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Ratsack Food Storage Bag Review

Ratsack Food Storage Bag Review
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.

Ratsack Food Storage Bag

Ease of Use

Bombproof Small Animal Protection

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

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Specs at a Glance

  • Materials: Stainless-steel mesh
  • Sizes
    • 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.

A Ratsack is a rodent-proof steel mesh bag for storing your food and other smellables.
A Ratsack is a rodent-proof steel mesh bag for storing your food and other smellables.

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.


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. The Ratsack’s stainless steel mesh is also rust-proof and does not absorb water in the rain.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

Updated 2023.

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  1. Thanks for the review. I definitely need one of these!

  2. If my Ursack isn’t full, I tie the top closed, roll down the extra material to cover the opening, then tie it again, to keep rodents out. Obviously, that won’t work if the Ursack is full. As Phillip says, a ratsack would make more sense in areas without bears or with bear boxes, but bears are very common where I hike. A ratsack might also be useful against creatures like skunks, pikas, raccoons (“trash pandas”) porcupines, weasels, crows, foxes, etc.

  3. Hi Philip,

    Thanks for the review. Any concern about the stainless steel mesh snagging UL items like jackets, quilts, tents, etc?

    This is one of the common issues I’ve seen discussed with the RatSack and what’s kept me from jumping in on one.

    • I discuss that in the review…

    • Philip’s comments about needing a layer between the Ratsack and delicate items lead me to get a cheap sacrificial dyneema roll top bag from an Etsy shop that I keep the Ratsack in while it is in/on my pack. Put anything that needs to stay dry inside the sacrificial bag and hang it in the Ratsack over night.

      Ultimately it has been much better and cheaper than having chipmunks and squirrels chew through my bear bags while they are hung. The sacrificial bag will eventually be ruined by the mesh or by an overachieving squirrel, but it has lasted 5 weekend trips around the Ratsack and dozens of days as a lunch sack in a bicycle saddle bag with almost no wear.

  4. Looks like a small 1200 cc would be right for a 10 day AT section hike would about right
    Thanks for the timely posting

  5. I use the XS RatSack inside my Ursack Major. The combo works really well with a combined weight of 10.9 ounces. So far it has been more than sufficient to carry 3 or 4 days of food as a solo hiker.

  6. Since I’m trying to be ultralight, could I just figure a way to bind my chain-mail hauberk into a secure food storage case in the evening? Multiple uses saves weight.

  7. Thanks for the review. This is something to consider even when not camping. I’ve had several mouse “run-in” experiences in the last few weeks in the NH Whites. Apparently they are very aggressive this time of year. I had a regular mesh bag containing bars in my room at the AMC Highland center that a mouse (which I actually saw) attack and chomp into. On my recent visit I left my bars in my car and brought food into my room in a small tight cooler bag. No problems in the room but something got into my car (2016 RAV4) and attacked a backpack waist pocket with almonds – also another mesh bag I keep in the car for food while travelling to the trailhead. The critter(s) were not deterred by moth balls I placed in the engine compartment after dealing with critter damage to the hood insulation.

  8. Thanks for the review! Just purchased one with my REI dividend as we are planning to make a return trip to Canyonlands NP soon and this will be much better option than our bear canister for both weight and capacity.

  9. This would have been great to have when I went bike packing last Summer. Raccoons worked their way into my Ortlieb Bike Panniers. They chewed or clawed open the supposedly odor proof bags and ate all my chocolate. Their tell tale paw prints were on the outside of the pannier. The pannier could have been used as a bear bag and possibly made it harder for the raccoons too. But I have been looking at various options. Good to know the sizing info too. Thanks for the review.

  10. What size Ratsack is shown in the picture in your review? Thanks.

  11. IS using a ratsack + a ursack (for bear protection) overkill, or sound practice?

    • Generally yes. I’ve been tying ursacks to trees for years and never had a rodent eat anything. The problem arises when you have to store your food in a bear box that mice visit. That’s where a bear bag is insufficient and you want a ratsack. If you don’t have a ratsack, you’re better off hanging your food outside the bear box. You can carry both, but that’s probably overkill.

    • ursack sells something called the Allmitey which has a rodent proof liner inside a bear proof ursack. The top of the rodent liner closed with velcro and was very effective. But they just stopped including the velcro, which I think was kind of stupid because it was so effective. Rodents can climb through the top of an ursack – I’ve had it happen.

  12. I always get a little annoyed when I see people telling others the Minor and AllMitey are rodent-proof – I have a photograph of a red squirrel caught in the act of chewing a 3cm hole into my properly hung Minor and into the trail mix inside. I now use a Ratsack when backpacking, and a BV500 when boating.

  13. Hi Philip, just want to thank you for all the years of product testing and reviews. Made many decisions after consulting your experiences. Just put my latest REI reward card toward a rat sack -your link of course! Thanks again for all you do.

  14. Just used the small ratsack on my Long Trail end to end hike. I really liked it. Hung it when needed and put into bear boxes when available. The size was right for me and it held an opsack bag with my food. The ratsack was quite stiff when new but became flexible after a few weeks. While hiking I carried the opsack with food separately and folded up the ratsack in a plastic shopping bag because the steel mesh was abrasive and I feared it could poke a hole in the opsack bag if it was being jostled around in my pack. Since the Ursack Almitey no longer has velcro and I’m suspect whether it will deter mice, the ratsack is a relatively lightweight and inexpensive option.

  15. We used them in the Grand Canyon where small rodents are prevalent. The rat sack worked great.

    All the tips (interior bag, etc.) are spot on.

  16. Neeman Callender

    Been using the Ratsack for years
    Much travel is staying in Bothys in Scotland
    They are well known havens for your local mouse
    Keeps my food safe
    I too purchased the small and found it big enough for a platoon of men
    Returned for an XS which is good for many days
    Highly recommend

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