Bear country + Motorcycling + tent + food.

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by naruse, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. naruse

    naruse Been here awhile

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    Hey guys,

    I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this but I'm pretty sure the wisdom in this subforum regarding this topic is higher than what I know.

    So here it goes:
    I am planning to go to Alaska this summer. I have been reading lots of motorcycling blogposts and what not and everyone emphasizes to not have food in your tent and cook as far away as possible from the tent and also change clothes from which you cook. Which is fine.

    Now here's the question. I plan to go on a motorcycle so most of my stops would be. Arrive, set the tent, cook sleep and then go. Where do you guys suggest to store the food after finish cooking?

    I was thinking on storing it in the panniers of my motorcycle, but I'm not sure if my motorcycle would be in danger if I do so :p.

    Where do you store your food?, how do you handle the bears and food and sleeping over there while on a trip? :).

    PD: When I say food is at most spaguetti, ketchup, peanuts, perhaps granola bars. really simple stuff.
    #1
  2. Runwithscissors

    Runwithscissors Runwithscissors

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    I've moto camped in bear country often and have yet to be be molested by bears. Let's face it; if I had, I wouldn't be here to post. I traveled with canned food in the hopes that bears wouldn't smell it while in the can. I won't keep other food on the bike. I'm scared of bears so for me it was a matter of getting comfortable with the idea of sleeping in the woods with bears. I've never carried bear spray or used it but suggest you should. For me in Canada, it was a hatchet under the air mattress and in AK, it was a 1911 in the boot. Do I think these would stop a grizzly? Nope. But the thought that I could fight back while the bear was eating me makes me feel better about myself and allowed me to sleep. On a side note: when I was 15, a skunk waddled into my pup tent with me to check out a bag of apple flavored pipe tobacco I had. That was 42 years ago and I remember it like yesterday. Ride the World.
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  3. wanderlost

    wanderlost Been here awhile Supporter

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    When possible I hang food from a tree at least 100 feet from camp using a small backpack. I also leave all cookware and any fragrance containing products like toothpaste in same pack. I leave food in the backpack when riding so no smells transfer to tent or clothes in panniers. Many years ago I worked in Denali park around bears ad when we camped above treeline we just put food on ground in plastic at least 100 feet away. Never actually had a bear steal food even though we saw them daily. The mice and ground squirrels would steal what they could.
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  4. simestd

    simestd Packet plumber Supporter

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    Denali National Park has a couple good videos on getting along with various wildlife in the back country. The first video is an excerpt of a longer one that visitors must view annually before getting a permit. The park loans bear resistant food containers to each party for use within the park. If you're planning on camping in bear country for extended periods you might consider purchasing one.

    Staying Safe in Bear Country

    Wildlife Safety
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  5. ZiggyInNc

    ZiggyInNc Been here awhile

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    It’s bulky but I carry a bear canister - BV450 and stash it a good bit from my tent as recommended. As others have said some places it is required so I’ve just gotten used to packing one and never have to worry.
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  6. naruse

    naruse Been here awhile

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    Thanks a lot for the comments guys!, I'll be checking the videos suggested by @simestd and checking the bear canister for sure!. Thanks a lot to everyone! :)
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  7. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer Supporter

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    One thing I do is try and camp in a more developed camp area. When there are RVs and other things around, there tends to be less interested bears.

    I also tend to not carry a bunch of "risky" food. But what I do take, I leave in the panniers and keep those far from the tent.
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  8. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    Dig around on this forum and you’ll find pictures of some bikes that were mauled by bears on Kodiak. KLR and DR650 I believe. The riders were at a salmon bake and then touched their bikes, or so I recall. 8-10 years ago. I believe at least one of the victims is still hanging around here.
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  9. naruse

    naruse Been here awhile

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    wow, well i'll not be fishing but wow, the food thing is really serious o.o
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  10. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    A bear, even a small blackie, could tear the panniers off any motorcycle without working up a sweat, so that's probably not a solution worth considering. You do want a motorcycle you can still travel on after breakfast, right?

    The few times I've carried food with me while camping, I will tie it up off the ground a safe distance away from where I intend to sleep, and mark the spot with bright surveyor's tape (a roll of which I carry with me for just that purpose). Makes it much easier to find where I left the food in my pre-coffee stupor.

    A friend who lived by himself on the shore of a lake in a valley some three miles from the nearest road tried hiding a canned ham underwater in a stream that flowed next to his house. A bear still found it, pulled it from the creek, and managed to bite into the can. They have a sense of smell that is literally unbelievable.

    Where you camp is probably the most important item to consider. Popular campgrounds are usually pretty safe, and if a bear (or bears) have been seen in the vicinity there will usually be a notice posted to that effect. Backcountry camping requires a little more care, in that you do not want to camp in an area that bears frequent in their normal search for food.

    One of our former Alaskan inmates (now retired and basking in the warmth of Arizona) used to get dropped off in the Wrangell mountains for a couple of weeks at a time. He merely used due caution, and carried a can of bear spray whenever he went boonie-busting. Saw plenty of wildlife, but they left him alone.

    Certain times of year, and certain times of day, you are more likely to encounter bruins. On one trip south early in the spring, I counted over 50 blackies along the highway before reaching Dawson Creek (about 1350 miles of riding for me). They had recently emerged from hibernation and were dining on grass and vegetation along the cleared shoulders. On another trip, northbound on the Cassiar near sundown, I surprised several black bears and one grizz (and they managed to surprise me as well!) just as they were about to cross the road. Over the years I have seen a good many blackies, and even more grizzlies, as I have ridden the highways and byways of Alaska and Northwest Canada. Except for one stubborn grizz, they all are eager to put distance between themselves and me.

    Oh, yes. As Kevin Huddy mentioned, there was an incident on Kodiak Island a few years ago, involving what appeared to be a curious, probably three or four year old, brown bear intent on inspecting some parked motorcycles.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you were ever to have the opportunity to set around with a bunch of big game guides and listen to them talking about their experiences with bears, you would find that most of the time the bears are more comical than fearsome. But... it pays to not take them for granted.
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  11. naruse

    naruse Been here awhile

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    o.0 Bear spray definitely added to the list. Now I was planning to stop wherever I found a place but seems is best to just search for a campground Thanks!
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  12. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    be sure to have it say "bear spray" on the can because the same product for warding off humans will not pass the border. it's a Canadian thing...
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  13. naruse

    naruse Been here awhile

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    Indeed, that's one of the main things that I have been reading in blog posts. Plus normal pepper spray is not as effective against bears!
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  14. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    The can will probably say that is for use against wildlife.
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  15. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    as for the bears.... fuck 'em. I fry bacon in the tent
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  16. Malamute

    Malamute Low speed adventurer

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    Look up a copy of the Milepost book published every year with updates. Very good info about every road and route there, every pull-off, every campground, town, gas stop etc. Your local library may have an older copy you can look over and see if you want to spend the money on it. I always thought it was a good investment.

    One thing Ive done is stop to cook and eat, then move on to sleep. Eating out also reduces your food scent around camp.

    There also exist compact portable electric fence setups for camp. Bears seem to avoid them once zapped.

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  17. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer Supporter

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    This story has come up a couple times in my years on this forum, but it fits here so here we go again... Sorry if you've read it before

    I was riding from California up to Alaska about 4 years ago. I was taking a bit of time off between jobs, so I was on a bit of a budget for the ride .

    I got to the Bell II lodge and asked about a room. It was like $140 American. Being on a budget, I opted for the $20 camp site. I rode over to the camp area and there was a bear in my camp site. I rode to the bathroom area, did my business, washed my hands and face and rode back to the camp site... Now there were 2 bears. I tried to scare them off with the horn, flash lights, rev engine etc.... No dice

    I rode back to the office and have the nice lady $120 more dollars for a room.... Quite possibly trained bears for the lodge :rofl
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  18. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    Bear Can 2.JPG

    Kept it 50ft from my tent. Bearvault 450 for 1 person, 4 days. Bought it for backpacking but decided it would be useful on my last trip to AK, YT, BC. None of the campgrounds I stayed in had bear lockers.
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  19. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    Rode both up and down the Cassiar last summer. I must have seen 40 black bears along that stretch of road.
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  20. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer Supporter

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    that is their domain. I hit one in my bike last year. About 50 miles south of the Bell II lodge. There are lots of them
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