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Backpacking with my dog 7 days

I have a bearvault500 I will carry my 7 days of food and toiletries Trash labrador will carry his own food and bowl during the day but do I plan for room in my bearvault for his food and bowl at nights? 7 days worth plus double rations for a hiking dogThat's a lot of dog food ?should I buy a small bearvault and strap it for him to carry? He's carrying his own food anyway so add the  small bearvault too? What do other dog friendly backpackers do With all their dogs food at night? Seems it will take up all the room in my big bearvault. any ideas are appreciated:)Bobbie 

I have hiked with pack dogs a lot over the years. I have never used a bear container though. Even a small one is not likely to fit your dog's pack. I like to have my dog carry his own food and some water and some small stuff that I want to get at while hiking. If the weather is hot and there is water around dogs will find it, so it needs to be waterproof.

Recently I ran into some dehydrated dog food, which might be worthwhile for a week long trip. It was either at a feed store or fancy dog supply place. Bear barrels are fine until you get to your situation which is a longer trip. I would be tempted to hang the dog food at night away from your sleeping area and just pack your food in the barrel. After a couple of days it would all fit, especially with dehydrated dog food.

Welcome to Trailspace Bobbie!

You should follow the same best practices for bear awareness with your dogs food that you do with your food. If you're hanging your food - hang your dogs food. If you're using an approved bear canister for your food - do the same with your dogs. One option would be to have your dog carry some food during the day, and you could carry the empty bear canister. At night, you'd load up the smaller canister.

I don't know the rules for the area you will be backpacking in, if it is allowed you might be able to use a product called "The Ursack". It will fit in a dog pack and can be folded up as the dogs food is depleted making more room in the dogs pack or your pack. Or then again, maybe you have already considered this option.

I backpacked with a large dog for several years but I never used a bear canister since they were not required, and the common practice at the time was to simply hang the food & odorous items.

Are you going somewhere close enough that you could stash a cache as a resupply? You could plant a plant a Bear Vault, and neither of you are quite as encumbered. I met a couple of speed-hiking backpackers two years ago that did this with beer!

it all depends on the regs where you are going. if they still allow hanging then problem solved. I think another bearvault would be asking a little much of your dog. the ursack is a good idea. definitely check that out. where will you be going?

I'm going to Ansel Adams wilderness. A bear cannister is required for food etc.but the quandry is dogfood at night. There isn't a guarantee that where I'll be camping will have trees around to hang,and I've never hung it myself either (going solo) so it's a bearvault and possibly use Seth's suggestion,to carry another empty small bear canister and put my dogs food in it at night,he'll carry his own food on the trail.A ursack isn't bear proof is it? The rangers didn't mention this as an option for the A.A.W.The resupply would be great but there isn't one close to my trail that I can see.River trail to shadow lake, eldiza, to thousand island lake ,possibly island pass, then looping around back on J.M.T. to where I started ,Agnew meadows trailhead. I really appreciate everyones' feedback and I sure don't look forward to carrying the extra weight but I really want to take my buddy along. 


The Ursack is a compromise of sorts. It is bear resistant from the standpoint of keeping bears out of your food, but it is not crush proof like a canister. Although they also make an aluminum sleeve for the sack to give it some rigidity.

There are two models:

The Ursack S29 is made of Spectra fabric and is intended for use in bear country, the cheaper model is made of Kevlar and it is only meant to stop smaller critters.

Oh interesting Mike.If the ursack s29 is bear proof ,I don't care about crushing dog I'll see which is cheaper ,but weight is really important so if the ursack is lighter but costs a little more than a smaller Bearvault then I'll do the ursack.thanks for the extra info on the ursack I'm going to check it out!

Technically the regulations address human food.  Note equestrian campers are not required to use bear canisters.  You may aggravate the ranger with this excuse, but if you use an effective hang for the dog food, they'll most likely let you pass. 

As for effective bear hangs, I have used this technique for decades throughout the Sierra without incident.


I was considering the ursack over the bearvault but after watching a video on the site of a bear trying to tear open the sack ,unsuccessfully I must say,I decided on the bearvault only because the bears were able to put the sack in their mouths easily and run away with it.they could possibly carry it off far away.the video with a bear trying to get into a Bearvault clearly shows they can toss and roll it around but it couldn't clamp it in its mouth and run or walk far away to who knows where.I can see myself searching everywhere for the ursack,something I don't want to do.interesting that equestrian campers don't need bearvaults,what's up with that reasoning I wonder?

Ummm, I always hung my Ursack, never tried just leaving it on the ground, or near the ground. 

Oh that's funny:) the video just shows the bears chewing on it and chasing each other trying to open it.they didn't show it hanging first,lol! airhead me,I should have figured that I will test my talents on trying to hang a sack in a tall tree branch and securing and retrieving it.if I feel confident by June then i won't need to carry the heavy bearvault and just hang dog food and my stuff in the sack.20 feet high.thanks for the feedback.

November 25, 2020
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