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Re: Bear Bags and Bear Resistant Containers - why are they necessary?

Hello,

I am going on a week-long backpacking trip with some friends. We are going to be in "bear country" but it is populated by black bears and very few, if any, brown bears. I have a Bear Vault and informed my friends that they also need a bear bag or a bear-resistant container. They do not want to spend $70-120 on Bear Vault or Ursack and they asked me why they were so expensive. I told them it was because they had to be bear-resistant material and not allow scent to travel outside of the bag. They brought up a good point that, if we are suspending the bag from a tree or bear pole, why does it have to be bear-resistant or scent locked if they bear cannot get to it? 

So my question is: Can they buy 50' of paracord and a cheap waterproof dry bag and hang it from a tree out of reach? Or does it have to be sent free or made from a tough, bear-resistant material? 

I do not see any issue with it, however, I want to make sure that I am not missing or overlooking something. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
31 Replies

From my experience, some areas do not even allow you to throw a bear bag over a tree.  It has to be in a bear canister to protect the scent.  Although I don't completely see "eye to eye" with this concept, you are better off safe than sorry.  Especially if you want to avoid receiving a fine for not following the guidelines.  I'd rather spend the money to rent a bear canister than suffer the monetary consequences of receiving the fine.  I still place my canister far away from camp after all the food is put inside it.  Hope this helps the emotional side of things!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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It depends on where you go. Some people’s require them, as well as being on the approved list (like Yosemite for an example).

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