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  1. #1
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    Default Is Ursack/Loksak Viable?

    Hey all,

    Is Ursack/Loksak a viable option for the entire AT?

    I would like to avoid hanging as much as possible. I know the GSMNP requires all food to be hung, anywhere else?. I used this combination without issue on my thru of the CT last summer and on a pre-hike from Delaware Water Gap to Bear Mountain Bridge.
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  2. #2

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    In areas with reports of bear activity, I would personally hang the Ursack so that its contents don't get crushed by an inquisitive ursine visitor. Some shelter areas have bear cables or poles that make this easy (if you staying at a shelter). Another issue is that the Loksack starts out making your edibles less smellable, but over time, it is my impression that (even with great care) both the Loksack and the Ursack develop food odors.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by brauda02 View Post
    ?. I used this combination without issue on my thru of the CT last summer and on a pre-hike from Delaware Water Gap to Bear Mountain Bridge.
    I slept with my food on CT and much of AT, without issue.
    So have many many others.

    Not implying to do that
    Just saying your experience dont mean it works, since the control group of no precautions, does too.

    Do what make you comfortable, as long as follow legal requirements
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 12-05-2018 at 15:29.

  4. #4
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    In my personal experience an Ursack/Loksack combo is not sufficient to protect your food from bears. They can't get it out of the bag but they will enthusiastically try and every thing inside will be punctured, shredded, smashed, and heavily slobbered on. It may work better with the metal liner that they sell to go inside the Ursack but at that weight you're getting close to an actual bear can. I'll never trust my food to an Ursack again but HYOH!
    Last edited by Jayne; 12-05-2018 at 18:15.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayne View Post
    In my personal experience an Opsack/Loksack combo is not sufficient to protect your food from bears. They can't get it out of the bag but they will enthusiastically try and every thing inside will be punctured, shredded, smashed, and heavily slobbered on. It may work better with the metal liner that they sell to go inside the Opsack but at that weight you're getting close to an actual bear can. I'll never trust my food to an Opsack again but HYOH!
    There seems to be some confusion about the Ursack, Opsack and Loksack.
    I whole heartedly agree QiWiz that food odors will permeate your entire kit after a day on the trail and a couple meals. Op and Lok sacks are bandaids that donít work.
    Wayne

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    I have used an Ursack/Opsk combo for years and nothing has ever bothered it.

  7. #7

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    I've seen the aftermath of an Ursack that was ransacked by a bear. To be clear, the owner didn't have the thin liner in it to prevent the bear from getting a grip. As it was, the bear clearly had no trouble shredding the sack.

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    To be fair, my Ursack wasn't "shredded" when the bear worked it over but it did look like someone shot it about 5 times with a 12 gauge shotgun. There were dozens of holes, most of them pencil size or smaller, but I don't think he got much of anything out of the bag. All of the contents were just torn open and mangled (most of it through the ursack, the opsack, and 2 layers of ziplocks inside the bag.) About half of the contents were in a soggy puddle in the bottom of the bag the next morning and virtually every package had at least one puncture hole in it. Not very appetizing to say the least. The only thing that survived with no holes was my Vargo BOT and it's contents (but it does have a couple of cool dents in it now.)
    Last edited by Jayne; 12-05-2018 at 18:15.

  9. #9
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    I've seen the aftermath of an Ursack that was ransacked by a bear. To be clear, the owner didn't have the thin liner in it to prevent the bear from getting a grip. As it was, the bear clearly had no trouble shredding the sack.
    Thatís disconcerting and contradicts the companyís advertising.
    If I have to secure the Ursack in the same manner as an ordinary stuff sack, why bother with the heavier Ursack? Not to mention being limited to camping near trees.
    Whatís a Geezer to do?
    Wayne

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    Bear canister, PCT hang, or keep the food with you and take your chances. I may try a canister next spring as much as I hate the weight.
    Last edited by Jayne; 12-05-2018 at 18:21.

  11. #11
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    I use a loksak with my Ursack, and PCT hang it 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time I tie it sturdily to a tree. Have never had an issue. I probably go above and beyond most Ursack users, however.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by brauda02 View Post
    Hey all,

    Is Ursack/Loksak a viable option for the entire AT?

    I would like to avoid hanging as much as possible. I know the GSMNP requires all food to be hung, anywhere else?. I used this combination without issue on my thru of the CT last summer and on a pre-hike from Delaware Water Gap to Bear Mountain Bridge.
    Yes. I believe so as long as you're not camping overnight in the five mile section between Jerrods and Neel Gap in GA.

    The largest wildlife problem regarding food protection, not the largest animal, for an AT thru hiker comes from rodents, specifically mice not black bears. It's compounded by camping sites habituated to regular camping by human animals.


    For black bears on teh AT bear bag and do so knowingly, appropriately. Use cables if available.


    As such for an AT thru I suggest the 5 oz Ursack Minor with an interior 12x20 Opsak. I'd buy a pack of two or four OpSak's and switch out to new ones every 1000 miles or so. This is not full proof or an absolutely odor proof system but it helps food from wildlife being habituated to easy to obtain human food and smellables.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    That’s disconcerting and contradicts the company’s advertising.
    If I have to secure the Ursack in the same manner as an ordinary stuff sack, why bother with the heavier Ursack? Not to mention being limited to camping near trees.
    What’s a Geezer to do?
    Wayne
    Because typical stuff sacks dont offer the degree of critter protection that something like an Ursack Minor with an interior Opsak does.


    Trees or other available food protection options are not in short supply on an AT thru-hike.

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Because typical stuff sacks dont offer the degree of critter protection that something like an Ursack Minor with an interior Opsak does.


    Trees or other available food protection options are not in short supply on an AT thru-hike.
    A sturdy stuff sack hung properly is just as secure as an Ursack.
    The Ursack is theoretically more secure above tree line if suitable rocks for securing the Ursack are present.
    The Bear Slobber Food Mush possibility remains.
    Wayne

  15. #15
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    "A sturdy stuff sack hung properly is just as secure as an Ursack."


    At one time I used to think the same thing Wayne.


    The Ursack Minor is not used on the ground for bears. It is used for critters. It is made of kevlar the same material bullet proof clothing is made. It's a fairly tight weave. I don't know of any readily available stuff sack that's sturdier than a kevlar sack other than maybe spectra which is what the Ursack Major(S29.3) is made and designed for bears. And, even though an ULer the 5 ozs of the Ursack Minor is a wt I'm often willing to happily add if it protects food from critters, ESPECIALLY MICE, which the AT is so well known.

    Bunches of times on the AT hanging food in Sea to Summit, other silny, OR eVent, or DCF sacks without a critter/rodent(mice) plate critters during the night will crawl down the lines chewing through these stuff sacks. Mice and rats are famous for this. It's why at AT lean to's where mice trapeze exists and through GSMNP where cables are present there's a threaded on the cord tin can, thick metal pie plate, round metal disc, etc. These plates/discs don't exist everywhere and I'm yet to note anyone other than maybe two or three people carrying one to protect hung food, one an off duty NP Ranger. I've twice seen a flying squirrel, which feed mostly nocturnally, but are rare to glimpse, in GSMNP gnawing through hung on a bear cable food stuff sacks. One flying squirrel chewed through one of my sacks. Caught it in the act. And, once again I've seen Gray and other squirrels, even though diurnal, gnawing through or trying to get at hung food stuff sacks during very early morning and evening when they are most active. Again, on the AT I had a Gray eat through a hung stuff sack. Squirrels get up earlier than most hikers I'd say! And, when squirrels know food is present they can be very clever in finding ways to get at it whether hung or not. It's very entertaining to watch them. If a cord or rope is thick and grippy enough raccoons too will venture up and down a hung line to get at a food stuff sack. They can also be persistent especially when habituated to where human food is normally found.

    Look closely at the circumferences of those plates or discs on cables or trapezes next time. Sometimes I observe little chew marks. Persistent little animals!

    The only time I don't bear bag/hang an Ursack is when trees aren't present. That's a rarity for the AT. For a bear can that stays on the ground away from where sleeping downwind and mindful of placing where you don't want it to roll...like off a cliff. Not that ever happened.

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    I have the S29 Ursack All White with the certification tag plus the aluminum liner.I added a bottom plate made of roof flashing for good measure and have it double lined with base camp odor barrier bags.I have not weighed it lately but in that configuration the whole thing should be tipping the scale at about 22 oz. as the liner bags weigh 1.5 oz each.

    That is too heavy for a food bag but I also use it as a stool with great success.My sit pad goes on top and it works for me just fine with a weight of 150 lbs.The convenience of being able to tie it on to a tree rather than risk my food and other smellables to total loss helps take the sting out of having to carry it.Most stools weigh 18oz more or less which is why I no longer carry one.And it fits horizontally in my ULA Circuit just fine.
    Last edited by Five Tango; 12-06-2018 at 10:20. Reason: too long

  17. #17
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    I generally tie my allwhite (w/opsak) around a sturdy tree about head height and nothing has ever even messed with it. I have done this at shelters on the AT where I know there were critters about. I think it helps to get it off ground level but I cannot know for sure

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obiwan View Post
    I generally tie my allwhite (w/opsak) around a sturdy tree about head height and nothing has ever even messed with it. I have done this at shelters on the AT where I know there were critters about. I think it helps to get it off ground level but I cannot know for sure
    I think this is the option I'm going to go with. Since I'm trying to get to Katahdin in 70 days every minute counts, and spending an extra 15 minutes a day hanging would cost me about 50 miles in total.
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