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How do you secure an Ursack?

I have read that once you have an Ursack you can hang it (I like this idea) OR you can tie it down and/or secure it.  In some of the articles I have read they mention that specific knots are more secure than others.  

What is the best way to secure an Ursack when you are hiking?

Open to all suggestions.


16 Replies

@RussellSawyer I suspect that the particular knot used to secure an Ursack  (or any container, for that matter) matters very little.  The critters most likely to attempt to get to the contents are more likely to chew through the cordage (especially if is salty, say from perspiration, etc) than to untie the knots.

Either a bowline or figure eight is a good secure knot, useful for many applications.


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@RussellSawyer I don't use one but you should hang it because bears will destroy your food if they get hold of the sack even if they can't actually get into it.   There have been cases of this or so I understand.

Here are the why you can't use them in Yosemite...I assume this is still current...

That said this article seems pretty thorough on the subject of how to use them...I'm not endorsing it necessarily.  Just pointing it out the information...

Tie it to a tree so the bears can’t use their weight on it or hang it

REI Member Since 1979

You might want to check on whether or not Ursacks will be permissible in your hiking destination.  Some national parks do not allow them....

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Do NOT just steak/tie it down! Your responsibility is to deny bears ANY hope of a food reward. Bears are smart and persistent, TEASING them is just not the answer!! Besides, squirrels and rats/mice can get into an Ursack because they have small, sharp teeth, THEN you'll have a bear problem!!

ALWAYS hang your food at least 1 yard from any part of the tree, at least 5 yards from the ground, and at least 10 yards from your campsite. If you are hunting/fishing/trapping, then process/prepare/preserve your wild food at least 50 yards from your campground. Just remember 1, 5, 10, 50. And by the way, I ACTUALLY OWN an Ursack (and almost 35 years experience here!).

Hey, look ma, no Google!


Ursacks have only been around for less than 10yrs, and the whole point is so you don’t have to hang 

REI Member Since 1979

Ursacks gives you an extra layer of food protection, but on the ground vs. In the trees... I'm going with in the trees!

Ultimately, it's about protecting the BEARS!!


Just to get an idea it is interesting to see these things in action...

Test Grizzly Bear vs Ursack  tied to a tree  (not sure what model but I suspect without the aluminum liner) = crushed possibly inedible food if the bag is punctured.   These bears are "professionals" but the "amateur"  black bears in SEKI and Yosemite are possibly more resourceful since I doubt they are as well fed.  If the bear manages to puncture the bag then they get a taste and are not trained to ignore.

Wild Bear vs BearVault  BV500 showing why you should try to place the canister where it will be hard for the bear to get to or move away.  There have been cases of bears getting into these but generally canisters have been successful in training the bears not to bother.

This video is a bit more ursack positive although fair  showing it protecting the food from a variety of wildlife although it still shows that crushing and puncturing is an issue.  In bear country where ursacks are allowed you should use an opsack to reduce odors and the aluminum liner as recommended

Here is a picture of a "hull breach"  from a review,  "maybe "bullet proof" and semi-bear proof",  on the REI product page.  This was in Trinity Alps, CA which is not noted for resourceful bears.  An opsack was used but the  aluminum liner was not.  Half the food was taken.

This is an excerpt from a test conducted by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committe on the Ursack S29 AllWhite bear bag at the Grizzly Discovert Center in West...
Taken by a PCT hiker (not me) in 2010.
In this video I test the Ursack against a bear and a diversity of other animals. This is Bear vs Ursack!My Amazon Stores USA

I looked at some of the vids of critters/bears trying to get into the ursack...very interesting.

I'm going into grizzly country in a few weeks and will try to hang my ursack.  I must say, I had trouble hanging it between 2 trees in bridger wilderness last week, because of 8 days of food weight.

REI Member Since 1979