Dedicated to Mara's travel and hiking adventure journals as well as her words of wisdom and suggested resources for hikers and travelers.
Rope - How much and what type to bring on the trail
For primarily bear bagging, you'll want about 50 feet of line (think of branches about 20' up). You may want some extra for emergency shoe lacing, pack tying, or tent staking. Or just be prepared to use your bear bag line and hope you never need all of your bear bagging rope and extra emergency line at the same time.
For bear bagging, it's very tempting to find some strong thin stuff but please think about the trees...
If you're going to be hauling up a bunch of food, a thin line will cut into tree bark rather quickly. It may be a bit bulkier, but I recommend something like parachute cord. Also, when camping with friends along the way, it's not unusual to share the bear bagging line so even if you think your bag will weight a maximum of 10 pounds or so, you might decide to use your line to hang a bunch of peoples' food and the weight can add up quickly. Keep in mind, you might be the lucky recipient of someone else's line someday and it really is nice to be able to reciprocate.
Oh, and no matter what line you use, push your bag up as high as possible so you don't have to haul the full weight by the line (your hiking poles can help). Besides, it's easier this way and may save you rope burns on your hands. :-}
If you're not going to be bear bagging, and you just want some cord with you for emergency purposes, there are some strong and light options that will pack smaller than parachute cord. Some also have reflective properties which can be very useful if, for example, you are using it to stake out your tent and you don't want to trip over guylines in the middle of the night. If you're really carrying it just for emergency purposes, first think about your potential uses for it, then think about whether or not you would be able to find some way to make do without the cord, and then decide how much you really need. Ten feet might be plenty.
If you think you may be using your emergency rope for climbing purposes, you will need specialized climbing rope for that and you should consult with experienced and knowledgeable climbers.
If you think you may be using your cord in or around water, you may want to consider cord that will float.
Last updated, August 3, 2006.
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