How Do You Hang Food When Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

Hanging food while backpacking is an essential skill for any outdoor enthusiast. By properly hanging food, you can keep it away from animals, prevent contamination and spoilage, and avoid creating a mess when eating. Hanging your food also helps to protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of after a trip.

Choosing the Right Materials – One of the most important elements of hanging food while backpacking is selecting the right materials to do so. To hang your food you will need a rope, carabiner, and tree saver strap or bungee cords.

The rope should be strong enough to hold up your food bag without breaking. The carabiner should be made from a durable metal such as aluminum or stainless steel and should have a locking mechanism for added security.

Finding the Right Spot – When selecting where to hang your food bag, look for an area that is at least 100 feet away from your campsite and sleeping area. This will help ensure that any animals that may be attracted to the smell of your food won’t bother you in the night. Find two trees or other objects that are at least 15 feet apart and make sure they are sturdy enough to handle the weight of your bag.

Hanging Your Food – Once you have chosen where you would like to hang your food, secure one end of the rope around one tree or object with a clove hitch knot. Then wrap the rope around both trees several times before securing it with another clove hitch knot on the second tree/object.

Attach a carabiner at this point so it hangs in between both trees/objects. Secure one end of the tree saver strap or bungee cord to this carabiner and loop it around your food bag before attaching it securely with another carabiner.


Hanging your food when backpacking is an important part of being prepared on an outdoor adventure. By choosing strong materials, finding a safe spot away from camp and sleeping areas, and properly suspending your bag with knots and straps, you can keep yourself and wildlife safe while ensuring that no one gets sick from contaminated or spoiled food.