alternative to Opsak for odor-proof bags?
Jun 3, 2023 at 1:45 pm #3782482Ryan PBPL Member
Ever since I tried the Ursack/Opsak combo, I’ve never gone back to using a canister (unless required by regulation) or a traditional bear hang (except for few instances in remote desert environments where I was really not worried about any critters). I mostly trust the odor-proof Opsaks to do their job, as long as they haven’t failed–sure, they’re not perfectly odor-proof, but they reduce the smell radius by a lot. However, I’m sick of them failing on me. It’s usually at the seal area, but sometimes it’s pinprick holes. Either way, I would love it if there were a more durable alternative. I don’t care if it’s a little heavier or more expensive as long as it is more durable/reliable. Does anyone here know of any alternatives to consider?Jun 3, 2023 at 9:21 pm #3782567DWR DBPL Member
Might consider Nylopro odor bags… zPacks sells them… not sure if they are more durable or not, but they are pretty tough… could double them, but I have never had to.. I believe others sell them also, but a diff
erent name.. nyloflume… and there may be other marketing names out there.. I believe there was a thread her on BPL a few years ago… might try a search…Jun 3, 2023 at 9:33 pm #3782568Jeffrey HBPL Member
I think in One of the backpacking light online courses Ryan mentioned that aluminum lined Mylar bags (anything lined with aluminum) is significantly more odor proof than anything just plastic like OP Sack.
I don’t have all the facts memorized but that’s what I recall.
I believe you can buy them in bulk as well. I usually keep my trash in one of my used aluminum lined mountain house bags and the rest of the food stays sealed in packaging for the most part. Been meaning to order some of those Mylar bags to put everything in though just to avoid near problems.Jun 3, 2023 at 9:35 pm #3782569Jeffrey HBPL Member
*”bear problems” I meant.Jun 3, 2023 at 10:20 pm #3782571bjcBPL Member
Here’s what Ryan was talking about. They can be found on Amazon.
50) 2 Quart 5 Mil Zip Seal Genuine Aluminum Foil Single Color Mylar Bags for Herb, Food and Organics Storage (10″x10″) (50)Jun 4, 2023 at 5:48 am #3782579Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western MichiganJun 4, 2023 at 8:16 am #3782584Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
You might look into Nylofume Bags, they are used to protect fiids when you fumigate your house.Jun 4, 2023 at 9:01 am #3782586bjcBPL Member
Thanks Ken, it was late and I was having trouble with the link!!Jun 4, 2023 at 1:28 pm #3782602David HartleyBPL Member
@dhartleyLocale: Western NY
I don’t know if they are the same as the nyloflume bags (they seem similar) – but the turkey size oven roasting bags you can buy in the grocery store seem pretty odor proof to me. I always use one of these as a liner when I am hanging bear bags, or in a bear can. I still use the Opsaks when I am using an Ursack though – although I too think the zip seal can be a pain to get a good seal at times (I have never experienced pinholes).Jun 5, 2023 at 4:01 pm #3782688David DBPL Member
They hold a bit of scent used as FBC but much less so than Russbes or Ziplocs IMEJun 6, 2023 at 7:54 am #3782755Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88-2Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
As a sidebar, for some unknown reason REI no longer carries Opsaks. I inquired and no one had an answer.Jun 6, 2023 at 2:22 pm #3782777Michael P CBPL Member
Do oder-proof bags (OpSacks or whatever) and Ursacks realy work? “Reducing the smell radius by a lot” seems like an imperfect solution. If the Ursack is really bear-proof, why do you need odor-proof bags, and if it’s not, might curiousity get them to within the reduced smell radius? Help me understand. Thanks.Jun 6, 2023 at 6:37 pm #3782789
Hey Bill, in the past 3 years Opsaks have routinely been harder and harder to get. Going out of stock regularly. Whether it was Amazon or REI. I’m not certain of this, but the dreaded “supply chain issues” bureaucratic response, is probably to blame. Not sure the official reason.
REI finally discontinued them about 3 months ago. The 12×20’s were selling for $5ea. I purchased several packs.
Opsaks for me have had a wide range of reliability. I’ve had the seals blow out on me the first use. Literally opening the first time to fill. I’ve had them last an entire three season use. Into the next. I’ve used those 5mil Mylar bags. They poked holes in my Opsak. Stiff. Admittedly I didn’t need them with the Opsak. However, they are also very heavy. Think food storage for months plus. Not a week out on the trail. There has to be a source for thin “chip bag like” Mylar bags (.5 mil, 1 mil, less?). I haven’t found any.
This three season I’ve decided to use ZPacks Nylopro and turkey oven bags. I did the “Ryan Jordan Test of Adequacy”. Put coffee beans sealed in it overnight, and tested for odor the next day. No issues. Durability may be an issue. As well as pin-holing. They are quite fragile feeling and from the twisting of the opening to bungee it closed may show signs of wear quickly.Jun 6, 2023 at 9:53 pm #3782801Chris FormyDuvalBPL Member
With regard to the mylar bag, I’ve had food bags next to mine on cables before and mice attacked them not mine. Data sample set of one but they did bypass mine. Forgot to empty trash after a trip one time…very impressed at the odor stopping ability. I gave up on the opsak long time, one blew out once the first time, another after only a few uses. Coghlan’s used to make some odor proof bags as well, seem to be harder to find these days. I use ursack unless a hard sided is required or cables/poles installed. Ok so far.Jun 7, 2023 at 6:10 am #3782816DAN-Y/FANCEE FEESTBPL Member
@zelph2Jun 7, 2023 at 1:20 pm #3782832
FunkSac was a good lead for large liner bags so far. Here’s what I found. 12×20.Jun 9, 2023 at 1:10 pm #3783005
Ordered a pack of the Hempsacs. Stoked to see how these work out. They look promising.Jun 10, 2023 at 8:47 am #3783046Link .BPL Member
. HERE . is an article that BPL did about 10 years ago “How Safe Is Your Food? Investigating the effectiveness of odor-proof bags”Jun 14, 2023 at 8:54 am #3783326Mark ViaBPL Member
The only thing I’d be concerned about with those is that they’re only 1.8 mil thick. If a 5 mil Opsak gets pinholes after 500 miles or so I wouldn’t expect the Funk Sac to be more durable.Jun 15, 2023 at 12:25 pm #3783409Finnegan McBrisketSpectator
@joephish-2Locale: SF Bay Area
Do oder-proof bags (OpSacks or whatever) and Ursacks realy work? “Reducing the smell radius by a lot” seems like an imperfect solution. If the Ursack is really bear-proof, why do you need odor-proof bags, and if it’s not, might curiousity get them to within the reduced smell radius? Help me understand. Thanks.
I use the odor blocking sacks to reduce the chance of the bear from noticing and potentially chewing on my ursack, which could ruin my food and leaving a slobbery mess. I don’t use the aluminum insert.Jun 15, 2023 at 3:19 pm #3783416Michael P CBPL Member
Thanks, Finnegan. That clarifies things.Jun 15, 2023 at 9:02 pm #3783435
Opsak gets pinholes after 500 miles or so I wouldn’t expect the Funk Sac to be more durable.
Never had an Opsak get pinholes. Never had one last 500 miles neither.
The Hempsacs are a new item for me. Won’t know how they work until we try, right? That’s why we have sail cloth for backpacks and tents.
The Hempsacs arrived a few days past the start of my recent trip. Wasn’t able to try them yet. I did however use a combination of the ZPacks Nylopro and turkey oven roasting bags. Wanted to scope out the differences. Nylopro is noticeably beefier. Oven bags are thinner. After 6 days of rugged use, twisting a tying the heck out of them, both have come out just fine. Still hold air. No issues with animals sensing the food when hung. Bears, squirrels and chipmunks had been showing presence.Jul 21, 2023 at 7:22 pm #3785588hillnautBPL Member
@hillnautLocale: Central Massachusetts
I use a similar product but different brand: Smelly Proof (yes, that’s the brand name). I have two sizes I use depending on how much food I’m packing. I can’t vouch for whether a bear could smell through the bag, but I do wash it inside and out after my excursions. I guess you could rub some pine needles over the outside to further mask the scent, but since bears have the keenest noses on the planet, it’s probably not worth it. I seem to have a knack for meeting bears (mamas with cubs in particular) on the trail but never had a “problem” encounter storing my food in these.
For overnights, I carry a single 5 ft. trekking pole. I put the Smelly Proof bags in a dry bag, jam the knob of the trekking pole under the lip of the dry bag, and simply find a long tree branch about 12 ft. off the ground. I’m just tall enough to hoist the dry bag “loop” over the branch tip while standing on the ground under the branch. With a bit of practice, this takes no longer than 5 minutes. It’s much easier than trying out for the Bear Bag Olympics. I’ve never lost a bag this way. No canisters, bear bags, Ursacks, etc.
I’ve heard of people also stashing their smelly proof bags underwater in shallow streams. Just put a few rocks on the bag corners. I haven’t try this method, as there are lots of critters who could take notice (mink and raccoons in particular). You could build a sort of “shelter” or cairn of stones around the bags to keep them from taking off down stream. But this seems like too much work for me though, and I’m happy with my current method. And you may not always have access to a stream. My method just requires some taller trees. Above tree line? No idea. Maybe try hiding the bag in a pile of stones, a large crack in a boulder, etc. If the smelly proof bags actually work, the bears shouldn’t be able to find them. Good luck!Jul 22, 2023 at 5:39 am #3785609Terran TerranBPL Member
“Reducing the smell radius by a lot” seems like an imperfect solution.
There are no perfect solutions.
I lock my car doors. Take the keys. They can still steal my car. It slows them down.Jul 23, 2023 at 7:48 pm #3785695
Hempsacs have ended out working very well on the trail. Durable, and a nice green color. No noticeable odors would escape out. The plastic does hold odors significantly on the inside though. Much more than Opsacs would. Like it absorbs into the plastic. So if you double bag, as I do, you’ll need to make sure the inside bag stays the inside and outside out. I mark one to make sure. So far pleased. I twist and tie off each bag with its own elastic/cord lock and then put into a DCF dry bag to do a subalpine bag hang.
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