As a result of unconfirmed reports of active bears in the area, the South Platte Ranger District has asked us to remind all Colorado Trail users to please use food storage when on the trail at all times, and specifically between Segments 1 – 4, where the activity has been reported. Proper food storage includes canisters and Ursacks. Read more about your food storage options below.
URSACK & OPSAK – One of the best precautions is this combo. Ursack is a relatively lightweight kevlar, chew- and claw-resistant bag with draw-rope and Opsaks are the odor-proof ziplocs into which you put your food and trash. Many choose to buy the biggest Ursack because they are more versatile and the incremental weight is small. Two Opsaks are used, one for food and one for trash. Used as recommended, Ursacks work nearly 100% of the time, keeping your food and trash away from the bears and other critters, and giving you a better night’s sleep. You can buy at retailers like REI and through Ursack.com.
BEAR CANISTERS – A different precaution that’s also nearly 100%, bear canisters are heavier but trail travelers find they offer great convenience. Your food stores in them and they even serve as stools. They too can be purchased at retailers, including online, and some trail travelers even use two Opsaks inside the canister for added security.
BEAR HANG – More cumbersome and time consuming but still effective if done properly, hanging your food from trees is also a method some choose. Important for you to know, the types of trees along The Colorado Trail are poorly suited to easy food hanging given they usually have scrawny branches that often make an effective ‘hang’ troublesome. By far the easiest and best approach on the CT is the two-tree hang method that simply requires a longer cord and some practice. To hang your food, you will also need a large food stuffsack, around 75 feet of something strong and light like paracord, a small stuff sack for your throw rock and possibly a carabiner. It takes some practice; it’s highly recommended that you perfect your strategy before you leave for your trip.
NECESSITY GOTTA DO IT – Keeping your food away from bears and other critters will improve your trail excursion and will also even help those who travel after you. Plus, your precautions help keep bears from being killed.