Critters eating gear

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Critters eating gear

Postby monte » Wed 02 Jan, 2019 7:56 pm

Howdy, I've only done one overnighter so am on a steep learning curve. We went down to South Cape Rivulet. There happened to be two other groups that night and everyone had something eaten.

I lost half my overnight oats, another group had a pack chewed through.

Anyway, I'm off to Walls of Jerusalem in a couple of weeks and was wondering what best practices are. Do they only sniff out food so hang anything like that in a tree or is all gear at risk. What to do if there's no trees? Is stuff in vestibules relatively safe?
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby taswegian » Wed 02 Jan, 2019 9:49 pm

I wouldn't trust anything.
I've had whole pack dragged out in The Walls by Devils, but that was way before their demise. And chewed the side out.

Put food in billy, metal cooking utensil, canisters etc and weight them with rock(s), log.
Sleep with food beside you if needed.

If theirs still Devils about they will chew through "anything".
They tried to drag my boots out but I'd tied them to the tent poles.

I never trusted hanging stuff from trees, but that maybe over reaction.
Don't expect stuff to survive unattended during daylight. Currawongs will swoop on exposed food sources.

Enjoy your trip.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby Guido » Wed 02 Jan, 2019 9:58 pm

Had a possum visit me at Dixons Kingdom. At 5 am, suddenly I wasn't alone in my tent anymore. Bugger had ripped the mesh and was repeatedly charging at my backpack. All my food was in bags, in another bag in my backpack.
I guess you just have to be a bit lucky not to get visited by critters at some point or another.
Enjoy the Walls, it's awesome there.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby beardless » Wed 02 Jan, 2019 10:30 pm

I had a possum at Wild Dog Creek campsite in the Walls sniffing at my pack in the vestible of our tent. We made a few noises and it scampered off. This was repeated a number of times. Thankfully it didn't bite through anything.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby L_Cham_67 » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 12:04 am

Wildlife is bound to come looking at popular campsites, I'll always remember at pelion hut last year some rodents chewed through my pack and old tent (pack was inside the tent), taking a fair bit of food with them. I actually think I remember hearing them moving around in the tent but being half asleep thought nothing of it.
I was asking for it though; I didn't keep my food in a dry bag on that trip...
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby Sasha444 » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 5:42 am

At Dixon’s Kingdom last January I woke ro find a huge possum in the tent..it had chewed through the wall of my brand new tent . I moved the tent and hung my food from a tree the next night ..woke to find a possum had abseiled down the rope and chewed through my food bag and eaten everything . Doing the south coast track in February and we have bought Z pack anti bear bags which we plan to hang wth a plastic bottle over the rope to stop depredations hopefully
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby monte » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 6:20 am

Wow... Perhaps I need a bear cannister :-)

Can you explain what you mean about the bottle over the rope? What about cord. I'm thinking a possum might not be able to climb on 3mm or something like that.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby north-north-west » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 6:41 am

You''d be surprised what possums can do when there is food around.

Cut the top section off a plastic bottle and thread the line through it, above the food bag. That creates a barrier the critters can't get past.
Simplest way to minimise possibility of critter problems is not to camp at popular spots. Place keep all your food in sealed containers (bags or whatever), so the animals can't smell it.

And, if there could be devils around, keep your boots in the pack and inside the tent as well. Devils will eat anything. I recall back around 1980, one of our rangers sent in a clothing requisition for a new pair of Blunnies, accompanied by a one inch square piece of sole with toothmarks on it. Apparently he'd spent much of a day digging up a blocked sewage pipe and was too knackered to clean the *&%$#! covered boots at the end of the day and so left them on the back porch. There was some noise from quarrelling devils outside overnight, and in the morning, that scrap of sole was all that remained of his boots.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby monte » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 6:51 am

Ok I think I have the idea. Thanks... I guess this is pretty serious stuff if you are on a long trip.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby philm » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 6:54 am

The critters seem to be attracted to smell mainly so this includes food smells but also toothpaste etc.. even empty food back in your pockets left overnight!

There are a few techniques you can use:

1. Store all food and other items (toiletries) inodour proof bags - refer https://aquagardening.com.au/opsak-odou ... ags-2-pack

2. Place all food and other smelly items in a dry sack and hang it up - there are 2 main techniques to hang:
a) Attach dry sack to 100lb fishing line and then have about 1 metre of the fishing line then attached to paracord - then hang this from a tree - critters can't climb down the fishing line and fall off!
b) String a line between 2 branches and on either side of the dry bag place 2 small plastic bottles - the bottles have a drilled hole in each end and the cord goes through here - the critters come along the cord but the bottles spin and they can't get past them!

In known problem spots such as main camps I tend to use a combination of the above.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby monte » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 7:45 am

Hmm... the fishing line sounds like a more compact option. I'll get some of those odourless bags.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby monte » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 8:27 am

OK... got a couple of 32x51cm bags on their way to stuff everything into. That should be sufficient until we are doing longer trips. I guess putting them in a dry sack might not be necessary given they are waterproof already. I just need to figure out another way to attach some cord. Am contemplating how I might tie bags and boots up off the ground in the vestibules too... I didn't want to spend too much yet so I got one of those Lanshan 2 tents of Aliexpress. It's barely wide enough for two let alone having bags inside the meshed area with us but I think I could hang stuff in the vestibules from the trekking pole loops and try and keep it on the side that doesn't have the door.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby bogholesbuckethats » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 2:39 pm

I too have had a run in the devil spawn of a possum at Dixons. I woke to find him in the vestibule trying to drag away my wine cask bladder. This resulted in a very quick game of tug of war that ended badly for me. I later heard him in the trees above our tent and found him hanging upside down off the dry bag of food but luckily he hadn't ripped through them. I ended up risking it and bringing the food in the tent so that I could get a few hours sleep.

I would normally hang my food bag high off the ground in the middle of the Sea to Summit washing line, this has worked well and have never had any issues with possums or rodents. The only downside is finding two trees of suitable distance to tie the line between which was the issue I faced in Dixons. The plastic bottle trick works really well and would recommend it if going somewhere known to be frequented by rodents.

Here is the clothesline

https://seatosummitusa.com/collections/ ... lothesline
That looks like a pad.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby taswegian » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 5:26 pm

monte wrote:Howdy, I've only done one overnighter so am on a steep learning curve.
Anyway, I'm off to Walls of Jerusalem in a couple of weeks and was wondering what best practices are. Do they only sniff out food so hang anything like that in a tree or is all gear at risk. What to do if there's no trees? Is stuff in vestibules relatively safe?

Monte, just to demonstrate their tenacity and the mess they make,this a thread from a while back.
If you read through, there's also my pack down lower after it was disrupted by a devil.
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3526&hilit=+Devils
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby monte » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 6:20 pm

Oh no! That looks nasty.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby devoswitch » Thu 03 Jan, 2019 7:05 pm

I’ve been extremely lucky with critters while camping. I’ve been woke. By possums having a good sniff around and coming into vestibule especially around popular sites like the walls, freycinet and Pelion hut area. However nothing chewed...yet! I usually just double bag my food and put it right in the middle of my pack and nearly always bring everything inside my tent even when camping in remote places. I’m always careful not to create too much mess or spill smelly foodstuff around my gear.
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Re: Critters eating gear

Postby cams » Fri 18 Jan, 2019 9:42 am

Gees. Maybe we got lucky at Dixons and were the least smelly of the lot. We put all food and cooking inside a drybag inside the tent. I did find one of my socks about 10m away from the tent in the morning though. I suspect it was a quoll that had been circling the tent and making close passes to the vestibule as we made dinner before bed.
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