Ursack Update

January 10, 2007
The status of the Ursack Hybrid in the restricted areas of the Sierra is uncertain for 2007. I will know more after meeting with SIBBG (Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group) on March 8, 2007. Here is what I know now. By the end of January 2007 we will be manufacturing Ursack from Spectra (green) fabric. This is the same material we used a couple of years ago, but then were unable to acquire because the military took it all. We now can get it again. SIBBG extensively tested Ursacks made with this fabric in the summer of 2004 (see Ursack update November 2004) and found (after at least 20 wild bear encounters) that it performed well. Real world experience has borne this out. Many of our customers purchased our aluminum liner to retrofit their Spectra Ursacks, and there has not been a reported failure of such bags anywhere in the world. Even without the aluminum liner, we are not aware of the failure of these bags anywhere in the last few years. A few years ago a Spectra bag owned by a boy scout troop had a small hole chewed in it by a bear. It is unlikely that this would have happened had the Ursack been lined with our aluminum insert. Other than that single incident, the Spectra Ursack has performed exceptionally well.

The Vectran (yellow) Ursacks sold before August 18, 2006 have not done as well. We are aware of five bags that were chewed through in four separate incidents. All occurred within a relatively small area of Yosemite. There were no other Vectran Hybrid failures anywhere else in the world, and there were reports of successful bear encounters in the Sierra and elsewhere. After August 18, 2006 we started shipping a heavier duty Vectran (27 X 27). There have been no reported failures of that Ursack. Although we do not have more than anecdotal proof, it seems that the Vectran bag may be more rodent resistant than the Spectra bag even though it is not as effective against bears.

For 2007 we will offering both the Vectran (27 X 27) and Spectra bags. The price of Spectra fabric has increased greatly, and our prices on the Spectra bag have also increased. We will post information here and elsewhere on our website as soon as we learn of SIBBG's response.