Bears are intelligent, and too many have figured out how to break down some of our best food hanging systems. In New York, bear encounters have increased as the popularity of backcountry camping has increased. So much that the NYSDEC now requires bear canisters in the High Peaks Region for all backpackers during all seasons except winter.
In other parts of the state, you may still hang food. Being allowed to hang your food does not mean that your food is safe. Poorly stored food is always at risk for scavenging by wildlife. Even though we focus on food, items such as toothpaste, deodorant, creams, and other items with odors can put you at risk and should be handled as food.
The NYSDEC disapproves of the BearVault for use in the High Peaks Region. There have been confirmed reports of bears learning to open the canister.
There are other products that campers can use in areas that don’t require non-pliable containers. One such product is Ursack, a bear bag that has been tested and uses tear and puncture-resistant fabrics that protect your food from bears and critters. We have used one for over 10-years and have never lost food (even though it’s been pulled on a bitten).
Bear bag hanging video
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Backwoods wanderer with a passion for backpacking, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the wilds of the Catskills and Adirondacks in New York. A Catskill 3500 Club Member and Adirondack Forty-Sixer. Climbed Mount Rainier. Professionally an Exercise Physiologist.