I had to laugh when I watched this video about hanging a bear bag and all of the things that can go wrong in the process. If you’ve tried this yourself, you’ll know exactly what I mean. How many times have you tried to hang a bear bag, with darkness approaching, and had it taken over 45 minutes to get your food up a tree? It can be comedic sometimes.
There are a couple of bag hanging refinements that I’ve developed over the years to make this process easier. First, I bring along a small mesh sack for holding “the rock”, instead of trying to tie cord to it. Mesh sacks are more rugged for this than silnylon ones which tear very easily.
The only issue with using a rock bag is that it can snag on a tree if you make a bad throw and need to pull it back down. Brute force may be required to retrieve it, but care must be taken to avoid self-inflicted damage. Just last year, I had a bag and rock come flying back at me and hit me in the face – so now I stand behind a tree to guard my face and body.
Then there’s the issue of the knotted rope ball. Regardless of what you do, your bear bag rope always gets knotted up. It’s terribly hard to untangle if you use small diameter string or spectra cord, so I use Kelty Triptease guyline instead. It is thick enough that it doesn’t cut tree bark and it’s easy to untie, even when it’s wet. The reflective elements of the guyline also pick up your headlamp light if you need to put a forgotten item into your bag after dark and can’t find the bear bag line. Very handy.
Finally, I use a less advanced hanging method than the two-tree method shown in this video. I usually just hang my bear bag over a single branch that’s 15 feet off the ground and won’t support the weight of a bear. Even then, you’d be surprised how hard it is to find a tree like this in the forest with darkness approaching. I’ve never had a problem with this hanging method and it’s a lot easier to orchestrate than getting two trees to cooperate.
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