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gforce
12-04-2006, 12:10 PM
Now that I'm thinking about more than winter dayhikes and skiing. I'm doing some reading etc. and I had a question concerning food handling during the winter. In my three season camping I always hang food at night or when unattended, cook away from my tent etc. But I often see references in winter camping books or trip reports to cooking in the vestibule, eating in the tent, keeping some food to eat before bed etc. My question is do the rules change in Winter in this regard. I suppose bears could be hibernating, not that I've ever seen one. But I think I see more rodent type critters in winter than other times, and I imagine everything is hungrier. Am I missing something?


Thanks
Gforce

Chip
12-04-2006, 12:44 PM
I've never cooked in the vestibule but I am a bit less conscientious in the winter, especially in a tent, as bear are out of the equation. But you're correct about other critters. Our lean-to at Marcy Dam was raided by a gorgeous Pine Martin last March. He left us alone after he found the fresh ground beef my friend had buried in a snow bank near the lean-to. :rolleyes:

In the fall and in spring it's not possible to know if the bear are active, so I use a bear canister until Jan, Feb and early March, around here anyway.

DougPaul
12-04-2006, 01:52 PM
My question is do the rules change in Winter in this regard. I suppose bears could be hibernating, not that I've ever seen one. But I think I see more rodent type critters in winter than other times, and I imagine everything is hungrier. Am I missing something?
I think you have the jist of it.

Bears are not a factor when hibernating. I have read that they may occasionlly wake up and wander around during their normal hibernation period, but are not really interested in food. The only problem is determining when they are hibernating--it varies according to food supply, weather, and snow cover. I've read some accounts where a bear waits til just before a big snowfall to den up.

Rodents are always active and hungry...

I've certainly hung food in winter although not as high as in summer. A ratsack or an ursack might be a good substitute for a cannister in winter.

Doug

percious
12-04-2006, 03:06 PM
The critters in the 'dax are especially attentive to hung food in the winter. I recommend using the bottom of your MSR windscreen attached on the line above your goodies to deflect the oncoming onslaught. Works like a charm.

-percious

Lawn Sale
12-04-2006, 09:15 PM
Just be careful of using your tent in the summer if you've cooked in it during the winter. My uncle lost a nice Stephenson tent due to a bear shredding it, right at the roaring brook campsite in Baxter, during the day while people looked on.

I modified the lid to my pot to double as a rodent screen and use it with my 50' of paracord. But, I frequently don't worry about it because most of what I bring is sealed and can't be smelled until opened.

DougPaul
12-04-2006, 10:22 PM
I modified the lid to my pot to double as a rodent screen and use it with my 50' of paracord. But, I frequently don't worry about it because most of what I bring is sealed and can't be smelled until opened.
Animal noses can be good enough to smell the contents of sealed packages. (Plastic, for instance is permeable.) Also food odors may get on the outside of packaging.

Doug

KayakDan
12-05-2006, 09:20 AM
We often cook down in the boot pit at the end of the tent in winter,with plenty of ventilation(gas cannisters).
We always tie up our food in winter whenever possible. When there isn't a good spot to tie up,I will seal food as best I can and bury it deep in the snow. So far,we haven't had any problems with animals and food in winter,but the handles on my wife's trekking poles got chomped by a snowshoe hare!

DougPaul
12-05-2006, 09:34 AM
the handles on my wife's trekking poles got chomped by a snowshoe hare!
Slurp!

Salt...

Doug

escapee
12-10-2006, 02:09 AM
Yes, quite literally, the rules change in winter. Bear-resistant cannisters are not required in the High Peaks from December 1 through March 31. But pine martens and mice remain active, especially around lean-tos and frequently used tent sites. I recommend hanging, and not in a lean-to, head high or higher. A rodent guard on the hanging line is not a bad idea.

Cooking in the vestibule and eating in the tent is standard procedure in winter in the Adirondacks, at least in my circles. But if I were going to do a trip in grizzly or polar bear country, I'd consider buying a new tent for the trip.