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  1. #1
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
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    Default Z Packs Bear Bag vs. S2S 13L Ultra Sil Bag

    I was all set with my ZPacks CF Bear Bag Kit and have used it for short weekend trips for over two years. However, I am reading and hearing more and more that it will struggle to hold enough food for 7 to 10 day's and also has issues with the Biner ripping the loop from the bag due to weight issues. This does not mean that the bag itself is week or not durable.

    I have also seen many people that are using a 13L Sea to Summit Stuff Sac as a Food Bag and are raving about it's carrying capacity while still being lightweight.

    As I can repurpose the CF Bear Bag for Clothing, I really would like to hear views and preferences of others. Which is better and why? Also, which model of the S2S?

    (PS. I don't need to hear about Outdoor research however, I own a 10L and while very Waterproof, it is to heavy to compare to the Zpacks.)

    Thanks for your opinions!
    "gbolt" on the Trail

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  2. #2

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    Seein as how zpacks is 12.5L, 13L wont gain you much.

    Now the 20L S2S would gain you a bunch

    Reasons I likes me zpacks foodbag:

    1. Not a floppy sack, has enough body to stay open and support itself
    2. Likes the drawcord top and mini biner combo
    3. Not round, shaped to fit better in pack, doesnt create wasted space
    4. Not round, things pack better inside it
    5. Easily repairable with tape if needed
    6. Dont get no lighter
    7. Not slippery fabric

  3. #3
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    I ditched my zpacks bear bag about 500 miles into my thru hike. The seams started giving out and it had a lot of holes in it. Ended up with an ultralight dry bag that worked great. Don't have it in front of me but I believe it is an OR ultralight model. Really wasn't that much heavier and was much bigger. Also much easier to hang as the beaner that came with the zpacks was junk and the bag came down a few times. Not just mine either. I saw a few zpacks bags come down when the beaner broke. With the dry bag you just clip it and then tie your line right to it. Talked to the zpacks guys at trail days about it and they shrugged. Maybe it is better now? I'm pretty sure they put a better clip on the sack.

  4. #4

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    I bought the zpacks bear bag kit last year in a attempt to lighten up. The biner was a piece of junk. Never stayed closed. I think it bent on me. I didn't like the cord much (too thin) especially when pulling up about 6 days of food. The bag and the throw sack was fine. I will test it again on a Spring section hike but may just go back to my old REI stuff sack/biner/paracord option. I packed it on my second section last year cause I wasn't sure about the zpacks system.
    I seen many S2S on the trail and liked what I saw but have no personal use with it.

  5. #5

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    The gate on the mini-biner can bend to side possibly when pct hanging heavy bags. The tiny biner is not indestructible, the wt attempts to bend it across the stick when hanging. Careless or rough use(letting bag wt drop onto stick with force) could impart high enough loads to cause it to bend open, and foodbag to drop later. After more than 1000 miles I have no complaints. I dont expect cuben to stay waterproof, or last forever. Works fine treated with care, like most UL gear, but need to pay attention to weaknesses.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-16-2017 at 02:24.

  6. #6

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    Never had an issue with my ZPacks bear bag kit. It is ultralight gear, so you must treat it with more care than regular gear, but it is not a hassle.

    the line is plenty strong enough to hoist 5+ days of food without worry. The biner, while small, has never bent in hundreds of miles of use. I hang PCT style when no cables are available and like muddy said, gently lower the bag. I carry a second biner to close the bag when overstuffed with food. Put it thru the middle loops at the opening and I can carry 5+ days of food.

    Again, I don't expect it to last forever, but I do like it. Has held up well over the last 500 or so miles I have carried it.

  7. #7
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    Your post will bring out all the zpacks fan boys and girls. Almost any bag will do .

    Thom

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    Your post will bring out all the zpacks fan boys and girls. Almost any bag will do .

    Thom
    +1

    I started out years and years ago with a nylon gym bag that I used as bear bag. Used cheap white nylon braid rope from the hardware store. It did have a 'biner, though....

    Truthfully....I only graduated to paracord 25 years ago....

    Now, it is an STS dry bag, Lawson slickline and the same darn rock...

  9. #9
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    Your post will bring out all the zpacks fan boys and girls. Almost any bag will do .

    Thom
    I'm a huge zpacks fan, EXCEPT their cuben bags. I bought a few of different sizes, and because they were expensive, darn it, I use them. But I'm not a fan. Flimsy, I hate the draw cord, they are not particularly waterproof, I prefer my GG sacks, all told about 2 ounces heavier for 3-4 of them.

    I am a huge fan of the S2S 13L bag, used one for an entire AT and probably an equal number of total miles of backpacking beside that, still going strong! When it finally wears out, I'll buy another.

  10. #10
    Registered User G-FOURce's Avatar
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    I, also, am a fan of the S2S Ultra-Sil bags. I have been using one for my food back for more than a year and have never had an issue with it at all. Never. The fabric is less prone to abrasion than cuben and the craftsmanship is great - I can put a week's worth of food in it and have no issues with seam integrity.

    I like the convenience of buying prepared, freeze dried meals from REI and I have found that using 4mil food-safe, heavy-gauge zip locks to repackage them in advance of my trips is better b/c they'll roll up much smaller than the sharp, rigid foil bags that those meals are packaged in which means I can fit more of them into a smaller food bag. I roll up my 4mil zipped meals, put those in an OpSack, and put that in an odor-barrier bag which goes in the S2S food bag. I use the tiny Ti 'biner that came with my S2S Ti long spoon to secure the food bag to my bear-bag line and I have never had a problem with it, either. Voila.

  11. #11
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    Cubans best purpose to me is a shelter material. If you want to go very light and have extra cash for it.

    thom

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    Your post will bring out all the zpacks fan boys and girls. Almost any bag will do .

    Thom
    Any post about ZPacks gear will bring out the haters as well...

    Its an opinion, not everyone is going to agree with your views.

    Any bag will work...

  13. #13
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    It says almost any bag !!! I have a zpacks tarp. It's great . Cuban is not always the best material for things IMO Cubans best purpose is shelter material. Hater very funny

  14. #14
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    S2S ultra-sil bags are great for food. I used one on the AT and PCT. After well over 4,000 miles, some of the seam taping finally came undone (though the stitching never gave out), and the bag had a few holes from hungry mice. I bought a new one for the CDT, and that bag is over 3,000 miles now, too, and still looks almost new. The PCT/AT bag is totally usable other than the holes, and to this day, I bring it on trips where I expect mice to be a problem.

    The only drawback that I can see is that the bags aren't fully waterproof. If you hang your bag outside a shelter in the rain, some water might get in. This doesn't bother me, since I just keep a wet food bag outside my pack liner.

    I've gotten up to 7 days of food (@ over 4,000 calories per day) in the 13-L bag. If you are planning to go for 10 days between resupply you might want to go for 20 L. The weight difference is pretty negligible iirc.

    (BTW, where are you going that you need to carry 7-10 days of food? Don't carry more weight than you need to! Go to town instead!)

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    Your post will bring out all the zpacks fan boys and girls. Almost any bag will do .

    Thom
    Will do...maybe
    As easy.....no

    For instance, long, skinny, cylindrical bags suck. Hard to get anything out of without dumping whole thing. MLD makes such a cuben bag......it sucks. Zpacks shape is the big benefit, moreso than being cuben. But if you aint used one enough to experience that, you cant understand...so you dont

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Will do...maybe
    As easy.....no

    For instance, long, skinny, cylindrical bags suck. Hard to get anything out of without dumping whole thing. MLD makes such a cuben bag......it sucks. Zpacks shape is the big benefit, moreso than being cuben. But if you aint used one enough to experience that, you cant understand...so you dont

    Ha ha it's a bag you put food in and hang in a tree .

    thom

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Will do...maybe
    As easy.....no

    For instance, long, skinny, cylindrical bags suck. Hard to get anything out of without dumping whole thing. MLD makes such a cuben bag......it sucks. Zpacks shape is the big benefit, moreso than being cuben. But if you aint used one enough to experience that, you cant understand...so you dont

    Agreed man. The shape of the bag makes all the difference.

    My ultrasil bag failed on a 200 mile section hike last year. Bought a zpacks bag at trail daze and havent looked back

  18. #18
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    I'm no fan boy but have had the zpacks roll top food bag and the ul beener for about 5 years with no complaints..I've patched a few abrasions and have a little rust on the beener clip as I've used in salt water...still works fine...All that said it's only been hung probably less than 20 times....mostly been a pillow...those ul beeners are same ones most all cottage mfg sell....light and durable is a tough combo to achieve...


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  19. #19

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    Trail urban legend, but possibly true, supposedly rodents have to work a little harder biting through cuben fiber than silnylon. I had carabiner issues, but that is generally from pulling the bag up PCT method at a certain angle allowing the rope to cross the gate of the beaner. If you pull from the bottom, or are cognizant of where the rope is sitting on the beaner as you hoist it, you will be fine. You can always get a light weight climbing beaner that has some side gate strength to remedy this issue.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  20. #20
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    Maybe that urban legend is a bit true until you get to Maine and those little red squirrels show up. Those little bastards chewed holes in everything and are aggressive as heck. During the 100 mile I was sleeping with my foodbag under my head so I would wake up if they started chewing. My hiking partners had holes in their tent, pack and foodbag. They even had to eat the ramen that those little things got into.

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