I recently purchased an Ursack “Bear Resistant Food Bag”. I haven’t had it out in the field yet, but wanted to give a quick review. First the specs:
My intended purpose: General animal & varmint bag for local trips.
Material: Ballistic Fabric & high tensile strength cord
Volume: 650 cu in
Weight: 8 oz (bag); 10 oz (aluminum insert)
Website: http://www.ursack.com/index.html (site has videos of bears going after the bag)
Shipping: Free via USPS for orders over $75. Arrived in four days.
The bag is well made and the material appears very durable with a nice tight weave. There is a lot of room in this bag. You can easily store several days of food. The insert makes the bag fairly rigid and should do a good job to reduce crushing of the contents. It is a bit bulky but you could unroll it and carry it down the back of a bigger pack. If you carry it this way you may want to smooth out the corners some more to protect your pack; they are roughly rounded but could use a little filing.
I wanted to give the bag a test drive, but I couldn’t find any bears hanging around the house. Then I realized I have the perfect tester already. Saja! Saja loves tug of war and can chew the cover off a golf ball, so I figured that if the bag could survive her I could trust it in the field. I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous giving a $60 piece of kit to the dog, but they say it will stop a bear so why not a dog?
Saja was certainly up for the challenge and gave it her best shot. She went at it for about 10 minutes, more than enough time to shred most household items. As you can see, the bag did take some damage. She was able to pierce the material in a couple of places but there was absolutely no lateral tearing and most of the tooth marks smoothed right out. Her most effective assault was grinding with her back teeth. I think that given time she could grind a hole in the bag, but with the material’s lateral integrity it would be hard to make a large enough hole to get at the food.
I would definitely recommend buying and using the aluminum insert. It pushes the total weight over one pound and will make for a minor packing challenge, but it will save your food from crushing. Also, the insert helps keep the bag taut which would reduce loose folds that might be chewed. I suspect that after a couple of animals go to work on the Ursack you are going to want to replace it, but at least you’ll still have your food.
The Ursack is not indestructible but I do think it is a good alternative to the hard bear canisters when local rules permit.
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About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!