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Food storage

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jan, 2017 6:25 pm
by jackattack
I apologise if there is already an existing thread on this. If so please point me in the right direction.

I am going on a 2 day hike soon where there is a high chance of rats. I do not want my pack or my tent chewed through.

What is your anti "mini bear" system. Is it worth suspending a food bag, USA bear style or do rats and possums just shimmy down the string/rope and rip in. I do not use DEET but thought
of spraying my lunch box with peppermint or lavender oil and leaving outside the tent.

Are there plastic containers more rat and possum proof than others...

What system or container do you use and does it work or not work.


Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jan, 2017 7:19 pm
by andrewa
Depends a bit on where you're staying. If staying in a hut, I'd suspend my pack from a string. Rats/mice do "abseil" down such strings, so it's not perfect. Fishing line might be better. Harder to abseil down. If in a tent, just zip it up!


Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jan, 2017 10:15 pm
by Gadgetgeek
I wouldn't spray my gear with anything, its hard to know what an animal will find tasty. I've not had any problems as long as stuff is packed away well, if an animal is going after food, it will just as easily go for toothpaste and soap as anything else. I'd have no concern about keeping my food in my tent, or even in the vestibule, but then again, I have no idea how brave the rats will be where you are, that could play a big role.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jan, 2017 2:03 pm
by Rosscodj
You could try hanging your food bag, and half way up the line, suspend the top curved part of a coke bottle upright with the line running through it. Rats, etc, won't be able to grip onto it, or get to the line below, so they'll either fall off or give up. theory anyway!

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jan, 2017 3:32 pm
by Suz
andrewa wrote:If in a tent, just zip it up!
OMG No! Be careful of this one.

I recently woke up at 3am to a rat in my tent on the Light to Light walk. It had chewed a hole in my TT Stratospire (which nows needs even more repairs).

I too am now looking for a rat / ant / possum / lace monitor proof system. I'm thinking about one of those bear hanging bag systems that the Americans have.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jan, 2017 4:31 pm
by Mark F
I always hang my food or have it inside the tent in my pack. For hanging food I have never had a problem with sil-nylon stuff sacks. They seem a bit too slippery for the blighters to hold onto. You could also try cuben fibre bags as the cuben fibre is stronger than steel. I have not heard of anything chewing holes through cuben.

My main concern is having stuff pulled out of the vestibule so I keep it clear overnight. I have almost lost a walking pole used to hold up my shelter after it was dragged 10 metres into undergrowth by a possum. A friend also had a volley stolen by a possum a Pelion in the late afternoon. The possum disappeared 10 metres up a tree with the shoe when chased. Luckily the Volley was a bit too heavy and the possum dropped it.

Suz wrote:I too am now looking for a rat / ant / possum / lace monitor proof system.

How about a mini electric fence or spray the lower portion of the tent with quassia chip solution.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 3:08 am
by Orion
Suz wrote:I'm thinking about one of those bear hanging bag systems that the Americans have.

There was a company selling a "system" like that. But it was really just two stuff sacks and a length of cord. It's unlikely that you'd need to do a counter balance hang to defeat a rat anyway.

If I were worried about rodents or possum I'd take a kevlar bear sack (since I have one - 10 liters, 150g) and tie it off to something sturdy. The first time I went to Australia I used one. But I soon discovered that during the day animals were not really a problem and at night they didn't try to get into the tent, at least where I was walking. So I stopped worrying about it.

On a recent trip to New Zealand we had the same theory... but one night a rodent ate a few holes in our tent trying to get at the food stuff sacks adjacent to the tent walls. After that we kept the food in between us and away from the walls inside the tent. That seemed to be enough, in this case.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 1:41 pm
by Neo
Try a pail with a snap on lid, like a 2kg honey tub or a painters pail from the hardware. If that doesn't work then there is always something like this!

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Mon 30 Jan, 2017 8:55 pm
by Suz
Lolz Neo.

I'm thinking about getting a Grubpack.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Fri 03 Feb, 2017 10:36 am
by CSpeedy
I've also had issues with rodents eating their way through tents and cuben fiber food bags. This was while hiking in south east Queensland
After two such incidents (now patched with gaffer tape) this was our solution for the Carnarvon Great Walk last year.
Five nights food for two people. Cheap plastic containers from the $2 shop, just make sure the lids fit well.


Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Sat 04 Feb, 2017 3:37 am
by Orion
Plastic boxes are kind of bulky, although I suppose you could at least nest them together and wedge other items inside when empty.

I had a mouse keep waking me up recently one night snow camping at ~2000m in Yosemite N.P. He/she didn't pose a threat to my tent but kept making noise bumping up against it, scratching a bit. In the morning I found the mouse had tunneled UNDER the tent floor. Maybe it was warmer there? Couldn't get it to leave so I went around and lifted the corner of the tent and it was just sitting there. I picked the mouse up with my shovel and tossed him 10m or so and he just sat there for about ten minutes, looking at me. I went over to check if he was sick, took his picture. Then suddenly he sprung to life, ran in circles a few times and then hopped away to a nearby tree well.

Later, as I was about to ski off, he ran from that tree well right past me toward another tree, making it to underground safety just a few centimeters ahead of a diving Steller Jay.


By the way, I love those bagel crackers... wish we could get them here. I'd have brought a bunch home but they wouldn't have fared well in the duffle bags.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2017 9:29 am
by WalkGirl84
Does vacuum sealing work? I have started zsealing each days food together in one vacuum pack so by the end of the day there should be no unsealed food in my pack. It certainly prevents ants and roaches but I'm not sure about rats.
Dingoes have nicked a few things from our camps even in broad daylight. Like my best cooking pot, which was empty! And my damn shoe while we were in the river. I got the shoe back but lost a sock. The pot was never found. She also pinched two of the boys matchbox monster trucks and a Hulk figurine. But not the food.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2017 5:19 pm
by shehaal
Mark F wrote:I have not heard of anything chewing holes through cuben.

My wife and I just attempted a weekend in Wilson's Prom; after the stove stopped working we were low on food but still would've been okay with what we had that didn't need to be cooked. I decided to lash our Z-Packs cuben fibre bear bag for food to a log, but woke up to a possum the size of a small wombat who'd chewed/clawed through the bottom corner of it and contaminated all that remaining dry food. We ended up walking back down the trail a few hundred meters at 1am to where there was a suitable branch to hang the garbage cuben bag from (worked fine). Left with almost no food, we had to turn back early! All night other parties were screaming out that rodents/possums had found their way into tents!

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2017 10:13 pm
by Mark F
I live and learn. I have never experienced that but I always hang my food or keep it inside the tent not just the vestibule.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Wed 19 Apr, 2017 11:12 pm
by kitty
Which campsite at wilsons prom?

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Fri 28 Apr, 2017 10:07 am
by walk2wineries
CSpeedy wrote:I've also had issues with rodents eating their way through tents and cuben fiber food bags. This was while hiking in south east Queensland
After two such incidents (now patched with gaffer tape) this was our solution for the Carnarvon Great Walk last year.
Five nights food for two people. Cheap plastic containers from the $2 shop, just make sure the lids fit well.


I'm a b'n'b person... minor suggestion with the tubs. When I was packing to move I managed to get some pallet strapping. Its light, very strong and reusable if you have the plastic (or metal) buckles, easy to tighten and remove. Almost but not quite as flat as sticky. Some of the removalists commented it made it much easier to pick up the boxes. (usually after they said, I've never seen so many bookcases. Whatever.)

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Thu 13 Jul, 2017 9:21 pm
by wildwanderer
Thought Id return to this topic.

If you keep your pack (with food inside it) right next to you, are animals likely to be intimidated enough by the "snoring beast" to not bother with it :P

Ive always kept my food beside me in my pack (either in the tent or occasionally in the vestibule) never had anything chew on it.. but Id be very annoyed if some critter put a hole in my tent or pack.

Im considering the fishing line, silnylon food bag approach. Should be good unless they can jump to... :lol:

Perhaps there is no solution except trust to luck or hope you wake up in time.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Fri 14 Jul, 2017 10:00 am
by Son of a Beach
Depends on the location and the animals. I usually keep the food close beside me inside the tent. In most cases that's enough, and I don't have any trouble.

But on some occasions, I have experienced animals still snuffling and scratching about trying to get into the tent. I'm a light sleeper when out bush, so I usually punch them in the face through the tent wall before they manage to damage the tent.

(and before people start giving me a hard time... I punch them gently... I can hear them land on the ground quite close by afterwards)

(and if anybody still doesn't get it... I don't actually punch them in the face... I just give them a bit of a shove through the tent wall, so that they realise there is something alive in the tent, and hopefully enough to discourage them a bit... often doesn't work for long)

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Fri 14 Jul, 2017 12:48 pm
by north-north-west
Very much depends on the place and animals. I once spent a rather restless night trying to convince the High Camp Hut antechinus that my face was not a highway.

The only food item I left out that night was a small plastic bottle of soy sauce, on the principle that it wasn't something the local wildlife would eat. I was right - although that blasted antechinus wasn't going to give up easily and chewed through the base of the bottle just in case the contents were tasty.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Wed 27 Sep, 2017 7:23 pm
by lseries92
After my last walk where I had multiple items damaged (including my food bag that was hung up and then my tent after I mistakenly thought taking it inside with me would make it safer) I decided to invest in a Grubpack as mentioned in a previous post from Suz. There seemed to be a few other options out there such as Outsak but I went with the Grubpack Size B version which should be big enough for the majority of my walks.

I just gave it a trial run on a 4 day walk through the Conondales. This time I did not have any problems even though there were plenty of critters about, causing problems with other hikers camping in the vicinity (especially at Summer Falls and Tallowwood). I even watched a large possum with a joey on her back brazenly walk up to my food bag that was on the ground next to my tent and try get into it. I was no more than a foot away from it, watching it from inside the tent - I can still picture the seemingly "puzzled" expression on her face as she realised that it was covered in a steel mesh - she soon wandered off.

While I do not mind carrying an extra ~230g item to protect my food/hygene items (and therefore my tent/pack as well) it seems that some campsites without huts/shelters could well do with the simple addition of a metal locker like they do on the Thorsborne. Not only would it give hikers some piece of mind but - most importantly - it should keep the wildlife foraging more naturally (assuming people use them and do not just drop bits of rubbish around the place). The only reason our group could come up with why that this is not happening more is that people would be more likely to just leave their rubbish behind in them ...

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Thu 28 Sep, 2017 8:57 am
by CSpeedy
Those possums at Tallowwood are quite habituated to the people in the camp. We walked the Connondale Great Walk circuit at Easter this year and the possums were investigating the platform as I watched from my tent.
Thankfully the food was all secured, and we didn't hear that any of the other groups had issues that night.
The system has changed slightly from the cheapo shop tubs in the photo above. We are now using sistema 1.1L salad to go box. One each. This is enough to store the things that rodents seem to love, eg. Museli, for a 1-3 night trip. And doubles nicely as a bowl.

Also walked the Fraser Island Great Walk in July. The metal boxes were great for piece of mind. It was also nice to be able to leave other bits and pieces of gear in there overnight and have heaps of space in the tent.
Did see one box that had rusted out in a corner. Someone had tried a bit of DIY repair and filled the hole with a bunch of twigs. We decided not to trust it, and found a solid locker the next campsite over.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Sat 30 Sep, 2017 9:22 pm
by jobell
I use allegedly odour proof plastic bags that I got from the USA, meant to be suitable for ptoofing foid from bears. I forget the brand but have used them as food bags for a good while now (150 plus nights of camping) and have yet to have any critters try for my food be it in my tent or out. Maybe I just got lucky, who knows. They are nice and light though surprisingly tough.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Mon 02 Oct, 2017 9:22 am
by davidf
if worried hang with fishing line. Rats can eat through nearly anything. once had a heavy duty 20L paint barrel full of dog food covering a hole in floor boards, open up, RAT, *&%$#! had ate a hole through the base of the barrel!. Again Joshua Tree US a squirrel ate a hole through my tent, was in there eating my food when I found it. Grabbed it and got out of the tent and much to the shock of the hippies next to me sent it into orbit. Then the skunk that got into my vestuble to eat a box of potatoes, I laid there and let it eat my food, hung it all up after that.A weasel (never saw one before, rather large) in a hut. 3 agile wallabys in a simple mid woke me each took off with food. The list goes on!

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2017 6:01 pm
by wildwanderer
sorry wrong thread

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2018 9:02 pm
by emma_melbourne
I've been researching this subject lately also.

I'm not fond of animals trying to make their way into the vestibule, tent, backpack, chewing a hole through any of these, damaging them, and /or stealing my food on a hike.

Here's what I came up with so far:

* ODOUR PROOF BAGS (also known as Odour prevention bags)
These work by containing the smell which attracts the animals / rodents.
One of the main ones is OPSAK (which stands for Odour Proof SAK): ... 00UTK957K/
Another brand is BaseCamp Odor Barrier bags: ... 00H1KJ1T8/

These are made of industrial stainless steel (wire) mesh. Rodents struggle to chew through it. Brands include Outsack, Grubpack etc.
Grubpack: ... Products/C or through Amazon:
Ratsack: ... s=Grubpack

There's another kind which is made of Kevlar “bullet proof” fibre and stainless steel, called the Ursack Minor Critter bag.
Ursack Minor Critter bag:

I was also smiling at one writer described as his "trifecta turducken of food protection"; using an odour free bag - in a dry sack - in a rodent resistant bag. (This way achieving 3 layers of protection). Source: ... e-rodents/

You bear bag hang from a tree to keep it off the ground, but of course a lot of rodents are good at shimmying along branches and down lines so it's not 100%. But if combined with other methods, it may be adding another layer of difficulty for animals to get at it. Or at least particular types of animals.

Some of the popular brands of bear canisters in the USA are:
Bear Vault BV500 (larger size) or BV450 (medium size): ... 001V9HENU/
There's another kind which has the top as a fry pan, which is kind of a cool idea to my mind: ... 00FM23RPG/
and the larger size "big daddy" is here: ... 00FN381NW/

Hope this helps!

I haven't personally tried any of the above methods yet, but I am looking at doing so on future trips so I will look at posting an update when I've got enough experiments done that I actually feel like I can anecdotally report on the success of the method tried.



Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 7:14 am
by Warin
Metal is heavy. Using it in a mesh is still a weight penalty I'd rather not carry.

I am thinking of something as a repellent.
Cut some old cotton into circular bits to thread rope through for suspending food bags. Soak the cotton in the repellent.

I'd think that could dissuade the beasts from accessing my food... If there were one towards the top or the rope and one covering the bag opening?

Anyone tried this kind of approach?

What chemicals to use? Naphthalene, black pepper, capsicum spray stuff, garlic, chilli ... any ideas?

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 1:01 pm
by emma_melbourne
Common wisdom is that odour proof bags are more effective than any kind of attempt at animal repellant.

Odour-proof bags are not particularly heavy.

Loksak OpSAK 12 x 20 inch bags are 1.44 ounce per bag. (That's just under 41 grams)
The smaller OpSAK 9 x 10 inch bags are 0.8 ounce per bag. (That's just under 23 grams)

Basecamp bags are I believe 2.4 ounces for 5 bags. (That's 68 grams for 5 bags, which works out 13.6 grams per bag)

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 1:03 pm
by emma_melbourne
Also the URSACK Minor Critter bag may (or may not be) as heavy as you expect it to be.

It's blended kevlar and stainless steel, and weighs 5.3 ounces (which is 150 grams).

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 1:15 pm
by emma_melbourne

Liquid Fence: ... B000NW777E
Designed as a deer and rabbit repellant but does work on some other animals also.

Critter Ridder: ... ter+ridder
but you can see from the reviews that it hasn't worked for a lot of people. Albeit it's the one often mentioned in hiker forums as being used.

Peppermint oil is a natural oil that has some evidence of keeping away mice, in particular. (By spraying peppermint oil mixed with water)

I've also heard of various strategies like:
- Camp fires being a repellant to animals.
- Pissing in a perimeter around the camp site.

Re: Food storage

PostPosted: Wed 10 Jan, 2018 9:45 am
by gonetroppo
-80/100lb fishing line
-small carabiner/hook
-length of thin rope for tying off

Throw it over a tree branch and hang a good meter or so off the ground. Weighs 10-20g. Always put my food, rubbish and toiletries bags on it. Have used the 'top of a plastic bottle' method with success also.
The buggers are rife around here and I have always had success using these systems.