Camping in Yellowstone

Old Apr 15th, 2011, 09:24 PM
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Camping in Yellowstone

May consider camping in Yellowstone if I can't get good lodging. Has anyone ever rented tents, sleeping bags, etc?
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Old Apr 15th, 2011, 09:44 PM
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I won't tent camp in Yellowstone because of grizzlies. There were fatalities last year.
I HAVE tent camped in Yellowstone (years ago) but unloaded everything into the tent and slept in the SUV. Not very comfortable, but bears scare me - and the bears in Yellowstone are grizzlies.
There are plenty of places to stay near the park and if you call on a regular basis something should open up inside the park.
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Old Apr 15th, 2011, 09:58 PM
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 03:35 PM
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> Has anyone ever rented tents, sleeping bags, etc?

You may want to check out this possibility instead of renting:
1) buy a cheap tent at a discount store after you land, keeping the receipt.
2) use the tent, keeping it relatively clean.
3) donate it to a thrift store when you're done.

Even if you don't factor in the tax deduction, you'll probably spend less money than you would be renting. I've done the latter (ended up buying the brand I rented, and still use it 25 years later), but it's not cheap.

Brown bears ARE a danger in the park, far more so than the relatively benign eastern black bear. Being bear aware (as opposed to bear paranoid) is even more crucial in this area.
How much of a danger are these animals? Over the last 60 years, six people have been killed in the Yellowstone area (ie, NOT the park itself) by brown bears. For purposes of comparison, 88 million people have visited the park (ie, ONLY the park) since 1979, and four million of them were tent campers. Even if we count all brown bear fatalities as tent campers (false) in Yellowstone itself (false); and assume the number of campers is about the same over all decades (also false, as the number of tent campers went WAY down, and stayed there, between 1994 and 1995), this means that those six fatalities represent about one fatality for every 1.2 million tent campers. All changes from falsehood to truth REDUCE the odds of a fatal attack while tent camping. The undeniable FACT is that the odds of a brown bear attack while tent camping is less than that of an auto accident while driving to the Park.

Odds not good enough for you? Fine. But just be aware of the reality of the situation.
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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I've camped in Yellowstone. We had no problems. The grizzlies usually stay away from human activities, and one is lucky to see them on a distant slope. Black bears were or maybe still are a problem. There was a time when one of the campgrounds did not allow a soft sided tent because of the bear problem, but that was in the early 70s. I do not know if that has changed. Glacier NP is another story, and some campgrounds are surrounded by fencing to keep the bears out. This picture was taken within a 5 minute walk of the Bowman Lake campground:

Rather than renting equipment, why not buy cheap equipment at a K-Mart, Sports Authority or other similar store? One could consider camping for the entire vacation and discover that the $300 investment pays itself back within ten days in the savings on hotels compared to campsite costs, and evening meals cooked at the campsite compared to restaurant costs. But that assumes a given pleasure in camping and outdoor cooking.
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 05:24 PM
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You could stay at the Colter Bay Tent Cabins in Grand Teton National Park near Yellowstone. We did stay at the Canyon campground 7 years ago in a tent. I didn't recall grizzly issues at that time, although that was a while ago.
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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NPR just had a segment about climate change in Yellowstone and how is it severely affecting food availabilty for grizzlies (pines are dying, fish are depleted in streams). The mother grizzly and her 3 cubs involved in the most recent fatality were starving and headed for the camp where someone was frying fish. It's just tragic all around.

I believe camping is closed in the Lamar River Valley where this occured. Camping in central, main campsites would not be a problem. Did a lot of camping in Lamar River area years ago. Never felt a bear menace. Fabulous country. I'm so horrified to hear about bear starvation.
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