How do I put up a bear-hang?

Bear hangs are necessary when you’re camping and you do not have anywhere secure to put your food, like a car. The name implies that it’s just for bears, but some of the biggest problems come from smaller animals like squirrels and chipmunks who can cut through food bags with their claws.

The trick to any effective bear hang is to position the food back so that it is far enough from any tree trunk or branch that an animal can’t simply reach over and grab it, or jump to it.

Our system starts with two ropes, and 2 carabiners

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Step 1: Find a tree with a branch that is high enough up to allow the bag a good amount of clearance from the ground, while leaving a few feet between the bag and the branch (otherwise a small animal could simply walk across the branch and step onto the bag). Make sure the branch is strong enough to support the weight while you’re pulling it up. The risk here is that the whole thing may break and fall down while you’re hoisting up the food. This can be extremely dangerous, especially in low light.

Step 2: Tie a bight at the end of each of the ropes and secure both carabiners to one of them. Once this is done, try and throw the rope over the branch. This may take a few tries, and is both the most fun and most frustrating part of the whole process. When you’re done your set up should look like this:

Note: Not all tree branches will give you a thumbs-up.

Note: Not all tree branches will give you a thumbs-up.

Step 3: Remove one of the carabiners and secure the bight at the end of the second rope, to the other carabiner. In essence, you’re attaching the ropes together using a carabiner.

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Step 4: Take a bend in this second rope, a few feet from the end fastened to the carabiner, and loop it back through the carabiner. It should look like this, only much, much nicer.

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Step 5: Secure the second carabiner to the loop of rope that you just made. This carabiner will be used to secure the bag in a few moments. Once this carabiner is in place, hoist up the original rope so that carabiner 1 sits about 2 to 3 feet below the branch, and secure the end of that rope to the tree. Be sure to add slack to the second rope so that the second carabiner stays close to the ground. Once this is set up, secure the second carabiner to the food bag.

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Step 6: Hoist up the food bag by pulling on the second rope. Once it is at the desired height, secure the end of this rope to a tree. You may want to use a different tree in order to pull the bag in a certain direction, for example if it is too close to a tree or a branch. The final set up may look like this, only better. If done properly, it should protect your food and scented items from all animals, including bears.

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