The Armored Outdoor Gear Ratsack Food Storage Bag is a rodent-proof lightweight, flexible, stainless-steel mesh bag to protect your food and smellables on camping and backpacking trips. It’s not bear-proof, but it is rodent and small mammal-proof making it ideal for use in primitive cabins, trail shelters, lean-tos, and for storing food in campsite bear boxes which are regularly raided by mice, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and rats. If bears are present, you can hang the Ratsack like a bear bag with a carabiner, but its primary purpose is to protect your food from small mammals (sometimes called mini-bears), even when it’s not hung out of their reach, like in a bear box.
Specs at a Glance
- Materials: Stainless-steel mesh
- XS: 427 cubic inches (7L) weighing 4 oz
- S: 1,200 cubic inches (19.5L) weighing 8 oz (actual weight 8.9 oz, measured)
- M: 1,800 cubic inches (29.5L) weighing 10 oz
- L: 2,500 cubic inches weighing (41L) weighing 12 oz
The Ratsack is a rust-proof stainless steel mesh food bag that closes with a wide strip of heavy-duty velcro and a hole large enough for a carabiner at the end, for hanging purposes. Most people only need 100 cubic inches per day of storage capacity for their food, so the XS size is good for one person for weekend trips if you also use it to pack your toiletries and other smellables. Not knowing any better, I ordered a size Small, which turned out to be much larger than I expected or needed for the 2-3 night backpacking trips I usually take.
When you fill the Ratsack with food and your other smellables (like toothpaste, skin lotion/balm, etc), you’re going to want to line it with a plastic bag to keep the interior clean and prevent anything from leaking out..or leaking in, if you place the Ratsack in a public place like a shared campsite bear box. The outside of the bag is also pretty abrasive and I’d recommend storing it in a stuff sack or even a plastic bag when you pack it in a backpack to keep it from tearing your clothing or other delicate gear.
I purchased my Ratsack for use when camping at campsites that have bear boxes after an incident in western Maine, quite close to the Appalachian Trail. I was carrying a bear-proof Ursack to store my food at night and rather than tying it to a tree, I put it in a campsite bear box because I figured it’d be even safer there. It wasn’t. Mice got into the bear box, crawled into the top of my Ursack, and ate my stash of crushed potato chips. I’d been counting on those chips for salt replacement in the hot and humid weather. If I’d stored my food in a Ratsack instead of an Ursack, they wouldn’t have been able to get to my food.
Most Ursacks, including the Ursack Major which I carry, are not rodent-proof because rodents can chew through it or crawl through the hole at the top where you cinch the Ursack closed. Ursack does make two models that are rodent-proof however: the 10.65L (649 cubic in) Ursack Minor (5 oz, $100), which is only rodent-proof and not bear-proof, and the Ursack AllMitey, which is just like a regular Ursack but with an Ursack Minor sewn inside and a velcro closure on top, like the Ratsack. The main downside of the Ursack Minor is that it doubles in weight when it gets wet, while the 10.5L AllMitey, besides its high cost ($140), is comparatively heavy, weighing 13 oz. The chief advantage of the Ratsack over both of these solutions really comes down to volume, since it is available in high volume sizes (19.5L, 29.5L, and 41L) that are useful for group or family use.
The Armored Equipment Ratsack Food Storage Bag is a rodent-proof steel mesh bag for storing your food and other smellables. While it is not bear-proof, it can be hung like a bear bag when conditions warrant. While comparable to the Ursack Minor and Ursack AllMitey, it’s less expensive and available in a much wider range of sizes making it ideal for couples, families, and groups who need to protect a large amount of food or smellables on camping trips. The Ratsack’s stainless steel mesh is also rust-proof and does not absorb water in the rain, which can be a major annoyance when using an Ursack.
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