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Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper

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Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 20, 2009 09:31AM
Can we safely keep food in our propane refrigerator in a tent camper in Yosemite? Or will we need to use an ice chest stored in the bear box at the campsite? Can a portable propane refrigerator be stored in the bear box? It needs a vented space. So, the question is really, are the bear boxes vented enough for the propane refrigerator to cool itself?

Thanks in advance for your information on this topic.

avatar Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 20, 2009 10:16AM
IMO, this sounds like a bad idea all the way around. Based on all of the research/anecdotes that I have read about bears, it does not seem that the refrigerator would be an adequate storage device to protect against bears. It might be inviting trouble for both you and the bear. I definitely would not be storing an active propane device in a bear box even if it was properly ventilated (not really even knowing what amount of ventilation would render it "safe"winking smiley. I would go with the ice box, myself.

B
avatar Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 20, 2009 11:04AM
You can only keep food in a hard sided RV.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 20, 2009 11:07AM
The regulations are pretty clear on this.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bears.htm
Quote

Food may be stored out of sight in hard-sided trailers and RVs, as long as windows, doors, and vents are closed when you're not there. Food may not be stored in pop-up or tent trailers, or other soft-sided campers.

The rules are more detailed in the Superintendent's Compendium:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/compendium-2008-2.1-all-122807.pdf

Quote

Food and food containers must be stored by the methods outlined below at all times. Open food
containers must be within 6 feet of an awake person.

Food Storage - Non-Wilderness Areas
• In a properly closed bear resistant food locker.
• In a properly closed NPS approved bear resistant portable food container.
• In a properly closed bear resistant dumpster.
• In the interior of a vehicle which is occupied and under the physical control of the operator or
occupant; and occupants are not camping, [see 36 CFR 1.4 definition of camping].
• During daylight hours in the interior of a vehicle which has all windows, vents, and doors closed
and the food is out of sight.

• From sunset to sunrise food must not be stored in the interior of a vehicle except in any of the
following circumstances:
• The vehicle is an occupied hard-sided motor home or travel trailer and food is not visible
and not odoriferous from the outside.
• The vehicle is a hard-sided motor home or travel trailer with windows, vents, and doors
closed, and food is not visible and not odoriferous from the outside.
• The vehicle is parked in an area where bear proof food storage lockers are not available
and the food is not visible or odiferous from the outside.

• Inside a hard sided building that is occupied or has windows and doors closed.
• Occupants of canvas sided structures must store food in food lockers, refrigerators fitted with
latches and are properly latched, or other animal resistant container.
Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 20, 2009 12:16PM
It's that last line that I'm wondering about:

"Occupants of canvas sided structures must store food in food lockers, refrigerators fitted with latches and are properly latched, or other animal resistant container."

This makes it sound like it would be OK if the fridge can be locked; however, with my own common sense after reading the REST of the code, I won't be doing it. In fact, I may just leave the camper (my mobile palace) home this time and tent camp again for the first time in 20 years.

Thanks again for your replies.
avatar Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 20, 2009 01:01PM
Cobalt wrote:

> It's that last line that I'm wondering about:
>
> "Occupants of canvas sided structures must store food in food
> lockers, refrigerators fitted with latches and are properly
> latched, or other animal resistant container."

That's a reference to tent cabins such as those found in Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp, White Wolf Lodge, or Tuolumne Lodge - as well as park employee accommodations around Yosemite.

I think the reference might be to heavy-duty on-site refrigerators with locks. Probably something like a walk-in freezer door (on a smaller scale) with a locking mechanism.

Large metal panniers are approved for use in Yosemite. I thought I saw some in a trail maintenance camp when I was backpacking. They also hauled in several large bear boxes. Whatever mules or horses brought those in must have been really ticked off about it.

> This makes it sound like it would be OK if the fridge can be
> locked; however, with my own common sense after reading the
> REST of the code, I won't be doing it. In fact, I may just
> leave the camper (my mobile palace) home this time and tent
> camp again for the first time in 20 years.

There's no reason why you couldn't just bring a cooler along and stuff it in the bear box.

> Thanks again for your replies.

Sure - no problem.

I have an old story - staying in a cabin at the Giant Forest Village at Sequoia National Park, before it was removed. My folks brought along a large metal Coleman cooler with a positive seal and latching mechanism to store in the trunk. Those were the rules at the time, although they have similar rules now compared to Yosemite. They actually had normal steel trash cans lids, but no locking mechanism. Today there are cans that are essentially bolted to a heavy pole or heavy duty dumpsters with locking mechanism. Our cabin had a porch and a grill in front. The porch had a small stand-alone cabinet for daytime storage of utensils and plates. My mom was worried about bears maybe breaking into the cabin, so she decided to place some of our food outside in this cabinet.

So we come back to the cabin after a late night, and we hear people commenting that there's a bear raiding the cabins for food. It's rather dark so we shine our flashlights in the distance just in case. So here I am, a kid less than 10 years old shining a flashlight in the distance when I see a silhouette that looks like a bear with a plastic bag hanging out of its mouth. It eventually runs off. We get back to the cabin and find the cabinet door had been ripped off of its hinges and the bag of sliced white bread that was stored there is missing. It was easy to figure out what happened. So later we report this, a concession handyman comes out and applies some rudimentary repairs to the cabinet door, and a ranger comes out to take a report. The irony is that we didn't get charged for the repairs to the door, and the ranger didn't even fine us for it. That happens now, and maybe a $500-2000 fine.

Re: Refrigerator in Tent Camper
March 22, 2009 05:57PM
A few years ago my son and I were tent camping at Whitney Portal. (That's near the Mt. Whitney trailhead.) Across from our campsite was a retired couple with their big over-the-cab hardshell camper on the back of a pickup truck. Before they went to bed one night, they had "peach cobbler" inside the camper, and put the leftovers inside of the refrigerator in the camper.

During the middle of the night a bear tried to break-in through the vent that goes from the frig to the outside. It ripped the vent all up, and also pawwed up the sides of the truck trying to get in. The people woke up and made lots of noise to scare the bear away.

Just thought I'd share that experience, even though Whitney Portal is one of the worst places for bear car break-ins. It's really a great place to camp, as long as you put EVERYTHING into a food storage locker. : )

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