Browsing Tag

hike

Camp Tricks

Hiking In An Area With Bears

September 14, 2017

Some of the best hiking trails in the U.S. are in areas populated by bears. Despite this, a chance of a bear attack isn’t too likely. In general, bears tend to avoid humans, and the likelihood of a bear attack is miniscule.

Beyond packing bear spray, there are a few other things you can do to reduce the chance of a bear encounter. Here are some useful tips for anyone who is planning on hiking in an area with bears.

©istockphoto/Umkehrer

Grizzly Bears
Grizzly bears are commonly found in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Alaska. They are less common than black bears, but they’re also larger and more dangerous. A grizzly has a smaller snout than the black bear, and they can run very quickly. For this reason there’s no point in trying to outrun them, as they will be able to catch you quickly. Grizzlies can’t climb trees well, but they can reach up to grab things in trees—such as yourself!

©istockphoto/KeithBinns

Black Bears
Black bears are more common than grizzly bears, and they’re found in most parts of the US. They come in a variety of sizes and colours, including black, brown and cinnamon. The black bear is around 7 to 10 feet tall, and males can weigh between 125 and 550 pounds, whereas females tend to weigh between 90 and 300 pounds.

When are bears are most active?
Bears are generally shy animals that prefer to keep themselves to themselves, so they normally avoid humans if they hear them or smell them. However they do become more aggressive during mating and birthing season, and they will also be more aggressive if they’re injured or protecting their young. They are most active during the cooler hours of the early morning and evening, and during the daytime they tend to seek shade in the under bush.

©istockphoto/monkeybusinessimages

Tips For Hiking in Bear Country

  • Hike in a group instead of hiking alone, and try to make as much noise as possible as you go. You can whistle and sing as you walk, or you can carry bear bells to create a sound.
  • Stay in open areas as much as possible, as this minimizes the chance of you surprising a bear and scaring it.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Avoid the underbush during the day as it could be a bear’s bed, and look out for running water or lush vegetation as this could signal a bear’s home. If you’re in an area that you think could be a bear’s home, leave immediately.
  • Avoid going off-trail, as you’re more likely to encounter a bear in an area that’sn’t regularly used by humans.
  • Don’t wear strong perfumes, soaps or hair spray, as a bear will be able to smell it and they may think it’s a food scent.
  • Make sure that your cooking area is at least 100 feet away from your tent. Bears are attracted to the smell of food, even if it’s just a dirty pan, and this can increase the risk of an encounter in the night time. If you’re further away from the food the bear is less likely to notice your presence.
  • Make sure all of the food is properly packed up before you go to sleep to minimize odors.
  • Change your clothes before you go to sleep, especially if you cooked in the clothes or kept snacks in the pockets.
  • Consider all personal items as food (such as your deodorant and your toothpaste). Pack them away securely and keep them away from your sleeping area.
  • Be careful if you’re traveling in a windy area, as a bear may not smell you before you arrive so they’re more likely to be startled by your presence.
  • If you come across an area with berry patches or dead animals leave immediately, as you could be hiking through a bear’s food source.
Camp Tricks

How To Repair A Ripped Tent

September 11, 2017

©istockphoto/freemixer

One of the most frustrating things when overnight backpacking is a rip in the tent. Maybe you pitched your tent on a sharp rock, or a stray branch fell on your shelter and ripped a hole right through it. A rip can even be caused by strong winds if you’re camping in an exposed area.

But you don’t need to throw the tent away—and if you have the tools, you won’t even need to cut the trip short. Here is how to repair a ripped tent in the field.

Small Tears
Little tears are much more likely to occur than a big rip, but they can be just as difficult to repair. Normally little rips occur when the tent is dragged against a stone or a rock, and this small hole can let wind and water into the tent. It can also release your scent and that of your food, so likely attracting wild animals.

For a quick fix, duct tape works. It will stay for a short amount of time, but when you get home from the trip you should take the time to fix the hole with tent repair tape.

For a more permanent fix, you want tent repair tape. Start by pulling and holding the rip in the tent together, then apply tent repair tape to one side of the rip. Let go and apply tent repair tape to the other side of the rip. This will help to reduce the chance of the tear re-opening.

Once you have done this you should cover the inside and the outside of the rip with seam sealer. This will help to guarantee that the rip won’t re-appear the next time you put strain on the rip area.

Big Tears
A bigger tear will take longer to repair. It is possible that you will be able to temporarily fix the tear using tape so that you don’t have to cut your trip short, but if you don’t have the right tools you may need to head home to do a proper repair.

A proper repair starts with you trimming away any loose threads, as they could make the rip worse further down the line. You can simply use a pair of sharp scissors to get rid of any loose threads.

Then clean that area of the tent. If your tent is dirty it will be very difficult to repair since dirt will get in the way. Clean the tent using warm, soapy water and then use rubbing alcohol to clear the tear.

An optional third step involves steaming the area around the tear, as this will help to iron out any creases in the fabric. This may seem unnecessary, but creases in the tent can make it very hard to effectively sew the tear up.

Once the tent is clean and crease-free you can start to repair the tear. Hold both sides of the tear and pull them together, folding the top side slightly over the bottom side. When the fabric is in place (you may need a second set of hands to hold the material) you can tightly sew the tear together. Use waxed thread as this is durable and strong (sturdy floss can work, too), and once you have finished sewing apply seam sealer to reduce the chance of the hole ripping open again later.

If the hole is too big to be pulled together you may need to buy a new tent. Alternatively you can buy patches of tent fabric that you can use to cover the hole. Simply iron or sew the patch over the hole using waxed thread and then apply seam sealer.

©istockphoto/SolisImages

How To Avoid Tears In The Future
Tent tears are one of the most frustrating things about backpacking, but you can reduce the chance of them happening in the future if you follow these tips:

  • Don’t pitch your tent too rigidly; instead make sure that it’s able to flex a bit in the wind.
  • Check the campsite for rocks and sticks before pitching your tent.
  • Use shock cords and guy lines to stabilize your tent.
  • Don’t go to bed with sharp tools on your belt.