Appalachian Trail.org provides some logical and wise “rules of the forest” when it come to bears in the camp (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/health-safety ). The best defense against bears in the camp is the preventative practice of preparing and storing food properly:
Suggestion one – cook and eat your meals 200 feet away from your tent or shelter, so food odors do not linger. Food odors?…I think this piece of advice might point to my culinary inadequacies.
Suggestion two – Hang your food, cookware, toothpaste, personal hygiene items, and even water bottles (if you use drink mixes in them) in a sturdy bag from a strong tree branch at least ten feet off the ground and 200 feet from your campsite. Black bears can climb and they can reach so making your Little Debbie Snack Cakes tough to get, can play to your menu’s advantage.
Suggestion three – Where bear boxes, poles, or cable systems are provided, use them. This makes good sense – I sure hope I can figure out how to use them (time to check out some youtube footage). Bear canisters can provide an effective alternative to hanging food bags but they weigh so much and take up so much room in a backpack that I don’t see them being very practical for a thru-hiker.
Suggestion four – Never feed the bears or leave food behind for them – that simply increases the risks to you and the hikers who follow behind you. I don’t see this as much of a problem for me. Every ounce of food will be precious to me. Needing 4,000 to 6,000 calories a day to maintain proper energy levels, I don’t think I’ll be leaving any food behind, even spinach bars and brussels sprout chips could be tolerated in a pinch…. Oh, yes they make them and I should not condemn them for I have never tasted them – check out http://nomnompaleo.com/post/15661311142/brussels-sprouts-chips and http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-bars/). Besides, this type of leftovers might kill the bears.
Photo 2: forum.wakarusa.com