- Jun 12, 2019 at 11:57 pm #3597501
If you’re referring to me ( yee-gads) I have one in the closet. The diameter is like 7.5 inches whereas my Bearikade is @ 9.25. So depending on the size of the bear’s jaws…..
Besides slowing down or defeating the dispersal of odor part of my strategy with the 3 bags packaging (which also BTW really simplifies consumable organization) is that worse come to worse maybe I won’t have a totally unusable food supply.
As for keeping the bag nearby I want it far enough away that I hopefully don’t get awakened at night and blissfully sleep through the whole thing. I can walk out at least 3 days without much or any food. Where the heck in the lower 48 are you more than 3 days from a trailhead?Jun 13, 2019 at 12:01 am #3597503
— thread drift alert —
I was in Denali NP last weekend on the annual father-daughter camping trip and thought to stop by the back-country desk in the visitor’s center. I was surprised to learn that Ursacks are approved for use within Denali. They cautioned that it can be hard to find a large enough tree-like plant to secure it to, but they are allowed. Or they will loan you one or more rigid canisters (looked to be Garcia canisters) for free.
The day we went 66 miles on the park road out to Eielson Visitor’s Center, we saw 7 grizzlies, 3 foxes, 2 moose, 6 flocks of 8-15 Dall sheep, and a dozen groups of 3-7 caribou.Jun 13, 2019 at 1:00 am #3597519
“Maybe we can discuss Skurka sleeping with his food! (nevermind!..just kidding!)”
Skurka’s not the only one.Jun 13, 2019 at 1:11 am #3597524
Would you care to elaborate? under what circumstances?Jun 13, 2019 at 1:11 am #3597525
Yes Obx I did cover the whole camping off trail in high country thing and said that that would add tons of food security for Ursak users. However, it’s those nights going into and out of the high country that will get you.
You didn’t respond to my point about people themselves not being encased in nylofume bags while they are in camp. And my point about cooking smells. People smells don’ t repel bears, they attract them.
I did however also mention that having food encased in those bags is better than not. So actually my arguments aren’t quite the ‘straw bear’ you’re wanting them to be.
There are established camps above treeline that are well known raiding spots for bears all throughout the Sierra. Thousand Island lake anyone?
and yes confirmation bias is what I was alluding too, except that deciding to use the Ursak along with those nylofume bags might be closer to magical thinking than the other. But again, I would use them in an Ursak and hey they’re probably a good idea in a canister as well.
We’ll have to disagree about how well bears smell…perhaps you’re exhibiting more confirmation bias? (and now I’m just tweaking you, sorry–I’m sure the article you referenced is respectable.)
The truth of the matter is I fully understand the beauty of Urasks, in theory. I just know that if you spend enough time backpacking, one night things won’t work out according to protocols.
Jun 13, 2019 at 1:15 am #3597526
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by jeffrey armbruster.
For those interested, here is a link to a very thorough discussion on protectings one’s food from bears. It is well worth reading through, IMO. It even got Chris Servheen, a legendary authority on all things “bear”, contributing.Jun 13, 2019 at 1:22 am #3597529
” The diameter is like 7.5 inches whereas my Bearikade is @ 9.25. So depending on the size of the bear’s jaws…..”
It is designed to be 8″ in diameter, the specification originally required for approval of canisters by SIBG, with a slight overlap. I loaded mine up to that point and it measured at 8″. I only used it a couple of times before concluding that the it was superfluous in a vast majority of the places I frequent, and went with a Bearikade Scout for those where approved protection is actually required and an Ursack is not approved.
Edited: I forgot to mention that if you do not fully load your Ursack to fill out the space inside the insert, the diameter will shrink, potentially rendering it vulnerable to crushing by Smokey. Properly tied off, your food would still be protected and free of drool, but it’s texture would likely be compromised and baggies torn. I guess this would fall in the category of either a design flaw or improper use.
Jun 13, 2019 at 1:24 am #3597531
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Tom K.
Jeffrey: Well as I pointed out: I don’t cook in camp or anywhere near camp. Well to be clear I do make breakfast in camp after retrieving my somewhat distant food bag/ursack. Also I’m not a totally dyed in the wool ursack fan. There are plenty of places I carry a Bearikade; Seki-Yosemite obviously 2. There’s a reason for the rule even if it’s the unavoidable ripple effect of generally poor behavior, which I hope is really the consistent thread of my comments. Maybe it’s not so unavoidable. Hey we could get Chaffy and talk about socialism and libertarian-ism and how the actions of others affect our experiences and vice versa whether we admit or like it or even realize it. And yes I agree with you about traveling and camping off-trail. Maybe I didn’t phrase it too well.
Love the “straw-bear”. that was a good one!
I’m not so sure I would classify 1000 Island Lake as “above tree line” Catherine for sure, or Ritter Lakes, Nydiver. I think one of the more recent “failures” of an Ursack occurred at 1000 Island Lake (lower end) and from memory i recall something about dogfood and the bag being left on the ground. Maybe instead of strict treeline I should add the caveat of being at least beyond a normal days hike from the trailhead. 1000 Island draws a crowd but not many make it to the west end.
And Tom; Agree completely. You do what you’re supposed to do because there’s a reason for the problem. And edited to add if I’m going to a place where cans are not required (like 1000 island lake) or somewhere with a reported and somewhat repeated problem with bears (lower Golden Lake or Skull Lake in the Winds for ex) I’d either carry a canister or go somewhere else.Jun 13, 2019 at 1:41 am #3597536
Darn it Obx it turns out we agree. Oh well I’m off to the AnchovieLovers website to continue my flame war there.Jun 13, 2019 at 1:53 am #3597540
Yeah that sucks for you Jeffrey. I thought there was something fishy going on. You realize we’re going to talk about you now that you’re gone
Jun 13, 2019 at 2:39 am #3597550
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by obx hiker.
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
Bear canisters are required at 1000 Island Lake. Who would use an Ursack there?
Edit: reading Inyo’s website, it says that bear resistant containers are allowed, but I can’t find a list of their approved containers. I have always read this as “bear canisters required”. Googling seems to show that Ursacks are permitted, but only random internet people have posted this and I have yet to find Inyo confirming this.
Jun 13, 2019 at 3:53 am #3597581
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by John.
“To paraphrase a famous quote: I knew Bob Gross, he was a friend of mine. And you sir, you are no Bob Gross ;) ”
Pheew, gotta tell ya Doc, I’m quite relieved by your prognosis for me. For an eternally long seeming moment there, thought I might be coming down with Old-Man-Grosseritis! Thank the Lord, now I can actually get some sleep tonight.Jun 13, 2019 at 4:01 am #3597583
well Justin I’m not a doctor or a shaman but i’m pretty sure somewhere along the way I’ve slept in a Holiday Inn express and definitely a motel 6. The one in Jackson costs like $225 and I’ve stayed in nicer dorm rooms, so that one’s hard to forget. Unbelievable! Sweet dreams my friend.
Jun 13, 2019 at 4:02 am #3597584
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by obx hiker.
“Have you ever actually seen one, fully loaded?”
Have not Tom. I shall defer to the actual knowingness of those who have. And I’ve long suspected you’re a pretty smart cookie, so in also respecting your insight/perceptual capacity, I double defer.
Thank you for the info, as you have solved a curious mystery for me.Jun 13, 2019 at 4:06 am #3597586
Buenos Noches, venerable Obi-Wan-Hiker-Kenobi.Jun 13, 2019 at 4:23 am #3597588
“I do think that it greatly decreases the ‘smell radius’ so that food within the nylofume bags has a much lesser chance of bringing a bear into camp in the first place. ”
Agreed, and more over, if the bear gets in radius, it will likely make it seem like a much smaller amount of food. I think bears are likely intelligent enough (and their smell keen enough) to do some risk assessment. If they smell something that equates to the amount of crumbs or so on their side, they might be less likely to do something potentially dangerous? Now if it was an out in the open, open jar of honey mixed with peanut butter… you might have a situation on your hand, and/or come to a lack of a hand or two.
Course, I don’t know the former part for certain, not being a bear whisperer. But next time I’m around a Grizz, I will sing Ursala’s song of enchantment and enticement to the Ursine, “Ahhh ahh ahh ahhahhhaahh (higher notes now), ahhahhahhh aahahaaahhh.” (now dubbed “The Ursine’s Song”) and become the bear whisperer par excellence. And the peoples will come from far and wide to listen to my bear wisdoms and insights, and I shall set up bear rides and photo ops in the style of barechested Putin (the only other bear whisperer still alive, so I’ve heard). .Jun 13, 2019 at 6:38 am #3597606
I’ve long had this odd ability of being able to discern the size of a dead animal at a distance by its smell. I might have sensed it being the size of a cat and it turned out to be an opossum or thought it was a rat when it actually was a family of dead mice, but I’ve rarely been off in approximate size. That seems impossible. Shouldn’t a dead mouse, very close, have the same odor as a dead horse at great distance?
And I’ve noticed my dog ignore a small crumb at a close distance but focus on a large amount of food at a greater distance, even through the “signal strength” would have been less.
Here’s the thing: we perceive fast-diffusing and slow-diffusing odor molecules differently. It is one (perhaps the main) reason why we breath more out of one most than the other (we switch back and forth every 40 minutes – check right now and you’re breathing more easily, more fully out your right or left. Set a timer for 40 minutes and check again). In the slow-flow nostril versus the high-low nostril, we are about 10 times more sensitive to bigger, slower diffusing motor molecules. The ratio of low- to fast-diffusing chemicals gives lots of information about how far away an odor source is.
I take as a given that bears have a much better sense of smell than I do and even if I’m 99th percentile among humans for assessing where there’s lots of food, any bear will be a lot better. If there was an easy way to block only small molecules, maybe we could fool bears into thinking, “yeah, it’s food, but very little”, but I only know how to do the reverse.Jun 13, 2019 at 7:07 am #3597608
Don’t know if it would work or not, but I’ve wondered about a mylar bag combined with a nylofume bag, with a linen satchel filled with activated carbon in between them. Food goes in the nylofume bag, tied up well, then put into a mylar bag with a satchel of activated carbon also in same and then closed up. Course, it would be helpful to have a little ziplock bag for the activated carbon filled satchel to put it in for when the bags are being opened up. The less it’s exposed to moving air, the better and longer it will last.
I figure we shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good in such cases. Sure, we can debate about how many large and/or small molecules can dance on top of a quantum pin head till the Grizzes come home, but imb, every little bit helps.
I don’t happen to live anywhere near any Grizzes (though fairly close to a very high density Black bear population), and so wouldn’t be able to test it with them anytime soon, but a number of you folks do, and you could run some experiments while putting this combo in Ursacks or hard containers.
Set up one of those wild life trail camera’s like Kattt uses to get pics and vid of Mountain Lions and other critters. Put a lot of human smell around it in various ways. Rubbing your scent on it, maybe leaving some well handled items near, peeing near the area, and the like. “Refresh” as needed.
Over a period of time, might give an idea of how well it works or not?
I might try similar with Black bears on my end, but would try to minimize the human smell more so.Jun 13, 2019 at 8:21 am #3597609
I have noticed, over multiple encounters, that bears always go for the pack with the salami in it.Jun 13, 2019 at 11:56 am #3597623
William ChiltonBPL Member
@davidinkenai You can sense the difference in the smell of a small carcass nearby from that of a large carcass far away and surmise that a bear can similarly distinguish a large source of food far away from a small amount of food close to. Fair enough, but I don’t think that is analogous to using odour-proof bags. They don’t change the distance that the molecules travel, but rather the amount of dispersed smell, so it seems to me that a large food source close up in odour-proof bags should smell like a small food source close up.
Or am I misunderstanding you? Do you think that the composition of the mixture of molecules escaping from an odour-proof bag will be different from that of an unbagged food source?Jun 13, 2019 at 4:17 pm #3597654
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
I agree with David. They always go for the best tasting (at least to them) item. Actually there is a sound scientific theory to support that. They used molecular diffusion to separate U-235 from U-238 way back before WWII. One of the problems they had was separating it…one blows up, the other doesn’t. That is just a few neutrons in a single element.
The molecules of diffused food in a gas, will define the smell. Some gasses diffuse faster than others. Some will just lay in a puddle of air, others will move rapidly away. While I am not a bear, he clearly knows the difference between smell A (composed of small fast moving smells meaning distance) and smell B (meaning slower moving smells meaning quantity) and smell Z (meaning slow moving smells meaning type.) They smell different to an animal, I am fairly certain.
Even dogs do this, soo, I am pretty sure a bear can, too. Even a blind dog (like my daughters) can do this and know how much food would be necessary to release X smell, and how much food releases Y smell pretty much homing in on the larger mass of food, or, maybe the tastiest. (He ALWAYS takes the treats, first.)
“Or am I misunderstanding you? Do you think that the composition of the mixture of molecules escaping from an odour-proof bag will be different from that of an unbagged food source?”
Yes.Jun 13, 2019 at 4:38 pm #3597658
I’ve never seen a dog turn away from food because it was too small a portion to bother with, or because it wasn’t the tastiest treat it had ever had. I doubt a bear will turn up its nose at bagged food either.
And again: there’s always unbagged human smells when you camp, as well as cooking smells or just the smell of your food when you open the bag to take it out.
All of this is perhaps the equivalent of using a camouflage tent because you hope it will make you invisible to lions–so now it’s safe to venture out lightweight on the Serengeti.
(having said all that I’d use a nylofume bag as well if I were using an Ursak.)Jun 13, 2019 at 4:39 pm #3597659
How about we run a bunch of actual experiments before being so certain, ahead of time, of what will or will not happen?
Course I vote that activated carbon be added to the combination of two odor reducing barriers (and preferably one mylar and one nylofume). It’s not like relatively small amounts of activated carbon weighs all that much.Jun 13, 2019 at 4:47 pm #3597660
“I’ve never seen a dog turn away from food because it was too small a portion to bother with. I doubt a bear will turn up its nose at bagged food either.”
To a bear, you have all kinds of food smell all over you no matter what you do or don’t do. It then becomes a matter of “how much” and how hungry and brazen that particular bear is or isn’t.
There is no way to entirely remove food smells, or to entirely conceal the fact that one has food here or there, but potentially you can reduce the odor diffusion.
As far as I know, no studies have been done specifically with a combination of mylar bag, a nylofume bag, and a linen satchel of activated carbon. Until there are, and it’s been proven to fail miserably, I will say test it.
Why not run some experiments first, and then see what these say, before being so certain? Certainty is the enemy of science and scientific progress. It does not allow for new data, new knowns, but comes ultimately from ego and ego based fear, which halts and slows down progression of the above e.g. the “learned experts” telling the Wright brothers that heavier than air flight by man was impossible and would never work.
There are SOOO many of such similar examples throughout history.
And what does one have to lose by running these experiment, if they are putting the food in a Ursack or hard sided container? Not much risk in that, is there?Jun 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm #3597667
Well now thanks to David I know why Archie very noticeably switches nostrils when he is chuffing out some extremely interesting new smell which are evidently boundless in the neighborhood, rabbits, deer coyotes, other dogs, pmail, possum, cats, who knows?
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