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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > GrubPack Rodent Resistant Storage Bags > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

GrubPack Rodent Resistant Storage Bags
By Raymond Estrella

August 12, 2012


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 51
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: GrubPack
Web site:
Year manufactured: 2011
Sizes reviewed: UL & A (see web site for more sizes and options)
MSRP: US $29.99 (UL) and $31.99 (A)
Weight listed: UL - 3.4 oz (96 g) A - 8 oz (227 g)
Actual weight: UL - 3.4 oz (97 g) A - 7.8 oz (222 g)
Dimensions listed: UL - 8.25 x 17 in (21 x 43 cm) A - 15 x 18 in (38 x 46 cm)
Verified accurate

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

With most of my backpacking and camping taking place in a state that does not have problems with bears I no longer need to carry the weight of a bear canister. But since the only food loss and gear damage I have ever received came from rodents, raccoons, and blue jays I decided to find an easier way to protect my food. The two GrubPacks I bought work great and the weight is not too bad. Please read on for the details.

Product Description

Two GrubPacks

The GrubPack is a food storage sack made to keep rodents, birds and small animals from stealing the contents. It is not made for protection from bears, but it can be used in place of a hanging bear bag (swapping for the nylon stuff sack commonly used) to keep out squirrels that may climb down the cord or jump from a tree to it.

The body of the GrubPack is made of knitted food-grade stainless steel mesh. It is constructed like a chain, with loops interlocking each other, not like a window screen where the metal is woven into a mesh. The beauty of this is that the GrubPacks can be folded, squeezed, or expanded greatly without damage or permanent folds and creases.
E-Z Open pull
The mesh has been knitted as a tube (think of knitting a sock) and then cut to length. This makes for no seams in the sides of the GrubPack. The bottom has the mesh tucked inside of two nylon backing pieces and then sewn through. This protects the bottom from being gnawed through.

At the top nylon strapping has been double sewn to the mesh. Velcro has been applied to the inside of this strapping to make the closure. In the case of the UL-sized GrubPack the nylon and Velcro are 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. With the A-sized GrubPack the nylon is wider than the Velcro. The nylon is 2 in (5 cm) while the Velcro is 1.5 in (3.8 cm) and placed at the bottom of the nylon. The extra in (1.25 cm) of space at the top makes it easier to pull the GrubPack open and the company calls this feature their E-Z Pull mouth. The picture to the right shows this feature.

At one end of the closure a in (1.25 cm) ID brass grommet has been inserted. It is big enough to put a rope or cord through or can be used with a carabiner as I do.

A check of the GrubPack web site will show that they have many options that may be added to the GrubPack, including handles, security zippers and interior pockets. Mine are just the base models with nothing added.

Field Locations

Mooma said that food would hang some day

I have been using the GrubPacks on every backpacking trip for the past 12 months. I don't even know how many days in the field they have seen but it is at least 40 days in Minnesota, all in the northern half of the state. They have been used in eight State Parks, two National Forests and five State Forests, like Two Inlets State Forest where Hungry Man Lake is located, seen in the picture above.

I also used the A size for 6 days of hiking in North Dakota's Sakakawea State Park, Sully Creek State Park and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Temperatures encountered have ranged from 99 F down to -20 F (37 to -29 C) with some sunny clear days, plenty of snowy days and a lot of rainy days. Here is a picture of it hanging on the banks of the Red River of the North with storm clouds building.

Red River


Most of my backpacking has taken place in California, much of it in areas that have problem bears that like to steal food. Remember Yogi Bear and his love of picnic baskets? Well I have been making it hard for him to steal mine for most of my life. While many parks now mandate the use of hard bear canisters in many places, especially in my early years I could get away with a hanging bear bag.

Now that most of my hiking is happening in Minnesota, where bears interacting with humans is rare, I don't really need to bother with a true food hang. But we do have lots of rodents, raccoons, birds and the occasional coyote hanging around. In all my years of hiking I have never had a bear try to take my food but have had rodents eat holes through my pack to get to food. One time in the eastern Sierra a blue jay actually remove a bag of gorp from the pocket of my pack (the rest of my food was already hanging) and tear it open where we found it happily eating its favorite parts when we got back from swimming.

Since there was no need for a high hang I decided to buy a rodent-proof bag that I could just hang above a raccoon's reach. After researching the brands available I decided to go with GrubPack and bought two sizes, expecting to mainly use the UL size for my solo trips. I bought the A size for long trips and for trips my children were along too meaning lots more food to carry. Here is the A size hanging at our camp near the Beaver River on the Superior Hiking Trail.

Where'd the kids go?

The GrubPacks work pretty well. The E-Z Pull works great on the A size and is noticeably easier to open than the UL GrubPack. The Velcro closures are very strong. Even if I have to let the bag sit on the ground I have no concerns that a raccoon can pull the GrubPack open. Heck, when they were brand new I could barely get them open. ;-)

They can expand to carry quite a bit. I have put food for a 4-day solo trip on the Superior Hiking Trail in the UL which was a tight fit, but 3-day trips are no problem, like this one at Lake Bronson State Park.

Two Rivers

I put a carabiner through the brass grommet to make it easier to take down. I bring a small piece of cord to use for hanging the GrubPack. I just hang it about 5 ft (2 m) off the ground most of the time. Sometimes I find where hunters or fisherman have put a nail or spike in a tree and will just use that instead of stringing the cord. At McCarty Lakes this spring I even found a clothes line still up from last fall's hunter camp so just hung it from that. Funny note; see the big pile of wood that was left by them? It was right next to a knocked-down post and sign that read No Campfires Allowed.

McCart Lake clothes line

One really nice thing about the GrubPacks is that I can see through the mesh to know just what I have inside. After forgetting my spoon on a 4-day backpacking trip I now like to look that it is really there about 20 times before finally loading it in the pack.

Having two of the GrubPacks has been nice for trips that I am going to resupply also. On a 7-day trip in Voyageurs National Park I knew I was going to spend one night in a motel resupplying fuel and food, plus drying soaked gear as it turned out. Having a 3-day supply in each GrubPack made it easy to know I was ready to go. This is the A size, I believe at Cranberry Bay on frozen Rainy Lake during the second stage of the hike.

Voyageurs NP

That I know of the GrubPacks have never been tested by any animals. At least if they have it worked well as I have never lost anything nor are there any gnaw marks or such on them. The Velcro is fuzzing out a lot on the "loop" side of both bags. I will watch to see if it gets worse and if it makes them any less secure. Other than that I have no concerns and plan to use them for a long time down the trail.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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