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Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 15:38:21 MDT Print View

This weekend our scout troop was invaded by raccoons... due to bears all food was hung in bags - some hangs better than others but I suspect that the crafty guys managed to jump onto bags not positioned far enough from the tree trunk... but even a few that seemeed to be far enough away got hit.

I've read the bear threads but is there anything you can really do against a determined raccoon other than a canister?

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
What to do about 'coons... on 04/15/2013 15:48:49 MDT Print View

They make great winter hats!

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 16:34:21 MDT Print View

Check out the Outsak, from They're pretty light, and they certainly work. A bear can probably trash them, and the mega ravens in the Grand Canyon area have figured out how to breech them, but they will work against all other animals (except maybe a chimpanzee, with their opposable thumbs...).

Edit--It's called Outsak, not Outsack

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 04/15/2013 16:43:43 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 16:51:17 MDT Print View

Gary, there is no point in trying to shop at since they don't list the weights of their products.


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 17:00:30 MDT Print View

This is why I use my food bag as a pillow.

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: B.G. on 04/15/2013 17:07:48 MDT Print View

I just looked and they list weights to within 0.1 oz.


Outsak® UL 3.75 ounces 10.5×19.5 inches 630+ cubic inches
Outsak® UL micro 2.85 ounces 10.5×13.5 inches 425+ cubic inches

*Weights for each Outsak® Animal Resistant Storage Bag are ± 0.1 ounces due to variations in the interlocking stainless steel wire mesh and webbing

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: B.G. on 04/15/2013 17:14:18 MDT Print View

David, yes, I found the approximate weights also, but I had no idea that I had to scroll down that far. Three or four ounces for a food bag?


doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Re: Re: Re: B.G. on 04/15/2013 18:00:16 MDT Print View

I'd be willing to carry 3 or 4 ounces more, heck even a pound if it meant not losing the weight of my food to maurading raccoons.

Christopher Kuzak
bear canister on 04/15/2013 19:41:15 MDT Print View

This is why I just take my can (bearikade). Determined marmots and raccoons are just as good at getting food as bears.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: bear canister on 04/15/2013 19:51:23 MDT Print View

I live with them, and I backpack in places where they are dense. Get an Ursack and tie it to a tree with your food. Then you can laugh at them derisively when you wake up and see that a corner of your Ursack has been chewed, possibly with a few raccoon teeth in the Kevlar.

But seriously, racoons (not to mention squirrels) laugh at your bear bagging. I have seen a squirrel take a 15 foot dive from a nearby oak limb onto my bird feeder, and I get racoons footprints on my roof. How they got up there I don't know. I have no doubt they can find a way down your bear bagging rope like Tom cruse in an episode of mission impossible. Either of them will make short work of your ultralight silnylon. My worry about keeping stuff in the tent is that they might try chewing their way in.

Ursack = useless for bears (unless you are happy with having all you food crushed into a powder), but great for smaller varmints. Mine has room for about a weeks worth of food for one, and weighs about 5 oz.

PS learn to tie it right as well, I'm thinking raccoons probably have some knot lore.

Edited by millonas on 04/15/2013 20:06:30 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 19:58:53 MDT Print View

I'm picking up my permit at Point Reyes while the ranger is on the phone with someone asking about food storage. The ranger says, "Oh no. Don't forget that racoons have opposable thumbs, and nothing but free time."

They are the most problamatic creature we run into here when camping, They are everywhere. I too have just started to take my canister more for them than bears.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 20:01:02 MDT Print View

For raccoons, I think your best defense would be a scaled-down Claymore Mine.


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 20:04:09 MDT Print View

One of my first backpacking trips was to Point Reyes. We got there in the dark and I didn't see the metal food box. I set my food on the picnic table. My food disappeared.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Raccoons... on 04/15/2013 20:04:49 MDT Print View

LOL, so true about time on their hands. I live in the Santa Cruz area just south of there. They used to come to raid my garbage cans every night. Then I bungie corded the lids, but every night after that at about 3 am they would still be out there - "snap, snap, snap" for like a hour straight trying to pry the lids open, until I ran out a yelled at them so I could get back to sleep. Still I kinda love em. About once a month one of then comes up to my lit-up living room window and puts is paws up with its nose pressed to the glass and looks in with a kind of "please sir, some more gruel!" look on its mug.

Edited by millonas on 04/15/2013 20:09:51 MDT.

jon fr
(brdaaw) - F
PCT bear bag method? on 04/16/2013 08:08:51 MDT Print View

I usually use the PCT bear bag method. Is this more or less racoon proof? I use very thin spectra line, which i can't imagine even a squirrel climbing down ~10' without slipping to the ground.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Raccoons on 04/16/2013 08:21:25 MDT Print View

Raccoons don't have to climb line, they grab it and haul the food up hand over hand.

David McBride
(VintageGent) - F

Locale: Galveston TX
Ursack Minor on 04/16/2013 08:21:54 MDT Print View

To protect my food from the non-ursine critters, I got one of the Ursack Minor bags:

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Raccoons on 04/16/2013 08:36:49 MDT Print View

"Raccoons don't have to climb line, they grab it and haul the food up hand over hand."

This! I haven't seen it, but would not be surprised. Pretty much figure if a 5 year old could do it so could they. Plus they can do the climb and chew on pretty much any branch that could hold your food, and they are a lot more deductive than bears. Once they get your bag or anything that can't be snarfed in one gulp they will the will often immediately abscond with the whole stash (if they can carry it) to somewhere where they can deal with the goodies at their leisure so you will not generally be able to easily get your food back if you miss the actual theft.

Edited by millonas on 04/16/2013 09:24:28 MDT.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Fascinating on 04/16/2013 09:15:00 MDT Print View

First time we've had raccoon problems - but they are plentiful where we normally camp...

I'll have to rethink the strategy across the board. Maybe get one of the chew proof bags. Ugh.

Or spectra line maybe?

Any other bag options that are perhaps less expensive than the ursack? Still may be worth it if the option is losing your food!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Fascinating on 04/16/2013 09:32:16 MDT Print View

Ah! Right! I had forgotten the price. It is ridiculous for a food bag. I've had mine for forever. I think there are a few alternatives now for plain old varmints - you don't need the full kevlar treatment of the ursack, which was supposed to be bear-proof.

Ugh, not much better:

If you are going with a scout troop could you designate one person to pack in a light plastic ice chest. Put some shoulder straps on it. The lockable ones would be perfect to load in everyone's food when at camp. Come to think of it a small plastic garbage can with a bungies for the lid might work - get one just big enough for the hole troop's food, or if necessary take two. Tie them on to your pack/s - crazy looking and bulky but pretty light. Not much bigger than one of those old-school sleeping bags.

Also Mountain Lion urine. OK just kidding, but you can buy it to keep varmints and deer away from your prized garden plants. Supposedly is scares the bejeezus out of most other mammals. Thinking I'm making this up? Want to buy some Bobcat pee?

Every once in a while I hear lists of the least desirable jobs. I've never heard this one on the list, but personally I have to put mountain lion pee collector high up there. "Here kitty kitty ..."

Edited by millonas on 04/16/2013 09:57:58 MDT.