Jul 12, 2007 at 12:42 pm #1224076
@shalehLocale: SF Bay Area
How many re-use cycles can these things take? How solid is the seal after a few uses? Is there anything else similar?
I realize Ziplock freezer bags are pretty sturdy but they are not odor proof.Jul 12, 2007 at 12:57 pm #1395182
I think it depends on many different factors including frequency of use, items stored, etc., but I have some that are in great shape after about 9 months of use, including one for firestarting items that I use occasionally, to another one that is my first aid kit, that is holding up well to regular use(see Aleve).
I like them.
I have one from about 4 years ago that is not in good shape at all. Holds my mountain biking first aid, with the help of some rubber bands.Jul 12, 2007 at 3:47 pm #1395206
Not sure exactly how many cycles OP's are good for, but it's a lot more than a Ziplock freezer bag.
I often use a Ziplock freezer bag as a trash bag, and after a week they're shot, which is fine since I then throw them away. The usually failures are seams and holes that allow it to leak and give off odors (more than when new).
I have had my first aid kit and fire starter kit in OP Saks for a couple years now, and they aren't showing any sign of wear. But then I rarely access the contents.Jul 12, 2007 at 4:11 pm #1395213
My experience is that the OP Saks are much better than ziplocks but still not that durable.Jul 12, 2007 at 4:23 pm #1395215
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Maybe I am just harder on the O.P. saks than others… but I found that I only got a couple of weeks of use before I had damaged the bag enough that it was no longer air tight. My problem wasn't the seal wearing out, but rather having tip size holes in the body of the bag.Jul 12, 2007 at 4:30 pm #1395218
Durable compared to what? OP Saks are probably among the most durable of LW plastic bags. They are not as durable as a woven fiber sack—even the lightest spinnaker or sil-nylon would be more durable and various drysacks on the market have much more durable seals—the latter being much heavier than a OP Sak. It would be nice if there was some competition, but there doesn't seem to be any that are marketed towards the outdoor market. Particularly if you value odor-proof attributes in a storage bag. The newest generation OP Saks are quite durable —although I miss the gussets of the older ones. I replace the most used ones about once a year on average.
Mark, you are rough on your gear! :-)>Jul 12, 2007 at 6:01 pm #1395227
OP saks are not as durable as oven liner bags. I lost faith in them after a couple of uses…probably operator error..heheJul 12, 2007 at 8:20 pm #1395239
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
If you want durability – buy ALOKSAK
If you want the odor barrier, buy OPSAKS
If you need both durability AND an odor barrier (for bear country)? Buy one of each. Put the OPSAK inside the ALOKSAK.
An intermediate is the BPL Foodzip bags. "FoodZips are not more durable than Aloksaks, but they are more durable than OP Saks." See the Gear Shop / Packing section at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/foodzip_7x8_bags.html
These Aloksaks and OPSaks are expensive when compared to freezer bags and oven liner bags. Be sure you need the extra functionality before you spend the extra bucks.Jul 15, 2007 at 5:09 pm #1395475
@jfdiberianLocale: Columbia River Gorge
Ditto to what everyone else said. In my opinion they're not worth the money.Jul 15, 2007 at 5:53 pm #1395481
@dondoLocale: Colorado Rockies
My experience is that the Aloksaks are durable and the OP Saks are not. I've been able to extend the durability of the OP saks by placing them inside lightweight stuff sacks.Jul 15, 2007 at 7:08 pm #1395485
>>Op Saks inside stuffsacks…
Which is how I use my OP Sak odor barrier bags, specifically inside of an Ursack (where required) and inside a spin-nylon sack otherwise. The main thing to watch out for (and why I get extended life on mine) is not to put foil packed foods (FD food, etc.), the sharp corners of which will wreck havoc on any plastic bag (they don't do LW nylon bags a great deal of good, either)inside or contacting the bag. Beware of anything with sharp, stiffened corners. Reasonable care in packing and unpacking the Sak is just SOP. If you want to rough-house, look elsewhere. Same with a lot of SUL gear.
Again, the latest generation of OP Saks (frm last year on?) seem much better than the original. Those were hard to keep going for more than 2 or 3 trips. They remain the only show in town if you want a real odor barrier that is LW.
And if you are using a bear canister, why use anything other than the cheapest possible bags? Invade your recycled (hopefully) plastic bag stash.
The Aloksaks (a very different animal) are really durable—-one I use to house my 1st Aid Kit is several seasons old and still going strong.Jul 17, 2007 at 6:13 pm #1395702
@mad777Locale: South Florida
Either OP saks are extremely delicate or I'm the gorrilla in the Samsonite commercials!Jul 17, 2007 at 6:35 pm #1395703
I also do not find the OP saks to be that durable. But then, it is probably the sharp corners, etc of the food packaging inside them.Mine do not last me more than a couple of weekend trips before they start to get what looks to be the little pin holes (as it were) starting along the sides of the bag. But since they are the only truly lightweight odor proof alternative, I use them. What I have found to work to extend the life of the bag; is that when I retire a bag because it looks to have started little holes (and odor proof is the name of the game here), I use it as as liner for my food inside a new one. That way, the extra layer protects for longer before I notice the little pinprick holes. The weakest part of both the OP sak and the Aloksack, is the ziplock top. It seams to come unsealded from the Aloksack long before anything else goes wrong with it.Jul 18, 2007 at 6:25 am #1395744
Does anyone have any experience on cutting off the sharp corners on foil-packaged foods and how that affects the durability of the OP sak?
I also suppose you could dump out the foil packaged foods in something else without sharp corners and reconstitute it in pot?
Whaddya think?Jul 18, 2007 at 9:39 am #1395765
You can chop off the corners to mitigate this somewhat but just repackage the foil packed food into a ziploc freezer bag. Much less abrasive, lighter, and less bulk. You can reconstitue right in the freezer bag, using a cozy (fleece hat or other clothing item or make your own).Jul 18, 2007 at 10:03 am #1395770
If you talk to watchful eye, they're incredibly clear that the seal lasts between 100 and 200 uses. That's it.
The O.P. sack is not puncture resistant in the slightest, it's an odor barrier. I find that they fall apart relatively quickly.
I generally use aloksaks only when I really need them. I think they are great within the confines of a disposable plastic bag that just isn't environmentally responsible…Jul 18, 2007 at 10:47 am #1395777
Graham, I'd like to bring up the issue that there are environmental trade-offs with most of the materials we use in backpacking and mtneering, in general, and storage bags in particular. Either we have issues of lots of energy going into the manufacturing of material ( it would appear that less energy goes into creating the ubiquitous plastic grocery bag than into a paper sack) or the usage of un/renewable resources, and finally if the product is recyclable or biodegradable. Weigh this with expected product life. Also, functional aspects.
Whatever we choose will involve trade-offs in one or more of these areas. Not to mention health based issues that might also be associated with the manufacture of the product. I'm fairly well versed in many of these trade-offs when it comes to baggies vs. paper bags, vs. nylon sacks and I still see no clear cut "green" choices. I'm involved in green design in residential home and office design and it's just as confusing there.
I just make the most informed and responsible selections I can, where possible and keep my eyes and ears open for further developments.Jul 18, 2007 at 10:51 am #1395778
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
One thing to consider is many areas is that freezer bags are recyclable (if rinsed out!). So are many storage bags for food/gear storage.
Even if one tosses it at the end, there is more thoughts on it: you not leaving food scraps behind, neither are you leaving soap messes. You are carrying less garbage overall. You use less water as well.
Especially so if you buy food in bulk and divy it out over a number of meals.Jul 18, 2007 at 11:31 am #1395782
i use them…i just try to be conservative and only use them when i really think it's necessary.
You're right, we've got a selection of choices that aren't that great. So you've got to make do. I believe we've all got the responsibility to remind each other that our product choices have an impact.Jul 18, 2007 at 11:40 am #1395784
Absolutely, G.Aug 13, 2007 at 6:20 pm #1398480
@terrymLocale: Northern California
What are people referring to when they mention "oven liner bags" ?
Are these the "oven bags" made by Reynolds for oven cooking? I've found that these bags are an extremely good odor barrior, but they are also very light weight and fragile. They look like very thin plastic, but are definatley not. The Reynolds bags are not really waterproof- they will absorb or lose moisture, albeit slowly- but they are impermeable to oil based stuff. Most odors seem to be oil based.
Used inside of a good strong freezer bag they might give you a good combination or waterproof and odor proof protection. has anybody tried this?
.Aug 14, 2007 at 12:31 am #1398523
Odors are simply airborne microscopic particles. When attempting to deter animals that have a sense of smell many times more sensitive than our own, an airtight seal is a must. As you mentioned, conventional oven bags are not waterproof, and therefor in no way airtight or odor proof. When it counts, don't trust your food to something that isn't specifically designed for the purpose of completely containing odors, such as the OP Saks.Aug 15, 2007 at 7:20 pm #1398762
@bjorn240Locale: Westchester County, NY
I've found the OP Saks to be useful for about a week's worth of backpacking. After a week, they tend to get small pinholes in the plastic.Feb 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm #1839086
Bringing a thread back to life! I am in the process of trying opsaks as my food bag. I won't be using this instead of a bear bag, just in addition. I plan on using it to store food in my pack and in my bear bag in the Smokies. However, I loaded up some mountain house and Hawk Vittles food in one of the larger ones this weekend to add weight to my pack for a day/training hike. Now there are at least two pinholes in the bag (from the sharp corners on the MH packs I presume). Would this bag still be OK to use simply for food storage in my pack or would the small holes allow the smells to get on my gear? This might not be a problem at all. I have been using Ziploc bags in the past few years and haven't had a problem but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry.Feb 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm #1839115
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
No plastic bag is going to be durable.
These bags really shine as a layer to prevent odors from reaching animals.
So I have used them successfully, so far, for caches:
Please note that the Clip-n-Seal clips, available from Amazon, are a must, as the Opsak seals are not dependable.
I wouldn't want to use one more than a few times, because food odors would inevitably find their way to the outer surface of the bag, where animals would pick up on them. Just because we think we have cleaned a bag, doesn't mean that a bear can't still smell the food the bag came into contact with.
If i were going to use one for carrying food in griz country, the food would be in an Opsak, with the Opsak in a durable sack like an Ursack, corded to the top of the pack for two reasons:
1. To keep any food odors out of the pack and off my gear. Don't want to have to hang the pack to keep it from getting slashed or chewed by claws and teeth. This wasn't such a big deal in the days of heavy cordura; but now, with ultra light materials for packs and other grear, it is a very big deal.
2. So the bag would not be crushed by placing it inside the pack. As noted in this thread, crushing will cause damage to the surface of the Opsaks, and render them ineffective. BTW, considerable weight can be saved by getting rid of the foil and plastic packaging that pack food comes in, and repackaging in U-Line or similar sealed light plastic bags. But even hard pasta can have sharp edges.
The Opsaks could also be carried separately, where they would not be damaged, and just used for hanging food. Care would have to be taken to prevent food odors from being transferred to the outer surface of the bags during handling.
If you want to carry food in your pack in Opsaks, you will probably be disappointed, due to punctures in the plastic noted in this thread, and because with frequent handling, food odors will find their way to the outside of the sacks and to your gear.
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