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bear bag

Old 04-07-16, 01:08 PM
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bear bag

More of a backpacking thing than a bike touring thing, but anybody have experience with this bear-proof kevlar bag?

Ursack S29.3 AllWhite | Ursack

Thanks in advance...
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Old 04-07-16, 01:13 PM
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Hmm, bear proof? I'm skeptical. You should see what the State of MI had had to do with rest area trash cans to make them bear proof!
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Old 04-07-16, 01:40 PM
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Any self-respecting bear will be able to get into that bag - just untie the knot.
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Old 04-07-16, 01:49 PM
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I've seen them and they look interesting. In my opinion, you should tie it up high just like any other bear bag. The kevlar is just an added bonus/level of security.
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Old 04-07-16, 01:51 PM
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"Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee"

Who knew such a thing existed?
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Old 04-07-16, 02:09 PM
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I've never used one but have heard that although they cannot actually breach the material, whatever is inside gets thoroughly crushed and ground. You'd probably want to hang it high, assuming trees are available, in which case you can't use the cable to secure it to the tree. You could then expect to have it carried off should it fall into "enemy paws". Been there done that.

I've been biting the bullet and using a hard canister in grizzly country, where most of the time I've been above treeline anyway. On a bike you're unlikely to find yourself in such an environment. On my bike tours I just try to do a good hang with a regular stuff sack.
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Old 04-07-16, 02:23 PM
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I have experience with mine. No food taken yet. What I don't know is if any bear has experience with my bag.
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Old 04-07-16, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
"Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee"

Who knew such a thing existed?
They signed up grizzlies from all the different agencies and this is what they think...
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Old 04-07-16, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Erick L
I have experience with mine. No food taken yet. What I don't know is if any bear has experience with my bag.
I bet you could tell if they did. I just got back from a weekend backpacking toting the ol' hard canister borrowed from a friend, and I do dislike that so. The ursack seems very appealing. I don't really go to grizzly territory (although their range is expanding toward places I do go), so black bears and varmints are what I'm on the lookout for. This past weekend the place was supposed to be swarmed by supergenius raccoons but they didn't put in an appearance after all so a typical slovenly hang of what didn't fit into the canister did work. But maybe not next time...
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Old 04-07-16, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
They signed up grizzlies from all the different agencies and this is what they think...
That's actually not too far from how these things are actually tested - they fill them with something that smells good to bears (salmon guts?), then give it to zoo bears.
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Old 04-07-16, 10:21 PM
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I have an Ursack and love it. I will never use a hard canister again. The Ursack slips into a pannier so easily and it's far lighter. It is best to hang them, but not necessary if you can tie it off to something secure, like a tree. And rumours of bears carrying them off or crushing all the food inside are just that - rumours. Real tests by real bears have proved that these bags work. Interestingly, it looks like they might actually be more bear-resistant than traditional hard-sided bear canisters, especially after recent reports coming out of Yosemite where bears have smashed dozens of hard sided canisters.

And no, bears can't untie knots. (I think that comment above was meant to be humorous... I think.)
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Old 04-08-16, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024
I have an Ursack and love it. I will never use a hard canister again. The Ursack slips into a pannier so easily and it's far lighter. It is best to hang them, but not necessary if you can tie it off to something secure, like a tree. And rumours of bears carrying them off or crushing all the food inside are just that - rumours. Real tests by real bears have proved that these bags work. Interestingly, it looks like they might actually be more bear-resistant than traditional hard-sided bear canisters, especially after recent reports coming out of Yosemite where bears have smashed dozens of hard sided canisters.

And no, bears can't untie knots. (I think that comment above was meant to be humorous... I think.)
Thats very interesting to hear. I'd love to retire that canister.
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Old 04-08-16, 12:36 AM
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I am not sure what the current thinking on those things is but I thought the point was that Kevlar is acceptable to bureaucrats, not that it is going to stop a bear from tossing your cookies. If you are out in the wild and you will be in deep trouble if a bear takes your food, or wreaks it, that is one issue. But in places like NC the deal is to keep the bears out of the food, if your food is wreaked, you can replace it, or eat scrambled eggs. If you don't want to have to carry armored food containers, that is your choice.
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Old 04-08-16, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024
It is best to hang them, but not necessary if you can tie it off to something secure, like a tree. )
Depending where you are, hang it 10ft high, 6 ft from the tree. That's what the scouts recommend at the high adventure camp in New Mexico. And that's what I'd do out west. It's tough to do when there are no horizontal limbs 10ft up. Mostly I try to keep stuff in plastic bags to cut down on smell, and get it off the ground and as high as I can, even if only 5 or 6 ft up. At THIS CAMPSITE, I put the food in nylon panniers and strung a line between the Adirondack shelter and a near by tree, the tree just to the left of my kid in the image.

$70 seems like a lot for a 10L bag. I've picked up 50 and 60L dry bags on sale at REI for $15ish. Not as tough as this stuff, but I'm going to hang the bag anyway.
Just - whatever you do - don't bring food into your tent and don't smell like food when you close up for the night. (advice worth way more that 2 cents)

Last edited by mrv; 04-08-16 at 05:23 AM. Reason: s
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Old 04-08-16, 06:09 AM
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"Grizzly Bear Committee test and was placed on its bear-resistant products list on July 31, 2014. That list is the one relied on by many, but not all, wilderness agencies, and restrictions may still apply"

Not bear proof :-) I believe this are not accepted in the Adirondacks of NY, at least they weren't the last time I hiked over there.But given their weight much easier to carry then a hardsided canister
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Old 04-08-16, 06:44 AM
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I bought a Ratsack, stainless steel mesh, 19L, 6 oz. They make a medium and large also. Claims to be rodent proof, no claim for bear proof. I wonder about raccons and squirrels. On the label it does have a picture of a squirrel and a no circle over it,
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Old 04-08-16, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mrv
Depending where you are, hang it 10ft high, 6 ft from the tree. That's what the scouts recommend at the high adventure camp in New Mexico. And that's what I'd do out west. It's tough to do when there are no horizontal limbs 10ft up. Mostly I try to keep stuff in plastic bags to cut down on smell, and get it off the ground and as high as I can, even if only 5 or 6 ft up. At THIS CAMPSITE, I put the food in nylon panniers and strung a line between the Adirondack shelter and a near by tree, the tree just to the left of my kid in the image.

$70 seems like a lot for a 10L bag. I've picked up 50 and 60L dry bags on sale at REI for $15ish. Not as tough as this stuff, but I'm going to hang the bag anyway.
Just - whatever you do - don't bring food into your tent and don't smell like food when you close up for the night. (advice worth way more that 2 cents)
The difference between a $15 dry bag and a $70 Ursack is that you absolutely MUST hang the former. The latter is tough enough that bears can't open it up to get your food, so hanging is an option (might help your food from being damaged/crushed). This is very handy if you camp someplace without suitable trees for hanging.
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Old 04-08-16, 07:48 AM
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I have one, and love it. Not only is it a fraction of the weight of a bear bag, but it's volume also reduces as you eat your food.

I'm also pretty well convinced no-one ever actually hangs a bear bag properly, I mean, really, who among us hangs their food 200 feet from their tent, 12 feet up, six feet out and at least three from the top of the branch?

At this point, I'm pretty well convinced it's just as good as a hard sided canister, maybe even better. An Ursack gets tied off, so even if a bear mangles your food, you know where to find it. There's nothing to stop a bear from swatting your canister far enough away to render it unfindable.

Just 'cause it's fun, check out the video of the test
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Old 04-08-16, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR
"Grizzly Bear Committee test and was placed on its bear-resistant products list on July 31, 2014. That list is the one relied on by many, but not all, wilderness agencies, and restrictions may still apply"

Not bear proof :-) I believe this are not accepted in the Adirondacks of NY, at least they weren't the last time I hiked over there.But given their weight much easier to carry then a hardsided canister
Isn't the Adirondacks where the (black) bears have learned how to open all the bear-proof cannisters?

I'd still hang the bag to try to keep rats and mice out of it. They'll cheerfully sneak through the tiny opening at the top of the bag.
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Old 04-08-16, 09:12 AM
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bear boxes dont have to be hung from a high branch of a tree, like the bags will ..

& never eat in your tent , spilled food smells attract a hungry bear.
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Old 04-08-16, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
"Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee"

Who knew such a thing existed?
Part 1: Partisan Scientists in Public Service I: The Strange Case of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team

Part 2: Partisan Scientists in Public Service: The Strange Case of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (Continued)
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Old 04-08-16, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Aidoneus
I think you are confusing Yellowstone's grizzly bear study team (IGBST) with the IGBC, which has a broader mandate, including the certification of bear-resistant products. Note the bottom paragraph from the IGBST's web page:
Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team | Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)
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Old 04-08-16, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024
I think you are confusing Yellowstone's grizzly bear study team (IGBST) with the IGBC, which has a broader mandate, including the certification of bear-resistant products. Note the bottom paragraph from the IGBST's web page:
Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team | Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)
No confusion, just adding to the discussion.
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Old 04-08-16, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Isn't the Adirondacks where the (black) bears have learned how to open all the bear-proof cannisters?

I'd still hang the bag to try to keep rats and mice out of it. They'll cheerfully sneak through the tiny opening at the top of the bag.
There was one bear there that had figured out how to open the BearVault (twist style lid) on a few occasions and was named Yellow-yellow by locals (I think it had a yellow tag or transponder on it). But it was shot by a hunter I think a year or so ago, and no other bear has shown signs of being able to defeat the Bear Vault. I'm on a couple Adirondack hiking forums, and have a BearVault, so I've paid attention to those reports!

The Ursack is not allowed in many areas that require canisters FYI, but I'm sure where allowed they would be fine. I know many folks put their food in an Opsack first then in a Ursack, to better scent proof it.

The canisters are definitely a pain, but almost all my hiking (not biking) is in the eastern high peaks of the Adirondacks so required. At least they make a nice mini table to set things on when you might not have anything else around. Some of the large ones can be effective as a small seat too.

For hanging, check out the PCT method (Pacific Crest Trail). Some youtube videos out there I am sure. Hanging A Bear Bag?The PCT Method - The Ultimate Hang
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Old 04-08-16, 03:07 PM
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I don't use a bear canister or ursack on tours. I do use a canister for backpacking where they are required. None of the places I backpacked that required a canister accepted the ursack. I would use one for backpacking if it were accepted where I was going.

My understanding is that it is more widely accepted than it has been in the past, but still is not accepted in Yosemite, parts of SEKI, Yellowstone, or the Adirondacks to name a few. I am not sure if I am completely up to date on that.

I like my Bear Vault BV450 pretty well at 2 lb. 1 oz. and ~$65 it is a good compromise. I would consider an Ursack though if I wanted a solution for places that accepted it.
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