The following are real life stories of URSACK in action Note: URSACK®, Inc. does not endorse the use of our products where they are not allowed by Park regulation.
Wallace B.--Loon Lake El Dorado NF
I've had my Ursack out for a dozen or so outings over the years and it's been savaged twice. The last time two bears got on it at once. Dark, but probably a sow and yearling. Took me a while to wake up enough to realize the bell was not my alarm clock; and the bears had their time with the bag. I always follow the tie-up instructions and neither time did the bag nor any food get taken. The first time left some scuff marks but no teeth made it through the weave. This last time there were 25 separations of the weave and a couple of broken threads. Maybe junior's teeth were still puppy sharp. Most of the holes went back together and after a (non-soap) rinse in the lake little evidence of the snack attack remains. This 2nd effort was at the boat-in campsite on Loon Lake in Eldorado NF. For wt/space reasons I don't use the aluminum liner. A small amount of food was damaged in the first attack. Last time about half the food was smashed and tooth-poked--including a can of tuna. (Yes, I ate it anyway--bear spit adds a little wilderness flavor.) Both times were early in the outing and would have caused truncated trips if the varmints had taken food. The way I see it, Ursack not only saved my food, but also the balance of my days out.
It includes a photo of a huge raccoon unsuccessfully attacking the Ursack Minor.
Juliet S Appalachian Trail Just a note and a few photos to let you know that your bearbag worked like a charm on my 2010 AT thru-hike. For 8 months, I used my Ursack continually & it made my life so much easier!! It was my favorite gear choice, bar none.
We only had 1 bear encounter, after a brief warm snap in November. The bear nosed around the campsite and must have taken an exploratory bite that popped a salmon pack. He worried the bag to the bottom of the tree, stomped, and gnawed on the bag for a LONG time before he gave up in defeat. We did lose most of the food, not because the bear got it, but because his powerful jaws tore packs open (without tearing the kevlar). This food was then saturated in salmon and tuna "juice"... and bear saliva.. (Yuck!!!) I felt a bit sorry for the bear. He worked a long time and got absolutely nothing. (Thankfully, I slept through this encounter, although my mom was not so lucky!)
Although the mess took a very long time to clean up, but we were able to salvage enough usable food to make it to the road. With new inner bags, my Ursack works like new, even if it bears the scars of the encounter. And I have am interesting story to tell! Just wanted to thank you!
URSACK NOTE: CAMPERS CAN AVOID CRUSHING BY SECURING URSACK TO A BRANCH--AS OPPOSED TO THE TRUNK, AND/OR USING THE ALUMINUM LINER.
Susan T Lyell Canyon I had a bear work on my S29 (green), not hybrid, which I had tied to a tree trunk at the bottom of the tree, for probably about an hour. Several hours after we chased the bear away, the same bear came back, and worked on it for another approximately 15 minutes, then went away of its own accord, apparently giving up--a great success. The bear did not get any food! [Note--food was squished but edible and used for the rest of the trip. If Susan had tied Ursack to a branch, not the trunk, and/or used the aluminum liner, squishing would have been minimed or eliminated].
Dr. John H Lyell Fork I purchased the Ursack Hybrid in 2006, when it was Conditionally approved for use in Yosemite. As a lightweight backpacker and climber, I cannot imagine using a Garcia or other competing product because of the weight difference. Last week, I hiked from Red's Meadow to Happy Isles using the Ursack Hybrid. At Thousand Island Lake, several campsites were hit, but my Ursack was untouched. At Lyell Fork, a bear worked on the Ursack for hours and did nothing to it, except crush a few cashews inside - no food was taken. My entire pack for the trip never exceeded 10 pounds because of the Ursack's light weight. Although the Ursack Hybrid is no longer approved, I felt compliant the entire trip - no bears were fed, and every night all my food/toiletries went into the Ursack.
Jay S Emigrant I've used URSACK about 25 times since buying it last summer. One morning in Yos wilderness last week I awoke to what was a bear yanking the sack with might that one finds unimaginable. He acknowledged my suggestion to abandon his efforts by taking a few paces, turning in a circle, sitting on the ground and placing his paws on a log facing me. He alternated staring at me and the bag. I returned to my tent for a camera, and he returned his attentions to the bag with renewed gusto. The bag was secured to a 6" dead (consideration of resource damage) standing tree with a double surgeon's knot (hard to pull, easy to loosen) finished with a figure 8. He got the tree to crack, but could not get the bag to budge. It was half full. He wetted the top half pretty thoroughly; and crushed an applesauce cup. [Note: No aluminum liner was used]. All food was plastic-wrapped, and sealed inside Aloksack. He got no reward. On the second scolding, he went off. Other than slobber, the bag showed no evidence of strain. I am firmly convinced a bear cannot get food out of this bag.
Scott M Yosemite I purchased 2 Ursack hybrids (V21) for our John Muir Trail hike this past summer. The sacks performed great. We had one bear encounter the first night about 2 miles past the Half Dome turn off. Both sacks were chewed on and the only damage was small holes in the bottom of the sacks where the canine teeth spread the fabric. The only damage to our food was a little bit of bear slobber in our cereal where it tore the packaging.
Chris L Ruby Lake (Inyo) On 8/26/2006 at Ruby Lake in Inyo National Forest at 1 a.m., a mother and cub attempted to take our Ursack Hybrids (V21). We awoke to the sound of them pulling them from trees and promptly scared the bears off. One of our two sacks had a small hole (1/2 the size of a #2 pencil) in the top, above the liner, and you could see dirty claw marks where they pried at them but there was no real damage. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we appreciated the weight savings and bags wide mouths.
Eric G Silver Divide (Tully Lake) Thought you might want to know that my wife and I were camping in the Sierras in the Silver Divide area (Tully Lake ). We were using the green Spectra (S29) bags retrofitted with aluminum (2) and we had them hanging from a crack in a rock wall about 6-7 feet off the ground (using climber protection chock). A sow and her two cubs started swatting them late in the evening and the mother even got her teeth over the edge of the aluminum insert and hung from it for a moment trying to shake it free. I shined my flashlight at them and they took off only to return a little later to give it another go. After a few minutes they left for good. The next morning we investigated the bags; a few scratches and two ? inch holes in the top of the bag where the mother had hung from her teeth was all we could see. The holes were more of a separation of the fibers rather than a tear and they are now hard to find. The bags worked like a charm. For the rest of the trip we kept hanging then from small cliffs or large boulders a bit more out of reach.
Sea Kayaker Dave J and friends Central America For me, Bear Canisters have proven difficult to carry on extended kayak and international traveling trips due to their weight, size or unwieldy shape for below deck storage, wind-grabbing profile and lack of appropriate lashing points for adequate security if carried above deck. When necessary, I have been using an alternative that seems to work well. My buddies and I have tested the original Ursack models in areas with bear and camp-robber-infested locations over the past three summers. Ursacks are basically high-tech, tear-proof stuffsacks weighing only a few ounces, but provide a claw and tooth-proof shield around food items whether hung from trees, tied to trunks or jam-tied to large rocks. We use them to contain double ziplock-sealed food items that are grouped in ordinary stuff sacks for ease of retrieval. Ursack also sells special liners now. The touch Vectran cloth and Aramid fiber rope of the Ursacks has withstood black bears with only dented foods as a result, and many attacks from Racoons, rodents, vultures, pigs, monkeys and who-know-what while we were away from base camps. One of mine bears marks on its ropes from a human attempt to cut it free from my camp in Central America. The Ursacks fit nicely, fully loaded, into our drysacks while at sea. For truly bear and bite-proof Ursack®, newer Ursack models are now available with open-tube sheet Aluminum liners that flattened, fit nicely into a hatch and against the hull prior to packing the gear. I h ave no alliance whatsoever with Ursack, but admire their invention and value, so I freely spread the word when appropriate. The product has enhanced my camping in the wilds, and are truly a kayak-friendly alternative that has worked well for us.
Miles E. Grizzly Attack! My Spectra bag survived a grizzly attack! There were a few tiny holes that were easily patched with Seam Grip, and the coating scraped off, but the Grizzly did not get any food.
Alexander Cascades As an avid backpacker in the Washington Cascades who enjoys long 30 + mile trips, I am of course always interested in the lightest possible packing load. Since I don't like to carry more than 20 lbs during trips but also do not want to invite unfortunate encounters with animals, your Ursack was ab perfect solution for me. I have used the bag together with the odor bag on ten or so different adventures all over Washington State since purchasing it and have never had a problem with animals yet. . . . Considering all the money I've spent on lightweight this and that, titanium, quick drying clothes, "best product award" products etc, I still consider my Ursack one of the best gear I've spent money on.
Matthew P. Eureka, CA First, I would like to say thank you for promptly sending me my new Ursack (this is my second one). I was heading out on a weekend trip with my family and desperately needed the added food storage space. Your company responded quickly, and I knew right then I would sleep well at night, knowing that our food was safe. As I mentioned above, I've been using the Ursack for about three years (in all sorts of conditions, and weather). Out of all the pieces of gear that I own, it has proven to be the most reliable. It most definitely keeps the critters out (and believe me, I can hear them trying in the wee hours of the night). My first "bear encounter" was on the Lost Coast. I don't think that bear could even smell my food, so he went for my friend's pack (who by the way, used to think that his food would be safe in a plastic grocery store bag). He own's a bear bag now too. On this most recent trip my wife woke me up in the middle of the night to check on the food (she could hear those little bandits a scratchn' and a tuggin'). I had to pee anyway, so I entertained her paranoia by getting up and demonstrating that the bear bag is impenetrable. We both sleep well now. The product is great, and in the world of backpacking where some products just don't live up, this one does, and I thank you. And so does my family.
Craig V. West Africa I took an Ursack Ultra with me to Ghana and Burkina Faso, where the jungle rats and mice chomp through everything. Not a single rat got into my Ursack. Those rats are persistent, and they've even chewed through Tupperware to get to my food. I've been traveling to West Africa for 10 years now. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 93-95 in Ghana. I've been back several times for various reasons from a few weeks for a few months. This was the first time the little devils didn't get ANY food. So, I'm a very happy customer.
Cheryl John Muir Trail Just wanted to let you know that I used your Ursack TKO last summer while hiking 29 days on the John Muir Trail. What a great thing to hike the trail with Ursack rather than a 3 pound bear canister. Ursack was untouched the whole way even when other nearby camper's food was stolen by bears at Shadow Lake and Muir Trail Ranch. Also saw an empty lidless bear canister laying in the trail between Little Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. We love Ursack. . . Joel Yosemite NP I was hiking up Lyell Canyon in Yosemite July 26th weekend, 2003 with my brother and his family (twin seven year-olds). We camped about five miles in from Tuolome Meadows across the Lyell fork and had a wonderful but uneventful and fun first night out. The second night however we had a midnight visitor. He must have gotten wind of us the first night and located us the second, even though we were camped in a pristine meadowy area. Long about 1 A.M. I was in my tent sleeping...my brother his wife and twins in an nearby tent as well. We had a bear canister as well as the original (not the TKO) Ursack filled and placed a distance from our fire, eating area, and tents. I awoke suddenly to the sounds of tugging, scratching, and rustling coming from the area of the tree to which I had tied the Ursack. I knew instinctively it was a bear. I yelled over to my brother (a really sound sleeper), that I heard a bear and was going out to deal with him. I jumped out into the chilly night barefoot, hurried to the area where I tied the sack, and sure enough saw with my headlamp the glowing eyes of a black bear with his jaws firmly around the Ursack. I yelled at him, clapped, fake charged at him. He was going nowhere! He held his grip and told me as much with his eyes, "What are you going to do now, pal....?" I picked up a stone and threw it at him,...nothing. I did it a second time and it cracked against a tree and must have startled him enough that he let go and ran into the woods. I found scratch marks, a few teeth marks all over the Ursack, my food was a bit compressed, but still okay. He came back one more time,...I scared him again and this time moved the sack to another tree about 50 yards away. After that, no more problems, I slept through the night, and we all had food the next day. It worked as well as the hard canister for me, and I won't hesitate to use it again in the Sierras. Not only that, but I appreciate it's compactness as I also do a lot of backpacking by myself, where I pack minimally. I've backpacked years in the Sierras and consider the Ursack an effective tool to prevent loss of food while in the backcountry.
Simon W, Broadcaster/Travel Writer and Liz K Sorry - no photo. Too busy fighting several hundred pounds of bear flesh! At 1.30am we hear a clatter as our booby trap of ice axe and poles clatter to the ground, signaling something was after our food. Immediately we started yelling, I knocked the Tarp tent pole down in my hurry to get out, and by the light of our Photon torches we could see a bear, brown in colour, tugging and chewing at the Ursack Ultra. We threw our (prepared) pile of rocks in his direction, still yelling, to no effect. So I (bravely or stupidly) got within ten feet, took aim, and launched a palm sized rock right at his front leg. He let go of the bag, and retreated. Liz kept up the noise while I packed. We couldn't stay or he'd be back time and again. Eventually, I retrieved the food sack, all slimy, clawed and somewhat damaged by his attention. He managed to bust a sachet of peanut butter and puncture a zip lock - inside a double thickness, kevlar bag! At 2am, by the light of our torches, we hiked for an hour to get out of his territory, then spread out or groundsheet, pads and bags and, after securing the food bags again, managed three hours of fitful sleep. Looking back on the event, I'm astonished we were so aggresive. This thing could have snapped us in two, pulled our limbs off and used them for toothpicks, but here we were attacking it! That's what I mean by the title - while it was doing what bears do, go for food, we went for it. And just to protect food we didn't really need because we were just five hours from Tuolumne Meadows. So why? I think it's because I've been envisioning just such an encounterfor years, I've programmed my mind to react in a certain way. The Ursack worked, to a point. He had it for less than five minutes, yet the stitching is coming undone and his teeth have left a hole. Looks kind of cool 'though. Of course, had we obeyed Yosemite Park rules and had a plastic or aluminium bear-proof cannister, this would not have happened. Will we get one? No, because they're just too heavy for through-hikers. What will we do differently? Well, we won't break the stealth camping rule of "never use established campsites". That was our mistake. Today the score is Bears 0 Liz & Simon 1, but that was just the first round.
Mike Grand Canyon NP I returned from a week long hike in the back country in Grand Canyon NP three weeks ago, during which I used an "URSACK®" to hold my food and plastic items.We only had to face mice, squirrels, and ringtails-- though these are the most ill-tempered and bad-assed little fuzzies you'll ever lose your food to :) The "URSACK®" held up under constant attacks for a week with only a bit of damage to the label. You'll find a picture of the sack (and the damage) at our last campsite at the base of the redwall along the Tanner trail attached to this message. I was pleased to finally find something to put my eats in that I didn't have to worry about where it was hung, or about carrying extra to make up for losses incurred by critters along the way.
Karen H. Olson Environmental Geographer/ Wilderness Ranger Thank you for sending me an Ursack for use as a backcountry ranger. I have tested the sack in various conditions (largely N. Cascades of Washington State and the Hawaiian Islands). This is a report of its efficacy in the field, as promised.
1.Animal deterrence: Its ability to hold up against large and small animals was proven to me. I never had an incident with any large animals, even though I spent over 50 days in areas of high black bear population. I would see up to 6 bears while hiking in the day, and never did I lose my food to these animals. In both Washington and Hawaii, there are large numbers of small rodents which often pose a greater problem for gear destruction and lost food supplies. I ensured that the top hole was closed as much as possible, and, again, I never had any problems. This is notable since my camelback straw/tube was chewed twice and I consistently heard animals scurrying at night -- proof that the danger was there. 2. Weather: I used the Ursack in heavy rain and the inner liner gave additional protection for my food from the water. When it snowed and sleeted, I was concerned that I would not be able to release my figure-8 knot in the morning, but the cord was heavy enough that it did not freeze into position, and the slider also fed back along the line, allowing me easy morning access regardless of the night's weather conditions. 3. Hanging: The only thing I would encourage you to do is to remind backpackers in your literature that a well-hung bearbag is still important. In environments where trees are non-existent, tying the sack to a sturdy object (and not storing it in the tent) is reasonable, but whenever possible, the sack should be hung to deter bears and other animals from making the human-food connection in the first place. Not all backpackers carry Ursacks as yet, and the next camper may pay the price of a bear returning in the hopes of an easier food source. Also, I have heard that one friend did have a bear work on his Ursack for several hours and finally it did succeed in puncturing it. [NOTE FROM URSACK--This was likely NOT an Ursack TKO, and was probably an older (yellow) Kevlar Ursack].
Again, thank you for your donation. I am a real advocate of Ursack and will continue to urge other backpackers to use one, for their own security and for the safety of bears and other animals.
Paul Lyell Canyon Yosemite NP On our latest trip to Yosemite, ended yesterday, we must have gotten our signals crossed. We brought both our URSACK (regular not Ultra) and our canister, but understood (or misunderstood) that we would need our canister only if we were above 9600 feet unless an NPS bear box was available. As we were going up the Lyell Canyon and then climbing to Vogelsang (where boxes had been installed) we decided to take our URSACK for the one day in Lyell Canyon. Sure enough, we were visited four times that night between 10:30 and 2 AM, by a very determined bear. He was thwarted in his efforts and we did nothing to habitualize this bear, on the contrary. Unlike previous encounters when using the bag though, we had a lesson to learn also. The bear gnawed on the bag so hard that the stuff sacks and plastic bags inside were punctured. For the next few days we had tang flavored oatmeal, and all types of other mixtures from the punctured bags we could salvage. Oh yes, if you leave an apple in the bag, it is a great way to make applesauce. Duh!!
J.D. Between Yosemite Valley and Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite NP Night one, a teenage bear (dusty blonde, and beautiful) got to our URSACK Ultra that was hung head height from a juniper. It tried a few times with teeth and claws but to no avail, we scared it off after about twenty minutes of chawing and clawing, the only damage was some crushed pistachios (food is easier to digest when ground) and a hot chocolate pouch that went poof (interesting mix of salt and sweet). The next night in nearby sunrise high sierra camp we had another visitor. This one much larger and more persistent than its neighbor. This bear went at the URSACK for 30+ minutes. but I had put the bag in a tree about eight feet off the deck. When I pelted it with a couple of rocks the bear fell out of the tree and growled at me, quickly I was in the tent (completely mental barrier). But the bear went at it again, ripping off the URSACK label and puncturing the bag, but the contents went undamaged. Thanks for the awesome, lightweight, nearly indestructable product! What a load off my back!!
Anne Junction of Sunrise & Merced Lake Trails I caught the bear standing up working on my URSACK hanging at my head level in a tree and drove him away. He then went to the rest of my party's camp across the river and since they all slept soundly had all the time he wanted but still could only access a bag that was not tightly closed--he just stuck his paw in & withdrew what he wanted. This bag was not an Ultra, but the Major. The bigger effort seems to have gone into attempting access to a bag with smoked salmon and a Merced Camp orange in it. It was so mauled that the label was removed. The bear seemed to have sucked or gnawed the waterproofing off one large area as well, but without getting into the bag. I'd say that is a pretty good recommendation for the Ultras. Mark & Peggy. Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Yosemite NP We spent 7 days backpacking from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. We have two Ultras and they were hung on 3 different nightsï¿½the other nights our food was in bear boxes. On July 9th a bear attempted to open one of the Ultra's. The bear had about 5 minutes with the bag before I drove him away. There were only slight scratches, the label was torn slightly. Glenn British Columbia You will be pleased to hear that, several days after receiving our Ursacks, they proved their worth. Our food was never in danger from bears, being hung high out of reach in bear poles, but, as we learned on a previous trip to our hiking spot, it was not safe from the surprisingly abundant, silently malicious flying squirrels. On our first trip there, our food was carelessly hoisted up the bear poles in nothing more than garbage bags. After the first night, we found our bags of trail mix ripped open and pieces of shredded plastic throughout our boxes of Kraft Dinner. This year, our food was untouched: the squirrels could not chew through our Ursacks. While bears never came into contact with our Ursacks, the bags proved themselves to be the ultimate relaxation device: there was no worring about tiny whispering bodies floating silently over our breakfast as it hung invisibly in the darkness; no cares about sharp teeth melting through plastic, cloth, or whatever may be in their path; nothing but peace of mind. The Ursacks showed that their strength is the greatest when they hang silently, bears miles away, and make a squirrel release its tiny mouth and silently decide that food isn't worth the effort . Especially when your friend has a carelessly hung garbage bag only a few feet away, swaying in the breeze, ripe with trailmix. Thanks for the awesome bags.
Jeanette Echo Valley, Yosemite NP The last night of a 9 day trip our URSACK®s were attacked by bears. They pulled so hard at the Ultras hung in the trees that they made two of them unable to be opened later. One was gotten into because the tie was insecure. . . . I personally like the URSACK because one can just carry it empty during the day and fill it with food to store at night, thus keeping the bag organization OK. But I need to tell you that it is super important that the bags be tied and secured correctly. Most people seem not to be using the proper knots. And do NOT tie a group's bags together. Spread them out on different trees to decrease the smell of one place. And tie [your figure-8 knot] correctly. Most backpackers don't know their knots. Enough said.
Calvin Yosemite NP We took our regular URSACK into Yosemite because of a shipping mess up with our URSACK Ultras. We had one bear encounter that we know of and had no problems!
Heidi Young Lakes, Yosemite NP As we were stashing food the first night at Young Lakes, my friends realized they had brought far more food then would fit in two bear canisters so they hung a good deal of food in a stuff sack and I countered with the URSACK (regular) full of mostly medical supplies, toilettes, lotions and a few snacks. The bear struck by 2:00 in the morning. We didn't hear a word although we did hang a good distance away from the tents. The bear canisters were untouched. The stuff sack was devoured right in the tree leaving garbage 20 feet in the air. The URSACK was wrapped around a twig with approximately 12 teeth marks about a 1/3 of the size of a pencil. Absolutely no damage to any of the contents. My guess it that it quickly grew frustrated and concentrated on the easy find. This episode truly made a believer out of me.
Susan Ocala Forest in Florida My husband and I recently purchased our URSACK and field tested it for the first time in a "palmetto patch" in the Ocala Forest in Florida. As the shrubbery barely reached our chests, we unable to hoist the sack high enough to avoid the raccoons circling our campsite at dusk. We tied the URSACK to the strongest tree around and turned in for the night. Almost instantly the sack was covered with raccoons clawing and snarling to get inside. The sack looks a little worse for wear with nearly all the yellow fabric scraped off but the little buggers never got inside!
Mitch Ansel Adams Wilderness It was our fourth and last night out, and after the first three nights the only evidence of any attempt on our bag was some scratch marks made by a marmot or chipmunk. But during the fourth night we had a bear visit, which we found out when we retrieved the bag in the morning (it was not near our tent). The bag clearly had been "chomped" by a big mouth, and there were four or five very small puncture wounds (about the diameter of a large needle, maybe 1/16 of an inch). But the bear clearly couldn't get through, and the seams held up fine. Based on this experience I want to rely exclusively on your bags for my next trip in two weeks in the central Sierras. I plan to donate my metal cans to the Boy Scouts, who have younger and stronger backs than I. Thanks for making such a wonderful product for us backpackers.
John Mt. San Gorgonio This is called the highest peak in Southern California at 11,500 ft. (I guess Whitney is considered Central California, or whatever.) I started late, and as a consequence, camped on a hillside short of the Dry Lake campground. San Gorgonio is the closest thing to the Sierra we have around here, and there are some good size trees on it. In fact, there were no trees small enough nor with low enough branches to tie to anywhere near the flat area I managed to find for my tent. I ended up tying my URSACK to a large 8 inch in diameter piece of deadwood. I figured a bear would quickly lose interest in dragging that around. I was right. Twice during the night I was awaken by a bear pawing and chewing at my URSACK®. Both times I stuck my head out, yelled and watch the bear mosey off. Next morning I found that my URSACK had suffered only temporary teeth indentations and claw marks, and the contents, except for a couple of partially crushed granola bars, were safe and sound. Even though the bears at Yosemite may be more street-wise and persistent, I now feel confident they won't get my stash. Thanks for such a great invention!