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Old 05-07-2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Yosemite Camping

We will be in Yosemite early June and we have a couple nights reserved in Upper Pines. Just wanted to know how SMB'ers store their food. We always have a full pantry and a full fridge in our rig. Would we have to empty it out and store it the Bear Bins? Any food storage advice? Any suggestions or advice on camping Yosemite with the SMB. This will be our first trip to Yosemite with the SMB and our 3 y/o. Thanks folks!



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Old 05-07-2009, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Yosemite Camping

Ray I've never had a problem and as long as you take some common sense measures you should be OK.
Keep the doors closed.
Don't cook inside if possible, especially stuff like beacon.
Stay with the vehicle if possible.
Keep all ice chests or anything that looks like one out of view. The bears know the brands and serial numbers. I keep the windows covered. Even backpacks should be out of view.

I've never had problems with foods in the pantry or refrigerator. I was subpoenaed to court and had to leave the van sit for several days in the parking lot unattended during court and at night. I was somewhat worried about a bear break in. As an added measure I sprayed a little pepper spray around the vehicle and the rangers thought it was a good idea. They will always tell you that a break in is possible and that year the bears had hit a few vans. It’s usually the parking lots and vehicles that sit that are fair game, but most of the time bears break in because folks leave food or ice chests in view. (Disclaimer... Unfortunately anything can happen) . But there is a lot of hype on this issue…just be careful. They are a PITA. Maybe I'll see you up there. Have a good time!

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Old 05-07-2009, 03:55 PM   #3
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Re: Yosemite Camping

We've been told the bears mostly go after cars with food or cooler (may contain food and the bears now know what they are) visible. They avoid RVs, because the frequently contain people, while they can see the cars have no people.

I leave the refrig alone. Anything in the panty or behind a closed door, we leave in place. The fridge seals well and the food odors are well contained. When we have a cooler with us, we put the cooler in the bear box. Extra foods, not concealed go in the bear box. When in doubt, it goes in the bear box.

A note of caution: Carry a padlock for the bear box. Last time we were there a tenter had a cooler full of steaks stolen out of the bear box. The box was closed back up, so it wasn't a 4 legged bear, but a 2 legged animal that did it.

We will be in Yosemite for the next week. Just went online and looked and found sites for the entire week. We do have to move sites, but all other sites were booked solid! It is May, the month with the best waterfalls. The other 402 campsites on the valley floor were booked! Someone must have cancelled just before we looked online. And one of the sites we got is a very hard to get river campsite!

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Old 05-08-2009, 08:43 AM   #4
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Re: Yosemite Camping

The "legal" problem is that you can't leave food in a "soft-sided tent" but it is okay in a hard-sided RV. They will give you a legal form to read and sign so that, if a bear gets into your vehicle when it is unattended, they can fine you. But, in our experience, they consider SMBs as hard-sided RVs.

Dave covered just about all of the regular tips. I'd add that we never put up the penthouse except when we are in the van or otherwise right there. (In other words, don't put up the penthouse and then go on a hike.) All of our windows are tinted except the front window so we don't bother with covering them.

When we used to backpack in Yosemite, we had a lot of bear encounters but never lost anything. We had bears come through the "camp" during the day and even consider stealing a backpack laying on the ground with people around. I think generally that bears are like common crooks...why work so hard climbing over a fence and breaking in a back window when the guy next door leaves the garage door open when he leaves. Regardless of all of the warnings, I still see people who leave things out that shouldn't be out...
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: Yosemite Camping

Our experiences in Yosemite have been that the smaller cars are easier for the bears to break into. They stick their claws in the gap between the top of the door and the roof and just pull the window frame down. Bam, there goes the glass, they peel the door frame down, and in goes the bear. We have seen several cars opened like a tuna can after coming back from hikes in the Meadows. I think the height of the vans and lack of visibility inside makes them look for easier targets. As Yvrr said, most crooks are lazy.
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