This post may contain affiliate links.

Gossamer Gear Bearister Food Hanging System

Gossamer Gear Bearister Backpack
Gossamer Gear Bearister Bear Hanging System

The Gossamer Gear Bearister food hanging system is built around a 11oo cubic inch (18.25 liter) 30 denier silnylon daypack called the BigBag, which is used to hang your food. It’s a clever dual use idea, especially if you like to hike into an area, set up a base camp and do day hikes, returning to the same camp each night.

This of course assumes you’re hiking/camping in a group since the bag has to remain up a tree while you run off during the day. Unless all you carry on your day hike is your food supply, water, and other odds and ends, stuffed into the BigBag.

The Bearister comes with 3 components:

  • BigBag backpack (large version of the smaller RikSak)
    • 2.95 oz. (84g.) average
  • Dyneema rock bag, called a RokSak, with a min-biner
    • 217 oz. (6.15g.) average Roksak only
    • .276 oz. (7.84 g) carabiner
  • 50′ of Dynaglide cord
    • 1.28 oz. (36.4 g.) for 50 feet (15 meters) average

Each of these are also sold separately which can be useful if you already have a bear bag you like and just want to replace parts of it with better components.

The BigBag is large enough (14 x 23 in /36 x 60 cm) to fit a smell proof OPSack if you use one. OPSacks are big ziploc bags purported to be 10,000 times more smell proof than regular ziplocs. I’ve been using one for years as a bear bag liner (note: I have no idea whether they are effective or not, or I’ve just been lucky).

Bearister Hanging from a Tree
Bearister Hanging from a Tree
Made from 30 denier Silnylon, the BigBag has a reinforced haul loop sewn into it that is connected to two reinforced seams, that run the length of the bag and can take the strain. I’ve hung a week’s worth of food – 15 pounds – in one without any issues.
Reinforced Seams run the Length of the BigBag
Reinforced Seams run the Length of the BigBag

To hang the BigBag, simply connect one end of the mini-biner to the BigBag’s haul loop, and the other end to the Dynaglide line which you’ve thrown over a branch or two – depending on the type of hang that suits your needs.

Dynaglide Cord
Dynaglide Cord

The Dynaglide cord that comes with the Bearister is pretty cool stuff. With a tensile strength of 1000 pounds, it is insanely strong, but has  a very slippery urethane coating that won’t cut into most trees. It’s billed as snag-proof, but it’s not and will knot up on you if you’re careless with how you stow it.

The Dyneema RokSak is also pretty tough and tear resistant. I have managed to rip one to shreds this year, but I was trying to see how much damage it could sustain before it became unusable (quite a lot.) I undertook that little exercise because I’ve been on trips with silnylon rock bags that shredded on the first throw – rendering them useless – and I wanted to make sure that the Bearister didn’t suffer from the same flaw. No worries there – the replacement RokSak I’ve started using since has been going strong for a while.

The Bearister is not for everyone – for example – I’m not a base camp / day hike kind of hiker – so having a dual use bear bag / stuff sack that I can use as a day pack isn’t a top priority. Even so, I like each of the individual components of the Bearister system quite a lot and tend to use them separately, at least as much as I do together. (MSRP $65 USD)

Disclsoure: Gossamer Gear provided Philip Werner with a complementary Bearister Food Hanging System for testing and review. 


  1. While I understand the intent of dual usage of the bag, I don’t understand the logistics. What do you do with the food while you are out dayhiking? You can’t just leave it lying around your base camp. Maybe I’m just being dense…

  2. Not at all – you need a second person – should have mentioned this – my bad. I kind of assume that for base camp hiking, but I guess people also do it alone.

  3. While it is true that the bearbag/daypack dual use idea suffers the flaw mentioned above, daypack/stuffsack dual use is still a possibility if your packing preferences include using some stuff sacks.

    I like to put things that are mainly used for sleeping in one slightly too large sack (quilt, neoair pad, inflatable pillow, balaclava). The too large sack allows the bundle to fit the shape of my frameless pack rather than be a boulder pressing against my kidneys;-)

    The big bag’s 2.95oz weight is a lot for a stuff sack but if a hiker has a need (or want) for a daypack then this would save an ounce or so that a largish stuff sack would weigh.

    • So in other words – bring the big Bag as a stuff sack, in addition to a food bag for hanging. Use the Big bag as a day pack, while your sleeping gear stays in camp. Yep, that works, especially if you have a backpack that weight 6-8 pounds and you don’t feel like carrying it around mostly empty.

  4. This system would be ideal for a thruhiker! Having a food bag that could double as a bag when doing some shopping in town would be great. Good on Gossamer for another great product.

  5. I might check that out as a backpack for my grandson that could double as the food bag at night.

  6. I recently bought the BIgBag to use as a summit bag/day pack/stuff sack. I love it. Plan to write a review on it in the near future. I also used it as a bear bag but didn’t realize they sold it in a system intended for that use. Thanks for the review.

  7. I could see the bag being useful for a family or small group. I guess the straps can’t hurt if you have to hang far from your campsite.

    Is there an advantage to the bag being black? It seems a flashier color would be easier to spot among the tree,

    • In my experience the most important thing for finding a bear bag is the color of the rope you use to tie it with, since it’s at eye level. The Dynaglide is pretty loud – color-wise for that. More BigBag colors would be good no doubt, but I suspect that GG prefers black because black silnylon is demonstrably more waterproof than any other silnylon color. That’s not widely known, but a handy thing for a bear bag,

  8. One small issue that I see is the cinch closure at the top. As a bear bag, I would want either a flag over the hole or to hang the bag upside down in order to prevent the bag from collecting water during a heavy rainstorm. In my part of the south, we now have both periods of very heavy rain and an increasing bear population.

  9. I’ve used two medium granite gear eVent sil drysacks for 9-10 day trips in Yellowstone for bear bags (need to hang all odorants – food, fuel, toiletries, stoves, pots, etc.). Everything stays dry in long overnight soaking rains. A slick rope just ends up cutting your hands and making for good slapstick movie moments when you try to hang more than one bag on one rope unless you bring good leather gloves which defeats the purpose of a lightweight cord. If you’re with a group, fewer ropes is better. We bring one 4mm 50 ft rope with a carabiner for two or three people. You can use the carabiner to help through the rope over the bear pole or you can carefully tie a rock on to the end of the rope. You should not be pulling the rope against tree trunks but instead wrapping it around the tree so you don’t cut the tree bark. If you go on a day hike, hang all odorants you won’t take with you for the day and use your pack as a day pack. There is no need to bring a day pack for any reason.

  10. We’ve been hanging food in Yosemite for 30 years, although now illegal. The method described is ineffective if a bear can chew through the line. The bears in Yosemite leaned this trick, hece the illegality. The real trick is to use a counterbalance method with two bags over a very thin branch or a wire that spans two trees.

    • I’m happy to avoid smart bears and snakes. Hiking in the east still has some advantages as long as you’re not in canister country such as the smokies or dacks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha loading...