So just after you tuck yourself into your tent at night and begin dreaming of the next day's adventures, the tummies of bears and critters of the forest begin to rumble. So off they go in search of a meal and quite often patrol through your campsite in search of tasty treats you left unguarded. Remember... bears sense of smell is even better than a bloodhound, which is known for it's ability to track humans! The Ursack hopes to keep your food protected for the rest of your trip but to a bear, scent-wise, is it just another glowing piñata of grub?
An Ursack is a 221 grams lightweight sack made from “bulletproof” Spectra fabric. It is about 61cm in circumference, 35.5 cm tall and can hold about 10.7 litres of food.... or to make things easier, let's just say five days worth of food for one person. Despite having stiffness, the bag is still very malleable and will roll up smaller as you start to go through your food to fit better in your backpack.
Since the Ursack is not waterproof, make sure to purchase an OPSack which is a very industrial looking resealable bag that is 100% water and air tight. It will keep your food dry (especially important with your dehydrated food) and more importantly, odour resistant. It's funny after having leftover dehydrated food in the bag for a week how fragrant the OPSack is once you open it, and how my measly human nose doesn't detect anything in the Ursack itself. I hope the same applies to bears.
You bind the top of the sack closed with an integrated six foot, 2,500 pound tensile strength cord. Of course a regular knot won't do as a bear's dexterous paw could undo it despite not having opposable thumbs. A key strategy to use is to make sure there is no slack in the closure, followed by using the double overhand knot. Iinstructions are sewn into the bag to save you from trying to find a cell phone signal to watch a YouTube video on how to do it. Thankfully even if you have never done one before, it's far easier than trying to tie a necktie.
We've been testing the newest model all Summer on backcountry camping trips dubbed the S29.3 AllWhite which boasts a tighter weave and double the tear strength of earlier models. The AllWhite also stands up better to raccoons which are plentiful in the area. To help brace against the bag being punctured by their teeth or your food crushed by a bear, consider purchasing the optional aluminum liner. The liner is also handy for preventing your bananas and soft food from getting squished during your trip.
Depending on your camping destination, there is also the rodent resistant Ursack Minor which is not as effective against bears, but stands up better to the small gnashing teeth of critters.
How tough is this bag? The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee actually have it on their bear-resistant products list. Ursack offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty on the bag and will replace it if there is a tear or hole larger than 1/4" caused by a wild animal.
This bag has been great for keeping my food safe all year. The only real issue I found with it, is that due to its small size, you won't be able to cram your dishes into it alongside your food. It will get dirty over time but is easy to wash in the washing machine (just don't use bleach). Paired with the odour resistant OPSack, you have a real winning combination of weight, size and durability and the Ursack will be a staple for my camping trips to keep my dehydrated food safe.