How to Hang a Bear-Bag

How to Hang a Bear-Bag
When backpacking or camping, you often will be faced with the challenge of hanging a bear bag. In wilderness areas where bears are prevalent or even possible, you should always hang a bear bag before you go to bed. Bear bags keep two things safe: you (since bears will not be attracted to food in your tent) and your food (especially important for long backpacking trips when you could be a few days walk from civilization). The steps to hang a bear bag are fairly simple, but you can face challenges along the way.


Difficulty: Moderate

Preparing to Hang Your Bear Bag

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rope (about 100-feet long)
  • Bear bag (stuff sack)
  • Carabiner
  • Rock
  • Two trees
Step 1
Pick your location. Long before you will hang your bag, and long before dark, you should have your bear bag preparation complete. Find two trees about 20 feet apart. These trees should have branches large enough to support the weight of your bear bag (remember it will contain all your food and toiletries). The branches should be at least 15 feet high but not so high that you cannot hang your rope on it.
Step 2
Hang your rope on the first tree branch. To do this, tie one end of your rope to a heavy rock and the other end to the tree trunk of the first tree. Throw the rock (with the rope attached) over the branch of the tree. This might take several tries to accomplish.
Step 3
Once you have hung the rope over the first tree branch, throw the rock (with the rope still attached) over the second tree branch. Be sure to leave enough slack between the two branches. Again, it might take several tries to hang the rope over the branch. Be patient and keep trying.
Step 4
After your rope is hung over both branches, and before you pull out the slack in the rope, tie a loop into the rope halfway between the two trees. You will use this loop to hang your bear bag on. Make sure it is far enough away from both trees, which it should be if the two trees are 20 feet apart.

Hanging Your Bear Bag

Step 1
After you have finished dinner and gotten ready to sleep, place all your food and toiletries in your bear bag (you can use a stuff sack or another designated bear bag). All food and toiletries with any scent should be placed in your bear bag, even toothpaste and deodorant.
Step 2
Use a carabiner to attach your bear bag to the loop you tied in the middle of your rope.
Step 3
Hoist the bear bag up by taking the slack out of the rope.
Step 4
Anchor your bear bag by winding the end of the rope to the base of the second tree and tying a knot in the rope.

Tips & Warnings

Prepare your bear bag before night. It can take longer to hang your bag than you expect, and the task will be much more difficult in the dark.
Be sure no limbs extend near your bear bag.
Remember to put all items with a scent into your bear bag. Bears are attracted by scents, and you don't want them coming into your tent to investigate a smell.

Article Written By Jessica Linnell

Jessica Linnell is a published author, blogger and freelance writer in the Atlanta area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and has been writing for 10 years. She has been published in Atlanta magazine, Cherokee Living, and North Fulton Living, as well as on numerous websites.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.