Bear Bags

  • Typically, all food other than the night’s dinner will go in the bear bags along with anything else that will not be needed until morning.
  • The oops bag typically has the night’s dinner, the cleaning supply bag, personal smellables, the first aid kit, and smellable water bottles (a water bottle that has ever had anything other than water in it).

Hang bear bags:

  • Always check that there are at least two tie-off points behind you before throwing the ropeNever attach a rock, carabiner, water bottle, or anything of weight to the rope prior to rowing over. The reasons for this are: 1) the weight could wrap around the cable and the pe will get stuck; 2) the weight could swing back around and hit someone; and 3) the rabiner could clip onto the cable.
  • The rope should have a loop exactly in the middle. Fold the rope back so that you are rowing a 50 ft. double-line. Throw the end with the loop and make sure to hold the tail ends.
  • Once the bear rope is over the cable, attach a locking weight-bearing carabiner to the op you threw over the cable.
  • Tie the bear bags to alternating sides of the loop by using lark’s head knots.
  • 1. Make a loop

    2. Puth your hand through the loop

    3. Grab the two Pices of rope and pull through the loop

    4. Put the loop over the top of the bag.

    5. Make sure the entire top of the bag is through the knot

    6. Move the knots as close to the carabiner as possible

  • Pull the second bear rope (now referred to as the oops line) halfway through the carabiner.
  • When all the bear bags are tied to the rope, have 6-8 Scouts pull on the free end of the pe to raise the bags. It is important that no one stands underneath the bear bags at any me in case they fall.
  • When the tops of the bags are approximately 4” lower than the line, separate the two ropes and tie off to two separate trees. Use sticks between the bark of the tree and the rope to prevent girdling (permanent damage that kills the tree). Wrap the rope around the sticks and trunk of the tree at least three times and tuck the excess rope into the wrapped rope. The reasoning for tying off to separate trees is because if a bear knocks down or cuts one of the lines, there is still a second rope suspending the bags as a backup.
  • How To Hang A Bear Bag Video

  • If you will not be cooking dinner within the next 30 minutes, hang the oops bag.
  • Tie-off the oops bag near the center loop of the oops line by using a lark’s head knot. Pull the oops line to raise the oops bag to the bear bags and tie the two ends of the oops line to two unused trees. (If there are no unused trees, you may tie the oops line to the same trees the bear line is tied to. Make sure to leave at least a foot of separation between the oops and bear lines.) Wrap the rope around the sticks and trunk of the trees just like with the bear rope and tuck the excess rope away.
  • The bear bags should be more than a person’s wingspan away from the closest tree (at least 6 ft.) and high enough that the tallest person in the crew cannot touch them while jumping (about 10 ft.). These spacing requirements are intact so that a bear cannot climb the tree or stand on their hind legs and reach the bags.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.