Where do you put your backpacking bag?

by Alex

Some say put the packs under a tarp. What say you?

Some say put the packs under a tarp. What say you?

QUESTION: Let's say you're backpacking and want to travel light and your food, clothing and other gear is in your backpack. Also since you want to travel light you have a 1 person tent, hammock or a bivy sack. So what do you do with your backpack when you're sleeping in the small tent, hammock or bivy?

ANSWER: If you're in an area that is secure and you're not at risk of having someone steal your pack, you can just lean the backpack up against a tree and pull your waterproof pack cover over it (you do have a lightweight pack cover for your backpack, don't you?).

Although some people suggest keeping your pack in your tent, we always recommend keeping your backpack some distance away from your tent due to the danger of attracting wild animals, such as bears.

And remember to put anything with a strong smell into a bear bag hung high above ground.

For more suggestions related to bear safety considerations for placing your food and backpack, you might want to read First Time Backpacking - What about Food and Bears.

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Hang your pack and a bear bag
by: Dave in CT

I've had similar run-ins with critters and my pack when I've left it on the ground at night or during day hikes. In early spring near the tree line in CO, I returned to find a marmot had gotten into my pack and punctured my water bladder. On a solo hike along the AT in MA, I had a porcupine go after my pack in the middle of the night to get the salt from the Gatorade in my water bladder.

Since, I've always hung my pack off a tree w/ a sleeping bag strap and covered it with my pack cover. I also now hang a bear bag (aka critter bag; including my gatorade) even if not in bear country. This should help keep critters from your pack and help your hip belt from getting muddy should it rain.

Bears and Thieves aren't the only things!
by: Chris

If you are really concerned about Critters we hang our covered packs from our Bear Line along with our Food Bags and Trash Bags - and Critters can also be Porcupines (who will chew the straps off of your pack for the salt!) or Skunks (I don't think I need to elaborate on how that might destry you wilderness serenity!) which can both be major problems here in MA/VT/NH/ME and both of whom can really wreck your trip!

EDITOR'S NOTE FROM DAVE: Great points! Here in Florida, it's raccoons -- and they are pretty crafty about getting into things or chewing through bags or tents. And at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, it's "mini-bears" -- amazingly about the size and shape of a chipmunk :) -- that chew through anything to get to food, or just for the fun of it as evidenced by my partially-eaten straw hat!

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