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#122753 - 10/21/09 06:04 PM Animal resistant bags
skunkcreationz Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
Hello everybody, I just wanted to get some opinions on some products that I'm working on, and will have on the market soon. My company is developing bags that block food smells, body odor, and a variety of other smells. These bags are designed for hikers, and campers so that they can place the food in the bags, and avoid any situations with bears, mountain lions, and raccoons. If the animals can't smell the food, they won't destroy your campsite, right? I'm deciding on a name for the bags I'm making, and I need some suggestions. Maybe you could provide some additional input on design styles, and features that you would want to see.

I was thinking of Badger Bags or Badger Bagz or Badger? Do you like the name?



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#122763 - 10/21/09 11:55 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
I hope you are aware that some animals - bears in particular - know perfectly well what people smell like and will find a campsite regardless of the presence of food odors, just by the smell of the people themselves - and of course in some areas they know where to look, as they are familiar with the usual campsites. So while an odor-proof bag my be useful in some situations, I personally would not rely on one to protect my food or to keep animals out of my campsite.

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#122764 - 10/22/09 01:13 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: Paul]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
And, I might add, odorproof bags are already available through Ursack among others. Ursack considers the odor-proof bag an important part of the bear resistance of the Ursack. Of course with the Ursack, the odor-proof bag is inside a tough, fairly light, fabric (and sometimes aluminum-lined) container.

Moreover, as has been noted on this site in the past, odor-proof bags, when handled with hands that have been used to prepare food and other smelly activities, soon obtain an odor on the outside of the bag where any self-respecting bear can detect it. Sorry, this sounds like a good idea in theory but is not one likely to pass the field testing phase. frown

I have had my share of experience with enterprising Sierra bears and Grand Canyon ring-tail cats, ravens and squirrels. Based on that experience, I seriously doubt that a simple bag, even odor-proof, without a physical barrier will deter any but the dumbest of them.


Edited by Pika (10/22/09 01:22 AM)
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#122769 - 10/22/09 02:45 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: Pika]
OregonMouse Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Aloksak and Watchful Eye Designs already make numerous sizes of odor-proof sacks, which are sold by many vendors, ranging from REI to BackpackingLight to amazon.com. Googling "odor proof sacks" will bring up lots of hits. Unfortunately, skunkcreationz, your product is probably neither new nor unique.

EDIT--a little more searching shows that Aloksak and Watchful Eye Designs are now the same company, Loksak.



Edited by OregonMouse (10/22/09 03:15 AM)
Edit Reason: addl info for OP
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#122781 - 10/22/09 10:40 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
skunkcreationz Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
After reviewing the products listed, they are still not 100% effective. Several people claim that the OP sacks are not effective, and break their seal relatively easily. The Ursack seems to be an anti tear style bag, and as far as odor proof, not sure how effective it is.
I've conducted some tests, and so far is is effective against mountain lions, panthers, and raccoons. I'll have to find out how bear resistant it is though. My results are promising, and I'll continue to develop the technologies further.

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#122782 - 10/22/09 11:54 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By skunkcreationz
After reviewing the products listed, they are still not 100% effective. Several people claim that the OP sacks are not effective, and break their seal relatively easily. The Ursack seems to be an anti tear style bag, and as far as odor proof, not sure how effective it is.
I've conducted some tests, and so far is is effective against mountain lions, panthers, and raccoons. I'll have to find out how bear resistant it is though. My results are promising, and I'll continue to develop the technologies further.


Mountain lions and panthers are the same creature, btw, and do not bother people's food.

I hang my food in areas where I can do so and use a bear can where required. If I go more often where raccoons and other small animals are an issue I will get an Outsak. You will not be able to keep animals out of food even if they can't smell it - 'coons and bears (habituated ones) are very smart and recognize food by sight now, which is why bears tear into cars in Yosemite for empty ice chests and bags containing clothes, no food smell to speak of. Rangers will instruct you to HIDE these items even if they do not contain food. In areas where animals are not so habituated this is not a problem and a simple bear hang will do.
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#122784 - 10/22/09 12:24 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
In my experience OP sacks are odorproof but puncture easily, so aren't dependable over the long haul.

The bigger challenge is cross-contamination in the field. It's going to be difficult/impossible to prevent food and other odor-causing substances from contacting the container's outsides. (I've had training in toxic waste management and disposal, where cross-contamination control is a very big deal.) This might still be manageable, but certainly needs to be considered as part of the system.

In sum, a strong odorproof liner combined with a tough outer sack is something I'd look at, if it came out at a competetive price and low weight (but that's beginning to sound like a lined Ursack).

Cheers,

Originally Posted By skunkcreationz
After reviewing the products listed, they are still not 100% effective. Several people claim that the OP sacks are not effective, and break their seal relatively easily. The Ursack seems to be an anti tear style bag, and as far as odor proof, not sure how effective it is.
I've conducted some tests, and so far is is effective against mountain lions, panthers, and raccoons. I'll have to find out how bear resistant it is though. My results are promising, and I'll continue to develop the technologies further.
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#122785 - 10/22/09 12:40 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By skunkcreationz

I've conducted some tests, and so far is is effective against mountain lions, panthers, and raccoons. I'll have to find out how bear resistant it is though. My results are promising, and I'll continue to develop the technologies further.


curious as to how these were conducted. It is real hard to be scientific with wild animals. Especially when trying against a bear that has "learned".

Now, the original question. How about calling it "skunksak"?


Edited by finallyME (10/22/09 12:42 PM)
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#122791 - 10/22/09 03:12 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: lori]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Quote:
Mountain lions and panthers are the same creature, btw, and do not bother people's food.


Actually, they are two separate species if you accept that the Florida "panther" is actually a mountain lion. Neither of the two species seems interested in getting into peoples food although both will, on occasion, attack humans.

The jaguar or American panther, Panthera onca is a top tier predator in South and Central America, Mexico and southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar. The jaguar ranges into some of the mountains in which I hike although I have never seen one. They have been reported from the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson. They are either spotted like a leopard or jet black: in the photos I have seen, they are beautiful animals. The black variety is mostly called a panther; the spotted variety is usually called a jaguar. There is also an African panther which is actually a black leopard.

The mountain lion, Puma concolor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar is widely distributed in North America and ranges south into South America. They are smaller than the jaguar or American panther. They are mostly called either cougar or mountain lion although they are called panthers in parts of the SE. I have also heard them called catamounts.

The Florida "panther" is actually a subspecies of mountain lion http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/panther.php It is considered to be one of the more threatened species of wildlife in the world.
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#122796 - 10/22/09 04:18 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: Pika]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
And none of these have been known to get into hikers' food!
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#122813 - 10/22/09 10:50 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: OregonMouse]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By OregonMouse

Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar is widely distributed in North America and ranges south into South America.

And none of these have been known to get into hikers' food!


I disagree. I personally have had a cougar I was hiking with get into my food. She drank most of my hot chocolate, a large share of my scotch, and all of my Lindt chocolate bar!

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#122814 - 10/22/09 11:56 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: phat]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
A two-legged cougar, perchance? Or a Labrador retriever?
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#122816 - 10/23/09 12:39 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: OregonMouse]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
A two-legged cougar, perchance? Or a Labrador retriever?


Two legged.. I'm sure I'd be dealing with dog barf everywhere if I let a lab get into my lindt chocolate and scotch sick
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#122817 - 10/23/09 12:48 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
There are two issues- 1) really keeping animals out and 2)being certified by regulatory agencies. The second may actually be the hardest to do! I personally would not purchase a bear-resistant system that was not legal to be used in most areas. Ursack is still not certified for use in Kings Canyon-Sequoia NP. You would be wise to contact the regulatory folks early on so you do not end up in a legal mess as Ursack people are currently going through after spending lots of $$ developing their product.

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#122819 - 10/23/09 05:25 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: phat]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By phat
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
A two-legged cougar, perchance? Or a Labrador retriever?


Two legged.. I'm sure I'd be dealing with dog barf everywhere if I let a lab get into my lindt chocolate and scotch sick


And this is a problem? It was consensual food pilferage, right? grin
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#122822 - 10/23/09 05:46 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I would be a little concerned that if a bear can smell through a bear canister I am sure that he can probably smell through most any bags unless you have some sort of high tec bag that does not release smells regardless of what they might be that none of know about.I really do hope that you can work this out because if you can you are right before being a rich man. Every hiker, camper and trekker would purchase one if not more just to avoid carrying a bear canister. And if the bags are as good as you say you could still follow bag hanging procedures and have an extra sense of security that if a bear can not smell the bag he sure wouldn't climb a tree to get at it....sabre11004... goodjob
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#122823 - 10/23/09 05:47 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: lori]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
I believe the term is quid pro quo.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By lori

And this is a problem? It was consensual food pilferage, right? grin
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#122824 - 10/23/09 05:59 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: OregonMouse]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I have used some of those alosaks and they aren't worth the money you pay for them. They simply do not work. The seals are no good (I have had things get soaked in them). At the present time I will just stick with my bear canisters when I am some where that you may suspect bears are present. Like the last poster said even if you do have odor proof bags the bear will smell you no mater what and I am sure that where most of us trek the bears have seen a many a hung bag of food and he knows exactly what they are. These animals are by no means stupid and they have an uncanny way of figuring things like that out. I have seen it happen. We were once in the Smoky Mountains (many years ago, in the seventies) we had a coleman cooler that was made like a refrigerator with seal, locks and all. We had store this cooler inside our truck as our truck was very near the campsite and the bear almost tore the top of the truck off trying to get that cooler. She had two cubs and was relentless. We finally had to wait until she moved a distance away and we took the two chickens that were in the cooler out and left them for her to get because she would not leave. When we did that, she finally took both chickens and her and her cubs were on their way, thank GOD. She did serious damage to the top and both doors of the truck and it had to have serious repair work whenever we got back to town. We later had a visit from the ranger and he was making us aware of the fact that there was a crazy bear wondering around up near our camp site and we just looked at him and "yeah we know". It was all just a little scary...sabre11004 crazy crazy crazy crazy
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#122859 - 10/24/09 04:07 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
skunkcreationz Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
Thanks for all the advice, feedback is good. From what everybody is saying, bears seam to be very resourceful. Humans = food. In that situation, then nothing will stop them. Obviously, more research is needed, but a good experiment would be to find a location in the woods that has bear activity or other similar animal activity. Put food in bag, and leave it in the location for a week. If you come back, and the food is untouched, then that would show how effective it is in certain conditions. It may not be perfect, but at least it will help reduce your chances of hungry animals.

Also, cross contamination is another factor. To avoid cross contamination, a spray could be used on the outside of the bag to eliminate any additonal food odors.

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#122871 - 10/24/09 06:02 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By skunkcreationz
a good experiment would be to find a location in the woods that has bear activity or other similar animal activity. Put food in bag, and leave it in the location for a week. If you come back, and the food is untouched, then that would show how effective it is in certain conditions. It may not be perfect, but at least it will help reduce your chances of hungry animals.

Also, cross contamination is another factor. To avoid cross contamination, a spray could be used on the outside of the bag to eliminate any additonal food odors.



We always get up and scare away bears that visit the bear canisters in the night. Some bears have figured out how to break into Bear Vaults, after all. Bear resistant containers can be figured out if the bears are given enough time. Which is the other factor in the larger equation. In other areas, raccoons have been known to carefully unzip tents to get in and search for food. Fasteners need to be up to the task as well as bag material.

You only need the thing to work for a single night. That's how long the typical hiker will need it to work. Leaving it for a week will be unnecessary and you may return to find the ants madly harvesting the contents. The food won't be untouched. In some areas, you would be lucky to find the bag intact.

Keep in mind that any spray would need to be odorless. Or, you will be attracting rather than avoiding the wildlife.
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#122898 - 10/25/09 04:01 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By skunkcreationz
Obviously, more research is needed, but a good experiment would be to find a location in the woods that has bear activity or other similar animal activity. Put food in bag, and leave it in the location for a week. If you come back, and the food is untouched, then that would show how effective it is in certain conditions. It may not be perfect, but at least it will help reduce your chances of hungry animals.


Well, that is far from a scientific way to learn anything. Good luck with that one.


Edited by finallyME (10/25/09 04:01 PM)
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#123245 - 11/01/09 03:12 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: finallyME]
skunkcreationz Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
Does anybody have any ideas on scientific tests to perform that would convince hikers that the bags work given certain circumstances.

My test of the bags has focused in on 2 different areas.

1. Hide a bag in the forest, and see if the animals can detect it.
2. Hide a small bag in a cage containing say.....a mountain lion, and see if they can smell the meat.

Theory's: If the animals can't detect the food for a period of say a week or 3 weeks within a densely populated animal area within a forest, then it must be effective in repelling odor. The other theory involves the cage. If the caged animals can't smell food within the bag located in the cage, then the probability of it working increases. As a control you can place food within a ziplock and test it for the same period of time, and in the same location.

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#123247 - 11/01/09 05:22 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: skunkcreationz]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The problem is that once you've opened the bag, taken food out and put garbage in, your hands have effectively transferred odor from the food packages to the outside of your "odor-proof" bag. There's no way to avoid this without a lot more hand-washing than most of us are willing to do. To get food out of the sack, wash hands very thoroughly, open OP sack, take food out, wash hands very thoroughly, close OP sack. For garbage, collect garbage, wash hands very thoroughly, open OP sack, insert garbage, wash hands very thoroughly, close OP sack. The scent of the soap you wash your hands with before you handle the sack might be enough to attract bears. I think most of us would far prefer a container that bears and other scavengers can't get into.

I never heard of cougars getting into hikers food, so I don't think that's worth bothering with. Freshly-killed game during hunting season might be a different story, but are you making the sacks that big? I'd stick with bears, raccoons, skunks, rodents and birds.

The bear committees (Sierra Black Bear and Interagency Grizzly bear) test bear-proof containers by putting them in with zoo bears which have been captured due to their skill in raiding campsites.
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#123476 - 11/07/09 10:04 AM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: OregonMouse]
skunkcreationz Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
I realize that the threat of cross contamination poses issues, but I found it interesting that it all depends on the type of food too. I put some marshmallows in several of my bags, and the white residue that coated the marshmallows also got on the outside of the bag, I noticed no more attention to the bag than normal. You would think that this powder would smell like marshmallows, and attract the animals. I would imagine that all odors are not the same, and just because you touch it with dirty hands, doesn't mean that the concentrations are enough to attract certain animals.

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#124054 - 11/19/09 01:40 PM Re: Animal resistant bags [Re: Pika]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 235
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I agree with Pika. Especially Bears have a keen sense of smell to say the least. They also learn quickly and have been known (personal experience) to break into a car because they saw a grocery sack (which was full of art supplies!) I still hang my food in bear country and had no problem even though bears walked right through our campsite.
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