AntiGravityGear UL Deluxe Bear Bag System Review

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AntiGravityGear UL Deluxe Bear Bag System

One of my first purchases from AntiGravityGear—years ago—was their bear bag rope kit. I’ve purchased a few more kits over the years because it is one of the lightest, strongest, least likely line to tangle, and pretty easy to use. Their team sent me their updated bear bag system, which includes a lot more than just the Spectra line and toss bag.

Available Features/Specifications

Features

  • 50 ft (15.24 m) flat braid 750 lb (340 kg) test Spectra line
  • 12.5 × 20 in (31.75 × 51 cm) OPsak
  • Rock/line storage bag
  • Nite Ize #2 S-Biner
  • 13.5 × 16 in (34.3 × 40.6 cm) (10 L) silnylon stuff bag

Weight

  • Stuff bag: 1 oz (30 g)
  • Rock Bag with Spectra line ad Biner: 1.4 oz (40 g)
  • OPsak: 1.6 oz (44 g)
  • Total: 4 oz (114 g)

Product Description

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pct-bear-bag-spectra-line

The bear bag system consists of an outer silnylon storage bag, an OPSak inner liner (to control odors), a throw bag (which doubles as a stuff sack for the spectra line), an S-biner, and some spectra line. Together, this kit can be used to hang a bear bag using multiple methods.

Recommendations and Review

Material

The ripstop silnylon fabric is strong, but it can puncture if you’re not careful. Silnylon is slippery, but also very light. I recommend keeping a close eye on the bottom of the bag and watch for holes. Why? Well, the silnylon is waterproof (a nice feature), but that all sorta goes away if you puncture it. Plus, the storage bag can be used as a wash basin as a secondary use.

A lot of folks who hang bear bags use rope, 550 cord, or other accessory line. The sheaths on these lines can be very abrasive and can really saw into the tree. The braided spectra line, in my opinion, is the best line suited for bear bags. Not only is it super strong, it’s also a slippery material, which is great for gliding over branches. Oh, and it’s also really light! To get 50 ft (15.24 m) in such a small package is a huge plus.

Price and Value

I think the price for this item is a great value, especially considering the high-quality line and the included OPsak. These two items alone make this great value. The included stuff sacks and carabiner appropriately complete the kit.

Best Match

Bear bags are essential items for anyone going into the backcountry, especially backpackers. Some areas mandate certain types of bear bags or canisters, so always check with the rangers to make sure. This system is really aimed at backpackers looking for a lightweight system. It’s great for thru hikers.

Construction and Craftsmanship

The only thing “missing” for me on this system is a hang loop of some kind. I prefer bear bags that have loops on the bottom of the stuff sack because I use this to clip to the carabiner as close to the bag as possible. A loop makes a strong, fail-safe place to clip to. I also like hanging my bear bags upside down to help prevent water from seeping down the line and inside the bag. For this kit, I just tied a slippery half hitch in the draw cord to clip to. The stopper knot in the draw cord prevents the loop from pulling through.

If you use the PCT method, clipping to the draw cord means that you have about 12 inches (30 cm) of drop that you can’t adjust, unless you shorten that loop by tying a temporary knot as I described.

The bags are very well made with tight seams, straight stitching, and clean finishing. The rounded bottom on the bear bag can be a little tricky to construct, but I noticed no irregularities.

Hanging Using the PCT Method

One of my favorite methods for hanging a bear bag is the PCT or Pacific Crest Trail method. This method almost automatically sets the bag at the optimal distance away from the branch and above the ground. I drew an illustration using the PCT method, but I thought I would add a series of photos to show how I do this in the field.

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Step 1 — Add a few rocks into the throw bag and toss the bag over an overhanging branch that is at least 20 ft (6 m) overhead. The line should extend at least 6 ft (1.8 m) away from the trunk.

Step 2 — Clip the line back through the carabiner.

pct-bear-bag-pulled-top

Step 3 — Clip the S-biner to the bear bag and pull the bear bag up to the top. For this bag, I tied a slippery hitch after pulling the cinch cord. I used this loop to clip to the carabiner.

Step 4 — Reach as high as you can and tie a clove hitch on to a toggle (a small twig works great for this). To quickly and easily tie the clove hitch, I put the twig behind the line then wrap the line around the front of the twig and back to make an “X”. With one finger pinching the “X”, I use my other hand to create a loop and place that back over the twig.

Step 5 — Release the line slowly until the twig toggle stops at the S-biner.

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The bear bag will drop from the top branch about 6 ft (1.8 m) or so until it stops at the toggle. This puts the bear bag at a perfect distance down from the branch and above the ground.

To retrieve the bag, pull the line down, which will pull the bear bag up. Remove the twig (sometimes breaking it in half is the quickest way). Once the toggle is removed, the bag can lower completely to the ground.


Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation purposes. The comments in this post (written & spoken) are of my own opinion, which I formed after personally handling the gear. I was under no obligation to publish a review of this item.

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3 Responses

  1. Jerry says:

    I made my bear bag rope with amsteel. It is very light, strong, and put a loop in one end. Works great and slides easily.

    • Derek says:

      Dyneema-based Amsteel is also a good choice for bear bag line. The smaller cordage 1.75mm or 2mm Zing-it and Lash-it are used by arborists in their tree work. Zing-it isn’t as light or flexible as the Spectra line, and I find that it tangles worse too.

  1. August 12, 2015

    […] also recommend the UL Deluxe bear bag kit from AntiGravityGear, which includes the throw rope, silnylon storage bag, and an inner Aloksak oder-resistent […]

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