ursack vs bear canister
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Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: location on 08/15/2012 09:01:28 MDT Print View

Happened at thousand island lake (aka bear central).

Also, not all food in the hard side cans was in op sacks.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: ursack jack-o-lantern on 08/15/2012 09:41:07 MDT Print View

"Was the food in the bear cans in odor proof bags too? I'm thinking the Ursacks might have been targeted because of proximity, not because of smell, but the smell from the bear cans drew the bear in."

Completely agree with this statement. People are way too focused on the concept of contents being protected by simply being inside the container. There should be an equal or greater focus on the scent of the contents being concealed in a Opsak. The fact that only some of the contents were in Opsaks was a terrible oversite as was putting ALL of the storage devices in a similar area. If you are in a group, common sense says to spread out the storage containers if you have multiple containers. If a Bear finds one they don't find the entire cache.

I am not convinced that the Opsaks were sealed fully or there wasn't some odor present inside the Ursack. I wash out my Opsaks after each trip to help ensure a minimum residual odor exists on either the inside or outside. I have never had my Ursack disturbed in any way on any trip I have taken. Not sure if that is pure chance or not. I know we don't have near the problem in Colorado that you do in California.

Edited by randalmartin on 08/15/2012 09:45:35 MDT.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Re: Re: ursack jack-o-lantern on 08/15/2012 10:11:08 MDT Print View

I had never had an ursack disturbed before either in many years if use. Doesnt mean it wont happen as this incident shows.

Op sacks may or may not work, but have the same fundamental problem as ursacks. Too prone to fatal problems. The seal mechanism is awful, and they get pinholes way too easily. That said, the ursacks contents were in op sacks.

And the ursacks were not near the bear cans, and 2 were in one area while the third was in a different area.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
ursack vs bear canister on 08/28/2012 11:09:05 MDT Print View

Jeremy: "...All of the bear cans can leak a bit if subjected to intense rain for many hours. Put everything in plastic bags. Maybe even the whole bear can in a plastic bag if weather is coming through. ..."
If you put the whole can in a plastic bag, the bear can hook the plastic bag and haul the whole can away. It might not get food, but you might lose your food.

It's too bad the ursack doesn't work better.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Knuckle under to the Can on 08/28/2012 13:21:37 MDT Print View

Our 5 Bear Vaults (3 large, two half-sized) were tossed around by Yogi on two of our nights at Clark Lakes this year. Being several hundred feet away, we didn't hear anything, and it was apparent that the bear just pretty much verified what they were and then moved on (to the large Sierra Club encampment, as a matter of fact). We store them all together and are confident in their effective protection of our food.

Unfortunately, Yogi didn't just bite my reflectix bag like last time, but tore it and the new companion bag up a bit. Duct tape to the rescue, but I had to use my whole stash. Dumb mistake to leave them in the "kitchen".

Yogi didn't visit us at all up at Thousand Island Lake, because he had several campsites in the "tourist zone" closer to the north end of the lake to pick from. The mountaineers camped south of us for Ritter/Banner were like us: no visits.

However, during the prolonged rains up at Thousand Island Lake, our BV's did take on water but we think it was due to us having lids off to get at food during the storms. You go as fast as you can but... Anyway, with everything, including trash, contained within Ziplocs, the water caused no trouble and dried right out in those epic, sunny mornings that followed the storms.

I know the BV's aren't "waterproof sealed", but I have dunked and rolled one in Badger Lake to wash off bear slobber and such, with no leakage into the canister. The tradeoff here may be that, if one cinches the BV lid tight enough to hold out water, it might be a...bear to spin it loose, later on.

The weight and size of the canisters is a bummer, but they work and work well.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Knuckle under to the Can on 08/28/2012 14:21:25 MDT Print View

"The tradeoff here may be that, if one cinches the BV lid tight enough to hold out water, it might be a...bear to spin it loose, later on."

One of our gear suppliers might be able to find a circular seal to stick on there. It would have to be so thin that Yogi can't get his claws into it, and it would have to be smooth enough that rain didn't leak in, yet it would have to have the right texture that you can break it loose when it is time to open it. Most importantly, it would have to be impervious to bear slobber.

--B.G.--

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Gasket? on 08/28/2012 14:37:16 MDT Print View

Bob, wouldn't a ring gasket inside the lid do? I think a thin neoprene washer, stuck on like a decal, could do it and that would be tucked up inside the cap where Yogi can't get at it. As I typed that, however, it occurs to me that this gasket will also make the canister harder to open if one were to enthusiastically cinch it closed.

It must have been a funny site to see, two grown men wrestling a little BV 450, just to get a ziplock full of Nido...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: ursack jack-o-lantern on 08/28/2012 16:22:09 MDT Print View

"There should be an equal or greater focus on the scent of the contents being concealed in a Opsak. The fact that only some of the contents were in Opsaks was a terrible oversite as was putting ALL of the storage devices in a similar area. If you are in a group, common sense says to spread out the storage containers if you have multiple containers. If a Bear finds one they don't find the entire cache."

+1 to both statements.

"Ursacks are all severely mangled with tooth holes and lots of claw holes, but they are still tied to the tree and were not pulled open. One was pulled so tight by the bear that it took a half hour to untie it from the tree. Contents are completely mangled."

Why didn't you use the aluminum insert?

"One ursack was pulled from the tree. The knot didn't hold. It was the only ursack that still had food. Dog food and top ramen. The two with trash were undisturbed. Mine was not the one that got pulled down so I don't know what knot my friend tied. The removed ursack has an approx 2 inch opening at the top where it should have been pulled all the way closed, so the botttom knot held (not the tree knot), but not tight enough the bear was still able to remove all the contents through this hole."

From your description, this is flat out user error, not the fault of the Ursack.

Carl Zimmerman
(CarlZ993) - MLife
Ursack & Bear Can on 08/28/2012 21:10:26 MDT Print View

I've used a Ursack for many years. Sometimes, I've tied it per their instructions (secured to a tree and stout tree limb). Sometimes I've hung it PCT method. Never had any bear problems w/ it. Used mostly in Colorado, UT, NM, etc.

In areas where bear cans are required (Yosemite, Kings Canyon, RMNP, etc), I've carried a bear can.

I just got back from a hike in the Sierras. I hiked from Lake Tahoe (Meeks Bay TH) to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. I talked w/ some of the thru-hikers that I met. They were the bunch that may or may not finish before the snows hit hard in the north. Anyway, all of them had bear cans. All of them bitched about them. Most said that they couldn't put in all their food in the cans. Just wouldn't fit. They saw few bears. Several said that they would carry smaller bear cans (to be 'legal') and carry something else (Ursack?) to hang their remaining food if they had it to do all over again. Some of them were checked by Rangers to make sure they were carrying a bear can. One hiker asked him what would happen if he didn't have one. The Ranger told him that he'd write him a citation and hike him to the nearest TH out of the park.

On my 185 mile hike (ended 8/20), I only saw bear scat at the Meeks Bay TH area. No sign of any scat or other bear indicators. I didn't meet anyone on the trail that saw a bear either (very dry year; all the bears must have been at lower elevations in towns or major campgrounds).

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
ounces per inch on 08/29/2012 07:52:12 MDT Print View

The thing is, a larger bear canister would weigh less per volume of space carried than a smaller one. Look at the weight difference between the "half size" Bearikade and Bear Vaults, compared to the "full size" versions. They're very close.

Clearly, the solution is a 24" long Bearikade. Ho ho.