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By:    On: 2009-10-24
 

When in the outdoors there are many ways to protect your food from animals and insects. Really the best way of doing this is keeping those items that need to be kept cold in a sturdy ice chest that is stored out of the way in a shady location. The rest of the food should be kept in plastic boxes that seal tight. If the food item is open then it needs to be secured, such as in a zip lock bag. If any of the food packaging has gotten messy from being handled then it needs to either be cleaned off, or transferred to another container.

Trash is also an issue, just putting everything into a large plastic bag, may not be enough. Even here in the desert, we have no large animals to worry about but birds and coyotes like to go after campers trash. We have woken up on several occasions to find our trash rumaged through and blown all over camp with the trash bags full of holes.

I have had more then one day pack destroyed because I forgot I had a breakfast bar or even trail mix in it and the animal, usually like a squirrel or mouse, will chew holes in the pack to get to the food. Thus Never leave food and smellies in a zipped pack, jacket, duffel bag, etc. Hungry animals will literally chew holes in your nice equipment to get to the food. If you have to (or choose to) leave food in your backpack or whatever, then at least leave the zippers open. You might lose some food, but at least you won't have to shell out more money to replace the damaged gear.

Animals can be attracted to anything that is scented including: food, drinks, candy, chap stick, band-aids, tooth-paste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, even the cloths you wore that day. Depending where you are camping to, you may or may not need to deal with all these items. It mostly depends on what kinds of animals are in that area and what they are attracted to. I would suggest you contact your local ranger office and ask them what they recommend.

Depending on your location you may need to hang everything out of a tree, in what is known as a bear bag. In some locations you will be provided and required to use a “bear box” which normally is a large metal box at each camp site designed to keep animals out of it. Here is a good article about bear Bags http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bear_bag_hanging_technique.html

When possible you should cook and wash your dishes at least 200 feet from your sleeping area. I have a friend who lives in Alaska who actually woke up in middle of the night with a bear going potty on his tent. Do your best to avoid these situations by camping smart.

I realize this was some what brief but I hope it gave you a good enough idea to in order to learn more about how you need to protect your food, smeelibles and trash in your area. I look forward to reading your comments on this subject.


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