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  1. #1
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    Default Bear bags vs Ursus bag?

    May have spelled that incorrectly - what do you think about using the Ursus bag that (apparently) you tie to a tree rather than throw over a limb higher up in the tree? It seems more convenient. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Registered User Tuxhiker's Avatar
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    Good thing about the Ursak bag is it can be either. It is best used with the odor proof liner.

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    Thumbs up I use the Ursack

    Quote Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
    what do you think about using the Ursus bag that (apparently) you tie to a tree rather than throw over a limb higher up in the tree? It seems more convenient
    For me, that it's main feature. Even with perfect conditions -- trees nearby, with branches at just the right height -- I couldn't do a PCT hang if my life depended on it. Much easier to just tie up the top of an Ursack, hang it around a tree truck using a square knot, and be done.

    It's not fool-proof: at different times I've failed to adequately (1) seal the top and (2) enclose the food in an odor-proof bag. But it's lighter and more compressible than a bear canister, so I'll continue to use it.

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    I’ve been meaning to ask, this seems as good a spot as any. I have an Usrasck which looks like it would get heavier if wet. What do people do to keep it dry, given the cords being at the top?

  5. #5

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    It does get a little heavier when it gets wet. I use a dry bag in mine to keep the contents dry. I have yet to lose anything to an aminal but have had the rammana noodles turned to powder because of something playing tetherball with it at night. I have watched the night bandit raccon work at getting into it for a long time before they gave up. I tie my cup and spork to the rope so they act like a bell and that lets me know if the bag is doing it's job.

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    I have found that it actually dries fairly fast. I'm guessing the material (kevlar I believe) doesn't actually absorb water. If left out all night in a heavy rain, water WILL find it's way inside the weave, so if you don't use an OpSack or other type of odorproof bag (or at least some sort of plastic sack), the contents will get wet and will need drying off ... but the outside of the Ursack dries faster than you'd think.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

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    Also, for whatever it's worth -- I have used a plastic grocery bag a couple of times to keep it a little dry. I poke a small hole in the bottom of the grocery bag and feed the cords thru...then tie it off to a tree as usual. The grocery bag just sort of hangs over the Ursack like a poncho.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  8. #8
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    The problem with an Ursack is that while the bear might not "TAKE" your food, he can still destroy it.

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    I know a bear can destroy my food if I use an Ursack, but I figure the AT is pretty crowed and there will always be another hiker that can give me some food or that I can eat if things get really bad like the Donner Pass situation.

  10. #10

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    If you add the 10 ounce option for the metal liner and carry a couple sit pads to put on top of the bag it serves as a more than adequate stool while you prepare your meal.Liner protects the integrity of your food and the liner bag reduces odor signature and keeps things dry.They say it's not rodent proof unless you get the special one made for that purpose though.I like the plastic bag on top idea.I've used the concept before hanging the pack on bear cables with a contractor bag as the poncho.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    If you add the 10 ounce option for the metal liner and carry a couple sit pads to put on top of the bag it serves as a more than adequate stool while you prepare your meal.Liner protects the integrity of your food and the liner bag reduces odor signature and keeps things dry.They say it's not rodent proof unless you get the special one made for that purpose though.I like the plastic bag on top idea.I've used the concept before hanging the pack on bear cables with a contractor bag as the poncho.
    Add a few more ounces and you can simply move upto a light weight bear canister... specifically the Bearikaid. I used one on the JMT and found it crazy simple to use. A lot of people will scoff at it's price, but it's no more expensive than many other pieces of camping gear.

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    I depend on my old Ursak Minor to keep the rodents out of my food. I still hang it on the bear cables, hangers in the shelters, or use the bear boxes. I'm mostly concerned with the mice, rats, and flying squirrels who raid your food at night.

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    I use the PCT method; once I found a throwing motion that worked for me (underhanded, like Rick Barry free-throws), proficiency in setting the line came quickly. Sometimes in a forest of southern pines it can be hard to find a good limb, but I've always managed to find the odd oak trying to grow up among them.

    That said I have no illusions - if a bear wants it, it will figure out a way to get it. I'm probably protecting it more from the mini-bears, which are likely more numerous where I go, anyway.

  14. #14

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    Someone once suggested in this forum that a flimsy water bottle with a little bit of water in it makes a great weight to use for throwing a bear bag line.I have done it and it works great and is less likely to get fouled and hung up that other things I have used.I always use potable water in it which I drink first thing in the morning.A bottle that does not crush down is not suitable for this use...

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Add a few more ounces and you can simply move upto a light weight bear canister... specifically the Bearikaid. I used one on the JMT and found it crazy simple to use. A lot of people will scoff at it's price, but it's no more expensive than many other pieces of camping gear.
    Thanks everyone for the informative responses. As to the Bearikaid, is it meant to tie to a tree or hang, Butch

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    OldDude- I made my "almost Ursack" out of an exploded car airbag (available free at almost any junk yard). The material in some older American Cars is almost identical to the original Ursack material. I sized it to fit inside an OR waterproof bag. If looks like rain- I put the Ursack in the waterproof bag- but most of the time have the waterproof bag in the Ursack. I have been using the system for 10+ years and haven't had any critter damage and usually don't have to pack a wet Ursack bag.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
    Thanks everyone for the informative responses. As to the Bearikaid, is it meant to tie to a tree or hang, Butch
    Assuming youíre asking a question here, no. It is not a good idea to tether a canister to a tree.

    Itís not a good idea to tie any rope, string, line to a canister. If you do, that only gives a bear a nice convenient handle to carry it away. They wonít be able to get to the food inside, but they will carry it away.

    You would then have to spend time just trying to recover it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Ursus versus anything seems like a good topic of conversation.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon View Post
    Assuming you’re asking a question here, no. It is not a good idea to tether a canister to a tree.

    It’s not a good idea to tie any rope, string, line to a canister. If you do, that only gives a bear a nice convenient handle to carry it away. They won’t be able to get to the food inside, but they will carry it away.

    You would then have to spend time just trying to recover it.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Spence Field Shelter in the Smokies currently has a bear warning. Sunday evening a bear shook the bear cables trying to dislodge a pack or food bag (not uncommon). The hikers yelled at the bear and it left.

    However one thru hiker had left a bear canister on the spur trail to the shelter. It was missing the next morning and as far as I know has not been recovered.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    Spence Field Shelter in the Smokies currently has a bear warning. Sunday evening a bear shook the bear cables trying to dislodge a pack or food bag (not uncommon). The hikers yelled at the bear and it left.

    However one thru hiker had left a bear canister on the spur trail to the shelter. It was missing the next morning and as far as I know has not been recovered.
    Minor note: Bear canisters are currently not a legal method of food storage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park back country.
    I doubt someone properly using a commercial bear canister would get fined, but the park rules only list the cable system to store your food, or if the cable system is unavailable, hanging your food so that it's 10' off the ground and 4' away from a tree trunk (or any other object).

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