When I was a kid, my mom got me interested in making mobiles, you know, kinetic hanging art. To this day, that’s what I think about whenever I see mouse hangs, or whatever they’re called, in Appalachian Trail Shelters.
First the basics: It’s spring and the mice are hungry. If you camp in a shelter and leave food on the floor or in your pack, the mice are going to find it and have a dinner party at your expense. Worse still, they may chew holes in your pack or clothes to get at food and destroy your gear in the process. If you step out of the shelter, even for a few minutes, make sure you hang your food first.
Most shelters on the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail have mouse mobiles in them already. To make one, you punch a hole in the bottom of a can and run a string through it. Tie one end to the shelter ceiling or a supporting beam. Tie a knot below the hole in the can to prevent the can from slipping down the string, and finally, tie a stick to the bottom of the string or create a loop that you can hang your food bag from so it’s a few feet from the floor.
Mice that climb down the string can’t get past the can without falling to the floor: amazing how art can help us in our daily lives.
Mind you, this doesn’t work for bears or possums, if you live down-under, who will climb into a shelter if you step out to go to the privy or a water source for a while and your food is hanging within reach. Stronger measures are required there.