It is our duty as campers to keep all kinds of animals away from our food. The food we consume as humans is unsuitable for animals’ diets, leaving them dependent and helpless. Bears that have been used to humans, for example, are more likely to be destroyed.
Wherever you camp, a variety of animals will be involved in your food. Mice and other small animals, as well as bears, would not hesitate to strike one end of your tent or bag in order to eat whatever is inside.
1. Food storage recommendations
Food (and other products such as cosmetics) must be kept away from animals at a campsite. So, here are few general guidelines for avoiding wildlife collection:
- Food and trash can never be left inside your tent.
- Still keep an eye on your food. In broad daylight, jays, squirrels, and other small creatures can catch your food in a fraction of a second.
- Some creatures, on the other hand, can infiltrate your tent or bag over night.
2. Store food at a campsite
Keep all of your food protected inside your fridge or car during the day, even if you’re close by, and particularly if you’re going for a walk.
Place all food out in the open at night (along with your fridge if you do have one), in your car, or in a metal locker if you have one.
Raccoons and bears are experts at breaking into coolers. Few companies offer “bear-proof” coolers, but you would have been better off adding a padlock. You may even hang your bag from a high branch of a tree.
3. Food preservation in the wild
When you’re going camping in a national park or a bear-infested area, make sure you meet the guidelines about food storage.
If you’re going to a place where there are no rules, you can use one of the following three methods:
- Use a metal locker or a padlock.
- Make use of a bear-proof barrel or bag.
- Tie your food to a branch or pillar up in the air.
- Here’s a rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of bear-resistant food storage methods:
Some camp sites have big bear lockers or cabinets where you can store your snacks, garbage, and cosmetics; however, they are always overcrowded, so you can’t be sure there would be enough space for your food. It’s also crucial to close the lock properly; otherwise, the bears will get their hands on your food.
These plastic tubes have a cover that can be twisted and unscrewed by humans (with a coin or screwdriver). They’re built to fit into backpacks and come in a variety of sizes, so you can get a smaller one if you’re going alone.
Check to see if the bear barrel is needed in the location where you’ll be camping. You could be charged if a ranger catches you on your walk and you don’t have one.
Bear barrels are available for purchase or loan at certain national parks.
However, if you visit during the summer, when the tourism season is at its peak, they will most likely run out of barrels to lend you, so do have a backup plan. Raccoons would not be able to steal the food if you use these food cans.
- Bears seldom succeed in breaking them.
- Instead of binding them high, you may leave them on the field.
- They can be used as a camping chair if the lid is locked.
- Some are invisible, allowing you to see whether or not your prized chocolate bar is already inside.
- Many bears have found out that it’s not worth their time to try to open these tanks, and they’ll abandon your campsite if they see any.
- Bulky and heavy (most weigh around 1kg).
- Tape fluorescent tape to your barrel so you can see what’s going on if you hear anything strange overnight.
If you don’t need a bear barrel but do want to keep your food safe from bears, a bear bag is a decent option. They’re made of polyethylene, which bears can’t break away from. To keep the bear from puncturing or destroying the contents, an aluminum sheet is sold separately.
Separately, an odor-resistant plastic bag (that is also waterproof) can be purchased to store your food and garbage without attracting bears.
Some versions also repel groundhogs, rats, and other pests, so if you’re going to a country where bears live, use a bag that’s specifically designed to keep bears out and has passed the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) examination.
- They are more lightweight and lighter than barrels.
- Bear bags are not accepted as a bear-proof way of storing food in certain national parks.
- And if it can’t access the interior of the container, a bear can smash it (without the foil layer) or take it anywhere.
Our recommendation for using an anti-bear bag:
Close and tighten the string with care. While these bags can be stacked like a barrel on the bottom, it is preferable to hang them high on a tree. White bear bags are popular. Using a felt-tip pen to sign your name or sketch something on it, like a bear, to set it apart from the rest. Using a barrel for important food and a bear sack for litter and less important food if you can’t decide between the two. We have a good idea where the chocolate bar will end up.
Hang up your food
The following are the most popular ways for hanging your food:
- You should hang your food from a tree branch high in the air.
- Some campgrounds have poles for this reason, which are preferable to tree branches. There are loops on these poles where you can hang your food bag or backpack. You should have a metal bar to hang your food bag from one of the hooks.
- Alternatively, you can find a long metal cord between two posts, which would make it easier to hang your bag in most situations.
- There is no need for any special equipment. All you need is a rope and a pack.
- Hanging your bag on a limb isn’t an alternative if you’re camping far from trees or in the desert.
- Food hanging from a tree can be difficult and time-consuming.
- Any bears have figured out how to get through this device and get to the bag.
Our recommendations for hanging food from a tree or a wire are as follows:
- Throw a six- or three-inch rope over a long branch or cord, tying it to something hard (a large rock or pebbles in your tent bag). You’ll almost certainly have to try multiple times before you succeed.
- Detach the counterweight and attach your food bag after you’ve finished the first move.
- Hang the bag 3 to 4 meters above the ground, out of reach of a bear standing on its hind legs, and about 1 meter away from the tree.
4. Tips for using food
On holiday, the very last thing you want to do is waste time going to the toilet. There are three different ways to get sick while camping due to bad hygiene or food storage:
- Pathogen transmission from your hands to your mouth (often after using the toilet)
- Consuming food that has gone bad
- Improper raw meat management
How will hand-to-mouth transmission be avoided?
- Once you’ve used the restroom, wash your hands well with soap and hot water (outside the camp and outside a cool spring)
- Using a towel that hasn’t been used to clean dishes to wipe your hands.
- Using a hydroalcoholic solution or towels if you can’t wash your hands.
- Before you start cooking, make sure you wash your hands.
- If you’re going to share an appetizer package with someone, dump the contents of the container into their mouths. Allow no unwashed handsets to enter the pack.
How to keep food refrigerated?
You’ll get a cooler if you’re camping by car. You can put at 5°C or less perishable foods like meat (especially raw), cheese, eggs and milk, so they don’t perish.
Here are few additional tips:
- Cool the ice cubes one hour prior bringing food in it
- Fill bottles with water, juice or milk and freeze (leave space in the bottle). This would encourage you to hold the cooler longer than melting ice cubes, and you can drink the drink when you no longer require ice.
- Wrap the raw meat in two separate sachets so that the sack does not leak and the liquid leaks into the other foods.
- Place the food you’ll take up first. Place the raw meat under where it’s coldest
- Use a colder thermometer to monitor temperature
How to handle raw meat?
Cut the meat first and put it in a freezer container. You’ll have much less to wash at the campsite. But here’s a bunch more tips:
- At home, be careful when treating raw meat. Place the bits of meat in the pan and wash the cutting board, knife and hands directly in hot water (if possible) before touching something else.
- Never cut veggies or cheese on meat residues
- Any plastic wrap that has stored meat must be put in two bags and deposited in your refrigerator or garbage can before you get home, or dump it in a nearby garbage bin.
Our latest tips for handling food:
- Keep odors down: Cook and wash your dishes (and hands) away from tents so the odors don’t draw animals while you’re sleeping. Use little unscented liquid soap.
- Clean all food scraps and place them in a garbage can. Dispose of wastewater in a rocky location, if possible, far from your camp.
Hope these tips aid a wonderful trip!