So you are gonna go camping with your loved ones and of course, you decided to bring food. Food must be one of the first things you should pack when going camping, especially if you are planning to be out for several days. But aside from making smart choices when choosing which types of food to bring, you should also be knowledgeable about proper food storage while camping, because otherwise, stray animals or insects might feed on your food. If you are going to camp in an area where bears are often located, they might end up getting your food too!
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How To Hang Food While Camping
1. PCT Hang Method
The PCT method is perhaps one of the most widely known methods of hanging food to keep it away from wildlife and pests that may steal your food while you are camping.
The first thing you should do is place all your food in a container that is odor-free (like an odor-free plastic bag) and weatherproof (since it might be exposed both to extreme heat and strong rains).
Then, look for a tree with a branch that is about 10 to 20 feet above ground. Get a bag filled with rocks, attach a carabiner onto one end of the rope, clip the carabiner onto the bag and toss the rope over the branch. Now, the rope must be hanging on both sides of the branch. Remove the bag filled with rocks and replace it with a bag that is filled with your food then pull the bag up. Remember to lock the carabiner.
Attach a stick to the rope. The purpose of the stick you’re going to place here is to prevent the rope from sliding through the carabiner.
Make sure that the bag is about 12 feet off the ground.
2. Two-Bag Method
For this method, you would have to find a tree branch that is around 20 feet from the ground. Of course, ensure that the branch is strong enough to hold some weight, because for this method, you are going to hang two different bags. Also, ideally, the tree must be about 200 feet from your campsite.
The first step is to get a rope. To avoid confusion, let us call the first end “End A” and the other “End B.” Hold onto End A and toss the other end over the middle of your chosen tree branch. Lower End B and attach your bag of food to it. Pull on End A in order to raise the other end. Then, reach as high as you can attach another bag (preferably with food, but you may also just use this as a counterweight and put some rocks) to End A.
Keep raising both bags using a stick or a pole until they are at about the same height. Note that the bags must be at least 10 feet above the ground.
If you need to bring your containers down, just take your stick or your pole, hook it onto your bag and pull.
Other Ways to Safeguard Your Food While Camping
1. Bear-proof Your Food Containers
Animals are smarter than we think, and if you leave your storage containers for your food out in the open, animals like bears can easily see and open them. If you are not cautious enough, you will run out of food much sooner than you thought! Thus, it is important that you “bear-proof” your containers. This is very simple to do--just keep your food containers away from sight.
Keep them in your car or in your tent, and to double your security measures, it would be best if you cover them up with a piece of cloth, as well!
2. Keep Your Food In The Car
Your car could be the perfect place to store your food containers if you are camping. They are harder to break into for some animals, in comparison to your tent. However, if you are not careful, bears may find your stash and get them. So, avoid leaving your food containers out in the open such at the back of your pickup truck. If you are storing your containers inside the car, cover them with a blanket.
3. Use Odor-free Plastic Bags
To prevent animals from detecting the scent of your food, it would be helpful to keep them in odor-free plastic bags. Wrap food in two layers of such bags if you want to ensure that they are protected from stray animals.
4. Use a Bear Canister Or An Ursack
Bear canisters are basically just containers that have been made to be extra tough such that they cannot be easily opened and torn by bears wandering in your campsite. They save you from having to find a tree and hanging your food from a branch, not to mention having to get your food down everytime you want to eat. You can also use bear canisters as camp stools--that is how durable they are. However, bear canisters have lesser storage space and in addition to that, they may be harder to bring around since they are heavier.
You may also consider using an Ursack. These are bags that are made of high-quality fabric, but they are just about as effective in keeping your food away from nosy bears. They are much lighter and you can hang them up in a tree.
5. Use Bear Spray
Bear spray is legal in many places in the United States, however it cannot be used in certain parks.
If you know that the area where you plan on going camping tends to be a place where bears love to linger and in the occasion that you find one targeting your food supply, don’t worry. All you have to do is take out your bear spray. Bear sprays contain capsaicin, which deters bears.
Aside from tents, sleeping bags, and water, food is one of the most important things you must bring with you when you are going to go camping. Since storage will be limited, you must choose foods that are easy to preserve and store. You should also know how to properly store your food supply when camping so that they would not be stolen by stray animals or pests.