Backpacking Food Storage – How I Store My Food On Trail

Stuff I Mention in this Video:

Hilltop Packs Food Bag –

Zpacks Bear Bag Kit –

PCT Hang Video –

BV450 –

BV500 –

OP Sak –

Ursack Major –

How I Pack My Gear –

2020 AT Gear List –

Favorite Backpacking Gear of 2019 –

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*** Gear Used to Shoot this Video! ***

– Camera –
Canon EOS R –

– Lense –
Canon EF 24 f/2.8 –

– Sound –
Rode Video Mic Pro+ –

– TriPod –
Targus 360 Trigger Tripod –

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  • Since we are telling stories. Years ago I hitchhiked to Yellowstone. My plan was to spend a month hiking/camping in the park. However, the day before I arrived a woman was killed by a grizzly and they were not allowing anyone in that did not have a hardtop car. The woman had safely hung her food, but brought a "bedtime snack" into her tent and did not finish it. The bear was not really after her, but mauled the tent (with her in it) looking for the snack. The moral of the story: just understanding what needs to be done is not good enough. You have to understand why you are doing it.

  • Ursack bear proof bag, good against raccoon, foxes, coyotes, lynx, cougar, martens, pekans, badgers, yes they will smell your food, yes they will bite your bags, yes they will break whatever is inside your Ursack bear bag. But hey you have tried to protect your food and that is basically what you should do, don't forget they are wild animals and also very ingenious. So just be careful and respect the laws and be sensible.

  • Used a bear can for the first time on a solo trip on the JMT. I slept so well not having to worry about mama bear. Back in the day we practically had to hold watch thru the night so we could scare the bears away. The extra 2lbs is well worth the weight.

  • I like the Ursack for the peace of mind. I'm not willing to carry a bear can in black bear country, but I also have diabetes and can't afford to lose my food 20+ miles from town. If I tie my Ursack to a stout tree, I know my food will be where I left it in the morning, and at worst I'll have smashed up food with a puncture or two.

  • The Ursack for bears only ex: Major does not have “Kevlar “ according to UrSack. Vs UrSack Almighty does have Kevlar.

  • So far I've not had any issues. I used to carry an ammo can (.50cal) loaded with grocery store food. Now I carry freeze dried meals in a 5L water proof sack. In most areas I'm in I can either leave it on the ground or hang in a tree. This far no issues. But now that I said that, something will happen on my upcoming trip in a couple weeks.

  • I appreciate the inclusion of metric units 👍 makes it much easier to understand. Thank you

  • Thoughts on food scents left on packs/bike bags. Also clothing worn while eating?
    I usually stop for dinner away from where I will camp and clean everything well. But never quite certain what scents I’m bringing into my campsite

  • The Leave No Trace bass drop gets me every time

  • I'm a backpacking newbie, but a camper and long-time hiker. Where I live (California) and travel often (California, Oregon, and Arizona) there are a lot of critters, including bears. More often than not the most annoying critters are rodents, raccoons, and sometimes seagulls if on the coast. Even though I also hate the weight and bulkiness of the bear vault I decided (for now, anyway) that I will just put up with it to keep my food critter-free, protected from being smashed, to not have to hang anything, and to use as a seat with my Z-seat pad. I also put my toiletries and trash (bagged in a Ziploc) in the can. I try to focus on the many pros of having it and try to ignore the 2 annoying things about it.

  • Started using a bear can a while back, as it was required where I happened to be going on that trip. (BV450). Hated the weight, bulk and rigidity of it…but loved the convenience. Also, they do protect fragile food items from getting crunched in your pack (I often now take a few pcs of fresh fruit). So, I started using it all the time, required or not. I still do.

  • I think a waterproof PVC bag would do a very decent job, It cost about $10. Just rinse it with water once you closed it to wash of any potential smell or crumb that might stick on the surface.

  • my mans hasn't had to deal with Skaven…

  • I use an Opsak just as a trash bag. Helps seal up the packages that are open and giving off scents. Seems to work well I mean like you said I've never had an issue! Also just in black bear country though.

  • I found putting my bear can into the foot box of my sleeping bag and then stuffing everything else around it is a decent way to pack it into my pack (Granite Gear Crown 2 60). I live in WA state and they are pretty much required everywhere here.

  • Rodents can basically get into anything that's malleable

  • S M

    Not necessary to put the bear can upside down as there is zero to be gained. Cheers from Tanzania.

  • Another storage option for places like the Grand Canyon is an Ursack Minor ("Critter Resistant"), as backcountry permits often require one to use a campsite that is occupied almost every night of the year. I also use an OPSACK inside it. In the canyon, ravens will shred a hung bag and rodents will gnaw there way into most bags. The Kaibab squirrel is a high-wire act. Also, rodents will also bite through your water cache as well, and you'll find it drained when you return on your loop hike. Thanks for the video!

  • Not that I have to worry about bears; but I have always used a normal, store bought, double sealed zip lock bag which I re-enforce with gaffa tape. Cheap as chips light weight and if it does happen to break then it is easy to replace. I also use the same thing as my rubbish bag. I've done that for almost 25 years and never had a problem. When I was in the army I did hear of people having rats chew through their packs to get to their rations. I never actually saw it or experienced it though.

  • It would be good to hang with a locking carininer on bear bag. . Some of the caribiners are a little cheap to keep bears out .

  • Like button hit usually when it's Darwin on the Trail Broski's!! ✌️

  • The bv450 can double as a seatish..? 🖖✌️

  • You cracked me up at "steer it away".

  • What about critters with hanging bag? Squirrels or raccoons..?

  • my favourite food storage has been an empty (never used) paint can. Air tight and $2. I can carry 3 days of food for 2 people in it.

  • Best system is hanging your bear canister ; )

  • Maybe I could try fasting a few days before then fast through a hike. I would only need some emergency food/ration blocks.

  • Thanks Darwin, this was helpful to hear all of the options. I'm a newbie to backpacking. It seems to me that setting it right outside my tent door would not be a wise idea in the wilderness in my area. Honestly, I don't want any critters to come near my tent when I'm sleeping!! I'm not as worried about bear as I am with squirrels and racoons – which can be very nasty and clever critters when they are determined to get into food. We used to keep our dog food in a heavy-duty plastic bin on our back porch until 2 coons got smart enough to push and roll that thing right off the porch and down the hill behind our house until a corner finally broke open so they could have a little feast! I still can't believe how strong they are and smart to figure that out! However, I really like all of the options that you have presented for us to consider. That final dual option sounds like a great compromise as long as a bear canister is not required. I don't know what the rules are yet for the two treks I am considering. What did you do for food carry/storage along the Highline Trail in the Uintah's?

  • 4:39 nope nope nope wayyyyyyyyyyyy too many people does not look like a good time to me i hike and camp to get away from people not to stay in a self inflicted homeless camp…but ya know you do you

  • Darwin! 🙋🏼‍♀️ I’ve seen lots of YouTube videos of people eating in their tents. Is that really safe? It seems to risky to me. What do you think?

  • D R

    Learnt the hard way years ago when goats raided our tents. They can and do eat everything and chew through everything, even cans, to our surprise. They even ate my socks, and my camp mate's hand cream.

  • Rodents like mice and rats can chew through copper and steel wires.

  • The bag might be bear proof but is the rope that it comes with? I'd probably be more worried that the bear took the bag with my food than actually eating the food. Those bags aren't that cheap. lol

  • I expect rodents can chew through the ursack because they can chew individual fibres at a time, whereas a bear is basically puncturing it.

  • Helpful as always and appreciate the disclaimers and corrections as needed, 👍🏽

  • Lol during that entire pro's and con's of using a bear can the only thing I could focus on was that sticker of batman kicking the joker in the nuts that's on his can. 😂😂

  • A J

    Is burying the food bag an option? I’m so worried about losing my food the thought of keeping my food 100ft away from me overnight… I’m going on my first multi day hike

  • Ursack is still not approved on the PCT is it ?

  • I had no idea you can RENT a bear can! Such a good tip.

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