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Re-usability of Aloksak Bags
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Gene Kinney
(carl_kinney) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/11/2006 14:00:58 MDT Print View

Just tested at home a 9 x 7 O.P. (odor proof) Aloksak Bag with the flat, gussetted bottom for use as a cooking container. I wanted to test the bag against hot boiling water and a titanium spork stirring and eating out of the bag.
My question is: After cleaning out the bag with something like Dr Bronner's Peppermint Soap, how many uses can I get out of such a bag out in the field before the bag can't handle that particular use? My main concern is in regards to bacteria and health. Anyone with long term use as such?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/11/2006 17:04:38 MDT Print View

I think that's a bad idea. Eat out of one of them, and they will be just as "odorous" as anything else you have.

If you wash the bags with soap carefully, rinse thoroughly, and then air dry them for an extended period of time, then OK, maybe... but you can't easily do that at a campsite.

In my experience -- and I babied my bags and didn't eat out of them at all -- these bags can give out after using just a few times. In fact, I highly recommend that you bring 1-2 extras on your trips. And don't use them as cooking containers.

Edited by ben2world on 09/11/2006 17:05:38 MDT.

Alice Hengst
(Moondust) - MLife

Locale: Southern Sierras
Re: Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/11/2006 17:44:06 MDT Print View

I've used the bags for two trips. Each bag developed a small hole by the end of the trip. They are not very resistant to anything with a corner being stored inside them.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/11/2006 17:59:56 MDT Print View

I'm not cooking and eating out of my Aloksak Bags, but the two largeish (12x20) bags I used as food bags worked fine and seem quite servicable for another year or two. I've used smaller (9x10) bags as lunch bags and to carry maps, a book (_Cascade-Olympic Natural History_ by Dan Matthews, highly recommended), and as a lunch bag.

I'm kind of fussy about sharp objects and bags, though.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/11/2006 18:10:29 MDT Print View

On my last trip, I brought 4 of these bags for our group of four campers.

At the end of two nights, one bag got a hole and the seal on the second gave out (i.e. you can easily push air out of the bag even after it's "sealed").

I would say the hole was something that the user could have avoided with care, but the second had more to do with the bag's durability in and of itself.

The two remaining look OK and should be good for a future trip.

Edited by ben2world on 09/11/2006 18:12:18 MDT.

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: Aloksak Durability on 09/11/2006 19:35:22 MDT Print View

Not very durable IME. I seem to burn through these things in one or two outings. I've used them for maps, the 9x6 gussetted for food and the 5x4 for misc. items. They just don't last for me. Ryan Jordan mentioned using one of the 5x4's for over a year if I remember correctly.

For food I've switched to a cut off water bottle bottom or old platy bottom. The former lasts practically forever and the platy two seasons. The aloksaks are nice but too pricey for their life span IME.

Finally, odor proof? Not even close. Food odors persist after washing and worse my insect repellent scent in a BMW dropper bottle can be smelt through a brand new bag that has been sealed (and the bottle does not leak either).

Look elsewhere, unless you just want a tough ziplok.

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
odor proof on 09/11/2006 23:16:33 MDT Print View

The Aloksaks do not claim to be odorproof. For that, you need the OP Saks. Took me a while to realize this as well, until I found I could smell my ESBIT tabs through the Aloksaks. However, once I switched to the OP Saks, I had no problem with odor. Not sure why the OP Saks aren't waterproof; must be the zip closure mechanism.

I recall a post here long ago from the supplier (?) that said it would cost some 800% more for the two laminate technologies to be merged into one. I'm sure my figures are all off, but I remember learning that it was highly impractical to manufacture a combo waterproof-odorproof bag for a cottage-gear-sized industry.

My experience has been that the Aloksaks are more durable than the OP saks, but I will only use OP saks for items with odor.

Edited by jcarter1 on 09/11/2006 23:18:29 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Aloksak Durability on 09/11/2006 23:23:34 MDT Print View

I've used my OP sack for over a year now and according to my dog it is still odor proof. It is kept inside my bear bag so nothing sharp comes in contact with it from the outside. I put nothing sharp on the inside and use it strictly for storage. I do not eat out of it. I baby it. I am referring to the 12” x 15” O.P. Odor-Proof / Waterproof Food Storage Sack that came with my Ursalite Bear Bag. Standard Aloksaks are not odor proof but are more durable than the OP sacks. There is a new version of the OP sack that, according to the manufacturer, is more durable but I haven't tried it yet.

Edited by ericnoble on 09/11/2006 23:25:22 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/12/2006 00:08:47 MDT Print View

John is correct - the Aloksack is not the same thing as the OP Sack. The former is not odorproof; the latter is.

I can attest to the odorproofness of the Watchful Eye Designs OP sacks. We camped at the head of Lyell Canyon in Yosemite NP (primo bear country)Aug 25. Put my energy bars in an OP sack and left it by the campfire ring. Bearikade went a little further away. Pack (now empty) went by the tent. Yogi slipped into camp in the dark, completely ignored both the Bearikade and the OP sack, and attempted to steal entire pack. Almost made it too but hung it up on a small tree. Only got my belt pouch - with permits, ID, and expensive compass! I hope he chokes on Red Fred.

OP sacks are great for trash and whatever won't fit into the bear canister. I carry three on every trip. No punctures or leaks.

Wandering Bob

Edited by wandering_bob on 09/12/2006 00:15:25 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re-usability of Aloksak Bags on 09/12/2006 09:18:31 MDT Print View

As other have comments... I found that you really need to baby the OP watchful designs bags. As other have pointed out aloksak is made by the same company but isn't odor proof.

I would not cook in one, and certain not use a spook inside it. I have found that if I don't carry it inside a hardsided bear canister that the OP bags have holed within a day or to of trail use. [There were several trips I took that didn't require a canister so I was using a stealth approach. The wear and tear of the OP bag being inside my pack put small tears in the bag after the second night on both trips.


Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
OP Sack Durability on 10/27/2006 22:47:39 MDT Print View

I've done several weeklong trips w/OP sacks and have found no holes to allow odors to escape. My car with 2 Ursacks and 4 Bearvaults full of food in OP sacks has been parked at Whitney Portal and Yosemite Valley in high traffic bear areas for all of Sept and most of October. I strip the front seat area of all items and cover the fully loaded rear area of my station wagon with a $20 8'x10' piece of black felt to obscure any visual temptation. It may have been unnecessary, but I washed the car inside and out before the trip with unscented soap (peppermint soap sounds like a bad idea to me). I have had no bear encounters with my car. I credit the lack of visual clues and the OP sacks. After 2 years of occasional use, I have torn 1 sack. The rest are functional.

In the backcountry I line the transparent bearvault with dark paper to hide the contents and try to place all containers out of plain view by hiding them amongst shrubbery or rocks.

I am careful with OP sacks and I never force a filled bag past the sharp lip of a Bearvault to fill the cannister. I insert the empty bag first and then fill it. It is unfortunate that the diameter of these bags is slightly less than that of cannisters and sacks. This necessitates either underfilling the can/sack or doubling your OP weight by using 2 OP sacks side by side in the can/Ursack.

If you doubt the superiority of these bags over ziplocs, put beef jerky in both and smell the outside of the bags a day later. The difference is remarkable.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Aloksaks on 04/23/2009 10:25:41 MDT Print View

I'm running out of things to improve upon in my pack, but one thing I've been considering is using an assortment of Aloksaks and one OPSak to replace normal ziplocs. I usually just throw in quite a few ziplocs extra, since they come in handy. There aren't many bears in the country I hike, I've never encountered one, but they're out there, so I don't know if I should even worry about an OPSak.

Should I even bother? This thread doesn't sound very encouraging.

I see that some retailers sell an assortment of 4 differently sized Aloksaks, but I was wondering what assortment you use in your kit?