Bear Proof Food Storage - Ursack

Venchka

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My question is about gear and trip planing.
To those of you who frequent Wilderness Areas and National Parks along the Continental Divide, do you use bear proof food storage containers? Since the Ursack gained recognition from the IGBC, are you using the Ursack where it is either required and or allowed?
I'm asking because I would like to buy and use an Ursack Major in places like Yellowstone, The Winds and elsewhere along the Divide.
Thanks for your help!
Wayne
 
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Wanderlust073

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I'm asking because I would like to buy and use an Ursack Major in places like Yellowstone
Wayne

Still no love for the ursack in YNP like many of the other parks. There was a good interview from a couple months ago with the CEO of Ursack where he gripes about the parks' continued unwillingness to allow it despite the IGBC certification.
 

Venchka

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Still no love for the ursack in YNP like many of the other parks. There was a good interview from a couple months ago with the CEO of Ursack where he gripes about the parks' continued unwillingness to allow it despite the IGBC certification.
It's been awhile since I read the rules for Yellowstone. If you stay in a designated campsite with a bear pole for hanging your food, does your food need to be in a hard sided bear proof container?
Where exactly are bear proof canisters required in Yellowstone?
Bummer about the Ursack. I suppose it's okay in the Winds and other wilderness areas?
Thanks for your help.
Wayne


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I am fairly confident that the Ursack is legal to use in basically all wilderness areas since their jurisdiction is more lenient than the parks. Yellowstone I think requires a bear proof container and/or ursack only where a bear hanging pole and/or trees to hang food are not in the area, don't quote me on that but it makes the most sense. I think he was referring to Yosemite NP because them and Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP forbid the use of Ursacks which is a puzzlement to a lot of people.
 

LarryBoy

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Still no love for the ursack in YNP like many of the other parks. There was a good interview from a couple months ago with the CEO of Ursack where he gripes about the parks' continued unwillingness to allow it despite the IGBC certification.
Even more interesting is his hinting of a waterproof laminate Ursack on the horizon... no more need to worry about bear slobber getting on your Twinkies!
 

SKLund

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My question is about gear and trip planing.
To those of you who frequent Wilderness Areas and National Parks along the Continental Divide, do you use bear proof food storage containers? Since the Ursack gained recognition from the IGBC, are you using the Ursack where it is either required and or allowed?
I'm asking because I would like to buy and use an Ursack Major in places like Yellowstone, The Winds and elsewhere along the Divide.
Thanks for your help!
Wayne

I don't see the need for this product in Yellowstone. Any location that does not require bear resistant storage and has storage infrastructure as Yellowstone does, renders these extraneous. The Ursack would be my preferred storage in those locations that require such storage by policy, or where storage like hanging poles does not exist. A place like the Bob Marshall and parts of Glacier come to mind. You can hang your stuff properly in a stuff sack or in a Ursack. The result is the same. In a place where trees are few and far between or are not large enough to hang food in are ideal for products like this.

Take another look and verify that these products are certified as is without the metal liner (sold separately). If certification requires it, I would just go with a standard bear proof container.
 

Jackson

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I'm forever a fan of hanging my food just in a stuff sack. I have a Garcia bear canister for when certain areas require them, but that sucker takes up so much space in my pack and adds unnecessary weight. I really like the Ursack idea--I've just never used one.
 

Joey

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I've fell in love with using the Ursack. @Vegan.Hiker let me borrow one over a year ago, and I've yet to return it. I pretty much use it for my food bag on any trip under a week. So much easier than a canister, and it keeps the mice out in non bear areas.

The Ursack is an approved food storage device in both Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. It is NOT needed in those parks UNLESS you intend to camp in an at large, undesignated backcountry campsite. 100% of the designated backcountry campsites in both of those parks have food poles to hand your food on. They will allow you to use a canister or Ursack instead of hanging. I just don't see the point of carrying in a canister though, when hanging your food is a lighter, less bulky option.

Glacier National Park will require you to have the plastic liner inside the Ursack. And yes they will check you to make sure you do, before issuing you a backcountry permit (really only if your camping off trail.) Glacier will also rent you a Ursack (or canister), for free, depending on availability.
The only place in Montana or Wyoming that I know requires a bear canister for backpacking is Grand Teton National Park. I've been told mixed answers over the years about using a Ursack there, but still use it regardless. This year, I was told I needed a "hard sided canister", but they didn't check me at the permit office. I have been told by two different backcountry rangers in the park that they are cool with the Ursack, and wouldn't write a ticket to someone who was using one, even if it wasn't on their approved list. The park will rent you a canister for free. As an FYI, i've had difficulty with Grand Teton in the past when it comes to containers. The Bearikade canisters, which are allowable in Glacier and Alaska, are somehow not good enough for the Tetons.

As another FYI, in November of 2015 I was told by the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park that I couldn't use a Ursack in Salt Creek. I had the backcountry office call their superiors to verify that, which they did. (The person working the backcountry office that day didn't know what the Ursack was). It's possible this has changed since then, especially as the Ursack becomes more known.

The Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness requires bear canisters. There may be other places in Colorado as well. It did specifically say "hard sided canisters", but I carried in a Ursack anyways.

You don't need a canister in the Beartooths or Wind Rivers. The Winds do have some black bear issues in popular places, but you could really just sleep with your food.
 

Venchka

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Thanks Jackson and Joey! Good information as always.
I have a very good stuff sack that I hung in Colorado in September. I think I'll hang onto my money for awhile.
Wayne


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LarryBoy

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The only place in Montana or Wyoming that I know requires a bear canister for backpacking is Grand Teton National Park. I've been told mixed answers over the years about using a Ursack there, but still use it regardless. This year, I was told I needed a "hard sided canister", but they didn't check me at the permit office. I have been told by two different backcountry rangers in the park that they are cool with the Ursack, and wouldn't write a ticket to someone who was using one, even if it wasn't on their approved list. The park will rent you a canister for free. As an FYI, i've had difficulty with Grand Teton in the past when it comes to containers. The Bearikade canisters, which are allowable in Glacier and Alaska, are somehow not good enough for the Tetons.

As another FYI, in November of 2015 I was told by the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park that I couldn't use a Ursack in Salt Creek. I had the backcountry office call their superiors to verify that, which they did. (The person working the backcountry office that day didn't know what the Ursack was). It's possible this has changed since then, especially as the Ursack becomes more known.
i had the exact same conversation in the Tetons with a backcountry ranger - he said he'd never write up somebody using an Ursack properly.
 

Venchka

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Neat. My wife said she would give me a zip lock bag. :scatman:

My wife doesn't want me coming home in the trash bag I use to line the pack.
She also said that I could never buy another tent.
Wayne


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Absarokanaut

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I see they've tested ursacks on the well fed bears at the Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Can anyone direct me to a documented testimonial for wild grizzlies not breaching an ursack?

I do not belive the fact you can poke a hole in one with a PENCIL can be so easily dismissed. Since grizzlies have been documented to puncture propane canisters you'll have to forgive me for being quite skeptical of the ursack.

@Joey I slept with my food in Colorado all the time, but knowing grizzlies have been confirmed to be on both sides of the Windsvarious times recently and the fact they shot one in CROWHEART not too long ago and they're killing cows galore in the upper Green River Valley I'm not gonna ever do that in the Winds so please forgive my respectful disagreement on this one.
 

Jackson

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I see they've tested ursacks on the well fed bears at the Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Can anyone direct me to a documented testimonial for wild grizzlies not breaching an ursack?

I do not belive the fact you can poke a hole in one with a PENCIL can be so easily dismissed. Since grizzlies have been documented to puncture propane canisters you'll have to forgive me for being quite skeptical of the ursack.

@Joey I slept with my food in Colorado all the time, but knowing grizzlies have been confirmed to be on both sides of the Windsvarious times recently and the fact they shot one in CROWHEART not too long ago and they're killing cows galore in the upper Green River Valley I'm not gonna ever do that in the Winds so please forgive my respectful disagreement on this one.
Not saying it rebuts your argument, but the Ursack makers say it works best for bears because their teeth don't have as fine of a point as those of smaller animals. Thus, they can't separate the material enough to tear it or make a hole big enough to get food out of.

I've seen a video of a guy whose Ursack got chewed on by a black bear in Maine (I think), and he shows the sack and the contents. That's a little different from a hungry grizzly though.
 

Nick

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The Winds do have some black bear issues in popular places, but you could really just sleep with your food.

I know you spend more time in the backcountry than any of us, and much of it is in areas with serious bear issues, and I have huge respect for that. But with that said, I feel it is important to put in my .02 that I find this statement dead wrong and dangerous. I have encountered plenty of bear sign in the Winds and there are documented incidents of grizzlies in the range even on the south end in recent years. Yeah, it's no Yellowstone or Glacier, but sleeping with your food is not a good plan. Maybe it's not a big issue right now, but they are there and the responsible thing to do is to take precautions to keep it from becoming an issue.
 
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