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Car Camping Gear First Impressions, and bears!

So as I am beginning this new journey of backpacking I am trying to make smart decisions on what type of gear to buy.

Having to outfit both my wife and I, we don't want to rush out and buy a bunch of expensive gear for both of us that may not work for us.

Our first question is whether to keep using our tent, or go with hammocks. Knowing I can not keep backpacking with our heavy car camping self inflating mats I purchased a $50 air mattress, and a $50 bug netted hammock, and blue tarp.

I will do a review on both at a later time, therefore I don't want to list any info about them at this time due to more testing needs to be done.

So we headed out camping in Allegheny National Forest (horrible weather as usual for us).

I have spent a lot of time in this area, and have had my fair share of experience with black bears, but this stubborn s.o.b. was a bully. With everything being wet and raining our first knowledge of this bear was when he was 13 yards behind my wife. When I told her to turn and look she disappeared into the truck faster then a fat kid at a buffet.

Now my wife has had her fair share of bear encounters also, but to have the bear walk up on you with no notice that close would startle anyone. I firmly talked to the bear. He paid me no mind, as he got behind the tent he was checking my tent out very well, smelling, walking around it. (I can not think of anytime I had food in the tent).

So trying to save my tent I raised my voice, yelled at the bear some more smacking the tail gate of my truck. This only started a short staring match which he won, due to me now moving closer to the front of the truck.

He spent another minute or so sniffing around our site. Ignoring us completely. About a half hour later we had heard screams, and horns beeping at the next campsite.

How often is this bear scaring off people to get there picnic baskets. For him to feel that comfortable with humans.

We ended up sleeping fine. There was no evidence the next morning that he came back, but as quiet as he was we would have never heard him if he did walk back through.

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Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

Habituated bears can be trouble no matter what color they are. 

You did a lot of things right. 

Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

Definitely not a fan of those type of bears. Much prefer seeing their butts disappearing as they run off like a good bear should. Once they get used to stealing they only get worse. Ran into one with my daughter a few years back. Thankfully she was there so I had to be brave :) Glad you folks survived unscathed and with picnic baskets intact.

Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

What are you doing to safeguard your food?

Day time marauders are a real pain!  In the backcountry, out west, they usually don't confront camp sites in the day time.  But I know my camps are very often visited at night.  I rarely hear them, but see tracks the next morning. 

You should always keep food safe from bears.  We need to do this precaution, anyway, because the rodents and birds will pilfer unattended provisions the minute your back is turned.

Ed

Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

whomeworry said:

What are you doing to safeguard your food?

Day time marauders are a real pain!  In the backcountry, out west, they usually don't confront camp sites in the day time.  But I know my camps are very often visited at night.  I rarely hear them, but see tracks the next morning. 

You should always keep food safe from bears.  We need to do this precaution, anyway, because the rodents and birds will pilfer unattended provisions the minute your back is turned.

Ed

 Its bad on the east coast this year. Campsites in the smokeys are off limits do to the bears and their behavior and yes they are not afraid... BUT your correct need to do proper precedures in food...

Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

If you haven't already, I'd notify someone at Allegheny National Forest that there may be a problem bear in that area.

 

Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

That is a good idea. I am sure they are some what aware, but I will let them know. I do know for what ever reason a few miles from this camp is a area they have dropped off bears that have been problems in other areas. This one had no tags.

Re: car camping gear first impressions, and bears!

To be honest with you. A couple years ago we had our camper in the same area. We headed into town at about noon. I took my cooler, and jammed it under our camper. So it was wedged there. We arrived back at camp before 2 o'clock, and my poor judgement Fed a bear all our food. In my defense at the time. We had campers close enough I could read there license plate from our site, And only being gone for the 2 hours in the afternoon I felt like the chances of a bear were slim. Live and learn I guess.

Never leave anything tempting farther than arm's reach is the general rule. Only the rudest of bears will snatch something from your hands and those will likely take your hands too, but if they aren't afraid of you then anything beyond your reach is fair game. As you've noticed, they don't always let you know they are there :)

I'm really interested where in the Allegheny National Forest you were. I hike and camp that forest a fair bit and very seldom see bears. If you don't want to disclose the location publicly, I understand. I can send you a private message if you'd prefer. With the forest being roughly half-a-million acres, there is lots of room for bears to roam. 

September 23, 2021
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