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Alok OP Sak Replacement?
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Alok OP Sak Replacement? on 09/29/2010 19:07:24 MDT Print View

I've recently had a spate of failures with the OP Saks. (LokSak.com)

When I contacted them I was told by the owner that they have only a 30 day life expectancy.

My biggest issue is failure in the field. I don't like having to buy new just because something Might fail when needed most.

What is the alternative? What else is out there that is odor-proof. When you walk down the aisle in the supermarket you are not assailed with a barrage of food smells. Someone has it under control.

My thought is to use an oven-proof turkey bag, twist it shut and rubber band it. But I don't know if the material is actually odor-proof.

Question for the Materials Experts -
1)What materials are odor-proof
2)What other products should be considered?
3)How is "Odor-Proof" testing done in a lab?

Edited by greg23 on 09/29/2010 19:12:12 MDT.

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
Go To The Experts on 09/29/2010 21:45:30 MDT Print View

You could always conduct a series of trials in bear country with fish! I'm only half kidding since that really is the acid test. I would suspect that metalized Mylar would be an excellent place to start. If it can suppress the smell of 20 ounces of delicious East Kent Goldings hops it can handle gorp and beef jerky!

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
accidental misinformation? on 09/29/2010 22:51:01 MDT Print View

I have some OP Saks going on 4 years old that still hold their seal just fine. Having said that, I looked at their website. If you look in the FAQ section, they will only replace failures within 30 days of purchase, not that the bags have a life expectancy of 30 days.

If the owner actually said this, then you should request he change the FAQ section on his website as the life expectancy is listed as follows, without any specific time frame:

5. What is the life span of a bag?
There is no way to determine how often any one individual will use each bag, nor how brutal they may be with it. The better care you take of the bag, the longer the bag will last. The bags are disposable and must be replaced after extended use. Our bags are like batteries, Band-Aids, ink cartridges, light bulbs, lip balm, elastic gloves, …they have a specific purpose and a life span. When the bag is becoming worn, it is time to replace the bag.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Go To The Experts on 09/29/2010 22:58:07 MDT Print View

Chris in on track for sure, alot of the packaged food and food services stuff is vacuum sealed in metalized and non metalized mylar. It's pretty effective.


The unfortunate fact though is that industrial and home vacuum sealers cost and perform leagues apart. Not that it really matters in the field, reseal-ability is paramount.


I imagine however that alot of the tech in OP sacs is more about the closure than the bag material.

Edited by jdempsey on 09/29/2010 22:59:12 MDT.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Failure of OP Saks on 09/30/2010 00:13:23 MDT Print View

Greg,
If by failure you mean the seals separated, then use the Clip'n Seal Bag Clips available from Amazon. Size large, cut to length, is workable. This was posted last Spring on this forum, but I don't remember the name of the poster.

I would not use the same bags again for a critical application, like a food cache, though.
Sam

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Failure of OP Saks on 09/30/2010 06:31:03 MDT Print View

I use the OP sacks specifically for food in an Ursack. So yes, a "critical application" IMO.

What I am experiencing is the seal stripping away from the backing on one side or the other.

I am slow, careful, and deliberate when sealing. I wet my fingers to improve glide, I make several gentle passes. I try for large radius flat bends versus sharp folds. I don't think I can do much more in terms of "operator care".

Regarding life expectancy, the owner said, roughly, ...that these are expendable items and are not going to stand up to continued use...after 30 days you're on your own...as stated in the Returns section. She was quite indignant that I would expect a greater lifetime. She was also not appreciative of my suggestion to place her comments in the FAQ section.

I'm not trying to denigrate WatchfulEye. But they have a business model and a product that doesn't work for me.

So I am trying to find a better solution. I spend two to three weeks a year in bear country and feel this is a worthy approach to pursue.

However, does anyone Know if OP Saks make a difference? Or is this just more "scare marketing"?

Any insights and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by greg23 on 09/30/2010 06:32:43 MDT.

Say Raow
(lordrasov) - M
re: failure of OP saks on 09/30/2010 06:54:12 MDT Print View

--However, does anyone Know if OP Saks make a difference? Or is this just more "scare marketing"?

I`d like to think they work, but the only bear encounter I`ve had wasn`t prevented by one. We were thru-hiking the Bruce trail and decided to camp in a commercial campground for one night. We were using ursacks with OP saks, but there were no trees or objects to tie them to in our site, so I tied them together. I woke up at 4 in the morning with a bear beside my head thrashing and growling, trying to rip open the ursacks. I thought for sure it wouldn`t happen, considering we were the only people tenting in the crowded campground and certainly the only people being remotely careful with food storage. The reason I believe the OPsacks may not have worked as well as advertised is because the bear certainly knew there was food in those bags, rather than our backpacks, pots, under our tarp, etc. Obviously I can`t rule out that I didn`t seal them properly, but I am extremely careful when using them.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Alok OP Sak Replacement? on 09/30/2010 07:05:37 MDT Print View

OP saks are no good in my opinion.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
The older thread on 09/30/2010 09:40:15 MDT Print View

Here's the older thread on this. Last trip out with new Aloksaks we had no trouble but did handle them carefully.
: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=34821

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
OP saks effective? on 10/05/2010 00:37:02 MDT Print View

Since I live abutting a national forest, and we have plenty of bear activity, I will hang some Op Saks up in stuff sacks with different food contents, together with a sack with a Ziploc with some sardines at some distance (just to be sure the bar is thar), and see what happens. Will use the clips on the Op saks. Stay tuned.

Travis Helton
(TJ_Hiker) - F

Locale: Pacific NorthWest
Re: Re: Failure of OP Saks on 10/05/2010 09:29:57 MDT Print View

Just something Ive always thought about these OP bags... If youre handling the product you wish to place in the bag, then touch the bag (seal it), arent you simply negating the whole reason for using the bag?

I mean, Ive read stories of bears chewing into pop and beer cans. If they can sense smell on a can, wouldnt a bear canister or a sack in a tree be more helpful?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Failure of OP Saks on 10/05/2010 09:42:46 MDT Print View

I don't think anyone is suggesting that an OP sack on the picnic table is the way to go.

A bear with "camper experience" will test whatever is lying around, regardless of smell/no-smell.

In theory an odor-proof sack makes it Much harder to find your food. Especially if it is away from your camp.

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
OP Sak Closure System on 10/05/2010 10:00:11 MDT Print View

My experience with OPsaks is in an Ursak lined with the large Opsak with smaller Opsaks containing breakasts, lunches, etc. inside that. The seals are annoyingly flimsy and pull away from the main part of the bag no matter how careful I am, as the OP states. For the company to assign a "life" to the bags is a red herring. The problem is the poorly designed seal. The several popular brands of zipping freezer bags make seals that work over and over and over. It would be a wise move for the Opsak company to design a better seal. Simple as that.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Smells and bears on 10/05/2010 10:09:03 MDT Print View

The article at http://www.americanbear.org/senses.htm states that a bear's sense of smell is 7 times greater than a bloodhound. The OP Sak will make your stash harder to find. Anything you touch or has touched your gear, your kitchen counter, etc has an odor. All you can do is try.

I think any container stands out to habituated wildlife as a potential meal. I'll bet if you put a rock in a ziplock bag, some critter will try to open it. If it isn't part of the landscape, it is "human," and that equals food.

Remember they can smell you, and they know that your stinky socks equal food somewhere, which is why you don't stash food near your camp.

I would hang an Ursak if I had the chance. I think it is a reasonable deterrent, but too "portable" for my liking. Just leaving it laying in camp is an invitation to at least investigate, regardless of what it smells like.

No free lunch-- unless you are a bear :)

Chris Bell
(Hobbit) - MLife

Locale: PA Wilds
Failures but... on 10/05/2010 10:37:33 MDT Print View

Identical failures on the OP sack seals that I have used.

Having said that, I have witnessed a black bear walk right under my suspended bear bag with all internal contents sealed in an OP sack. The bear continued on in to camp and headed straight for an old cooking grate off to the side in the woods. Who knows how long that old rusted thing was there but the bear could smell something on it from quite a distance away taking no notice to my bear bag. So I keep using them even with anecdotal evidence that they work.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
bear in general on 10/05/2010 10:43:19 MDT Print View

I have also read that bears have a great sense of smell. They are also clever and know what items look like i.e. they know when they see a cooler or backpack etc. With their sense of smell and intelligence I doubt a bear would be interested in a rock in a baggie. Smell would attract them and get them close. Intelligence would take over from there. I don't think you find anything odor proof for a bear.

Edited by carlbecker on 10/05/2010 10:44:21 MDT.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Ditto on that on 10/05/2010 10:44:55 MDT Print View

A quick slice o' duct tape fixes most problems w/ OP's. When they are more duct tape than Alok, it's time to replace them.

Stargazer

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: bear in general on 10/05/2010 11:15:22 MDT Print View

Re: rocks in a bag and a bear's intelligence.

I was thinking more critters in general there. The point being that a plastic bag says "EAT ME."