How to Protect Your Food from Animals While Backpacking

Are you planning to go on a backpacking excursion sometime soon? If so, you’re going to need to bring a few key items along with you.

You will (obviously!) need to bring a high-quality backpack that can fit everything you’ll need to survive. You’ll also need a map to keep track of where you are and some clothing to keep yourself comfortable.

But most importantly, you’ll need to pack food to keep your body nourished while you backpack. Dehydrated foods, in particular, will provide you with the calories you need to keep going.

Food storage will also be a top concern for those who enjoy taking backpacking trips. If you fail to store your food properly, animals might go after it and try to take it away from you.

Here are some food storage tips that will protect your snacks from animals while you’re busy backpacking.

Find Out What Types of Animals Live in the Area Where You’ll Be Backpacking

Before you start jumping through hoops while trying to figure out the right food storage solutions, learn about which kinds of animals live in the area where you plan to backpack.

There could be bears, raccoons, and other animals living there. But you could also find that there aren’t many animals in the area at all.

If that’s the case, you won’t need to go through the painstaking process of wrapping your food up extra tightly. That doesn’t mean you should drop food storage down to the bottom of your priority list. But it does mean you can save yourself time and money while storing food.

Let the types of animals in the area dictate how you ultimately store your food.

Always Place Food Items in a Sealed Bag or Container

Animals will usually begin rummaging through backpackers’ backpacks when they smell food inside of them. If they get a whiff of whatever food you have in your backpack, there’s a good chance they’ll try and treat themselves to a snack.

You can stop this from happening simply by placing any food items in your backpack inside of sealed bags and containers. You might even want to wrap sandwiches and other food up in tin foil before you do it, just to add another layer of protection.

When you wrap your food up, you’ll stop animals from being able to smell it. You’ll also keep your food fresher for longer and ensure it tastes good when it’s time for you to eat it.

Invest in a Bear Canister If You’ll Be Backpacking in Bear Country

Are there going to be bears in the area in which you’re going to be backpacking?

If you find out that there are, one of the best ways to protect your food is by going out and buying a bear canister. There are some places that’ll actually require backpackers to carry their food around in these canisters.

Bear canisters are just about impossible for bears to open. They’re not able to open the tops on them, no matter how hard they might try.

In fact, some bears have learned how hard it is to open a canister from experience. They won’t even bother trying to crack one open if given the opportunity.

Bear canisters are also easy to carry around, and some can even double as a seat when you want to take a rest. They’re a worthwhile investment for anyone who goes backpacking in bear country regularly.

Avoid Spilling Food Crumbs Inside Your Backpack

Some backpackers will go to great lengths to wrap up their food when they’re preparing their backpacks at home. But then, they’ll make the crucial mistake of spilling crumbs all over the inside of their backpacks once they’re done eating during a trip.

As you might imagine, this is not a good idea. Those crumbs could very well attract animals to your backpack and make them rip it open.

By keeping the inside of your backpack clean, you’ll cut down on the chances of an animal trying to break into it.

Bring Dehydrated Foods on Backpacking Trips to Limit the Mess You Make

One simple way to prevent making a mess while backpacking is to bring dehydrated foods along. You can dehydrate foods like:

  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Meats (who doesn’t want to eat jerky on a backpacking adventure?!)
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • And more

These dehydrated foods are simple to store and won’t take up much room in your backpack. They also won’t leave a big mess behind when you’re done eating.

Hang Your Backpack From a Tree If You Stop to Take a Break

Are you going to stop and set up shop while backpacking so that you can get some rest?

Whatever you do, do not leave your backpack unattended. Furthermore, don’t leave your backpack sitting on the ground if you can avoid it.

You’ll likely want to take your backpack off to give your back, neck, and shoulders some relief. But when you do, you shouldn’t let it linger on the ground any longer than it has to.

Instead, use some rope to hang your bag from a tree. Throw the rope over a tree branch and then pull the bag up off the ground so it hangs in between the ground and the branch.

If a bear or other animal comes along and shows interest in your backpack, it won’t be able to get to it. This will keep your food safe and protected.

Proper Food Storage Will Protect Your Snacks From Animals

When you’re preparing to go backpacking, you’re going to need to remember to pack so many different things.

You might forget about food storage altogether because of it. Or you might be tempted to just throw whatever food you can find into your bag without worrying too much about food storage.

If you take this approach, you very well could end up running into issues while backpacking. Animals could make off with your food and leave you without anything to eat. It’ll ruin your trip and force you to cut it short.

Read our blog for more tips on backpacking and dehydrating foods.

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