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Backpacking in Grizzly Country

Just wondering thoughts on backpacking in grizzly country. I know that anything with a scent should be locked away in a bear canister 200 feet from my campsite in a different location from where I cooked my food. Is it recommended to put dirty clothes in the canister as well? I am not sure if I will be able to fit them but I was reading that it is a good idea to put the clothes that you cooked with in the bear canister.

1 Reply

I live and travel a lot in bear country (Alaska), and have for 30-years. Keep your food, trash, and personal hygiene supplies in a bear can down wind if possible 100 meters from your tent site. Do any smelly stuff like cooking or personal hygiene 100 meters from that (again, downwind from tent if possible). Think of a triangle with your tent being one of the peaks, food cache another, cooking site another. I wouldn’t worry about your clothes unless you are covering them in fish or bacon grease or something. Make sure you do your research on the area asking rangers/others about problem bears in the area, make lots of noise (sing, bear bells, loud conversation), travel in a group, carry and know how to use bear spray, keep your eyes, nose, and ears open, and pay attention to terrain. Bears like to hide in brush, travel on trails, like to be near water, and both of you will have a harder time hearing and seeing each other there. They also smell. I can’t really describe the smell to you, but they stink. If you smell a bear, there is one nearby. Sing and walk (don’t run - never run) to somewhere that doesn’t stink like bear with your eyes open. 

Hope that helps. Will also add in 30 years of wandering bear country in Alaska with lots of encounters, I’ve had very few that I didn’t enjoy (meaning I didn’t feel threatened, and they are fun to watch from a safe distance). 

Bear in Crow Pass Looking for Berries Last Year.Bear in Crow Pass Looking for Berries Last Year.


“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” -Norman Maclean