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Thread: Leaving your tent whilst hiking in the back-country?

  1. #1

    Default Leaving your tent whilst hiking in the back-country?

    Got a backpacking trip to Denali coming up and wondered, what do people do with their tent and gear when day-hiking?

    The scenario being - head out into the back-country-> find a nice spot to pitch your tent and dump your gear (sleeping systems, clothes, cooking gear etc.) -> time to go out hiking for the day = what do you do? -Of course, valuables are kept on person in pockets/day-pack and food/odorous items are stored separately. But what about the tent itself? Sleeping bag. Clothes... All this stuff adds up to $$$ and in an NPark in particular where there may be a number of people, is it safe to leave your tent? Do you even leave it at all, or pack everything on your person when you go day-hiking? Do you use a method of safe-locking the tent (with steel mesh for example)?

    I've left my tent in the past with most of my gear and had no problems.

    What about you guys?

  2. #2
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    The question of whether to leave the tent up and gear around is not a human/theft question in Alaska. It is a "bear destroys tent and scatters gear to 4 corners of the earth" question.

    I have seen a brown bear come into camp while folks were away out hunting.... bear destroys the tent, spreads gear out everywhere, then just to prove a point, it pokes one little hole with its claw in an MSR dromedary bag that was hanging in a tree full of water.

    Personally, I leave the tent up but move the gear away from the tent. Bears love to destroy tents and atv seat cushions. All food is in a cache away from the tent and gear and up in a tree or in a bear proof container. If you are in the alpine, there is a little less worry, but in the trees or near salmon streams, it becomes MUCH more important.

    It goes without saying that there should be no food or food smells anywhere near your tent or gear...

    I guess I'm an optomist. I dont think twice about human problems while in the backcountry...

  3. #3
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    I've never put any thought into someone coming into camp, only bears. Chances are in the areas I go, I'll have passed you somewhere along the way and can track you pretty quickly.

    Just stick to the rules of camping with bears and most problems are avoided.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Yep, bears are curious and will "trash" your camp even if no food is present. My uncle and me had our tent flattened and sleeping bags dragged around after a 15-mile hike and bunch of free climbing in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness. Got back just at dark, stuff evrywhere. Just part of the deal, I guess. Follow the "100-yard triangle" rule for sleeping, food storage, and food prep, and hope for the best.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  5. #5

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    I had thought about bears but didn't realise that the risk is in them just trashing your gear.
    I guess all you can do is make sure its as odourless as possible?

    But so no-one worries about theft from people? That's interesting.

  6. #6
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    If you spend your nights in a campground perhaps you'd run the risk of human related issues however I'm generally 20-100 miles out and away from others so it's of little risk to me, I prefer the solitude and try not to camp next to any trail.

    Just be mindful of your location, fish runs and habitat. Such as camping on a berry filled hill after fishing season or on the river during prime salmon runs.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  7. #7
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newky View Post
    But so no-one worries about theft from people?
    Only if I am near a road, or in an area known to have crazy squatters, which will not be Denali NP.

    Denali is not like other NPs where there is a steady stream of private vehicles from opening day to the first snow fall. The majority of the visitors are old people riding a bus from one of the DenaliWood hotels. Once off the bus you are with a very small number of people that are like minded.

    You will also have to get a back county permit from the NP. Check out the link for info and tips.

    http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm

  8. #8
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I don't worry about folks trashing my stuff unless I am camping right on a major trail which I pretty much never do. Fact of the matter is most folks in the woods carry guns and most thieves tend to not want to get shot. Unfortunately the thievery tends to be along the roads where some folks have found hiker/hunters vehicles to be easy targets. Never leave anything of valuable in your rig and if you do make sure it is not visible! Any rifle cases should be folded in 1/2 to show that there isn't a gun in them. Camera bags or video camera stuff should be out of site or positioned in a manner that shows it is empty.

    Another option for bears is to pick up an electric fence designed for back packing. We used one up in the brooks range when leaving our tent for several days at a time. Have no idea if it did anything since we weren't around but the tent was untouched and the little fence was still "clicking" away when we got back. Also nice to sleep with it on though it isn't something I am generally worried about.

  9. #9
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Never had any issue with theft/vandalism in the backcountry...had a few incidents leaving vehicles at trailheads but never back on the trail itself.

    Bears will flatten a camp but a electric fence seems to handle that pretty effectively, but I've never had an issue with a bear in the camp either.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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