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I'll be doing some backpacking in sections of desert in Eastern Washington, U.S. and I was wondering if anybody has tips on food storage while hiking? There will be no trees to hang the food in.
I'm not worried about bears because they don't live in the desert, but I am worried that rodents or coyotes would eat through a food bag if I left it out. Others have suggested keeping the food in the tent with me, but I worry that animals would just chew through my expensive tent and eat all the food anyway.
If you're not concerned about bears, I would (ironically) suggest using an Ursack. The Ursack is a kevlar bag that is "bear resistant" but not legally approved for use in many areas which require bear canisters. They weight much less than bear cans, but are very resistant to punctures, so a coyote shouldn't be able to break into one. You may have concerns with a rodent squeezing through the opening, so you'd have to be certain that you completely and snugly close it every time.
The company recommends hanging it in a tree so the contents don't get crushed by an inquisitive bear, but you could lash it to a rock or bush to prevent it from being dragged away by smaller animals and I don't think crushing is much of a concern if bears aren't around.
If you want to keep the food in the tent you could use an odor resistant bag such as OPSak or NiloBarrier. NyloBarrier is very light and convenient. You could combine this with a Ursack as mentioned by @nhinkle.
If you don't want to odor proof the food but would like rodent protection a cuben fiber stuff sack would do just fine.