The Ursack AllMitey is a bear-proof and critter-proof food storage bag for camping and backpacking. It differs from Ursack’s other food storage bags, (the Ursack Major, Ursack Major XL, and Ursack Minor), which are either bear-proof or critter proof, but not both.
|Ursack AllMitey||Yes||Yes||10.65L||13 oz||$135|
|Ursack Major XL||Yes||No||15L||8.8 oz||$100|
|Ursack Major||Yes||No||10.65L||7.6 oz||$85|
|Ursack Minor||No||Yes||10.65L||5 oz||$100|
If you’re not familiar with Ursacks, they’re soft bags made with super-tough Spectra and/or Kevlar fibers that bears can’t pull apart and critters can’t chew or claw through. There’s also no need to hang them high up in a tree, at least in the case of the AllMitey, because the bag is impenetrable by bears and critters. An Ursack is a big improvement over a traditional bear-bag hang because many, if not most backpackers and campers, do such a poor job hanging their food bags so an animal can’t bring it down. Once down, it’s easy for an animal to rip open a stuff sack, eat, or foul all the food inside.
While an Ursack AllMitey has many advantages over a hard-sided bear canister, such as lighter weight, better packability, and reduced volume as you eat your food down, it’s still not universally approved for use in national and state parks that require visitors to use a bear canister. Additionally, the Ursack AllMitey is not crush-proof, it’s not leak-proof, and the outside of the bag will absorb rain, which sucks when you have to pack it next to the dry stuff inside your backpack. This is true of the Ursack Major and Major XL as well. Peoples needs and risk tolerances vary, so none of these issues are absolute showstoppers, but the AllMitey still falls short when compared to a hard-sided bear canister.
Personally, I doubt whether the Ursack AllMitey will ever be universally approved for use in areas that require hard-sided bear canisters. I’m just being a realist. I think its biggest benefit is as a replacement for traditional food hangs. I’ve been using an Ursack in this manner since 2007 and doubt I’ll ever hang another bear bag in my life. I prefer the speed and convenience of using an Ursack rather than the clown show of trying to throw a rock attached to 50′ of bear bag cord before the sun sets. When you use an Ursack AllMitey, you can count on your food being intact in the morning. That’s not the case with a traditional bear hang.
The AllMitey is made with Spectra so that it’s bear-resistant, and Kevlar, so it’s critter resistant. Spectra is strong enough that it can resist the pulling and clawing action of bears, while Kevlar bags can rebuff small animals which have sharper teeth than bears. Ursack’s other bear bags, the Major and Major XL are only made with Spectra, while the Ursack Minor is made with Kevlar.
The exterior of the AllMitey, the Major, and Major XL is a black colored Spectra. Older model Ursacks were un-died and white or off-white in color. The Ursack Minor is made with cream-colored Kevlar and closes with a stiff velcro strip at the top. If you examine the AllMitey closely, it’s basically an Ursack Major on the outside with an Ursack Minor sewn inside, providing multiple layers of protection, but at a lower cost than if you combined the two yourself.
Smell-Proof Liner Bag
Ursack recommends lining the inside of their bear-proof and critter-proof bags with a smell-proof plastic bag called an Opsack (odor-proof sack), which is included with the Ursack AllMitey when you buy it. A bear’s sense of smell is 7 times that of a bloodhound’s and 2100 times better than a human’s. and the use of a smell-proof barrier helps prevent your food from being detected.
Unfortunately, these bags are virtually impossible to keep completely smell-proof in the backcountry, unless you bring a supply of Nitrile gloves with you to handle them with. If you touch the outside of an Opsack after having touched food, it ceases to stay odor-proof. This issue is well understood by the FBI, the CIA and the other government agencies that use Opsacks for evidence collection. They address it by double bagging collected materials, instead of relying on one Opsack, to prevent evidence contamination.
Nevertheless, I still like using an Opsack to line my Ursack because it’s a heavy-duty plastic bag capable of keeping the inside clean and dry, in the event that any of my trash or food leaks. Ursacks are washable, by the way. See the Ursack website for washing instructions.
The included Opsack that comes with an Ursack fits perfectly inside and closes with a Ziploc-style seal. It’s much tougher than a gallon-sized Ziploc bag though and can survive repeated use. I change mine about once a year when the top seal tears and ceases to close. Replacements bags are sold separately.
Optional Aluminum Liner
The contents of an AllMitey, like all Ursacks, can still be crushed by a pissed-off bear. Crushing may sound inconsequential because so much backpacking food is still edible when crushed, but chances are you’ll be storing more than food in an Ursack. For example, I pack all my “smellables” in my bear bag, from my toothpaste and butt paste to my cookpot, inside my Ursack at night. If they were to get crushed or mixed in with my other food, it would severely compromise my ability to eat or cook on a trip.
Ursack sells a 10.9 oz aluminum liner that you can insert to the Ursack Major and Major XL to prevent their contents from being crushed. It can also be used with the AllMitey but makes it impossible to close the inner, critter-proof part of the bag. I consider this a defect because it negates the added value of the AllMitey over the Ursack Major and Major XL. Hopefully, Ursack (the company) will address this issue soon. While I’ve never felt the need to use an aluminum liner in my older model Ursack because Black bears have never disturbed it, it would be a bigger concern if I took trips far off the grid in Grizzly or Brown bear territory, without easy access to a town in an emergency.
Closing and Securing the AllMitey
When you want to close the AllMitey up for the night, you seal the inner bag which closes with a heavy duty velcro strip that an animal would have a very hard time prying apart. The outer bag closes with a 6′ drawcord that you cinch tight so the opening at the top of the bag is completely closed. When there aren’t any gaps left in the top, you tie a double overhand knot, also called a surgeon’s not, in the cord to keep it the bag from opening. This is a very easy knot to untie. You still need another knot to prevent the double overhand knot from being opened by an animal, which I explain next.
You don’t want a bear to be able to walk off with the AllMitey, so Ursack recommends tying it to a tree branch or a stationary object with the remaining slack in the drawcord line, knotting the end with a double figure eight knot. This knot is also easy to untie even if a bear has been tugging at it all night.
I usually tie my AllMitey out of sight of my camp because I don’t have any desire to encounter a foraging bear or wild animals at night. Just remember where you put it, so you can find it the next morning. If you can’t find a tree branch to tie it to, tie it to a stationary object like a tree trunk on the ground, making sure to tie a stopper knot like the double figure eight over the surgeon’s knot so it won’t open. If you’re above treeline, cover the AllMitey with rocks or in a worst case scenario, just leave it on the ground and pray that a bear or critter doesn’t carry it off. Bears carry off unsecured bear canisters, though, so I wouldn’t count on it.
The Ursack AllMitey is a bear-proof and critter proof bag that can be used to protect your food while you sleep on backpacking and camping trips. It’s far more reliable, faster and easier to use than hanging a bear bag in a tree with a 5o’ length of cord and a rock. It’s also the only food storage bag made by Ursack that can be left on the ground overnight or in a mouse-accessible bear box and still provide complete bear and critter protection. I consider this the best use case for the Ursack AllMitey and recommend you switch to it if you backpack regularly and find a traditional bear-hang annoying, time-consuming, challenging, or intimidating.
While the Ursack AllMitey is much lighter weight and more packable than a hard-sided bear-canister, it’s not crush-proof, waterproof, or leak-proof. None of these are necessarily showstoppers in the right circumstances, but they are factors that must be weighed carefully when deciding to choose between using an AllMitey and a canister. The AllMitey is also not universally approved for use in some National and State Parks and Forests, despite being IGBC approved. Check before you assume you can use one.
If you visit an area that requires a bear canister but permits the use of an AllMitey as well, I’d definitely consider using it since it’s lighter weight, more packable, and shrinks in volume as you use your food. While the AllMitey is not a complete replacement for a canister (for example, it makes a poor camp stool), it’s better than lugging a heavy and bulky canister for your entire trip when you don’t have too.
Ursack provided the author with a sample AllMitey for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.