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pennyanmurph
01-19-2010, 12:56 PM
What is the best plan in regards to bear canisters on the NPT? I assume they are not needed in at least the first half of the trail, but should I have one waiting for me at Long Lake to use for the remainder of the trip?

dundee
01-19-2010, 02:32 PM
What is the best plan in regards to bear canisters on the NPT? I assume they are not needed in at least the first half of the trail, but should I have one waiting for me at Long Lake to use for the remainder of the trip?

They're not needed. This doesn't mean that bears aren't around, but they are "less-trained" to equate humans and food as in the High Peaks. A standard hanging of the bear-bag will do.

adktyler
01-19-2010, 04:32 PM
One more thing. Sometimes bear canisters are better for other woodland creatures, and not just bears. I use a bear canister when I camp out anywhere I know that animals would prevelent (which pretty much includes everywhere, haha). So just keep in mind that little animals can be more of a issue than bears.

Dick
01-19-2010, 05:29 PM
On our NPT hike we used a canister, not so much out of concern for bears as for ADK88's aforementioned "other woodland creatures" which are definitely more of a concern than bears. Many seem to regard bear bag hangs with some pride. Personally I find hanging to be a royal pain in the butt. Once hung, there's always "oops, forgot to put xxx in" or just before bed, "oops, I need xxx". And I'm a lousy shot, particularly after dark! And who wants to rescue a bear hang in the early AM when you could walk a short distance and pick up the canister. Canisters are extra weight to carry, of course, but not that much, and I enjoy the peace of mind that it offers.

If one wishes to take bears out of the equation, a Ratsack (http://www.armoredoutdoorgear.com/ratsack.htm) or a Ursack (http://www.ursack.com/) will do nicely, and is far less weight. We've used them in Arizona and Utah desert, where there are critters but no bears.

We've also heard tales of campers who have lost food due to bears at Duck Hole. Lots of bear bag remains in that area. As one gets closer to the high peaks, I think it will become more of an issue. In regard to pennyanmurph's question, yes, your chances of bear encounters will increase as you go north.

Dick

TCD
01-19-2010, 06:02 PM
(As you remember, Dick, we followed a few days behind you on that hike.)

We used hangs. We were fortunate to get to all our desitinations in plenty of daylight. I agree a hang in the dark is tough; I've only done it a couple times.

We didn't have any problems. But on earlier trips to Duck Hole, we had the red squirrel get some of our food in a hang, so a rodent proof sack might be a good idea. There don't seem to be any educated bears inthe NPT area.

What I don't like about canisters is more the shape than the weight. I pack as small a pack as I can, and I don't like a big rigid, oddly shaped object in it.

If you use hangs, make them good, so as not to educate the bears. For decades in the High Peaks I walked by incredibly poor attempts at bear hangs (once or twice having to duck under them on the trail, they were so low). So it was no surprise when the bears in that area eventually figured out that food hangs in bags from the trees.

TCD

Dick
01-19-2010, 06:49 PM
(As you remember, Dick, we followed a few days behind you on that hike.)

We used hangs. We were fortunate to get to all our desitinations in plenty of daylight. I agree a hang in the dark is tough; I've only done it a couple times.

We didn't have any problems. But on earlier trips to Duck Hole, we had the red squirrel get some of our food in a hang, so a rodent proof sack might be a good idea. There don't seem to be any educated bears inthe NPT area.

What I don't like about canisters is more the shape than the weight. I pack as small a pack as I can, and I don't like a big rigid, oddly shaped object in it.

If you use hangs, make them good, so as not to educate the bears. For decades in the High Peaks I walked by incredibly poor attempts at bear hangs (once or twice having to duck under them on the trail, they were so low). So it was no surprise when the bears in that area eventually figured out that food hangs in bags from the trees.

TCD

Yes, we remember your following us! :)

I was speaking "generically" about hanging. We always arrived before dark. We've had other incidents in the HP area which were more serious. On the northern section of the NPT you're in the HP area from the standpoint of bears, even though you may not see high peaks. Their territory is surprisingly large.

As for the canister shape, I assume you're referring to the Garcia model, which is more of a "football" shaped canister? I've used it on the NPT before, and found it very awkward to pack. For our thruhike, we used the BearVault. Although my overly humongous pack swallowed it without much difficulty, it will strap on the outside.

I agree, I've seen some pitiful bear hangs, ones which I could have retrieved without much effort! Not only are there some poor hangs, bears have become surprisingly quite sophisticated in their abilities to retrieve food, especially in the High Peaks area.

Two words: Yellow-Yellow :rolling:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/nyregion/25bear.html
http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/bears.php

OK, from the standpoint of the NPT, there is a little paranoia here. But it's the old adage, "better safe than sorry".

Dick



Dick

pennyanmurph
01-19-2010, 08:28 PM
I certainly appreciate the suggestions. I think I'll plan on just using a Bearvault for the whole trip.

ADKlvr
02-06-2010, 09:33 PM
I even use my bear canister on the Finger Lakes Trail......bears have been seen on morgan hill. I own it....I use it. Once u get used to it..... it's so much easier.

ALGonquin Bob
02-06-2010, 10:04 PM
The canister actually saves weight for me, because if I don't have to hang a bear bag, I can also leave my helmet at home :rolleyes:. I use my Bear Vault Solo on all overnight trips between April and November, and since I bought an Ursack for a trip out West last year, I use that on all Winter trips to keep the pine martens out of my oatmeal.

EagleCrag
03-10-2010, 09:04 AM
While bear can be found anywhere in the Adirondacks, if I am staying in or near a leanto, I always check the logbook there for comments about bears. If they are fairly frequent, I figure there are educated bears about and if I am hanging a pack, I take more care in where I hang it. If there is an obvious tree near the leanto, I leave it alone, figuring the bear will check it and look there. If I am using a cannister, I put it farther away from the leanto as I prefer not to be disturbed if there is a bear prowling about! I figure what I don't know won't hurt me. :-) The only place along the NP trail that I have seen frequent bear sign is at Duck Hole, although I have the section from Piseco to Lake Durant to finish up this spring.

DSettahr
03-10-2010, 09:52 AM
While bear can be found anywhere in the Adirondacks, if I am staying in or near a leanto, I always check the logbook there for comments about bears. If they are fairly frequent, I figure there are educated bears about and if I am hanging a pack, I take more care in where I hang it. If there is an obvious tree near the leanto, I leave it alone, figuring the bear will check it and look there. If I am using a cannister, I put it farther away from the leanto as I prefer not to be disturbed if there is a bear prowling about! I figure what I don't know won't hurt me. :-) The only place along the NP trail that I have seen frequent bear sign is at Duck Hole, although I have the section from Piseco to Lake Durant to finish up this spring.

Quite often, bear "tails" in lean-to journals are exagerated or completely fabricated for comedic value. I wouldn't rely on them to accurately portray the habits of bears nearby.

I once saw an entry (obviously fabricated) in a lean-to that told about how a gang of bears surrounded the lean-to at night and left the occupants petrified with their growling and scratching through the whole evening. The very next entry was from a through hiker (it was on the NPT), and was about how he was cutting his through hike short because of the previous entry, and that his concern about bears getting into his food had simply gotten to great for him to feel comfortable with continuing his trip. I can only hope that the second entry was also fabricated, but it didn't seem like it.

redhawk
03-10-2010, 04:33 PM
I've hiked the NPT at least once a year, sometime two up until health issues 2 years ago. Did a lot of section hiking too, especially up in Cold River. I have always relied on bear bags, hung correctly (and high!).

To date the biggest problem I had was a mouse that kept going into my pack at night to see if there were any goodies there, and two predatory, carnivorous, mean-spirited chipmunks from Hell doing bear imitations and scaring the hell out of the newbie camped next to me.

So I don't think you will have any problems as long as you hang your food properly a little distance from camp, and practice good hygeine. On one of my treks I shared a lean to spot with a couple who had a bear canister for "safety". made a big point about it. Then proceeded to try to leave dirty utensils by the lean-to overnight as well as some food remnants by the fire pit. I made them clean it up. I didn't want any bears getting into trouble because of their stupidity.

So, cleanliness in camp, cleaning all utensils an geting rid of any food scaps and making sure to wash up after eating is just as, and maybe MORE important then choosing a bear canister over a bear bag.

Hawk

EagleCrag
03-10-2010, 06:35 PM
DSettahr: Point taken. While I like a good joke as well as the next guy, I sure wouldn't want a comment like that spoiling someone else's hike.

chairrock
03-10-2010, 06:41 PM
OK, I've said this before on another thread, but I'll say it again and take the grief which I know will follow.

If you know you will be camping near a outhouse/privy, hang your food bag in the privy, The bears won't go near it.
I've keep dog food in our outhouse for years and the bears never bother it, they do go into the camp for it tho.

Really.

Maybe my s!@t really does smell!

colden46
03-10-2010, 09:17 PM
If you know you will be camping near a outhouse/privy, hang your food bag in the privy, The bears won't go near it.

Do you hang it down the hole? It would be rather, umm, unappetizing if someone came in late at night with the trots and headed straight for the privy :Peek:

DSettahr
03-11-2010, 03:39 PM
Maybe my s!@t really does smell!

I've seen outhouses tipped on their sides or completely dug out around the base because bears were trying to get at the trash that people had dumped down them.

cburnett
03-19-2010, 12:20 AM
While i believe my experience and cautious style would permit for NP thru without a canister, I believe in role-modelling what is best for bears. Some folks don't see a canister and think they now how to hang a bag (but don't do the dishes, etc).

any ways, I want to know if the park has a regulation along NP that requires a canister....

casey

Dick
03-19-2010, 05:50 AM
I want to know if the park has a regulation along NP that requires a canister....

casey

There is no bear canister regulation for the NPT. At this time, that regulation is only for the Eastern High Peaks region.

Dick

Wldrns
03-19-2010, 09:10 AM
There is no bear canister regulation for the NPT. At this time, that regulation is only for the Eastern High Peaks region.

DickI always like to go to the source: NYSDEC Bear Resistant Canisters (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html)

Link to the regulation (and other information) at the bottom of the page.

There is a tremendous amount of useful information of all kinds available from the NYSDEC homepage (http://www.dec.ny.gov/index.html).

ADKeagle
03-20-2010, 03:17 PM
I did part of the trail last year with hanging a bear bag, and part of the trail with a Bearvault. I found it much more convenient just to screw the lid on the can and place it, avoiding the whole nightly ritual of finding a suitable tree, throwing a rope, etc... The trade off, of course, is how to pack the darn thing.

ccockrell
03-29-2010, 11:56 PM
I've found just tying the bear canister on top of my pack, get's me thru the day. It's easily accessible for a seat, handy for packing stuff I want to be water proof and at the end of the day, easy to hang from bear ropes/chains/etc.,. Also, at a campfire, before hanging. a great drum. Go figure!

yellowcanoe
03-30-2010, 12:22 AM
we found that the Counter Assault bear canister is far from waterproof.

http://www.rei.com/product/709075

cburnett
04-11-2010, 11:43 PM
thanks for replying to my question about regulations along NP.

New question. does anyone have experience with an Ursack along the NP? Thoughts regarding critters / bears?

casey

rbi99
04-12-2010, 12:09 AM
Both of my Ursack bags were ripped open at Lake Colden a couple of years ago. They were the redesigned bags specifically because of failures of earlier models near Lake Colden. Another issue I had with them is that they simply don't hold much. It's nice that they pack up small when empty, but that is about it. My bags came with an inner plastic bag that was suppose to help prevent odors. I don't know if that inner bag has been redesigned, but I found them quite flimsy and was always afraid of cutting it. The inner bag also reduced further the amount you could put in the Ursack because you had to be able to seal it up, then seal up the outer bag. A pissed off bear that starts pulling on that bad boy will smash the heck out of the contents. If you tie the wrong kind of knot you will pay heck to untie it later on if a bear gave it a few good tugs.

DSettahr
04-12-2010, 09:27 AM
The Ursack Bags I believe are not allowed in the Eastern High Peaks during bear canister season.

However, the NPT does not run through the Eastern High Peaks, so the Ursack Bags certainly are an option while on that trail.

However, I maintain that the best defense against bears and animals getting into your food is a properly hung bear bag. 15 feet off the ground, 5 feet from the tree, and you're set. I've spent probably close to a hundred nights in various locations on or near the NPT and never had an issue. I don't use an Ursack or bear canister, just properly store my food at night. (*knocks on wood :))

viewseeker
04-12-2010, 10:09 PM
All good info as I start to plan my trip this year.. I will most likely use my Garcia canister. Someone mentioned the bearvault, reading so much about them all being broken into i would not buy one, but I guess they are useful in parts other than the High Peaks where Yellow-Yellow resides..

Holdstrong
04-13-2010, 08:21 AM
Ive used an Ursack on all of my NPT adventures. No problems yet.

It is definitely not something I could consider bomb proof though, as evidenced by reports of its failures- in fact I think they even market them as Bear "resistant" - but it has done the job for me when I am not in the Eastern High Peaks.

Hanging a bear bag at the end of a long day is second only to pumping water in terms of things I least look forward to doing.