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ursack vs bear canister
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(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: on 03/02/2012 23:40:51 MST Print View

Bradley, i agree with you, thanks for chiming in. Gregory.... I don't see a bear can on Many famous thru-hikers gear lists.....

Edited by KalebC on 03/06/2012 17:06:42 MST.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 03/02/2012 23:44:13 MST Print View

An interesting thought came to mind.. I have long wondered why bears, with their immense weight and strength, don't literally punch a hole in the lid of bear cans like they sometimes do to car windows. Perhaps they dont bother because they know there is way easier food to be found with people who dont use cans, improperly hang, leave a dirty camp, etc? I know bears dont like to put a lot of effort into getting food if they can help it (see Yellowstone dumps). So yes, while the garcia and other hard sided cans are not 100% bear proof, they appear to be bear proof in that bears dont seem to put the effort into trying to break them when theres easier food to be found, and its my experience that there always is and always will be, considering how many dirty camps and fire rings I've seen over the years!

ps. I always clean any camp I stay at, as well as pick up schtuff along the trail as much as I can. I don't smoke, but I've never come out of the woods with less than a pack of butts in my pocket :(

"Gregory.... I don't see a bear can on Joe V's PCT gear list. Easy buddy...."

@Kaleb Joking man! I thought the excessive amount of exclamation points and the notion that I would behead someone for not using a bear can would give that away, sorry if it didnt. But for real, if you dont use a bear can I will find you and stick a machete where the sun may or may not shine depending on if its cloudy or not.

Edited by gregpphoto on 03/02/2012 23:47:44 MST.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Ursack on 03/02/2012 23:59:09 MST Print View

Anyone have any pictures of the Ursack wedged in a crack in a rock high enough where a bear can't reach it. I would like to try that and use a cam.

Edited by KalebC on 03/03/2012 08:59:05 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Ursack on 03/03/2012 07:49:58 MST Print View

re read first post.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ursack on 03/05/2012 23:50:45 MST Print View

@Kaleb: The purpose of a Ursack is NOT to prevent bears from reaching your food. The purpose of a Ursack is to provide a means of preventing your food from being carried off. It will not protect your food from getting crushed and your food will have smelly bear saliva on it if / when they reach it as it is tied to an object that the bear cannot cart the Ursack away from.

If you hang your Ursack, you've bypassed it's primary purpose because if a bear reaches your food, it will go with them as they skip out of camp. In problem areas, bear hanging may not work because as others have mentioned, if it always worked, we wouldn't need bear cans, but we do.

Bear cans cannot be carried off, so just like a Ursack, we don't hang them, but because their size prevents a bear mouth from carrying them away, we don't have to tie them down. A Ursack does fit into a bear's mouth and can be carried away, so securing the ursack to a tree or simlar prevents a Ursack from being carried away, some will disagree with even this though.

Hanging Ursack = potential for food being carried away
Wedging Ursack in high rock = potential for food being carried away (if you can reach it, a bear likely can and high rocks aren't easy to find, probably not as easy as finding a tree and following ursack instructions and using it correctly)
hiding Ursack = potential for carrying away

Tieing Ursack to tree or other object per Ursack instructions = most likely way to prevent food from being carried away.

Edited by tracedef on 03/05/2012 23:55:02 MST.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: on 03/06/2012 09:01:57 MST Print View

Trace, I already knew everything you said

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: RE: on 03/06/2012 15:17:20 MST Print View

@Kaleb: Your previous posts suggest otherwise, hence my and others' attempts to help out. :)

Edited by tracedef on 03/06/2012 15:22:37 MST.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Bears are not all as practiced as Yogi on 03/06/2012 16:27:16 MST Print View

My parents have a place in the far northern Sierra Nevada foothills. Bears go through on occasion and get into trash cans. The accepted local practice is to bungee the lid on. Apparently if the bear knocks a can over and it doesn't spill the contents they move on.

I would certainly use my Ursack with confidence in areas where the bears are so easily foiled. Or where the problem is raccoons or other critters. (Though raccoons might just untie the knot).

I don't like using the Ursack with the aluminum liner. It doesn't shrink as it empties, can't be used as a chair, and doesn't save enough weight over a can to be worth the bother and reduced protection.

In Yosemite, King's Canyon, etc. I sleep best with the food in a box or can.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: Ursack on 03/06/2012 17:04:17 MST Print View

I do think this is a good discussion. And I have hung an Ursack with counter balance- ONLY when the ranger instructed me to either use counterbalance OR a can. I think my point is that it is better to use an Ursack with counter balance rather than a nylon bag with counter balance, in case the bag falls somehow.

Edited by KalebC on 03/06/2012 17:05:04 MST.

David Hankins
(hankinsohl) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Ursacks on 03/13/2012 00:24:19 MDT Print View

An Ursack will work properly even if not suspended from a tree.

The reason you might want to hang an Ursack (in the Sierra National Parks/Forrests hanging is not recommended - park rangers do not want bears damaging trees while attempting to get at food) is that the Ursack is soft sided (unless of course you get the aluminum inner liner - but at that point you'd be better off with a hard-sided container). Bears are likely to crush food contained in an Ursack.

Another reason to suspend an Ursack (or tie it to a tree or other heavy object) is that bears may carry an Ursack away some distance even if they cannot get the food.

These points are addressed on the Ursack website: Ursack FAQ

Proper function of the Ursack depends on proper knotting. If the draw cord is not correctly knotted, bears can gain access to food.

I like my Ursack and use it when bear resistant containers are required and Ursacks are allowed. It's lighter than hard sided containers (7.6 oz for Ursack versus 36.7 oz for Bearikade Expedition) and is much easier to pack. In places where Ursacks are not allowed, I use a Bearikade.

Edited by hankinsohl on 03/13/2012 00:25:20 MDT.

Diana Nevins
(artemis) - MLife

Locale: Great Plains
Ursack volume. on 03/13/2012 06:35:52 MDT Print View

David, just curious - how's the volume of the Ursack compare the the Bearikade Expedition? Do you need two or more Ursacks to get a roughly equivalent volume?

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Ursack vs Bearikade Expedition on 03/13/2012 11:54:55 MDT Print View

"how's the volume of the Ursack compare the the Bearikade Expedition? Do you need two or more Ursacks to get a roughly equivalent volume?

I own two Ursacks and have rented and used an Expedition. Without confirming by checking specs on cubic inches or cc's, I would say that one Expedition Bearikade is about 1.5 Ursacks, so 2 Ursacks could store more food than one Expedition. I got 9 days of food (barely) in a Bearikade Expedition and could probably get 12 days (barely) into 2 Ursacks.

Diana Nevins
(artemis) - MLife

Locale: Great Plains
RE: Ursack vs Bearikade Expedition on 03/13/2012 13:17:43 MDT Print View

Thanks, Robert, that's helpful to know.

David Hankins
(hankinsohl) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Ursack versus Bearikade Volumes on 03/14/2012 02:56:40 MDT Print View

>> how's the volume of the Ursack compare the the Bearikade Expedition
The Ursack is roughly 650 cubic inches versus 900 cubic inches for the Bearikade.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Ursack vs Bearikade on 07/29/2012 07:38:33 MDT Print View

I have a Bearikade Weekender, and that is fine for most of my trips. As long as it is big enough it sure is convenient.

My problem comes when I want to take a two week unsupported (i.e. no resupply) trip. There is no standard commercial bear canister available that claims that much food storage. The options I see are:

*) A Bearikade Expedition is too small as rated by the manufacturer. I'm sure there are some on this forum who will insist they can squeeze two weeks' food in, though. Sounds pretty iffy to me -- for one thing, it is only 842 cubic inches which is less than common rules of thumb would like for two weeks.

*) One could have a custom Bearikade made -- my calculations say it would need to be 20"-24" long, depending on which rule of thumb you use to figure capacity, would cost $350-$400, and would weigh 46-52 ounces. That's a lot for an occasional use item.

*) Take TWO Bearikade Weekenders -- that just seems impractical, but at least it does work. As long as they and your gear all fit into your pack. And that is nearly 4 pounds of canister.

*) In some cases things work out so that you can take the Weekender and an Ursack, using up the food from the Ursack before entering canister-required areas. That seems like the most practical idea when it will work.

What do YOU think would be the best way to handle a two week no-resupply trip?


Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
2 weeks on 07/29/2012 15:36:39 MDT Print View

Bob, I agree that is the real dilemma. I've yet to have the actual issue come up, but there are trips I'd like to do that fall into that 2 weeks or more range. I am fairly sure I could get 12 days worth of my usual grub into my Expedition, but after that, I don't know. Most likely I would try to plan a trip that did not reach canister required areas until I was down to what would go in the can. Or I would aim to hit campsites with lockers until that point.

There are quite a few areas in the Sierra that do not require canisters, so planning a long trip without resupply may partly be a matter of choosing the route to avoid the required canister areas until you can get it all in.

I have never been asked by a ranger to show my canister, but I have also never been at the start of a 14-day trip claiming to have all my food in one canister.

On the other hand, there is another way - make your two-week trip a backcountry ski trip - no canisters required in the winter!

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Ursack vs Bearikade on 07/29/2012 15:42:17 MDT Print View

"*) In some cases things work out so that you can take the Weekender and an Ursack, using up the food from the Ursack before entering canister-required areas. That seems like the most practical idea when it will work."

That's what I would do.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: 2 weeks on 07/30/2012 13:48:04 MDT Print View

Much easier to adjust the food. High caloric density is the key. For example, freeze-dried MH chili-mac takes a lot of room, even if you repackage into baggies. Compare that with spaghettini or orzo as your base with dehydrated sauce - cooks just as fast. Make your sauce in parts - onions, mushrooms, garlic in one, tomato paste or ragu in another. dehydrate those so they are like fruit leather. Include a big bags of freeze dried protein sources - TVP, ground beef, ( to mix in. Shred the sauce leather before cooking.

You can put 25 pounds of spaghetti in an expedition, so there are plenty of calories. Pringles not so much. It really depends on your food choices. I just came back from a trip with 10 man-days in a BV500 and we had 3 pounds of food left over and I didn't try very hard!

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: hanging from a rock on 07/30/2012 14:08:16 MDT Print View

In regards to climbing up a rock and then using gear to hang your food, this isn't a guaranteed method either. I can't find the thread right now at SuperTopo but awhile back there were problems with climbers hanging their food up on the wall at the base of El Capitan and the bears would climb up the cracks and rip the food bags down. The conclusion was that bears can climb 5.9 pretty easily and so if you can climb it, the bear probably can too. Not all bears are as well adapted as those in Yosemite, but it isn't a foolproof method.


obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
"ursack vs bear canister" on 08/01/2012 15:05:51 MDT Print View

Another in a long line of great ideas from Tom K.

I'm packing my food in a Coors Light Can