Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » URsack in the Grand Canyon


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Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 10:59:09 MDT Print View

Hello,
I am doing a 3 day trip down into the Grand Canyon second week of september and I have heard there are lots of little cirtters down there. Is a Ursack s29 an appropriote protection for food against the little buggers?

Aaron Wallace
(basilbop) - F
Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 11:57:20 MDT Print View

You can email Tom Cohen at Ursack for more definitive information, but as I understand it small rodents have been known to be able to chew through some Ursack fabrics. The S29 is probably too new to have much field experience in this regard, but it appears like it would be much more critter resistant than the previous Vectran (Vxx) Ursacks.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Ursacks and rodents. on 07/13/2007 12:27:12 MDT Print View

You do need to use the Ursack with odorproof bags. I haven't had any rodent issues w/ mine in the PNW and Sierra in the 3 years I've used one---I have the sage green Spectra fabric model.

Scott White
(sdwhitey) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 13:12:38 MDT Print View

Jonathan:

The established campsites where I camped in the Grand Canyon this spring all had ammo boxes available for food storage. However, I was camping along the main trails: North Kaibab, South Kaibab, and Bright Angel. If you are heading to more remote areas of the canyon this may not be the case.

Scott

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 13:26:42 MDT Print View

Hey Scott,
I am going to be headed down the Hermit Trail and crossing over to Bright Angel via Tonto. Camping the first night at Monument Springs campsite. Looking at the information I received with my permit it stated that all food containers were removed. I some pictures I saw stands that look like you can hang your food from but I do not want to depend on that.

I appreciate the feedback guys, hiking in the desert is completely new to me.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Re: Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 13:42:05 MDT Print View

I'm personally interested in learning more about desert hiking, so please feel free to expand this topic. Would like to explore UT, NM, AZ, NV for spring hikes before the mountains open up.

I have a V27 Ursack that I use some, but no killer rodents here, so can't help with that.

Had a marmot try to eat my water bladder in the Beartooths last year. Bad marmot. Eat rocks.

Edited by jbrinkmanboi on 07/13/2007 13:42:52 MDT.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Grand Canyon Gear List on 07/13/2007 14:02:59 MDT Print View

I agree that Desert hiking is somthing I have been trying to read up on. He is my gear list so far. I am going the second week of Sept so it will still be mighty home. On my second day I will be traveling from Monument Creek campsite to Bright Angel. From what I have read there is very little to no water so I will be carrying around 2 gallons of water as a safety precaution since I do not know what to expect.


Grand Canyon List
Clothing + Gear worn
Bandana 0.50
REI MTS LW LS 5.00
Ex Officio Nomad pants + Pata SW boxers 10.00
OR SunRunner hat (w/ sun skirt) 2.30
Smartwool hiker socks 1.30 Worn
Montrail Conti Divide + Simblissity gaiters 33.40
Life Link poles 14.00
St Moritz Pathfinder Ti watch 1.30
Native Hardtop XP Sunglasses (w/ strap's) 0.75
Clothing Carried
Icebreaker liner gloves 1.00
Patagonia Houdini jkt 3.75
Patagonia Micropuff vest + BMW clava 7.80
Smartwool endurance socks 1.50
EMS techwick t (SPF 30) 4.00
Packing
Golite Jam2 + Slackpack 20.25
Sleep + Shelter System
BMW Cocoon Pro 90 quilt 13.70
BMW Torsolite 9.90
Six Moon Designs Europa + 5 Easton stakes 34.00
Cooking + Hydration
(1x) 3L platypus + (2) 80 oz bottle 3.50
UR Sack S29 bear bag 8.00
White Box stove + wind sheild + 4 oz dropper +Kettle + pot lifter + lighter 6.45
Misc
Fenix LOD CE .75
Medic kit 1.00
Aqua Mira (repackaged) 0.50
small book 3.00
BPL pillow 0.85
Granite gear Med air pocket 0.66
25 ft guyline rope 1.00
Swiss Army classic knife + suunto compass 1.50
Ti Spoon 0.39

Total Base weight 7.77 lbs

Edited by Jkrew81 on 07/13/2007 14:05:09 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 18:19:30 MDT Print View

I don't remember any critters at monument campground the two times I have been there, 2002 and 2004. At Bright Angel campground turkeys sometimes find their way to bother you though.

Doug Hile
(dhile) - F
Re: Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 07/13/2007 19:37:30 MDT Print View

I hike in the Big Ditch a couple times a year. Mice are the biggest problem, I'm not sure how well the ursack works against them. The next critter to cause a problem is the ravens, I have heard of them opening zippers on packs.
Ringtail cats (a desert raccoon) can be trouble, one ran in while I was packing up before sun rise and grabbed a bagel that I was eating for breakfast while packing up. I had just set it down on a rock and turned to push something in my pack, he was in, got it, and gone that fast. I saw him in mid air on the way in and nothing that I could do. My food stays in hand now.
I use a ratsack from armoredoutdoorgear.com they work but are a bit heavier.
On the corridors trails there are ammo cans but that is it. They used to keep them at more campsites but people were leavening trash in them and critters were getting trapped in them as they need to be left up side down.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Re: Re: URsack in the Grand Canyon on 08/04/2007 15:24:07 MDT Print View

i have personally witnessed GC ravens unzip pack pockets, although i didn't realize that was what they were doing at the time - they were perching and pecking on packs at an unattended campsite next to ours, but i had no idea then what they were capable of. when the neighbors returned, they reported to us that their pack pockets (externals) had been unzipped and it appeared that the ravens had pecked through the food bags and had a feast.

in treed areas of the GC, also watch out for the squirrels. they are clever and determined and will chew through packs.

John Larson
(j.larson) - F
Re: outsak in grand canyon on 08/11/2009 08:58:14 MDT Print View

I know this thread is old. There is a new product sold at Grand Canyon. Its called "outsak" and its a rodent proof bag sold at the stores along the south rim. I was skeptical when it was recommended to me, thought it was another nickel and dime situation, wanting to squeeze me for $$$. $25 to get in the park after paying for a permit and hotel reservation. Sorry, still burns me up how much they charge to get into a park after you have already spent so much for a backpacking trip.

Done ranting. Outsak saved my food on the second night of my trip in May 2009. I was 2 days in, 4 days to go on the trip and some sort of animal attempted to get my food. The Outsak stopped them cold. I had my food inside ziplocks, inside a nylon bag, inside the outsak. There were a feew spots where animals pulled on the wires, they nibbled the nylon bag a bit, but couldn't get far enough in to get at the ziplocks. Layers of protection, i guess are the key. If they would have gotten my food, I would have had a two day walk to get out on very little chow. Even if an animal chews a corner of a bag, that meal is gone in my book, especially in Grand Canyon, with the disease these rodents carry.People have died from exposure to these diseases, and recently. At least one in 2008, and one in 2009. Not the way to end a backpacking or river trip.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: outsak in grand canyon on 08/11/2009 09:15:27 MDT Print View

Outsak can be found Here.

$33, $40, and $45 for S,M, L

I have had a RatSak save my food on many occasions and it's nice to see something similar.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
outsak in grand canyon on 08/11/2009 09:47:59 MDT Print View

http://www.grubpack.com/shop/page/1?shop_param=

the older generation of OUTsack had durability issues and ravens could get inside. Im not sure about the newer gen. of OUTsack but these Grubpacks are basically the same thing.

its not only the mice that can ruin a trip but the Ravens will destroy anything and they hang out where the people feed them.. so dont feed GC animals, no matter how cute they are.

yes, they do carry disease. a park ranger contracted Plague from a sick cougar last year and died within 3 days. Plague, Hantavirus, not fun, and the mice may carry it too!

a cheaper alternative is a plastic 1 gallon paint can. sherwin williams was leading the drive to package all of their products in these plastic paint cans, and the lids fit nicely, i personally believe a mouse/squirrel/bird could not get the lid off. $4

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
sleep with food? on 08/12/2009 10:11:44 MDT Print View

From the reports here, an Outsak seems like a good idea. I live in the PNW, and normally use an Ursack but didn't even think about bringing it when I went to the Grand Canyon in March.

My experience in hiking through SoCal last year was that there wasn't much likely to bother food if I just slept with it close to me, and --- certainly a very limited experience but --- that worked fine for me in the Grand Canyon this spring. I did have a ring tail jump up on me in the wee hours of one morning (cowboy camping), but nothing got my food.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: sleep with food? on 08/12/2009 10:14:51 MDT Print View

yea I agree with Brian, when I did the GC we just slept with our food and had no issues. Only limitation is you can't set up camp and then wander far from camp.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: sleep with food? on 08/12/2009 10:33:44 MDT Print View

Last November in the GC the food sack inside the RatSak got nibbled/perforated wherever it was against the mesh. It was in the tent vestibule. Meanwhile some other enterprising critter chewed it's way into the tent to reach empty candy bar wrappers, and to eat half of a nosepad on my glasses, as well as sample the crud on my bitevalve.

It is highly dependent on where you choose to camp. If you're at a typical campsite with well-trained critters IMO your food will get chewed - regardless of proximity to you - unless it is somehow protected.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
URsack in the Grand Canyon on 08/12/2009 12:26:49 MDT Print View

My experience has been the same as Greg's; protect your food. This is especially true in the more frequented camp areas. In my experience, Monument, Hermit Camp and Cottonwood are bad for little, toothy, aggressive critters; I've heard the same for Indian Gardens as well. In other, less-used, places such as Boucher Camp or in most of the "At Large" camping areas, the critters are less inclined to associate people with food and you don't need all of the precautions. But, ravens get around a lot more and you need to keep your food protected from them wherever you are.

I use one of the original grey/green Ursacks and so far have had no problems with it in the Grand Canyon. I do hang the sack though.

Edited by Rincon on 08/12/2009 12:29:36 MDT.

John Larson
(j.larson) - F
outsak Raven Prevention on 08/13/2009 17:00:01 MDT Print View

From what I understand, no mesh bag is raven proof. I would also have a hard time trusting any fabric to prevent the beak of a raven from entering.

At least they are known for using zippers on backpacks.

I also would be leary of any product claiming "proof" against any animal. Give animals enough time, and they can do some damage.

You can't leave any of them exposed during the day time. Ratsacks can be penetrated by a raven.
Outsak has videos on youtube mentioning ways to keep the ravens away.


http://www.youtube.com/outsak

food for thought. I'm an Outsak believer. Not sure what generation bag I have-used the one I bought at the canyon.

What I do know, is you have to use something. I wouldn't trust anything plastic against grand canyon rodents.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
plastic is fine on 08/13/2009 17:21:05 MDT Print View

the plastic paint cans are fairly durable, that is to say i highly doubt a mouse or squirrel can chew into it given even several hours' time. For one, the can is shaped so that only the bottom edge is small enough for a mouse mouth. and that area is at least 3mm thick, pro'lly as reinforcement.

they are used to package paint. if dropped from waist high, full of paint, they will not open. (dont ask, but i found this out, and was satisfied with the great results)

the container i have uses two compression fitted edges that must both be squeezed together before the lid can come off, not like those old style "screwdriver" removable lids. Of course, they are also much more odorproof than a mesh sack, nearly the same volume and nearly the same weight. I can hold 3-4 days food inside.
ymmv

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 08/13/2009 17:24:02 MDT.

David Loome
(DavidLoome) - F

Locale: American Southwest
Never used an ursack in GC on 08/18/2009 16:22:07 MDT Print View

I live in Flagstaff and hike in GC all the time. I have never used an ursack. There are basically two critters that are bothersome: Mice, and ravens.

Mice are usually just a problem at night. They aren't nearly as clever as "shelter mice" and are easily foiled by a good hang job. I sleep near my food at night, but keep it out of my tent since mice will sometimes chew through anything they smell food on.

Ravens are an issue during the day and can open zippers and draw cords, etc. They are very intelligent and will have a go at anything they think might contain food- Backpack, stuff sacks, whatever. I try to never leave food unattended during the day in GC.