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Daniel Micelotta
(DanielM) - M

Locale: PNW
Ratsack for Grand Canyon use on 09/13/2012 16:54:35 MDT Print View

After debating between Outsak, Grubpack and Ratsack and not finding any real differences I took the path of least resistance and bought 2 small Ratsacks at my local REI. Ratsack also had the lowest advertised weight of the three sacks (all around 18"x 14") Outsak and Grubpack each claim a weight of +/- 8 ounces.

Upon getting home I inspected the bags...measurements are spot on. Construction seems okay. They certainly seem to be sturdy enough and the hook and loop closure is robust.

However the actual weight of the product is 9.5 ounces compared to the advertised weight of +/- 6 ounces. That's 58% over the stated weight! Now they do have a disclaimer about variations due to materials, blah, blah, blah. And there is some variation between the 2 sacks I purchased; one weighs 269 grams (just a hair under 9.5 ounces) the second weighs 271 grams (just a hair over).

I know that we have come to expect optimistic weights, volumes, temp ratings in the gear we purchase. But 58% over what is advertised. What do you think? Do I have right to be ticked off? Should I take them back to REI and order one of the other brands online?

I'm spending a lot of time and money to lower my base weight and those 3.5 ounces (per sack) seems huge to me.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Ratsack for Grand Canyon use on 09/14/2012 01:33:17 MDT Print View

I'd be annoyed as well. It would just be shameful if it was only one product and an unfortunate spec error, but considering they have 2 larger sizes that are also quoted at 10.5 and 8.5 oz respectively...that seems like purposeful misinformation to garner sales.

If you want to give them the benefit of the doubt, you could contact the customer support and see if maybe you got a bad batch or something and see if they will somehow help you get down to the specified weight, but as a consumer that did your research, I tend to fall on the side of "don't cause me unnecessary hassle."

I would return them, if nothing else than for the seeming dishonesty. Put your money to a company that does a more careful job of monitoring the quality of their product (outsack has a quoted variance of +/- 0.1 oz from quoted weights and grubpack has an absolute max weight for their product).

DISCLAIMER: It pains me to advocate against a local AZ small business, so I'd probably temper my response more and contact Armored Outdoor Gear, but as a whole this shouldn't be necessary for such a simple product.

James W.
(jimmyjam)

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Ratsack for Grand Canyon use on 09/14/2012 06:18:27 MDT Print View

I'm pretty sure that you can rent them from the store in Grand Canyon Village. Also you can usually get free left over fuel canisters from the backcountry ranger station by the train tracks. If you don't use one or something similar (I've used a cookie tin), the squirrels and ravens WILL get your food.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Ratsack for Grand Canyon use on 09/14/2012 07:39:24 MDT Print View

>> I'm spending a lot of time and money to lower my base weight and those 3.5 ounces (per sack) seems huge to me.

It is, especially when competitive products weigh a lot less.

How many people days do you need fit in the sack? Because even the smallest Ratsack is pretty big for a solo trip.

I have a huge one that's 18"x20" that I take for a group. Big enough for 4 people for 4 days. It weighs 8oz. (It's a no-name brand one that someone made one test batch of.) I also have the smaller UL Outsaks for solo/2-person trips. The "micro" size (about 3oz) is big enough for 4 days solo for me. I take freezer bag meals.

Btw, I would suggest using a stuff sack inside the mesh bags. (I made silnylon ones with the exact same dimensions as the Outsaks.) If you put ziplock bags directly into the mesh bags, the mice do manage to get little nibbles of the ziplock bags. Not enough to get to the food but enough to put small holes in the bags (which you don't find out until you pour boiling water into it...%$&@!) A nylon stuff sack is enough to prevent that. It's handy, anyway, and keeps your food dry and dust-free. Make sure you put your food bag well away from where you're sleeping.

Daniel Micelotta
(DanielM) - M

Locale: PNW
Thanks for the responses on 09/14/2012 10:07:30 MDT Print View

Dustin

I am a bit ashamed of myself for coming to BPL to rant before contacting Armored Outdoor Gear. After I posted here I did send them a polite e-mail asking them if this was an unusual case. As of this morning I haven't heard back from them.

James

I have checked into renting them at the Grand Canyon. The rental is $7.00 a night. I need them for 5 nights...they cost $36.00. I think buying them is the prudent choice.

Sumi

I bought 2 bags, one for my hiking partner. We will be spending 4 nights in the Canyon. Perhaps having 2 bags is overkill, but there will be future trips to use them on as well. Thanks for the other insights.

After sleeping on it, I'm going to wait a day or so and see if Armored Outdoor gives any response...if not I'm leaning toward returning the sacks and buying one of the other brands.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Thanks for the responses on 09/14/2012 11:14:36 MDT Print View

Just as an FYI, Ratsack was the original metal mesh bag. Came out in the late 90's, made in Flagstaff, I think. They started selling them at the general store in the park and sold mail order/online by the Grand Canyon Association. There were supply issues a few years ago; people weren't getting their orders and the store couldn't keep them in stock. They seem to have addressed whatever issues they were having but communication hasn't been their strong suit.

The larger UL Outsak would be nice size for you for 4 nights, with room to spare in case you want ever want to put toiletries in there as well. It's 10.5" x 19.5" and 3.75oz (by their spec.) If you keep your Ratsack, I bet you can get both of your food in one sack for this hike.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Ursack minor on 09/14/2012 17:52:38 MDT Print View

I've only backpacked the GC once so take this for what it's worth, but an Ursack Minor worked just fine at Hermit and at Monument.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
weights off on Ratsack on 09/15/2012 09:52:24 MDT Print View

Grubpacks seem to be better on their stated weights.

http://tinyurl.com/9dg3c5v

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
ratsack on 09/15/2012 18:06:29 MDT Print View

Bought mine several years ago in preparation for a Grand Canyon trip. It's the smallest size. Remember at the time that I was kind of annoyed because it was considerably heavier than specified. Just brought it out again and dropped it on the scale - 10 ounces.
On the plus side - they do work really well. My first night in the Grand Canyon the little critters came out at night and attacked the bag. No food was lost, but the little label that said Ratsack got chewed off. So you definitely need something to protect your food.

Sal Maestas
(CuervoBravo) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Ursack Minor on 09/16/2012 14:07:39 MDT Print View

I also have an Ursack Minor. It weighs 2.625 oz.
I've used it kind of a lot in the GC. Perfectly fine for critters.