If you plan on venturing into the wilderness on a camping or hiking trip, you need to be prepared to deal with potentially dangerous wildlife. Bears in particular need to be respected and avoided. One of the easiest ways to avoid bears is to be careful with storing and preparing food.
Choosing the Safest Camping Food
Strong smelling food like tuna or garlic can attract bears easiest. When you choose which foods to pack, try to avoid foods that have strong odors. Canned or dried food is a much better choice. Not only do these types of food last longer, but they give off fewer odors too. Individual packaged food is better than larger packages that have to be manually resealed.
Safely Storing Your Camping Food
One mistake many campers make is not taking adequate precautions for storing food. All too often food is stored either in the same tent you sleep in or in a nearby cooler. This can be a very bad idea. You are essentially drawing the bears right to wear you are vulnerably sleeping.
Your food should be stored a good distance away from your tent (at least 100 meters). To prevent food odors from blowing through your campsite, your food storage location should also be downwind from your campsite. When picking a location to store food, think of how close to your campsite you would be comfortable having bears. Obviously that is not very close at all.
For actual food storage, you have a few choices. There are bear proof containers available in a variety of sizes. These bear proof storage lockers make it nearly impossible for bears to get at your food. It might not be practical to carry one of these durable containers to camp though.
The more traditional method for camping food storage is to hang your food up in a tree in an airtight bag. Since bears do have some tree climbing capabilities, it is best to hang the food at least 5 meters above ground and at least 4 feet away from the trunk of the tree. A bear could easily reach a bag if it is too low or too close to the trunk of the tree. This is not the most secure method because using too small a branch makes it possible for a bear to break the branch and using too large a branch makes it possible for a bear to climb out to your bag. Bears can also chew through ropes holding bags up in trees. So if you plan on hanging your food, counterbalance the rope with a second bag. Then use a long stick to retrieve tour bags afterwards. Or you can suspend the food bag between two trees. Some camps have existing ropes or poles setup to use instead of hanging food from branches.
As a last resort, you could also store your food in the trunk of your vehicle. This should be avoided though, as vehicles are not airtight and odors could …