I know I am supposed to put food-related trash inside my bear canister. Should I also put used female hygiene products and ziplock bags holding used toilet paper inside my bear canister over night?

The reason I am asking is, a ziplock bag containing trash like this was taken by animals from inside my backpack on one of my last trips. I felt really bad, but didn't know what else I should have done. It seems like storing this inside the tent could cause some unwanted attention by bears.

2 Answers 2


If it has any scent at all, put it in your bear can.

If you're worried about cross-contamination between your trash and your food, bring a trash bag you trust. I keep my food in a plastic bag but my trash in gallon ziplocks.

When backpacking, my food and trash are separated only by plastic. By the end of the trip, the trash bag is bigger than the food bag. And that's fine.


Animals are attracted to a variety of scents: food, salts, blood, etc. It looks like you've already encountered animal thievery concerning your trash and that should be a good indicator that it would be appropriate to put it inside a bear canister.

If you don't want your food to become accidentally contaminated by your trash, another alternative is to put the trash in a sack and string it from a branch (if trees are available) high enough that a bear can't reach, but also far enough from other branches (including the one it is strung from) that more nimble animals such as squirrels or raccoons can't access it as well.

Ideally this location will also be downwind from wherever you are setting up camp. This also makes a good lightweight alternative carrying bear canisters in the backcountry.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.