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I don't eat where I sleep...

Updated: Feb 4

In each of the legs of the Norlantic Loop there is the possibility that I could have a life threatening encounter with a Black Bear, a large Shark, an enraged Moose, or, although small, equally life threatening...insect swarms and ticks. Acknowledging that such encounters are possible has motivated me to develop a proactive, knowledge-based approach to wildlife, one that allows me to paddle, beachcomb, and camp in relative security and with peace of mind

A standing black bear smelling the air.
That smells Yummy!

The most important element in my defensive strategy is knowledge! I learn all I can about each of these predators. That hasn't been any sort of chore, they fascinate me. Knowing where and when I am most likely to encounter them, what special abilities they possess, what they crave and what they find distasteful is important. I certainly want to know how not to piss them off. The Knowledge I have acquired guides me in the choice of the outdoor products I buy, the areas where I camp, how I set up my camp, how I camp, and how I go about my outdoor activities.

A key learning about bears, for example, is that they possess a keen sense of smell,100s of times better than ours. Knowing this shaped one of my key outdoor gear purchases. My gear trailer, the two wheeled buggy that I drag along behind the Paceman and that elevates my sleeping area, was available with a slide-out stove as well as a cooler slide-out. Nifty! It also offered the opportunity to attach a neat fold-down table/shelf over the wheel cover. It looked so very efficient for cooking meals. Hum! I cook Mediterranean, with oil, and all the cooking smells would cover the side of the trailer and waft up over my trailer-top tent ...where I sleep. I would not be able to smell the residue the next day...bears can smell that same residue from quite a distance!

I decided to buy the trailer ...but without the slide-out stove or the cooler slide-out. Instead I bought an easily set up, aluminum/bamboo, Dutch Outdoor Cook Kitchen, built on a Zarges all aluminum box. It will keep all my cooking stuff together and support my ultra-light-weight two burner Pinnacle stove. It will be my cooking center. The DOCK is totally independent which allows me to set it up downwind, closer to the beach and away from my sleeping area. By late afternoon the sea breezes start to shift from flowing from the sea inland to flowing from the land out to the sea ...carrying any cooking smells with them. By the way I also know that bears don't like the smell of Lysol(non-citrus) and I wipe down the DOCK and my cook stove ...immediately after cooking. Although hand crafted in the Netherlands and therefore premium priced my DOCK/Pinnacle kitchen cost me less than half the price of the slide-out stove with plumbed-in propane. Its a lot lighter too.

As for my cooler, I keep it out-of-window view and covered in the back of the car, which I unhitch from the trailer and park off to the side. I keep Lysol wipes next to the cooler and wipe it down before locking up the car. I spray a mixture of 1/4 cup Pine Sol(Original), 1/4 cup vinegar per gallon as a fine mist into the wheel wells and the underside of the car and the trailer every day or so (I am careful not to spray the tires). The mixture is antiseptic, biodegradable, masks smells and Bears really don't like the smell of either Pine Sol or vinegar. Oh! One last thing, on retiring for the evening I put the clothing that I wore that day and cooked in that evening in a odor-lock bag and set it to the side before crawling into my sleeping bag.

A schematic diagram of an outdoor, wild-camp set up..
Camp triangle

This is how I camp, This is how my parents camped. My Dad called it the camp triangle; food stash, kitchen, and shelter separated and distanced from one another, It doesn't matter whether I am in bear county or not, it's my best camping practice.

So this winter, read up on the wild life you expect to encounter. The knowledge you acquire will help you make wise choices ...even before you get to the campsite.


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