On Sunday I took my tent, hiking poles, rope and stuff sacks full of stuff to Balboa Park to practice setting up my tent and hanging a food bag from a tree to keep it away from bears. Since it was Earth Day, there were a lot of people at the park, most giving me strange looks, and some stopping to ask what I was doing. A park ranger drove up while I was hanging my “food bag” from the tree, and when I explained that it was practice for an upcoming backpacking trip, he said “I’ve never seen anyone doing that before!” hmmm. I wonder where other city-dwellers practice this stuff?
Pay attention to the wind when pitching the tent – even in a light wind, the narrow side of the tent should face the wind
The tent stakes need to be as far into the ground as possible. I think I was running into a tree root on Sunday, and the stakes kept coming out of the ground.
If the stakes can’t be flush to the ground, tying the guy lines around the stake with a clove hitch helps make it more secure.
Throwing a stuff sack containing a rock over a 15 foot high branch is harder than you’d think
When hanging a food bag using the “PCT method”, keep knot loops and stuff sacks as close to the carabiner as possible to maximize hanging efficiency.
It’s possible to get your rope caught on the branch, suspending your food sack many feet in the air with no way to get it down unless a bear comes along, climbs out on the branch, and eats it. This would be considered ineffective bear-bagging technique, and should be avoided.
Here are some of the things I learned:
My food bag hanging practice kit:
A (mostly) successfully suspended food bag: