Friday, March 2, 2012

The bear can dilemma

Most conversations that have to do with backpacking in the High Sierras usually include some mention of bear-resistant canisters.

I own a Bearikade Weekender and I am very happy with it. It is very spacious and quite sturdy (makes a great seat too). So what's the downside? Well, although it is the lightest bear-resistant canister on the market at 31 ounces, it weighs almost as much my backpack (38 ounces), which happens to be my heaviest piece of gear.
Bearikade Weekender (left), Bearikade Expedition (right)

As of this post there are no lighter weight options for Yosemite or Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. But, there may be hope for the future. Ursack, makers of lightweight bear-resistant food sacks may have their products - made with 'bullet proof' fabric - approved for use in the aforementioned parks soon. That's because Ursack has submitted their food sacks to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) for testing.

The Ursack S29 model (with the aluminum insert) performed successfully in 2011 for two hours in the hands of a grizzly bear at the Grizzly Discover Center. The S29 weighs 7.3 ounces (and the optional aluminum insert weighs 10.8 ounces), making it a very attractive alternative to 'conventional' bear-resistant canisters. At $67.89 for the Ursack S29, and $18.11 for the aluminum liner, this lightweight, 650 cu. in. alternative is also a great deal - especially if you backpack in bear country often.

Personally, I wouldn't think twice before buying the Ursack because not only would it shave 13 ounces off my base pack weight, but I'd actually pocket some $$ from the sale of my bearikade.

Any updates from Ursack or the National Parks will be posted here!

Happy Trails :)

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  1. Ursack sounds neat--I wonder if it's approved in the Adirondacks...

    1. Seth, from what I read on the internet, it may not be approved in the higher elevations of the Adirondacks. I've never been out there to offer any info but you can contact Ursack via email at or to be sure.

      Happy Trails

  2. Not only great seats but good tables to eat off of as well!