Interview with Andrew Skurka about Ursack

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I recently completed an interview with famed backpacker and writer Andrew Skurka about Ursack. You may find it informative:

Andrew Skurka is an accomplished adventure athlete, speaker, guide, and writer. The 34-year-old is most well known for his solo long-distance backpacking trips, notably the 4,700-mile 6-month Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile 7-month Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile 11-month Sea-to-Sea Route. In total, he has backpacked, skied, and packrafted 30,000+ miles through many of the world’s most prized backcountry and wilderness areas—the equivalent of traveling 1.2 times around Earth’s equator! He is the author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail and guides about 15 trips per year under his company. Skurka has been named “Adventurer of the Year” by both Outside and National Geographic Adventure, as well as “Person of the Year” by Backpacker. National Geographic described him as “a superman among trekkers” and “one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet.” He has been featured by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio and dozens of local media outlets.

The Wall Street Journal Profiles IVGC Grizzly Test: “The Gold Standard”

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

In the September 8, 2016 Wall Street Journal, the newspaper covered bear product testing at the Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center in West Yellowstone stating: “Passing the Discovery Center’s test is the gold standard for bear-resistance certification from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a group of representatives from state and federal agencies that promotes grizzly populations in the U.S. and Canada.”  This is, of course, the test that the Ursack S29 AllWhite passed after two hours of mauling.

Here is a link to the article and video:


Yosemite’s Problems with Approved Hard Sided Canisters

By | Uncategorized | No Comments


This was posted at Tuolumne Meadows wilderness permit station. In case you can’t read it, here are the highlights:

“LYV Area: The majority of bear incidents in this area are the result of improperly stored food or garbage…a bear has been successful in obtaining partial or whole canisters [or food?] because people were cooking too far from their bear-resistant container.”

“Snow Creek Footbridge: A bear in this area has been rolling bear-resistant containers away from campsites in the night. Bear-resistant containers should be placed overnight in an area that it is difficult for a bear to roll or bat it away and within viewing distance of your camping area. Additionally, it can be helpful to place noisy objects (like your cook pot) on top of your canister to help alert you if an animal is attempting to move it.”

Also, the ranger there confirmed that at least one bear was still rolling canisters off of a cliff and collecting food from the broken canister at the bottom of the cliff.

(Note that no bear has, to the best of our knowledge, ever broken the cord that secures an Ursack to a tree)

Your Chance to Comment on Wilderness Food Storage Requirements in Lassen NP

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Lassen National Park has implemented an emergency food storage plan which requires use of an “allowed canister.” The list does not include Ursack. The plan is open to comment from the public until September 8, 2016. To add your comment, use this link:

Some of the things you may wish to consider in making a comment.

>The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) certified Ursack S29 AllWhite has never been torn open by a bear.

> Some of the “approved” canisters on Lassen’s list have never been certified by the IGBC.

>Many of the approved hard sided canisters have repeatedly been compromised by bears (about 25 in Yosemite in 2013).

>Campers are much more likely to carry a 7.8 ounce Ursack than a 2-3 pound hard sided canister.

Thanks for your help.

Still Waiting for Yosemite and SEKI to Get On Board

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Nothing new to report from Yosemite and SEKI. Ursack is still not approved in Yosemite and parts of SEKI. We are waiting for further communication from them.

Meanwhile, our record of success continues unabated. Wilderness professionals, including National Park Service and Forest Service rangers, are using Ursack like never before. It seems like the whole world (with the notable exception of a few National Park holdouts) understands that Ursack keeps bears from getting human food.

No change in Yosemite or SEKI policy, for now, but the conversation continues

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We received a letter from Yosemite and SEKI in early May. They were concerned that they could stick a pencil point through the Ursack we sent them for evaluation in October 2014. They invited us to send two more Ursacks to see if that was an aberration. We declined on the basis that even though our newer bags have twice the tear strength of the IGBC approved Ursack they had, the fabric could still be pierced by a pencil point. (Note that a bear’s teeth and claws are much thicker than a pencil–about 1/16″–but that even those more blunt instruments could still create weave separations). Our letter in response began like this:

Your letter of May 6, 2016 raises an interesting question. Will a bear that tastes a tiny amount of food or liquid from an otherwise secure bear resistant container become conditioned to anthropegenic food sources?

Apparently, Yosemite and SEKI believe the answer is yes. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee disagrees. Not surprisingly, Ursack favors the IGBC approach. They have been testing bear resistant containers since 1989 and established their standards through “consultation with North American human-bear conflict experts and bear biologists.” (all quotes from  I have not seen any scientific evidence that the Yosemite/SEKI theory is anything more than just a theory.

And quoting the IGBC protocol:

“IGBC approval does not guarantee that small amounts of the contents of the containers won’t be able to leak or spill out.” “For garbage containment products, gaps, tears or holes of 1½ inches or less are allowable. For food storage products, gaps, tears or holes of ¼ inch or less are allowable.”

We offered to meet anytime anyplace with the appropriate representatives of Yosemite and SEKI to discuss these issues, and are hoping to hear back.

SEKI Publishes 2016 Canister Policy–No Ursack, No Explanation

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI) has published its 2016 guidelines. Containers are required in the Dusy Basin, Rae Lakes Loop, North Dome and Rock Creek areas from May 1 through October 31. Ursack is allowed in all other areas of SEKI. The list of SEKI approved food storage containers does not include or mention Ursack. There has been no explanation given to us despite the fact that SEKI has had years to evaluate the IGBC approved Ursack S29 AllWhite. Our letters and phone calls have gone unanswered. Ursack’s perfect record has been ignored. We are not aware of any bear anywhere in the world, much less SEKI, that has torn a greater than 1/4 inch hole (the IGBC standard) in an Ursack S29/S29.3 AllWhite.

Still Waiting to Hear from Yosemite and SEKI

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We have been promised, since November 2015, that a letter was coming from the Solicitor’s (Department of Interior lawyer) office concerning Ursack’s approval in Yosemite and three parts of Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. Four months later, we are still waiting. We actually began seeking approval in October 2014 after we received IGBC certification. Apparently, some people in government think that confirming the approval of a bear bag in an election year is inappropriate. One official stated: “It is about a principle, not a specific product like Ursack.”

Hard sided canisters failing in Yosemite

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Here is an article by Tom Stienstra from the August 30, 2015 S.F. Chronicle:

Nature bats last, goes the saying, and in the past week, clever bears in the Yosemite wilderness are getting the last word.

You know those bear-proof food canisters we’re all required to carry in our backpacks? The same canisters that have proved so effective in wilderness? So effective that many bears have left the remote wilds in order to ply the easy-to-get eats at many drive-in campgrounds in national parks?

The bears know that food is inside those canisters, you see. Drives ’em nuts, literally. If the bears stay in the wilderness, because of those canisters, they’re forced to eat plants, berries and nuts. In the past few weeks, a few bears have come up with Plan B.

In several encounters last week, bears grabbed, tossed or absconded with the bear-proof food canisters, according to rangers at Yosemite National Park. Something like a robber stealing a safe, then taking it home to figure out how to get the goodies.

Brother Rambob, on his last trip out of Tuolumne Meadows, said one hiker told him a bear grabbed his locked bear-proof canister, ran off with it, and when the hiker followed in pursuit, “the bear threw it into a deep ravine.” I heard a similar tale on a trip out of Hetch Hetchy.

Then, in separate episodes last week, reported Caitlin Lee-Roney, a wildlife specialist at Yosemite, bears went inside the tents of wilderness campers to look for food.

In another case, a hiker didn’t latch the canister quite right. Even though it was partially secured, “a bear was able to pry open the canister lid by prying it back,” said Lee-Roney.

New Lifetime Warranty (and Yosemite, SEKI, Inyo update)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We have changed our warranty effective immediately.

Limited Lifetime Warranty.

We will replace, or refund the cost of, any properly deployed Ursack in which a gap, tear or hole larger than 1/4 inch is caused by a wild animal. This 1/4 inch standard is the criteria used in the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s test protocol. We ask that customers return any damaged Ursack to us for inspection.

Meanwhile, there is nothing new from Yosemite or SEKI. Several customers have contacted us confused about misinformation given to them by Inyo Rangers. We have confirmed with the authorities there that Ursack is allowed in Inyo–as it has been for several years.


If you have any questions feel free to Email Us