How to Hang Food Overnight So Animals Don’t Eat It

February 27, 2020
How to Hang Food
Deb EcclestonWant to learn how to hang food while camping? Our gear guru’s tips will help keep your food safe from critters.

Hanging your food is a classic bearproofing technique, though it can be difficult to do correctly. Food must be suspended at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet from the trunk or nearest weight-bearing branch. To accomplish this, you’ll need 50 to 100 feet of cord and two stuff sacks for your food.

Look for a branch 20 to 25 feet overhead that extends sufficiently from the trunk, then tie a rock or other heavy object to one end of the cord and toss it over. Before the toss, be sure the cord is fully uncoiled and that you secure its opposite end so it’s not pulled out of reach.

With the cord strung over the branch, divide your food evenly and attach one sack or container to the end of it. Pull it up at least 15 feet high, then attach the other sack to the cord as high as you can reach. (A small carabiner makes this easier; tie a figure-eight on a bight overhead and then clip the sack to it.) Place the remaining cord inside the second sack, then push it up using a trekking pole or long stick until it is at least 10 feet off the ground. Only one sack? Tie the cord to a nearby tree, out of reach from critters.


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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.