- Mar 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm #1286459Cayenne RedmonkMember
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
There seems to be some confusion on how these two products are to be used.
With the ursack, you have to get up and defend your food.
With a bear canister you have time to take a photo, and then chase off the bear.
Hope that helps.Mar 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm #1847458Mar 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm #1847662
Hanging the ursack in a traditional counter balance way isn't correct from my understanding. If obtained, away it goes with the bear. It is to be tied to a tree, and we humans can't climb as good as bears, so it will be tied down low (from the bear perspective).
Why chase the bears off? Let them learn there is no reward for messing with the (hard to get ahold of) canister. Ursack can be grabbed, gnawed on, pulled, etc. Much longer learning curve.
SteveMar 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #1847665Ken ThompsonMember
@hereLocale: Right there
See. Confusion persists.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm #1847671
"Why chase the bears off? Let them learn there is no reward for messing with the (hard to get ahold of) canister."
If you take Yosemite black bears as examples, they are pretty crafty. The experienced bears will walk up to a bear canister, sniff it, and walk by. Once in a while, they will paw it to see if it will accidentally dump its contents, but then they walk by. The inexperienced bears will spend a lot more time trying to figure it out. They can smell food, but they can't get to it. In some cases, they will try to chew on the canister. That really doesn't do you or the bear any good. So, sometimes it is best to give it a minute or two on it to discover that it is tough, and then chase it off. Besides, some bears are really persistent, and they will keep you awake half the night as they try different things. I've found the best method is to shout at them, run directly at them, bark like a wild dog, throw rocks, or all of these.
Yosemite black bears are more like oversized wild dogs. They could hurt you if you were stupid.
–B.G.–Mar 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm #1847679Justin BakerMember
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I always considered the ursack something you hang. At least if they knock it down the fabric is a second defense. More of an extra insurance that the bears won't get fed.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm #1847684
Justin, I don't think so.
If the bear knocks it down, then it can bite it and carry it off to work on in its leisure time.
If the thing is firmly tied to the base of a tree, it isn't going anywhere. However, what are you going to do if there are no trees?
Bear canisters are completely different since they are so large that the bear can't grab it or bite it very well, so they can't really carry it off. They don't depend on trees, even though black bears are not so common when you get above timberline.
–B.G.–Mar 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm #1847687
So here is my take. I have owned an Ursack, BV, Garcia. If the Ursack get’s legalized in CA I will use it every time, and I will hang it- every time. I have had many many bear encounters of blacks and browns.
1. It weighs much less than a can
2. I know how to counter balance or hang so a bear doesn’t get it, so why would I ever use a canister ever again in CA if it gets legalized. (perhaps why it’s not legal, conspiracy?)
3. I will never attach it at on the ground except above tree line.
4. There are only black bears in CA, they are not a threat, they are like big marmots.
On top of that, there is a section of the JMT where you don't need a bear can or Ursack at all. The rangers told me to counter balance as it was the prefered method.Mar 2, 2012 at 7:26 am #1847776
If it is legalized for use in the areas that require a bear can, it would only be legal to use correctly. So the counter balance method wouldn't be legal. The counter balance method isn't legal in these areas now, why would it be legal with an improperly used ursack?
SteveMar 2, 2012 at 8:31 am #1847812
"I know how to counter balance or hang so a bear doesn’t get it"
A bear could easily walk out on the limb to pull it up (Yellow Yellow, the notorious female in the Adirondacks, is small, under 150 lbs), or if the limb is too small to support its weight, they will often send their cubs out to get them. Or they could climb another tree and jump down onto the bag. Counterbalancing only works in areas where bears are not habituated to humans. The whole idea behind the canisters being required in certain places is that theyve had too many problems with hangs and counterbalances.Mar 2, 2012 at 9:05 am #1847830
I guess this is a hypothetical discussion due to the current rules in different districts. If a Ranger told me not to hang a Ursack, I wouldn't, if they told me to hang it, I would, just like I did on a 20 mile portion of the JMT. I'm just stating how I would do it based on my experience- "if the Ursack was legal everywhere and you could hang it"Mar 2, 2012 at 9:41 am #1847841Hiking MaltoMember
There is a VERY specific way to use an Ursack. (See their website.) They go into quite a bit of detail on how to tie the knot and how then to tie it correctly around a tree or log. It is not intended to be hung, maybe it would work, but if you are going to hang then why use an ursack? Learn to hang correctly and you won't have to worry about it.Mar 2, 2012 at 10:21 am #1847864
I am going to hang my ursack so the food doesn't get touched, and why would I bring it if I am going to hang it? Because I need it above tree line where there are no trees and I can anchor it to a rock.Mar 2, 2012 at 10:24 am #1847865Cayenne RedmonkMember
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
And so you see, even on bpl, half the people think the Ursack is to be hung, and a good proportion of the rest think it is bear proof.
Will never be approved, the learning curve is too steep.Mar 2, 2012 at 10:41 am #1847876
Cameron, are you telling me that I cannot hang it? Do you think that my methods don't work? I’m not telling anyone how to do anything; I am just providing insight on what I do. “Will never be approved”? It is approved in some areas, which areas are you speaking of that it will never get approved?Mar 2, 2012 at 11:22 am #1847889
No. If approved, you will not be "allowed" to hang it. It is not how it is used.
No. Your method doesn't work in habituated bear areas, that is why hanging isn't allowed and bear canisters are required.
Insert sarcastic comment here.
SteveMar 2, 2012 at 11:26 am #1847892Larry De La BriandaisMember
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
It may not stay approved in Yosemite as there are too many chances for user error. As is evidenced by this thread many people do not understand the issues surrounding bears in Yosemite.
Maybe if is approved again they will have the rangers explain the required proper use of the ursack in Yosemite prior to issuing the permit. They already give you the rules speech if you tell them you are new to backpacking there. It wouldn't take much to review the REQUIRED procedure for using a ursack in Yosemite.Mar 2, 2012 at 11:32 am #1847897Justin BakerMember
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
"but if you are going to hang then why use an ursack?"
Because carrying the ursack is legally required in some places, unless you want to carry a canister. It's legally required so people who don't know what they are doing or those who makes mistakes wont feed the bears. Unfortunatley everyone gets grouped into the category.Mar 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm #1847911
It sounds like youre more concerned about a ranger finding you without your can than a bear finding you without your can. A fine may stink, but feeding a bear that may have to be put down one day because of your actions, is worse.Mar 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm #1847997AaronMember
The fact is everyone lives in a different area with different needs as far as food storage is concerned. It all amounts to how a big a risk you want to take with your food and the risk of bear (or even critter) contact you expect.
For some trips, I like to go a week + without resupply if I can help it. In this scenario (camping above treeline, few resupplies), if anything happens to my food, I'm screwed. In these situations, I use a canister.
Rocky Mountain National Park requires a canister, so I carry one. In areas that don't, I can use other food storage methods.
I know it's heavy and bulky, and that some of you have "used your ursack without any trouble", but the park service doesn't cater to UL backpackers. It caters to the general population who frequent the park.
If anything, this thread shows that the ursack works sometimes, if you hang it. No wait, tie it to a tree or a rock. Or maybe submerge it under water. Or maybe sleep with it. Or…sigh.
Suck it up, pack the canister, and get out there and hike.Mar 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm #1848007
"Or maybe submerge it under water."
I tried that one time thirty years ago. I had carried in a 12-pack of beer plus a wine-in-a-box in order to surprise some friends of mine who were southbound on the JMT. When I got to the intercept location, I was several hours early, so I tried to sink the booze bag (plastic bag with cans and box inside) in the river to keep it out of trouble. It is very hard to keep that sort of thing from floating.
About 24 hours later, I was carrying out the bag of empties.
–B.G.–Mar 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm #1848008AnonymousInactive
"Will never be approved, the learning curve is too steep."
Fergawdsake! WTF is to be learned? Cinch aperture tight; overhand knot to secure aperture; wrap rope around tree; tie rewoven figure 8; secure with overhand knots or half fishermans knots. I am mystified by the confusion.Mar 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm #1848019
@Tom: Think about how many people there are who only hike a few days a year. They generally will not be able to do things the proper way, so by making things simple, like a bear can, you reduce bear/human incidents.
One thing that made me laugh so much, it was either in this discussion or in the other one about Ursacks, but someone said something to the effect of "Its not just the weight of the can, it means I have to buy a whole new pack to fit it in." Who told you to buy a pack so small that it leaves no room for any unforseeable items such as a bear can? Thats your fault for being a UL crackhead.Mar 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm #1848035
Classic story Bob, I love it. Nice to hear a funny chime amongst others telling me how to camp. I wonder how many Coors Lights I can fit in my Ursack?Mar 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm #1848038Ken ThompsonMember
@hereLocale: Right there
I just want people to use it properly and not ruin it for the rest of us. None of this my way is better krap, follow instructions.
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