Ursack was tested in two configurations by the IGBC at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone on May 30, 2013. I was there for both tests. Check out a video excerpt on our Bear Test Videos page. This is a slightly newer version (since April 2013) of the Ursack S29 AllWhite which is sewn with Spectra thread. Ursack did extremely well. The IGBC test protocol requires that a product must survive 60 minutes of bear contact, which is defined as: “biting, clawing, pounding, rolling, compressing, licking or scratching.” More than one Grizzly worked on the Ursacks, but the clock only runs while a bear is actively engaged. In one test, at least three (possibly four) bears attacked a baited unlined Ursack tied about five feet up a tree trunk. At the end of 60 minutes, the Ursack was fully intact with no punctures or tears. I easily untied it from the tree and opened it without the use of tools. The current IGBC published protocol states that: “If the product is not breached within the required 60 minutes of bear contact time, it will be considered to have “passed” the captive bear test.”
In the other test, an Ursack with an aluminum liner was placed on the ground and not tied to anything. Sam and Illie–a brother sister tag team (Sam weighs 950 pounds)–attacked the Ursack. This bag was torn after approximately forty three minutes of contact. My interpretation is that the grizzlies were able to use their massive shoulder strength and claws to compromise the Ursack. Black bears are very different. They do not have the shoulder strength (no hump) or size of grizzlies and their claws are different. We have tested lined Ursacks on the ground with captive black bears and the Ursacks have easily survived. In the thirteen years we have been in business selling across North America (including Alaska and Canada), I have never heard of a grizzly compromising an Ursack.
It is my very strong belief that Ursack, whether lined with aluminum or not, tied up a tree or not, would pass a captive bear test with black bears. I suspect that an Ursack (aluminum lined or not) tied up a tree to minimize claw and shoulder advantage would survive a captive grizzly test.
The IGBC has not issued its official evaluation yet. We hope to receive approval within a couple of weeks. Stay tuned. I will post video excerpts of the IGBC test soon.