Food storage choices

I use one or two 8L Sea-to-Summit waterproof sil-nylon bags to store my food on the trail.  This was fine on NE sections of the AT where bear-boxes were (thankfully) rather common.  I really dislike the idea that my food is hanging in my vicinity (another reason to use Kelty Triptease cord- to find it again!) tempting critters of the night.  What I dislike even more, is if a critter were to get in it and steal all my food!

There’s part of the Sierra where use of a bear canister is required.  I will carry a bear canister from kennedy meadows to south lake tahoe.
For other times and general hiking I’m considering a Ursack because of this review I read.  But the hefty price tag deters me.  The Ursack is bear resistant and 8oz, the Ursack Minor is not bear resistant, but critter resistant and 2.7 oz.  Ursack also makes the Opsack, a 3-pack for $12.  I just realized its the same maker as the little LokSack bags I used for a first aid kit and seasoning/vitamin bag!  I liked them, but the closure ripped after 2 weeks.  Maybe I need to me more gentle!

…This 12 X 20 sealable plastic bag is made from special film that is 17,000 times more odor resistant than HDPE. When used properly, the OPSak is 100% water and air tight. Each bag in the 3 pack weighs about 1 ounce. Use with Ursack to keep bears and other critters from smelling your food.

Here’s Section Hiker’s review. In higher Bear/cougar areas I cook a hot meal for lunch not dinner and don’t cook and avoid even eating at my campsite.  One day on the AT I had hiked 21 miles and arrived at the Wildcat Shelter right at dark, starved.  I hate cooking at night, and this is bear country too.  But all I’ve got is this terrible rice-a-roni I picked up at a gas station, I had to cook it, try to eat fast, then shove everything in the bear box down the hill.  While I was too tired or hungry to care, I was beating off a group of bobcats the entire time.  In the wee spectrum of my tiny photon LED I cursed at those “raccoons”!

For me – peace of mind and more hiking time (not trying to find a tree to hang my food) will be great in SoCal with the Ursack – I decided on the Ursack Minor and OPsack.  I also checked out the RatSack- which would be a good choice for other hikes like shorter ones not in bear country- seems like a good product.


About wanderingdot

Thru-hiking the PCT 2011, CT 2014, Ice Age Trail 2017 Artist/sculptor, professor, master fabricator
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8 Responses to Food storage choices

  1. Rockin says:

    I have an Ursack and love it combined with the OPSack. I use this in areas where bear canisters are not required, but you need critter protection. I avoid hanging food at all costs. I used just an OPSack for the rest of the trail without a canister or Ursack. Some hikers I have heard felt the OPSack did not last, but mine did.

    • wanderingdot says:

      Thanks, your input on this is great! I read everything Section Hiker had to say about them too, and for me I think its a great choice- I’d rather blow $60 on the Ursack and OPsack now and sleep with peace of mind the critters aren’t eating my food, plus it saves time of hanging the bag. In SoCal at least, I think this IS the way to go! I’ll either rent a cannister or do that hiker exchange thing where they send it to Kennedy Meadows. I looked at the RatSack too.

      • Rockin says:

        I have a RatSack also. It is great for areas like the Grand Canyon. The URSack is closed and the biggest plus is it gives you protection from mice, squirrels, gophers, and very aggressive marmots. All this and no hanging!

      • wanderingdot says:

        Shoot, I’m on the fence about getting the regular Ursack or the Minor. How much do I value that 5 oz ?! I can only afford one, and I’d likely carry it the whole PCT except the cannister section. At first I thought the Minor’s good- no bears for the first part of the trail. But then will I hang it bearbag style when its unlikely but possible to meet bears? Hmm. I do not want to lose my food nor corrupt the wildlife…

  2. Rockin says:

    The one I have was made before 2009 and weights 8 oz.. I am so wanting the Ursack Minor at 2.7 ounces so to have critter protection without hanging. PCTers like to use stealth camping and cooking before you get to camp as a huge bear deterrent.

  3. Is there a lighter Ursack available? I’m about to go into bear NJ with my 7 oz ursack again. Just washed it for the first time – looks and probably smells new!

  4. wanderingdot says:

    I settled on the Ursack Minor. I got some Opsacks too, which probably help the most. I hope I made a good call- I’ll have to hang it bearbag style sometimes probably, but great for not-so bear-y but critter-y start of the hike for sure.

  5. wanderingdot says:

    ooh SectionHiker! Hi! I love your reviews. The Ursack Minor is 2.8 oz if I recall right. BUT Its not bear resistant, just for mice and marmots, etc. I really think the plastic OPsacks reducing odor are the most helpful. I’m stunned how huge they come! wow. I had some teeny Loksacks for first aid and condiments, got these whoppers that should hold pretty much everything. For the piece of mind it gives me in less-bear ville, the Ursack minor with the Opsack will be most excellent. But I’ll post from the trail to testify.

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