How to Hang a Bear Bag

First, let’s address this:

Why should you hang your food at night while camping?

Well, there are actually a couple reasons. First, you don’t want a bear, or other creature getting into your breakfast before you do. A hungry morning makes for a long hike. Secondly, if animals do get into your food, it trains the animals to search camps in search of food, which none of us want. This protects you, obviously,  and the animals. Bears and other animals are often put down after they learn that campers carry food. We call these “problem bears”, and it’s not their fault. It’s ours for bringing delicious food, and allowing them to get to it. So, hang responsibly.

What all do I need to hang?

Anything with a scent should be hung. This includes food, toothpaste, chap stick, deodorant, baby wipes, sunscreen, literally anything with a scent. You would be amazed at how many people loose their toothpaste to bear. Just because you can’t smell it, doesn’t mean a bear can’t.

Where to hang your bear bag.

The position of your bear bag should be at least 10 feet above the ground. Make sure your bag hangs at least 6 feet away from the tree trunk, and several feet below the actual branch it’s hanging from. Bear, deer, and other tall animals will stand on their feet to get to your food. Small animals such as raccoon and opossum will climb down rope to your food. Other animals will also reach from your tree trunk to get to things. You’ll be surprised how clever these guys are. Make sure your branch is not only tough enough to hold your food, but strong enough that if something pulls on it it’s not coming down.

What you need.

You’re going to need a couple things. I recommend at least 50 feet of strong, smooth rope. Paracord works great. You’re also going to need something strong to store your food in (bag). Something waterproof is a  huge bonus. If it rains at night, you don’t want your food to get all soggy. Finally, obviously, a good tree or similar.

How to hang your bear bag. 

First, you’re going to want to wrap a rock rock around one end of your cord. Don’t tie a knot to hold the stone, simply wrap it around the stone several times. The idea here, is that the rope will stay long enough to make it back to the ground, but not be tied in case the rock gets hung up in the tree somewhere. This way you can easily try again without losing your cord.

Bear Bag

Second, toss the rock, with the rope wound around it, over the branch your shooting for. The rock should come down the other side, and unwind off the rope. You should have the rope hanging from both sides of your branch at this point.

Secure your bear bag to one side of the rope, and use the other end of the rope to pull it up to your desired height.

Finally, secure the end of the rope that’s not connected to the bear bag to a nearby tree. Tie it in a way that’s easy to remove, but will resist being pulled against.

Your bear bag should be hanging away from any other branches or trees that could give a critter access to your bag.



Make sure you hang your bag at least 50 yards from your camp. If something does come snooping around looking for your food, you don’t want it anywhere near your tent.

Use a strong, smooth rope. Cheap ropes will hang up on bark, and shear off under weight and friction.


6 thoughts on “How to Hang a Bear Bag

  1. Formally requesting that video tutorial when you get the chance! Thanks! And really great blog! Been checking it on and off for more than two years now.

  2. Formally requesting that video tutorial when you get the chance. Thanks. Excellent blog btw, been reading for two years or so now.

  3. Excellent post. I like how you hang it away from the tree. Black bears are excellent climbers, this way they won’t be able to reach the bear bag.

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