How to Hang a Bear Bag

How to Hang a Bear Bag Matt

About the Author
Matt "Details" Favero is the Brand Manager of Zpacks and has been with the company since the garage days of 2010.  With thousands of miles of hiking under his belt, his experience provides valuable understanding of the hiking community and the demands hikers have for their gear.

Zpacks | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


How to Hang a Bear Bag - Bear Bagging Kit
When heading out into the wilderness it’s always important you are taking the proper precautions with your food and scented items.

It’s vital to make sure you are storing your food in a bear bag or canister to prevent run-ins with wildlife.

There are a variety of bear bags and canisters available on the market and we make one here at Zpacks.

Our kit comes with everything you will need to hang a bear bag and checking in at the lowest weights possible.

The kit includes a large food bag, a rock sack, 50 feet of 2mm z-line slick cord, and a mini carabiner.

There are a few ways you can hang a bear bag and I’m going to walk you through our 3 preferred approaches.

Method # 1: The Traditional Method

The first thing you should be thinking about when hanging your food is locating a tree 100 feet from your campsite, or 300 feet in Grizzly country.

Ideally you’ll want to look for a limb that is 18 to 20 feet off the ground.

Preferably, the limb should be about 4 inches in diameter or smaller to prevent it from being able to support a bear’s weight.

Next fill your rock sack with a rock and then attach a cord. Now simply toss the rock sack with the cord attached up and over the selected branch.

Make sure all other camp members are not in the immediate direction of where you’ll be throwing the rock sack.

You may consider securing the other of the cord to help prevent it from becoming stuck in the tree.

How to Hang a Bear Bag - Traditional Method

Once the throw is complete, remove the rock sack from the cord and then attach the cord to the included carabiner on the food bag.

Before hoisting your bag, you’ll want to make sure that you place all your food, trash, and any items with a scent into the roll top food bag.

Next hoist the bag up making sure it’s at least six feet from the tree’s truck, approximately 6 feet below the supporting branch, and at least 12 feet off the ground.

Once the bag is at the appropriate height you can tie the other end of the cord at a suitable anchor like a rock or another tree.

Method # 2: The PCT Method

How to Hang a Bear Bag - PCT Method

Alternatively you can use the PCT method. This method involves running the cord through the carabiner on the food bag and then pulling the bag all the way up to the selected branch.

Next at eye level, you’ll attach a small stick or stake to the cord using a simple clove hitch.

Once the stick or stake is attached slowly let the food bag slide down until the stick or stake hits the carabiner, preventing the food bag from lowering any further.

The food bag is now secure and can be left suspended over night.

Method # 3: The Two Tree Method

How to Hang a Bear Bag - The Two Tree Method

Sometimes finding the perfect tree branch to hang a bag from is not possible and you will have to use the two tree hanging method, utilizing two shorter branches on two different trees.

First, start off by finding two trees that are at least 20 feet apart.

Next throw one end of the cord over a shorter branch on one tree and then throw another end of the cord over another shorter branch on the second tree.

Now attach the food bag to the center of the cord with the provided carabiner.

Tie the first end of the cord to the tree, pull the other end of the cord to hoist the bag up to the appropriate height, then tie the second end of the cord to the tree.


How to Hang a Bear Bag - Overview

For your safety, if you know you will be camping in an area with bears, where trees may not be guaranteed, please make sure to bring a proper bear canister instead.

We like the Bearvault, but there are a variety of options out there.

That covers the most common bear bag hanging techniques for the backcountry. If you have any questions feel free to reach out.

Otherwise, see you outside.