In south Florida the only animal I have really had to worry about stealing my food is the occasional raccoon, but with my spring break and summer plans in bear country I figured I couldn’t go wrong investing in a bear bag system. Enter the Pack Piñata by Pacific Outdoor Equipment. This high quality waterproof bear bag with integrated throw rope was just up my alley, especially the designs that they come in (fish, frog, pig and plain black). Personally, I could care less what a bear bag looks like, but since Valentine’s day was around the corner and my girlfriend has a more artistic eye for outdoor gear, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the goldfish design!
I enjoy the compression valve feature which allows you to remove excess air without the use of compression straps. You can also use the valve to add air for days out on the water. The 50’ long rope is stashed and attached to a rope bag that doubles as storage and throw bag. Just open the drawstring a little and throw it over a limb; if you make it in one throw you’re set to go. Otherwise, just toss a few rocks or small sticks in the bag and you’re ready for another try. On the other end of the rope there is a screw lock mini carabiner that attaches to a metal grommet in the middle of the bag. Once attached, pull it up to tease all the hungry bears with a yummy fish piñata in the tree!
As for the more technical side, I was concerned with the bag’s ability to keep water out. From spending days out on the water to the terrible thunderstorms or even a misstep on a river crossing, I want my food to stay dry. To test this I filled the bag with newspaper, rolled the top three times and snapped it closed. After a half hour submerged I was excited to see that not a drop of water had entered the bag.
When it comes to the end of the day I would say this bag is well worth the cost ($34.95 at Backcountry.com). It’s 25L (1525 cu. in), 325g (11.6 oz) and is large enough and light enough for a week’s worth of food for two. The integrated rope/throw bag system that attaches to the bear bag is a great feature and its ability to keep the elements out give it full marks – though the only thing that really matters is what the girlfriend thinks. This says it all “Some girls got chocolates, jewelry and flowers for Valentine’s Day; I got a fish shaped bear bag. Best present ever!”