Im going with my girlfriend on a backpacking trip in Harriman State Park in NY. I plan on staying overnight at one of the shelters. The questions I have are the following:

1. Should only one of us carry the food in our backpack keeping our clothing and food separate due to bears?

2. If so, should the backpack that carried the food be hung at night away from camp?

3. Should I wear deorderant during the day when backpacking?

Any additional info would be great..



My first suggestion would be to get the book called "Bear Aware" it is part of the Falcon Guide series.  Most good book stores should have it, as well as outdoor retailers like REI.  It's only 90 pages.  It reads fast and it answers every question you would have (including all the questions you have asked. it's less than $10.  Now to answer your questions:

1. The food doesn't have to be in one pack.  Depending on how much and what type of food you take,  you will probably want to divide the food between both packs for equal weight distribution.  You should store your food in zip-loc type bags to reduce odor.

2. You should have your sleeping area and cooking area separated by about 100 yards.  Sleeping area should be upwind of the cooking area.  You can put the food in a back pack if you want.  But if something gets into your food, it will probably trash your pack.  I would put the food bags into a dry bag (i.e. sea bag).  When you hang it try for at least 10 feet off the ground.  Everything you use to cook with should be stored at the cook site.

I would also check with the park rangers there may be bear boxes at some of the camp sites.

3. I'm not sure about deodorant.  I don't generally do take it on a back pack trip. As I have limited changes of clothes and will smell regardless.

As I mentioned above I really think if you're in bear country you need the "Bear Aware" book.  It covers everything including special precautions for women.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer questions pertaining to backpacking/day hiking, snowshoeing, and general camping questions. I can also answer questions pertaining to clothing and equipment selection, maintenance, and repair. I will also be able to answer most general recreation/touring kayaking questions.


I have been very active my whole life; mt biking, running, scuba diving, sailing …etc. I have been an avid hiker for the past 22 years. I have hiked trails in both the national and state park systems in approximately 20 states through out the US. Personally, I enjoy dessert hiking the most and have spent more time in these areas of the country (i.e. Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, South and North Dakota Badlands) I have canoed and kayaked in the Boundary Waters (Minnesota), the Missouri River (Montana) and several areas within Minnesota. I have lived/worked at Mammoth Station (park HQ) in Yellowstone National Park. In addition, I spent three years working for a major camping/mountaineering retailer and have a very good understanding of most gear/clothing used for camping, backpacking and kayaking.

BA Sociology, Naval OCS, NETC Newport, RI

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.