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Barbara K
(Barbara)

Locale: So Cal
Yosemite bear boxes on 01/21/2010 23:56:07 MST Print View

Re where the boxes are in Yosemite - they have a couple at the Sunrise tent campsite, as well as LYV, Cathedral Lake TH, Glen Aulin TH and TM.

Matthew Bishop
(mattsbishop) - F - M

Locale: Northern Frontrange, Colorado
Re: rocky mountain NP on 01/22/2010 17:13:38 MST Print View

Last time I was in the East side backcountry office, they had a collection of approved bear canisters hiding behind the counter--All hard sided. It would be great to hear if you get them to approve of an ursack. I've been eyeing them, if only for the times I find myself above tree line and won't be able to hang my food.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
double up on 01/22/2010 18:17:12 MST Print View

I have always thought that nesting 2 Ursacks could make it pretty tough for a bear to get at food. Ursacks are light enough and inexpensive enough to do that, and then when people are not in bear country they can be used as singles for little rodents. I'm not sure why Ursac could not market a double system.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
The opening on 01/23/2010 13:54:41 MST Print View

When the Ursacks have failed it has generally been through the opening. For whatever reason the sack isn't closed up completely, the bear gets a claw in and gets it open. Doubling up might not help that.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: The opening on 01/23/2010 15:24:01 MST Print View

Kristin,
Tell me more, please.

The top can never be completely closed to a bears claw. But when properly knotted, was the bear still able to expand the opening, effective pushing to knot 'up' closure cord and opening the bag?

Or is 'properly knotted' the crux question?

What was the scenario?

When I tie off to a tree, there is a double overhand securing the opening, then the ends go around the tree and get knotted again, leaving as little slack as possible. Pulling on the sack opening will probably get a little yield, but hardly enough to get something out.

Any additional information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: The opening on 01/23/2010 15:50:07 MST Print View

"When I tie off to a tree, there is a double overhand securing the opening, then the ends go around the tree and get knotted again, leaving as little slack as possible. Pulling on the sack opening will probably get a little yield, but hardly enough to get something out."

+1

The key is to get the Ursack snugged up to a tree, or log. I do a preliminary tie-off and then pretend I'm a bear and haul back on the bag as hard as I can, until the aperture is tightly closed. Then I adjust the double overhand knot and re-tie the Ursack for real, well snugged up to the tree. Get it tight enough and a bear won't be able to get a claw near the opening, let alone get any purchase.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Failure to cinch opening on 01/23/2010 17:19:13 MST Print View

I had read on the Ursack website that the failures were related to the opening rather than a tear through the fabric.

http://www.ursack.com/ursack-update.htm

Ursack argued that the decision was unfair because it was based on six alleged failures and such failure standard is not applied to other canisters. Only one of these alleged failures involved torn fabric, and that was in a ranger-baited bag in Yosemite Valley where no canisters of any kind are allowed. Yosemite refused to provide that evidence or even send a picture. All the other "failures" involved user's failure to cinch and knot the opening completely tight.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
stitches on 01/23/2010 18:16:15 MST Print View

The Ursacs I have are older and have only 2 rows of stitching that hold the drawstring in. If a persistant bear simply cut and abraided those two exposed rows of stitches, the game is over. If I was making the things, there would be no failures. It would be easy to hide that row of stitches for one thing. Sure, it may be Spectra thread, but maybe it isn't. Being exposed to bear claws like that is a poor design.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Failure to cinch opening on 01/23/2010 18:49:58 MST Print View

I just went to the ursack web site and looked at the pictures of how to hang the ursack.

I was amused at their picture of how to secure it above treeline -- to a pretty good-sized log (several inches in diameter).

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 01/23/2010 18:50:42 MST.

David Carbiener
(HikingDave) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Failure to cinch opening on 01/24/2010 12:43:26 MST Print View

I saw that too and laughed. Where did the log come from when it was above tree line? Didn't make sense to me.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Re: Re: Failure to cinch opening on 01/24/2010 13:41:35 MST Print View

They should have a little parenthetical note: "Imagine that in place of the log you are using a rock." :-D

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: SIBBG on 01/25/2010 14:31:03 MST Print View

SIBBG's disbanding can be directly attributed to the lawsuit filed by Tom Cohen of Ursack
Was the disbandment court ordered or just a maneuver to get around the lawsuit (a maneuver that would force Ursack to sue each agency separately).

HJ

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Ursacks and Canisters on 01/25/2010 17:05:42 MST Print View

I use an Ursack. The opening will never close completely no matter how hard you pull on the properly tied knot. It's still an opening. However, if the sack is properly tied to a tree the bear will most likely pull at the bag, trying to dislodge it from the tree. That pulling makes the knot pull tighter and tighter around the opening. If you just left the bag out on its own I could see how the bear could get a claw into the bag.

As far as canisters, I am not a fan of the Bear Vault. The lids on those things are not easy to open with cold hands. I've also seen one that just would not open no matter how hard 2 people tried to get it open. The threads were locked. Not a fun experience.

I used a Bearicade (plus Ursack "backup") on my JMT last summer. If I were not using a Bearicade I would use the Garcia due to its latching mechanism which is similar to the Bearicade.

Edited by scottbentz on 01/25/2010 17:06:56 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Ursacks and Canisters on 01/25/2010 18:05:42 MST Print View

I alternate among a Bearikade Weekender, Bear Vault 350 or Ursack depending on destination and how much capacity I need (the Bearikade really fills up a pack). I find the Bearikade pretty much fault free, other than the latches can get tight--I keep them greased and clean, which helps. The Bear Vault always opens for me provided I don't overtighten it (just close it past the point where latch tab engages) and the threads are clean and dry. I've not used one of the new double-tab 450s, so don't know whether they throw an extra challenge into the opening routine.

Cheers,

Rick

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
no Ursack on 01/25/2010 18:13:20 MST Print View

I have a Garcia, a BearVault, and a Bear Boxer. The latter is obviously intended for shorter trips, and it fits a pack easily. I don't hear of many backpackers using the Bear Boxer.

I saw one backpacker heading into the Yosemite backcountry, and he was loading his home-made canister into his pack just as a ranger drove up. It was made out of Tupperware and duct tape. The ranger just shook his head in disbelief. I'm sure that it would have slowed down a black bear for about one minute, and not much more.
--B.G.--

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
BearVault stuck lid? on 01/25/2010 22:11:47 MST Print View

"As far as canisters, I am not a fan of the Bear Vault. The lids on those things are not easy to open with cold hands. I've also seen one that just would not open no matter how hard 2 people tried to get it open. The threads were locked. Not a fun experience."

As Rick said, keeping the threads clean and dry helps a great deal. I think user perceptions on this might also vary based on which model you have. The older, I think BV200 (?) had a pretty thin lid, less to grip; I literally used a length of high-friction cord to wrap round the lid to get traction before I got into the habit of keeping the threads clean.

But the newer model has a much wider lid to grab hold of. I, at least, didn't ever have a problem with that one (but I already had the clean-thread habit by then).

There are definitely some advantages to the BearVault approach --- the ability to see what's inside certainly makes it easier to pack the can efficiently. And I think it's the most truly waterproof can, FWIW; I recall waking one morning to find I had left my Garcia out in the rain lid side up, with resulting water inside.

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: BearVault stuck lid? on 01/25/2010 22:18:03 MST Print View

Yup, with a Garcia you have to remember to flip it upside down before you turn in.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Bear Vault on 01/25/2010 22:18:15 MST Print View

The only stuck Bear Vault lid that I ever saw appeared to be a problem of thermal expansion and contraction. The lid got screwed on snugly when it was somewhat warm. Then it contracted. Early in the morning, when it was cold, it was a problem to open, and normal actions failed. Finally, the lid was warmed up slightly, and then the normal actions were successful.
Hey, once it has turned past the locking tab, don't tighten it anymore.
I would love to see a video clip of a bear trying to get into one of those.
--B.G.--

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
what to do with a bear canister when loaded on 01/25/2010 22:25:08 MST Print View

I was camped fairly near some other folks, and they filled their bear canister with food, then stuck that into a nylon bag, which they then hung with rope very high in a tree. I woke up in the middle of the night with the sounds of their antics. The sow black bear came into camp, sent the cub up the tree, and the cub got to the rope. The cub chewed the rope, which sent the nylon bag and canister hurtling to the ground, or more specifically, onto the granite. The canister cracked open like a Mexican pinata. The bears scored, big time.
If those people had just left the bare canister out flat on the ground, it would not have been a problem.
--B.G.--

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
dam*n bearvault on 01/25/2010 22:40:55 MST Print View

i can't open mine much of the time. especially in the morning, this can be extremely frustrating and even depressing.

the last trip i took it on, i had to have someone else help me to open it. i'm not weak, but i just didn't have the hand strength required.

i think i'd rather wrastle a barr than wrastle the friggin lid on the barr-vault.