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Matthew Stenger
(MatthewStenger) - F

Locale: the beautiful but rainy northwest
Durability of OPsacks? on 01/07/2014 13:17:42 MST Print View

I have never used OPsacks before but I am thinking I should on the A.T.

I am wondering how many nights I can expect a OPsack to last for?

Should I plan on replacing them weekly or just a few times over the course of the trail?

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Opsacks on 01/07/2014 14:32:38 MST Print View

My use of them has been pretty scattered so it's hard to give a number, but they seem to last on average for 20-30 days before something goes wrong. Usually something fails around the closure, but once in a while I'll get a cut in one. I've been through about 5 over the past couple years.

I'm sure this is highly care dependant. They could last much longer or much shorter.

Edited by dandydan on 01/07/2014 14:33:08 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Durability of OPsacks? on 01/07/2014 17:19:24 MST Print View

"I have never used OPsacks before but I am thinking I should on the A.T."

Before you commit to using the expensive OPsacks, you might want to investigate the Nylobarrier sacks sold by Lite Trails. They are made entirely of the odorproof material that is laminated to a thicker non odorproof layer in OPsacks. They are much lighter, .4 oz, for a larger storage capacity, cheaper, quite durable, and a whole lot easier to use. I can use them for several trips if I don't outright abuse them. Simply turn them inside out, wash them, hang 'em up to dry, and they're ready for the next trip. It is wise, however, as with an OPsack, to check for leaks by sealing them up and applying pressure from time to time. They're light enough that I usually carry a spare or two in the field. Love 'em.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
My new OPsacks leaked on 01/07/2014 17:23:33 MST Print View

Needless to say I was not impressed.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Don't waste your money on 01/07/2014 20:14:20 MST Print View

Matthew,
Before you buy OPsacks or any other "odor proof" sacks, you might want to take a look at this excellent controlled study recently done concerning the actual effectiveness of these bags at sealing in odor:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/odor_proof_bags_study.html#.Usy8c2RDswg

In short, the bags are not odor proof. They failed to fool trained drug-sniffing dogs, which by nearly all accounts possess less acute olfaction than bears.

To my knowledge, there is no bag currently on the market that has actually been proven to be "odor proof" in a controlled, blind experiment. Until proven otherwise, I would treat these bags as a gimmick. All "proof" to the contrary that I have seen is anecdotal instead of coming from a controlled experiment (and, hence, proves nothing).

Remember that waterproof and odor proof are not the same thing.

On the AT, you will want to hang your food, especially in the vicinity of shelters (a.k.a. mouse hotels). Mice and squirrels will be a bigger problem for you than bears, but hanging your food properly should deter all of these threats.

Good luck on your hike!

Edited by dmusashe on 01/07/2014 20:25:06 MST.

Matthew Stenger
(MatthewStenger) - F

Locale: the beautiful but rainy northwest
Re: Don't waste your money on 01/08/2014 00:07:18 MST Print View

I appreciate the warning, as there is little I hate more than wasting money.

But its actually rodents I am most worried about. I want to protect my gear from critters, and I have heard that rodents will chew through many food bags. I am going to use the zpacks blast food bag, but I am still concerned mice will damage my stuff. If I could prevent them from smelling it then OPsacks would be worth the cost and weight penalty.

But if they are truly ineffective then I will have to just try to prevent mice from getting to my bag, which as I understand is nearly impossible.

Matthew Stenger
(MatthewStenger) - F

Locale: the beautiful but rainy northwest
Re: Don't waste your money on 01/08/2014 00:11:01 MST Print View

The other issue is that while backpacking I ALWAYS wake up at 5 or so really really hungry. I have to eat something or I cannot go back to sleep. I thought I might be able to put a few bars in an OPsack and keep it with me, and that would keep the rodents away (I'd also of course use an OPsack with the rest of my food bag.)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Durability of OPsacks? on 01/08/2014 00:26:59 MST Print View

"Nylobarrier sacks sold by Lite Trails"

Same as Nylofume bags that are distributed by termite fumigation companies. I've given all of mine away.

--B.G.--

Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
Re: Re: Don't waste your money on 01/08/2014 07:15:04 MST Print View

Even before the BPL article, I was dubious about the claims that OPsacks were truly odour poof. I left one with a ziploc bag full of dried humus on a table in Bothy. The next morning both the OPSack and Ziploc had been chewed through by rodents.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Durability of OPsacks? on 01/08/2014 16:36:31 MST Print View

"I've given all of mine away."

Why?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Durability of OPsacks? on 01/08/2014 16:47:52 MST Print View

"Why?"

First of all, I was not using them. A person on this forum was interested in them, so I sent him a package of them. Then another friend needed the rest.

I don't really need them, because virtually everyplace where I operate, there are either bear canister requirements or else strong recommendations. Nearly all of my individual food items are bagged anyway, so I don't really need an extra layer that is odorproof.

I might need a sheep-proof bag if I head over Baxter Pass this summer.

--B.G.--

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Don't waste your money on 01/08/2014 17:30:30 MST Print View

Matthew
There is a vendor that sells food bags made of interlocking chain... as I recall a bit like the old chain mail armor of the gallant knights... but not as heavy as you would think...

I don't recall the vendor, but they have posted on BPL before...

the bags would keep small critters out and perhaps you could line it with an op-sack... though they are not odor 'proof', they do reduce the odors emitted.

perhaps someone will remember the vendor's name... or you could do a search for it...

Billy

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
LiteTrail NyloBarrier Odor Proof Bag on 01/08/2014 17:44:45 MST Print View

I carried these on my 2013 AT thru along with the cuben zpack food bag and had no problem with rodents getting in. Worked fine.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Durability of OPsacks? on 01/08/2014 18:00:50 MST Print View

"First of all, I was not using them. A person on this forum was interested in them, so I sent him a package of them. Then another friend needed the rest.

I don't really need them,"

Does this mean your decision to give them away had nothing to do with whether or not they are odor proof?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: LiteTrail NyloBarrier Odor Proof Bag on 01/08/2014 18:07:39 MST Print View

"I carried these on my 2013 AT thru along with the cuben zpack food bag and had no problem with rodents getting in. Worked fine."

As with other tools, in the hands of a careless user they will not perform their intended function. Nor should an odor proof bag be the only component of an effective food protection system.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Don't waste your money on 01/08/2014 18:57:11 MST Print View

Matthew,

I hike the AT often. An Outsack or similar is the only way to prevent mice from getting to your food consistently. Opsacks, cuben food bags, hanging, etc - I have seen them all fail. Although hanging is fairly effective by itself.

Even with an Outsack protecting your food, if you forget a candy wrapper in the pocket of your pack, 99% chance it will have a hole in it in the morning. The mice are relentless and have all night to work at finding the source of those delicious odors. Kind of amazing little creatures when you think about it.

Ryan

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Ursack minor on 01/08/2014 19:18:09 MST Print View

The Ursack Minor is reputed to be rodent proof ( as opposed to re regular Ursack which is supposed to be bearproof). The tricky part is tying it tightly enough closed to keep the little buggers out. We've used one in the Grand Canyon and elsewhere (with an Opsack inside fwiw) and didn't lose anything. Purely anecdotal.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Ursack minor on 01/08/2014 19:45:47 MST Print View

From the Ursack website -

"We now make a rodent resistant bag, the Ursack Minor. ... Sometimes mice can chew very small holes, but very little of your food is likely to be taken."

UrsackMinor
Grand Gulch, 2011

UrsackMinorHoles
Grand Canyon, 2013

Not much food Was taken, but I don't like sharing, or cleaning rodent shit out of my food.

YMMV

Edited by greg23 on 01/08/2014 19:55:18 MST.

Matthew Stenger
(MatthewStenger) - F

Locale: the beautiful but rainy northwest
augh on 01/08/2014 20:01:52 MST Print View

This is the one area of my gear set up that actually has me stressin.

I really don't want my gear being destroyed by mice.

I guess I could just forgo shelters all together, but then I feel like I will miss out on a social aspect of the trail.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: augh on 01/08/2014 20:05:49 MST Print View

Hang your food, and run the cord through a Frisbee, or similar, that is wider than your food bag.

Search around, because it is a common issue.