Do You Have To Hang A Bear Canister?

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Bear canisters hung from a rope - Do You Have To Hang them?

One of the best ways to prevent bears from getting into your traveling food supply is to use a bear canister. Food stored in a bear canister is your best bet if you plan on spending the night backpacking in a bear-inhabited area.

Using a bear container is the best and easiest way to keep bears away from your food. It’s a win-win: protecting your traveling food and the bears who might want to eat it.

Bears won’t be able to get to your food because of these canisters, and at worst, the bears will play with the canister until they discover they can’t open it and leave.

The hope is that bears will eventually figure out that the canisters won’t yield a tasty snack and hence avoid them.


Where Do You Keep Bear Canisters?

At least one hundred yards downwind from your tent is a safe place to keep your bear-resistant food canister.

Put the canister on the ground and conceal it with nearby foliage or rocks. Avoid putting the canister near a drop-off or any kind of water. The canister could be thrown around by bears or rolled down a slope.


Why is Hanging it Recommended?

Keep your food in your tent or on the ground nearby to protect it. However, this is often ineffective, foolish, and does not fulfill the criterion.

Instead, a bear canister or the balancing method of hanging food storage is recommended. The best way to keep food safe is in airtight, hard-sided containers.


What Does Downwind from the Tent Mean?

Upwind is the direction you’re facing when walking against the wind. When the wind is at your back, you are moving downwind. So downwind from the tent would be the direction in which the wind is blowing.


How Far Away from the Tent Does it Need to Be?

Bear canisters should be kept at a distance of at least 100 feet downwind from your tent; this distance should be increased to 300 feet in areas with grizzly bears.


Is Placing a Bear Canister in Your Tent Dangerous?

Do not ever keep it in your tent. Bear canisters should be kept at least 100 yards away from campsites, in the shade if possible.

Likewise, it’s recommended that you move your camp and bear canister another hundred yards away from your food preparation area. Finally, check to see that it is securely closed and locked at all times.

Keeping the bear canister in your tent will draw the bears in the area to you since they will be able to smell the food.


Final Thoughts on Do You Have To Hang A Bear Canister

It is not an absolute requirement to hang a bear canister, but you can if you want to. As long as you keep the canister at the recommended distance downwind from your tent and away from cliffs, hills, and water, it should do its job just fine.

The bears will be unable to get into it and eventually get bored and move on. This is ideal because it keeps both people and bears safe from one another.