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Recent Ursack Use?

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  • Recent Ursack Use?

    Has anyone been out and about with an Ursack in the last couple of years? I know there’s one poster on here that had a failure up in Colden several years ago, but my search of the forums doesn’t turn up anyone with recent experience and I think they’ve redesigned them again since then. I’m curious not just about bear interactions — bc the answer I hope is that no one else has had them — but about the ability to fend off the little critters as well.

    I usually use a 60L pack and the bear canister takes up so much space that I hate using it when it’s not required. However, I’m also 5’1 so making a truly safe bear hang poses some logistical problems that I tend to not want to deal with after a long day of hiking, so I end up using my canister frequently in areas where it’s not mandated.

  • #2
    I use one most of the time. The last time it was attacked was quite a few years ago. No food reward. I also tend to not go where most people are. I do see bears and sign though.
    "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

    My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

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    • #3
      About 5 years ago I had one that a small critter (red squirrel would be my guess) was able to chew through. The opening was small and not much was missing but a packet of oatmeal was opened and spilling out in the bag. I have a much older one that is holding up well but the "new" one wasn't so lucky.

      That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

      snapper

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      • #4
        For the past 3 years I have used an Ursack Major with the aluminum liner and "odor-less" bag, both backpacking and canoe camping. No problems with critters large or small thus far. You do have to tie it closed and hang it properly.
        "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing."
        - Henry David Thoreau

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        • #5
          Thanks for the responses!

          Wanted to share an update -- after this post and some more research I was about to buy one and learned that the company changed the design on the AllMitey Series in 2021 without announcing it.

          The bags no longer have an additional velcro closure strip below the cinch point and they're apparently "waiting for customer feedback" to decide if they'll leave it that way or add the velcro back.

          I'm willing to be a beta tester for a whole lot of things, but my bear bag sure ain't one of them. Looks like my Garcia and I are going to have to learn how to get along in the wild after all.

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          • #6
            The Ratsack has served my purposes for several years. I find that squirrels are the biggest pest when it comes to issues with hanging bags and the mesh has proved impenetrable thus far.

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            • #7
              I used the Ursack Minor Critter bag for CL50 and NPT thru hikes. Hung between 2 trees, +10ft off the ground. It worked well for me. I'm mainly concerned about the rodents and I know they can get to it, even when hung that well. It does have the velcro and I don't think I would like it without..
              ~~Leave no trace~~

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              • #8
                I'm the unfortunate backpacker who had his redesigned Ursack bags ripped open while camping at Colden. Switched to the BearVault, which is itself now being scrutinized. Just finished watching a video that a guy did who put his Ursack on a tree and had sardines in it. He videotaped the interaction various animals had, including a rather small bear. The bear actually put multiple bite marks that penetrated, but did not rip the fabric. Ursack realizes teeth can puncture their product, which is why the will replace bags with rips 1/4" in size. Even not getting through, stuff would definitely get crushed inside the bag. No way I would use one now, even if they were allowed in the High Peaks.
                Are you hiding in the shadows - forget the pain, forget the sorrow.

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                • #9
                  Not particularly backpacker friendly but I was amazed that many coolers are IGBC approved. I've always hung while canoeing and have not backpacked in areas where bears are an issue.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by billconner View Post
                    Not particularly backpacker friendly but I was amazed that many coolers are IGBC approved. I've always hung while canoeing and have not backpacked in areas where bears are an issue.
                    I think the Yeti was the first cooler type container to pass the iGBC certifiication, but only if you lock it down with padlocks or bolts in the corners. The sales video of a Griz trying to open one was instructive and funny. When I needed to find certified containers as required in the first Yukon 1000 mile canoe race in 2009, I needed something to hold the then race mandatory required 20Kg (44 pounds!) of food per person. That's a a lot of weight and volume to store in the 7 person voyageur canoe that we were racing (a ridiculous overkill amount for what would be our 6 day race). After extensive research, a large certified Yeti cooler was the only viable solution I could find at the time.
                    "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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                    • #11
                      Not that IGBC is the only option or even a acceptable in all venues, the current list is available here: http://igbconline.org/bear-resistant-products/

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                      • #12
                        I trust the clunky Garcia. Saw a BearVault destroyed at Ward Brook LT. Have never had trouble with Garcia, though they are a PITA to deal with when packing. I usually pack it first, then squish everything else around it in the main part of the pack.

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                        • #13
                          Consider using a smaller canister that takes up less space in your pack. I highly recommend the Bare Boxer canister if you're going out for only 2-3 days. It's essentially a small version of the Garcia and weighs 1 lb. 10 oz. I've used it extensively throughout the Adirondacks, including the High Peaks when the notorious Yellow Yellow was still around.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rbi99 View Post
                            I'm the unfortunate backpacker who had his redesigned Ursack bags ripped open while camping at Colden. Switched to the BearVault, which is itself now being scrutinized. Just finished watching a video that a guy did who put his Ursack on a tree and had sardines in it. He videotaped the interaction various animals had, including a rather small bear. The bear actually put multiple bite marks that penetrated, but did not rip the fabric. Ursack realizes teeth can puncture their product, which is why the will replace bags with rips 1/4" in size. Even not getting through, stuff would definitely get crushed inside the bag. No way I would use one now, even if they were allowed in the High Peaks.
                            Did he have the aluminum liner in it?
                            "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing."
                            - Henry David Thoreau

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TrailBlaser View Post
                              Did he have the aluminum liner in it?
                              Not sure if it was this one
                              https://youtu.be/U-H77zu8sRo
                              but this is the video I share with others when they ask me about ursack effectiveness.

                              As I mentioned before, mine has been attacked and still shows the teeth indentations, but it was not breached. Dehydrated (and most other backpacking) food is crushed already so that is not an issue.
                              "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

                              My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

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