to climb in the Valhallas, the little buggars could climb along 2 mm cord strung between boulders. Smart enough to chew through the suspension off the middle, but not the cord itself, so they could run back along the cord, descend the safe route and pick up the goods from the ground.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 08:20 AM
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I know you said you were looking for something other than a ursack, but like was mentioned it does work at keeping out the smaller creatures.

I also spend enough time above the treeline where proper food hanging is not that easy, but I also find it great for in camp when there are lots (or one) brave mouse doing a sneak attack. Or to keep the Whiskey Jacks at bay.

Also, they are good where there are bear caches (lockers) that are not mouse proof. Had a mouse get at food at San Joesph Bay (Cape Scott) years back... locker kept the cougars and beers at away but not the mice. That's when I started to look at the ursack as an option.

But like was mentioned it's best to fill the bag at home as it can be a challenge on trips where there is a lot of food. And the material (some sort of spectra I believe) is not waterproof at all, and will get heavy if allowed to get wet so I used a lightweight dry bag to keep it mostly dry. Actually it's the dry bag that the mouse got at San Joseph... hole is at the bottom.

If not wanting the ursack the most traditional method is to place a tin can lid a foot or so up from the bag.

Below is my friend Jerry having his morning coffee a couple of weeks back at Lake Helen Mackenzie; ursack to the left. Later Jerry pooped on my pillow... thus ending the friendship.

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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the only URsack i've seen is 10.5L, hardly seem large enough for 4-5 day trips for 2 people's worth of food.
Are there larger sizes?
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 10:07 AM
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No they only have the one size. They experimented with a larger size but it didn't test as well. Of course the company's response is to use two, lol. When I have more food than it can hold I just make a decision on what is expendable; making sure there is enough food to retreat or carry on if something does happen.

Also, on those trips I take "smaller" food... i.e. rice over elbow macaroni.

I did an 8 night solo trip into the alpine a few years back, and only had the equivalent of one days food not stored in the ursack. By the second night everything was in the ursack.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 10:20 AM
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