Ask Kristin

Protecting Food from Little Critters

When camping in the alpine environment what is the best way to store food to keep it way from little critters?


When camping in the alpine environment, above tree line, what is the best way to store food to keep it way from critters (ie. pikas and marmots)?

Submitted by – Khonz – Durango, CO


Great question. Sometimes it’s the little critters that can be even peskier than bears, when it comes to keeping your food safe. I’ve seen little field mice tightrope walk across parachute cord and attempt to drop into my foodbag. (True story: it happened in Glacier National Park and we spent half the night hucking stones at the hanging setup. Eventually, the mouse sustained a fatal blow and dropped to the ground. I swear to God!)

A hard-sided bear canister (check out some of our favorites) is the most foolproof way to protect your grub from any animal. But they can be heavy and bulky and it seems like kind of a waste of energy to carry them when bears aren’t an issue.

One of my favorite food sacks is the Ursack, which I’ve written about in this column before. If you follow proper procedure (tying off the opening properly so no little pests can slip in the top) it will keep your food safe. You can also purchase Ursack liners to render it more crushproof (a big benefit with hard-sided bear cans).

We are currently in the process of testing the Grubpack, a stainless steel mesh bag designed specifically for little critters. Stay tuned for a review!