I was recently backpacking in a relatively remote area in Washington where black bears are known to be present. For this trip we've only packed single use dry food bags in their original packaging and some snacks. After finishing dinner, we've packaged the remains tightly into a garbage bag (that was placed some distance away from camp) and only had factory sealed food remaining.

Did these factory sealed food packets need to be in a bear canister or hung on a tree? As a human I can't smell any of them but I know that bears are a lot more sensitive.

1 Answer 1


Worldly, sophisticated bears in well-travelled parts of Yosemite know what those freeze-dried food packets are. Your bears in a remote part of Washington state may be naive, however intelligent, and not know, yet. I am surprised they did not get into your garbage, which you implied you did not hang. If so - the bears ignored the remnants of food in a well-sealed unhung garbage bag - they are unlikely to go after factory-sealed freeze dried food.

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    In Yellowstone , bears know what cooler chests are . And when I was there , at night, you could hear the bears pounding cooler chests on paved areas until they opened. That was years ago, I understand many bears have been "relocated". Jul 11, 2021 at 20:38
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    Bears can tell better than humans whether something - anything - contains food (or even something resembling food). Coolers, cans of food, other recognizable objects, and pretty much anything that isn't part of the natural environment is a prime candidate.
    – Drew
    Jul 21, 2021 at 6:01

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