Creating a Bear Hang with a Simple Pulley

When hiking and camping in the backcountry, care must be taken to bear-proof your camp. The goal of  bear-proofing your site is to keep odors that might attract bears to a minimum, and to safely store your food and garbage out of reach of bears and away from your sleeping area.

If there is not a bear hang already installed at your site, creating your own is a simple task that only requires a couple of carabiners, two cords and a food bag. For a basic camp set up, it is best to have the sleeping area upwind of the kitchen and the food storage area and each at least 300 feet (~100 meters) apart. You can then use a variation of the Marrison Haul System to get your food bag off of the ground.

  1. Find a tree with a good strong live branch. The branch should be at least 15 feet (5 meters) from the ground. The point at which you will toss the rope over the branch should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the trunk of the tree.
  2. Throw the rope over the branch. Test the branch to make sure it is strong enough to hold the weight (don’t be standing directly underneath when you test). Tie your knot about 6 feet (2 meters) from the ground and clip a carabiner into the bight.
  3. Feed the running end of the cord through carabiner tied to your food storage bag and then through the carabiner hanging from the branch.
  4. Pull the end of the cord to move the carabiner as close to the tree branch as possible. Tie off to the tree.
  5. Haul the bag as high up as possible. Tie off cord to tree.
  6. To retrieve the bag, untie the food bag cord from the tree and lower the bag to the ground.

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