Help with Hanging a Bear Bag

The issue is not knowledge of how to bear bag - it's the throwing! I have no arm and no aim. Tricks? Suggestions?

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I occasionally go backpacking alone, but have trouble bear bagging. The issue is not knowledge of how to bearbag – it’s the throwing! I have no arm and no aim. Tricks? Suggestions? Thanks!

Submitted by – Sarah – Ithaca, NY


Dear Sarah,

Bear-bagging can certainly be a confounding art. (Witness our comical video that proves it!

I remember taking a solo canoe trip many moons ago in the Boundary Waters. After what must have been an hour of trying to hang my food, I finally gave up (it was getting dark and I was nearly in tears) and loaded my food into my canoe. I paddled it out to a tiny little island in the lake and left it there. It wasn’t ideal, of course (because bears can swim) but it did the trick, and I was at least able to relax and get some sleep, knowing that if a bear got into my food, it would all happen a comfortable distance from me!

But back to bear bagging: it does, alas, require some throwing. If you can’t manage that, the best thing I can suggest is a investing in a bear canister. Canisters, which are now required in many bear-infested national parks, are simple round cylinders with locking mechanisms that require thumbs. In other words, just load your food into them, stash them away from camp, and you don’t have to worry about any furry creatures opening them up. They might have fun batting them around for a while, but they’ll eventually get frustrated and go elsewhere in search of easy food.

Check out our review of bear canisters and find one that suits you.