Archive for April, 2009

In my book I talk about a bear bag made of high tech fabric, but I never mention the actual manufacturer, except in the gear table at the end of the chapter.  What was I thinking?  In the next edition I’ll fix that problem.  In the mean time here’s the info.  It’s called an Ursack. fieldtest_gcnp_mike1


The current model is made of white spectra 29.   These bags are intended to be secured to a tree or log at ground level, merely to keep the critter from hauling your food away.  I have never had a bag molested that I could tell.  But, I keep a clean camp.  The bag should be put no nearer your camp than you would want a bear.above_tree


For the most part, I figure I’m keeping smaller animals away from my food, like mice, raccoons, and other small mammals.  I have an older larger version of the bag, which is visible in the snow phot below.  It handles food for two people on a week long trip.  The newer ones, at 650 cubic inches, are about half the size of mine.pic-6-3


Ursack is trying to get approval for use in Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks, and Inyo National Forest; all habituated bear areas.  In these areas bear canisters are required by law.  The Ursack was acceptable for a period time and then in January 2008, that approval was withdrawn and only hard sided canisters were allowed.  Ursack is challenging that decision.  For more on this click here.  

I stay in areas where the bears remain wild and have been very happy to use the Ursack instead of the old hanging method or a much heavier and bulkier hard sided canister.  I only use the sack itself without optional aluminum liner, which adds 14 oz to the package.  Alone the 650 cubic inch bag weights less than 8 oz.  The Bear Vault BV500 a popular 700 cubic inch canister weights 2 lbs 9 oz.  So even if you use the aluminum liner you’re still 1 lb. 3 oz ahead of the game.bv500


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My new favorite camp shirt, the BPL Thorofare weighs in at 4.95 in a size Large.  That’s about an ounce lighter than the Railrider’s Ecco-Mesh shirt I’ve been using.  thorofare_shirt_md  

I like the color.  A nice rich brown.  And the fabric is soft and flexible; a very tight weave.  It dries quickly after I’ve worked up a sweat.  It looks like it will be durable, but I need more time to tell for sure.  With the Ecco-Mesh, the  mesh areas started showing wear quite quickly, although it’s held together well, the mesh just looks raggedy.

The zipper pocket on the Thorofare is a real luxury on such a lightweight piece.  I like a zippered pocket to keep small items secure when I lean over to pump water, etc.  The velcro tab on the vertical Ecco Mesh pocket creates anything but a safe haven.

I’ll be interested to see how the Thorofare does in really warm weather; plus 90 for instance.  If it does well with the heat, it will be a real winner.   The Ecco-Mesh excels in the dog days of summer, because of the side venting mesh panels.  Way cool, letting the air flow through freely.

I like the classic styling on the Thorofare.  It’s just an all around classy looking shirt.  Should make the transition from country to town with ease.

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