In more and more areas, bear canisters are becoming a requirement. The problem is, they're bulky and heavy. Whenever possible I prefer the PCT method for hanging my food overnight because I need to carry very little gear for it and it's a relatively easy and reliable technique. Or is it?
I've witnessed first hand and heard numerous stories about bears getting smarter and figuring out that if they mess with the single line attached to the tree, the food hanging above them will likely fall down. Game over! Bear wires (where available) offer a nice alternative, but I've seen mice and other rodents climb down the wires and chew right through food bags, causing all sorts of damage.Is the PCT bear bag hanging method becoming less and less effective at protecting food or are there things we can do to improve this technique and make it less vulnerable to bears and rodents?
For example; would using a super-thin, but strong, bear bagging line like Aircore 1 Spectra Cord or Aircore 2 be the solution? In other words, a line so thin that it would be too hard for rodents to maintain a grip on it and shimmy down. Do I need to start using some sort of rodent stopper on my line just above the food bag? Would that same super-thin line make it harder for bears to mess with the free hanging line?
What has your experience been with the PCT bear bag hanging method? Have you come up with any improvements, hacks, or modifications to deal with the issues mentioned above? If so, please leave a comment. I'd like to know if it's just me or if we are all struggling with the same issues.
Gear Links: Eastern Mountain Sports | REI | CampSaver | Patagonia | Altrec
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.