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Old 05-01-2016, 08:04 PM   #1
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Bears

Curious if anyone has (negative) experience with bears and food storage in a SMB? Especially interested to hear what you guys in California/Sierra have to say, where bears are most are adept at breaking into vehicles.

In Colorado, our bear problems are becoming worse in the mountains, as they frequently gain access to trash bins or food in unsecured vehicles (the animals first learn by breaking into soft top jeeps, or vehicles with the doors unlocked), which eventually leads to the animals learning to use more forceful entry. Still, nothing compared to the problems in the Sierra Nevada mountains... yet.

I want to keep my van stocked with basic supplies so that it's ready to go on weekend trips - chips and crackers, pasta and so forth in the cabinets - but I'm concerned about bear break-ins.

Any discussion points or suggestions for my van that does not fit in the garage?
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Old 05-01-2016, 08:19 PM   #2
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Maybe storing your stuff in bear vault products in the van…

Product Details – BearVault not sure how well the stuff works.

This might help too - Securing Food, Garbage and Gear - BearSmart.com

Cheers,
Mark
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:22 PM   #3
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I'd be less concerned about bears, and more concerned with smaller things. Lots of threads on here mentioning rodent damage - mice, rats, squirrels. You may wish to reconsider leaving any food at all in the van in between trips unless you have a spiffy clean garage to pamper it with and keep rodents at bay (oh, the longing...). I do a double and triple check / purge for food and odorous items every time I leave mine since I am forced to leave it parked in a storage lot.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:56 PM   #4
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X2 on Steve's comment on rodents. We only leave canned food and unopened bottled juices in the van when we are not using it. No other food. We live in the country and have enough problems keeping the vermin out of the house. Definitely do not want them in the van too.
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:02 PM   #5
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Really good points, from all.

I've already had problems with mice in my pickup truck (because I left food in there) and in a work truck (because someone left food in there). I guess all I need is a gentle reminder of the lessons I've already had, a quick peruse of the results when "rodent" is typed into the Forum Search engine, and I'm convinced: food is OUT!
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BVerhulst View Post
Really good points, from all.

I guess all I need is a gentle reminder of the lessons I've already had, a quick peruse of the results when "rodent" is typed into the Forum Search engine, and I'm convinced: food is OUT!


Sadly... we must combat the little bastards...
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:21 PM   #7
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It's done - I went out to the SMB, and gathered up ~3 bags of groceries from the cabinets... but I left the beer in the fridge. Because, emergencies.

FWIW, there's also rodent traps around the perimeter, along the house, etc. Additionally, I've had really good results with this product called the Tin Cat, from Victor, in case anyone is interested.

Looking at all the horror stories on this forum, I'm even thinking about what measures I should take when traveling. It seems from member posts that rodents in popular camping areas have already learned some tricks.

What have you tried?
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:28 AM   #8
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Thankfully I've not acquired any tiny roommates yet... but I've faced the Marmotpocalypse and was frightened (and annoyed) by their insistance on exploring the undercarriage when stopped to camp or even hike. Apparently I'm not the only one blessed with affinity to marmots since I have seen several hikers' vehicles wrapped with garden fencing whilst the owners are off away from the vehicle. I've looked at some but haven't settled on a clever solution yet (mostly because I am not particularly clever).
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:26 AM   #9
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Wrapping your car with wire mesh is standard operating procedure at Bugaboo Park in Canada because porcupines eat belts and hoses... We've had marmots take shelter inside engine compartments where I work (not good when the engine starts up in the morning), and I think I've heard stories of marmots chewing cars at Rainier or Tetons perhaps. Maybe a roll of mesh long enough to go around the van should be part of the camping kit, according to the destination.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:04 PM   #10
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Bears are a lot like dogs and learn what holds food. Provided you keep anything that looks like a food or a food container out of view, you'll probably be OK. I do avoid cooking greasy foods in the van but a bear can smell food in a can so I don't worry about hauling food inside. I just keep everything out of view. The Yosemite Park people go way overboard on a lot of rules because they just don't want any trouble between the visitors and the residents animals. I watched a bear take out a window of a car because the owner left an ice chest in view...an easy grab for a bear. And guess what, it was for beer and the bear devoured the brew with the guy watching. Most places like Yosemite want you to put all foods or anything that is eatable including all the stuff in your refrigerator in the bear box. I've never done this but they might ticket you if a break in occurs. IMO, I don't worry about it but I suppose a disclaimer saying obey all park rules is a good idea.

Mice on the other hand have been more of a problem than any other animal I've had to deal with. I had some of those humane traps but the little guys come right back in. They leave a urine trail that smells bad and opens a sign post for the others to come & join in. The only way to get rid of em is trapping and although I'd prefer not to kill them, sometimes it's between you and nature. I don't know how they got into the walls of the body but it doesn't take much of a hole for them to get in. I've stuffed brass pot cleaning pads in some of the suspicious entry areas but I'm sure I didn't get them all. BTW those "Fresh Cab" packets don't work. The "Rat Zapper" works quite well but might keep you up as the trap catches them.
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