FOOD PRECAUTIONS FOR BEARS & CRITTERS
Trouble with bears is increasing. Along The Colorado Trail, the trouble with bears and other critters is primarily with the food and trash CT travelers carry. The problems that result sometimes ruin peoples’ equipment and end trips, but also can necessitate killing the bear. Every single Colorado Trail traveler should keep their trail food away from bears. As you take bear precautions, you’ll also be keeping your food away from the smaller critters that are often even more troublesome than bears.
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.