View topic - POLL: Pack or barrel for storing food?

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Store food in pack or barrel?
Pack 17%  17%  [ 16 ]
Barrel 62%  62%  [ 59 ]
Either 21%  21%  [ 20 ]
Total votes : 95
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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 12:18 pm 
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Location: Toronto
I've been reading reports of paddling in the US and was struck by the strong preference there for packs over barrels for storing food.
Then the thought occurred to me that the same might be true of the paddling community in general.
That's why I decided to run this poll.

Confession: Our group switched to barrels about 15 years ago, largely because we paddle mostly in the boreal forest (where we never did figure out a quick way to hang the food pack) and the barrens. And we didn't do such a great job of hanging packs even in Algonquin, Temagami and Killarney.

EDIT, 8:20 am, Tuesday 29 November.
1. Barbara: Thanks for the move.
2. I just added a third option, "Either"; it means that you use a food pack in some circumstances, a food barrel in others.

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Last edited by Allan Jacobs on November 29th, 2011, 8:20 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 12:41 pm 
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Allan, I'm from the States and I started tripping as an adult back in the 1980s in BWCA. There weren't barrels and harnesses at that time, so carrying food in a pack and suspending it at night just made sense. So I fit your description to a T!

Down in the lower 48 states, it's more difficult to find large enough tracts of wilderness to trip in than Canada. We can't just drop off a train, and paddle for two weeks until we get to another train. For a week long trip, there are less advantages to using a barrel, and I juse simplify down to one pack per person. But as our trip lengths grew, the pack and hanging make less sense. The lack of suitable trees start to making barrels make more sense too. Plus working out of a hard sided sealed container simplifies things too. So we switched to a barrel, and we use it on the US now too.

So I suspect that there is slightly a cultural difference, based on that most Americans try canoe tripping with backpacking skills. But when they come to Canada to do longer tripping, with less suitable trees for hanging a bear bag, barrels make a better solution.

PK


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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 2:16 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
I like to use barrels but it's easier to get more packs in a canoe.

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 5:58 pm 
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Joined: February 19th, 2004, 9:53 pm
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Location: Atlanta
Have a barrel, and a portage harness, but I haven't used it. With a 15' whitewater canoe, full of triple saddle and air bags, plastic barrels don't pack. Even in our old 18' 6" Moore, barrels would have packed much less well than bags.

If one can afford them, Watershed bags are absolutely waterproof, and so tough that anything other than a determined bear or wolverine is likely to give up.


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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 6:30 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
There seem to be few places in the US that stock barrels. Most of the paddlers in the US are river paddlers and a cooler packs fine into a boat without rolling around.

The ultralight crowd in the Adirondacks uses a backpack generally and packs a bear canister into the pack for food. Most trips are less than a week and the canister fits fine with the clothes and sleeping bag. The UL paddlers are one pass on the portage with light boats. Bear canisters are found in every outdoor store I have been into lately.

I too did a rotten job of hanging in Temagami and Algonquin and those type of forested parks. For my meager efforts I found powdered egg all over the forest floor under the food bag. Rodentia. The day I found a barrel things got much better.

The York Box is a type of plastic wannigan. It used to be ubiquitous in Maine and disappeared several years ago. I understand that now a Canadian company makes one and its at Paddleshack in Ottawa.


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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 7:02 pm 
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Location: Milton
I use a bag for a weekend trip, unless I am back for more than me.
Barrel for the week long trip.
Jeff

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 7:26 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
What's with the totalitarian attitude with the limited to one choice thing?

Even 2 choices only seems like some sort of fascist ego trip on the part of the instigators of this poll!

:rofl:

OK, I voted barrel because a larger percentage of my tripping edibles go in a barrel than the rest which go in a variety of containers including but not limited to a) packs/dry bag, b) soft sided cooler, c) cardboard boxes (the ones kitty litter comes in are perfect), d) cloth shopping bag or in a pinch. e) plastic shopping bag

Why do I use mostly barrels? (For food the 30l size)

1 - stuff doesn't get crushed
2 - doubles as something to sit on
3 - doesn't gain weight when wet
4 - when they don't have a leak they are DRY
5 - cheap! with an acceptable harness still cheaper than any barely acceptable pack
6 - critters can't get in (not talking about bears)
7 - pretty smell proof
8 - real trippers use 'em! Hopefully people will be so impressed with my barrels they won't notice my goon stroke :oops:

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 8:02 pm 
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Call me overly cautious but I hang my barrel.


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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 8:12 pm 
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Ok, so we started out with a backpack. And played the hanging game.

Have even hung a cooler full of food and ice.

Finding suitable, non-damaged trees in Algonquin can be a challenge.

So we switched to the barrels, and stopped fooling around with hanging. Take the food barrel out to the back of the campsite, and drop it on the ground, hopefully in a hollow in the ground behind a sturdy tree.

Seeing the remnants of ropes hanging from trees gives one the impression that not many people know how to do it correctly. On one campsite, it was like Spanish moss, rope bits hanging from all the trees right near the firepit.

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 8:52 pm 
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Barrel. I'm still banned from hanging the pack. (Although I have not left any 'spanish moss' behind, honest!)

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 8:53 pm 
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I use a 2 rope with pulley system. No limb chafing. No streamers left behind.


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PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 10:56 pm 
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I have been using barrels, dry bags, and 5 gallon pails with a screw tight Gamma seals for years. Dry bags hang fast as long as you can string a rope (lots of laughs over the years). The 5 gallon pails are a you know what to carry on a portage. They work great though. When we run rivers down in P.A. we use them in every canoe. The blue barrels are an improvement to be sure when portaging.
Tom C.


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 7:39 am 
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y'all know that bears climb trees right?

I have not hung a food pack in 12 years and hundreds of tent nights. I have only once had a bear take my food. That was in a campground that had a "known problem" bear...Yogi style.

I think the hanging thing works by forcing people to have a firm cut-off from the snaking and eating. It makes you think: have I put away ALL the food? even the toothpaste? The subsequent clean campsite makes far more of a difference than hanging the food in the bear's natural habitat....

If there is any benefit to the hanging... it keeps softsided packs out of the line of travel for mice. They can chew through canvass just for the fun of it.

JMHO

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PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 8:27 am 
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In deference to recped, and to meet a need demonstrated by jedi jeffi and perhaps others, I have added a third option.

"Either" means that you use a food pack in some circumstances, a food barrel in others.

You can change your vote if you like. Well, that's the way I tried to set it up.

As before, the setting allows you to vote for only one option. I think.

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A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)



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PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 8:57 am 
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I have two 30l blue barrels and two olive barrels - and depending on the trip length and size of group, I use as many as I need.

I started with hanging packs and eventually switched to the barrels. Quite often, I take a waterproof sack along where for the first few days bulky items such as breads get stored. That bag gets hung from a branch and is folded away once there is enough room in the barrels so I don't need the sack anymore.

PS: I like olive barrels - I even have used one when bike camping (rain proof, stores lengthwise and keeps raccoons etc off the food and other "stuff")
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Last edited by Erhard on November 29th, 2011, 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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