We will be kayak camping in the Everglades the first week of March. This is my first time with this combination and I am not sure how to store food at night. We have a bear container that we use for backpacking and I am thinking this would be ideal but it’s not ideal while kayaking. Could anyone tell us what they’ve done in the past and how successful it was? Any advise would be appreciated!
In the hatch
is where I store food in ENP backcountry. So far the 'coons haven’t tried to chew thru the hatch cover. I pull the boats up right in front of the tent door. It’s annoying how the coons lick the boat for the dew every night. They are very, very bold. Don’t leave food or drink in your tent. Have a great time, and be sure your tent mesh is fine enough to keep out the no-see-ums.
Hang it up
I don’t know if there are bears where you’re going, but in bear country the recommended way to store food is to put it inside a dry bag hanging from a rope from a high pole spanning two trees. The distance between trees must be great enough that a bear that has climbed to the pole cannot reach the rope holding the dry bag. You throw the bag over the pole…practice this at home first, because it’s surprisingly hard to do accurately.
no ‘trees’ in Everglades park
Mostly mangroves and those are not good for hanging packs. Besides the raccoons are very adept at climbing, way better than bears and lighter so they can get all the way down the limb.
Some of my employees went on a trip there a few years ago. They brought a canoe but told me about the pesky raccoons trying to get into everything.
They ended up taking their Frisbie and putting a bit of fresh water in it (they had brought plenty) each night and the critters left their other stuff alone!
I would worry about them chewing on my kayak cover, but if you have a hard plastic cover that locks in it would probably work.
The guys put their stuff in Rubbermaid containers.
what I do
before getting in the tent for the night is to remove the neoprene hatch covers and store them in the hatches put food and water in the hatches and close the rigid hatch covers over the opening. But I don't know if you have this type of system of hatch covers. I never have had any problems just make sure food and especially water are always stored away even if you just go off to watch the sunset.
On a recent trip, a couple of kayakers with the Valley type hatches had a racoon chew them up pretty bad trying to get water. I have one of these hatch covers which is part of my day hatch storage area and do remove it at night and wedge a paddle blade over the opening secured with the bungee cords of the stern deck rigging. No problems yet. But then again I don't store anything they would want in the day hatch. Always bring along a bungy cord that fits around the kayak hatch openings and a piece of plastic sheeting so that if the racoons did chew through a cover you can at least have protection when on the water to keep your stuff dry.
One thing I have noticed is that the racoons really go crazy when they smell bait such as mullet or shrimp in someones boat. There are many fishermen that bring bait in small coolers but these critters can smell that a mile away. Use artificial lures it's better anyway.
Hello Voyageur North I wish I was in the Boundary Waters again! You are my favorite outfitters in Ely.
a friend uses is to leave the food and water in a closed hatch and turn the kayak upside down in the sand and push sand all around , half burying the end with the provisions. He claims his method is the most secure. I too have heard about the rubber hatches being chewed, thankfully it has never happened to me.
I would also be worried
about coons figuring out how to open the clasps on the hatches-they are smart! A coon opened my zipper on my cooler when I forgot to put it in my car one year. Ate everything but the orange-must not have liked the pungent odour of orange peelings!
Thanks everyone for the input so far, I didn’t expect responses this soon! This is what I am looking for. I was concerned about critters chewing the hatch covers and afraid there wouldn’t be anywhere to hang the food. We aren’t leaving for another week so any other input is appreciated and when we return we’ll let you know what we did and how it worked out. Thanks all!
how about an ursack?
it’s made to be tied to trees…can’t be opened by teeth or raccoon hands, includes a plastic odor barrior bag…click on “catalog”…I’d go for this if I were you…
are mainly after your water, they have plenty of food sources on the islands. So protecting your water is number one concern again by putting the water inside the hatch and secure it with a strap. There really is no need to turn the kayak upside down and cover it in sand. It’s not that bad of a situation. Just keep a clean camp and put your food and water away when you are finished using them. I always bring a quart of water into my tent at night no problems.
Trees: There are few trees and the racoons can climb them easily.