Camping Food Storage: How To Stop Animals From Stealing Your Food

Birds, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, deer and more. They look cute, but when you’re on your back, be careful. They will easily risk rummaging through your food. Although many of these animals are small, they have a large, strong bite and their sharp teeth can cut through almost anything, their sharp claws can open most boxes and containers.

I lost a fleece jacket to a squirrel after leaving it on our picnic table for an afternoon with some nuts in a pocket. That squirrel worked its way through my zipper to get to the pocket and eat the nut pieces.

We have also had what we thought were raccoon proof containers invaded. The lids were ripped and torn and the food inside became a buffet for a family of raccoons one night.

Even some types of food coolers are easily breached by bears. With cunning paws, sharp teeth, and a desire to stop at nothing to chew up your food, the only animal-proof way to protect your food and containers is to hang your food or, better yet, when camping with your family, keep your food stored in your vehicle when you are not at your campsite.

Even dry foods that are sealed in resealable containers or bags can attract wildlife. Their sense of smell is far greater than a human’s sense of smell and even sealed food can become easy prey for them.

Also do not store your food inside your tent. You risk losing your store to the wild if they really want a sample. These animals can rip through fabric, rip through zippers, and will stop at nothing to get to your good-smelling food.

Our best advice is to keep your food inside the large containers and coolers you’ve brought with you camping. Just bring food for meal times and snacks. When you leave your campsite for long periods of time, place your food containers inside your vehicle. And never leave open food or any food item on your picnic table, dining table, inside your tent, or just lying around your campsite unless you want it to go away. Doing so will attract more animals as they will see your site as easy prey.

Some refrigerators are more bear resistant than others and if your refrigerator is very large and heavy, you can take a chance and leave it outside at night. It also depends on how friendly the area you are camping is. If there are bears in the area, you wouldn’t leave your fridge to chance.

Protect your food, protect your food containers and keep animals a safe distance from your campsite. They look cute but they don’t mind stealing your food. Don’t leave any food out after eating, keep all your food in containers, and place those containers inside your vehicle for an extended time outside of your camp.

Happy camping!