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View Full Version : Any advice for avoiding mice at backcountry sites?


duckypaddler
08-10-2011, 12:56 PM
I'm going to 47 this weekend. I'm usually more of a day trip guy, but I got a hall pass, and I'd be stupid not to use it.

Last time I stayed at Poke Patch a mouse chewed up my waders.

I separate all food on different hanger, and leave all of my zippers open in other backpack so they don't chew to get in.

Someone suggested to me that the waders probably smelled like fish, so that might have been my problem.

I used to spend quite a bit of time in the backcountry and thought I was taking all the neccessary precautions, but wondered if there were some tricks, or tips others might share.

A friend of mine who spends extensive time in the backcountry said he never has a problem, but then again he only eats mountain house and cliff bars. So should I just avoid smelly foods?

Thanks in advance,
James

NDuncan
08-10-2011, 01:39 PM
take a rattlesnake and let it guard your gear?

I haven't had a problem with mice, and I tend to take real food rather than freeze dried, so I don't know if that is why, but I hang pretty much everything up at night too. Maybe it had something to with the site you staying at? I can't imagine mice wanting to eat waders, even if they smelled good to them, unless they were starving.

Grannyknot
08-10-2011, 02:01 PM
I've never had a problem with mice, except at shelters and once at a front country site.

duckypaddler
08-10-2011, 02:19 PM
take a rattlesnake and let it guard your gear?

Even though we will be passing the Snake handling church on Big Cove Rd on the way in, and could most likely secure a good rattler, I don't think I will follow your advice:biggrin:

Hopefully it was just a random incident and my precautions will be adequate.

Thanks guys

Rog 1
08-10-2011, 03:26 PM
Several years ago at 24 my son and I had mice get into all of our hanging gear...in some instances chewed through 3 layers of pack material to get at unopened food....was back at 24 in June and no sign of any mice what so ever....only wet wade so no experience with waders....know there are some mouse proof containers out there for the food....might want to try and hand your waders from a tree away from the cable hangs...sure these little urchins have learned to associate the cables with food.

Crockett
08-10-2011, 03:27 PM
I stayed at 39 last year with a friend and we both were eating mtn house and assorted snacks. We both hung our packs on the same hang with food in stuff sacks inside. When we got up the next morn mice had ate through his backpack, stuffsack, and ate part of his food. Mine was untouched. Kind of like fishing sometimes its just luck or lack of it that dictates. On a side note since then I have also switched away from mtn house and do all real food with no other problems but I don't think it would matter mice probably aren't too particular. Have fun though man I am jealous!

joe a
08-10-2011, 04:40 PM
Let me know how things go if you would. planning on hitting up 47 next month. jgattaway@gmail.com

thanks,
Joe

Knothead
08-10-2011, 07:37 PM
Take a cat and tie it up next to your food? Hang your stuff between two trees? I think you can hang it up out of the way.
Never had a mouse problem but did have a raccoon visit a few nights at what is now the KOA. We made the mistake of leaving candy on the table. Dog tracked him and we found a bunch of wrappers behind a tree. Bet he had some digestive problems! He kept coming back; even tried to reach into the oven where we were keeping our bread. We heard a cover come off a storage box and first thought was a bear; nope, it was the raccoon. Scared him and he never returned. Ahhhh, for life in the wilderness!

Knothead
08-10-2011, 07:41 PM
Computer screwed up and I can't edit. We put mothballs out one time that KOA had a problem with skunks. We saw one head for our campsite and make a detour.

old tom
08-11-2011, 07:46 AM
We usually do our backpacking in the spring/summer/fall so we can wade wet and don't have to pack waders in. So I can't help with that problem. But we bought one of these. http://www.armoredoutdoorgear.com/ It's a little pricy, but well worth it. We bought the smaller one and it's good for two people for several days worth of food.

duckypaddler
08-11-2011, 09:20 AM
I only wear waders in the park 1% of the time. This was an October trip where it had already snowed the week before. Water temps were between 44-46.

I have no intention of taking waders on this trip:smile:

Just want to avoid the mice

Thanks for all your replies

David Knapp
08-11-2011, 10:10 AM
I bought a bear food storage canister, mostly because of problems with mice and use it to store my food whenever I hike in the Smokies. A few years ago I had a mouse get into my food when it was hung on the bear cables and don't want to ever have a repeat of that. I went with a Bear Vault canister and have been very happy with it. I would recommend it highly except that it does add a little weight to your gear...

Grannyknot
08-11-2011, 10:29 AM
I have heard good things about the Ursack products...
http://www.ursack.com/ursack-catalog.htm

duckypaddler
08-11-2011, 11:44 AM
Thanks guys. Does anyone local stock them? I might order one for a future trip, but unless I could find one locally, I might have to just chance it.

Thanks again for all your responses. Your answers were exactly what I was looking for.:smile:

NDuncan
08-11-2011, 01:21 PM
I think I saw the bear vault canister or a similar product (by counterassault, maker of a bear spray as well) at Gander Mountain.

duckypaddler
08-11-2011, 05:58 PM
After 3 employees were unable to find it, I finally found it. But at 3 pounds, and over $100 once you buy the cover, I decided to pass.

River Sports, and Blue Ridge had nothing also.

I will order one of those steel mesh bags for a future trip. At $30 and 6 ounces it seems to make more sense for the Smokies. :smile:

Dancing Bear
08-11-2011, 07:59 PM
I got the Rat Sack several years ago and have been happy with it. They are a little pricey but should last a long time. They also hold more than you think they would.

Mike

flyman
08-11-2011, 10:15 PM
Have you ever tried just hanging the food using a tin can lid as a rat guard? Red squirrels are just as bad as mice about getting into hanging food. I always keep my pack in the tent with me.

olesmoke
08-12-2011, 07:28 AM
flyman has the best idea with the tin can lid........we used aluminum pie plates with holes in the center for the rope.Tie in about 5 feet above the pack. Works in the jungle and the boonies.

Crockett
08-12-2011, 08:59 AM
The tin can lid is a good idea. I have also used opsak's that you can order online. They are big ziploc bags that are expensive at $10 a peice but you can put your food in it and sleep with it. Don't have to worry about bears or mice since they can't smell the food through the bag. Won't help you for this weekend though.

Mundele
08-12-2011, 11:11 AM
I stayed at 39 last year with a friend and we both were eating mtn house and assorted snacks. We both hung our packs on the same hang with food in stuff sacks inside. When we got up the next morn mice had ate through his backpack, stuffsack, and ate part of his food. Mine was untouched. Kind of like fishing sometimes its just luck or lack of it that dictates. On a side note since then I have also switched away from mtn house and do all real food with no other problems but I don't think it would matter mice probably aren't too particular. Have fun though man I am jealous!

Uh yeah that was my food bag. It was funny how the hole went straight through the bag and into the food. I could've stuck my thumb up into the larabars or whatever it was they ate. I was amazed they could cling onto the underside of a slick silnylon bag, way up in the bear hang.

Crockett
08-12-2011, 11:15 AM
Uh yeah that was my food bag. It was funny how the hole went straight through the bag and into the food. I could've stuck my thumb up into the larabars or whatever it was they ate. I was amazed they could cling onto the underside of a slick silnylon bag, way up in the bear hang.

That was pre lara bar days before the current paleolithic times so it was probably oatmeal cream pies or some such soy laden, testosterone killing, gluten filled poison which is why the rats wanted it :p

fearnofishbob
08-14-2011, 10:57 PM
If you are going to pass a church on Big Cove Rd. on your way in .......you've made a wrong turn somewhere !!

duckypaddler
08-15-2011, 01:45 PM
If you are going to pass a church on Big Cove Rd. on your way in .......you've made a wrong turn somewhere !!


It's at a Big Bend in the road - Church of the Holiness - maybe we can go sometime? I hiked out too late on Sunday to make the service:biggrin:.