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Thread: Breathability of synthetic game bags?

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    Member Hayduke's Avatar
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    Default Breathability of synthetic game bags?

    I attended Michael Strahan's talk on field care of meat at the the sportsman's show yesterday. One of his points was that the synthetics bags don't seem to breath as well as cotton. Has anyone else had this experience? It would seem to me that synthetic would wick moisture better like synthetic underwear vs cotton. Is it just not allowing airflow? That was Michael's feeling.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    This has been argued greatly on this forum and there are folks on both sides of the fence. I know the one test that I have heard of is to take a bag material and try to blow through it. If you can it probably has the air flow that you would want. I'm hoping to conduct a personal test this fall.

    I know that one school of thought is to have both. Larrys bags are light and it would work to carry them in your pack and then switch to cotton back at camp.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Member Hayduke's Avatar
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    Michael suggested the blow test as well. My inquiry is specific to a backpack hunt where it will not be practical to bring both.

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    “synthetic would wick moisture better like synthetic underwear vs cotton”Synthetic underwear will wick moisture away only when the person is warm, if he stop generating heat the moisture will come back.

    The two areas I think synthetic bags work the best is weight and at night when you remove the bags to let the meat dry you can wash the bags and have dry, clean bags in the morning to keep the bugs and rain off the meat. I would not leave any bag on meat over night if at all possible; it’s just not good for the meat.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    “ I would not leave any bag on meat over night if at all possible; it’s just not good for the meat.
    Interesting point. I have not heard this before. I can't imagine when it would be safe to do this. I would seem that you are asking for trouble. Can you shed some more light on your statement and your experieces in doing so?

    Thanks
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    I didn't think to notice "who" is marketing these but I just saw some blaze orange meat bags for sale at Sportsman's Warehouse - they weren't "economy" and I couldn't locate the material on the package but the next time I am at the canvas supplier getting materials for the bedrolls I make I am going to ask what they have that I am not aware of

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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    Interesting point. I have not heard this before. I can't imagine when it would be safe to do this. I would seem that you are asking for trouble. Can you shed some more light on your statement and your experieces in doing so?

    Thanks
    I don’t understand what is not safe? At night it cooler and the bugs are not out so that not a problem. Large peaces of meat like moose need time to cool, any bag will hold in heat and moisture some bags worst than other. Meat needs to be dry and blood free to keep from spoiling, removing the bags do all of this, when you hang meat you never leave bags on also removing the bags let the blood drain and you can inspect the meat for problems like blood shot meat and smell. Taking care of meat after the kill is a lot of work, and the longer you’re in the field the more work it is and the more care must be taken to keep it from going bad.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayduke View Post
    Michael suggested the blow test as well. My inquiry is specific to a backpack hunt where it will not be practical to bring both.
    Duke,

    Your situation is a little different from most, in that you are backpacking. In that case I would recommend just going with the synthetic bags and really monitoring your game meat. Hang it in a place that is cool and gets good airflow, check it periodically to ensure that it is getting a good dry glaze on the surface, and get it out of there ASAP if the temps are above, say, 65º F or so.

    Are you hunting Dall sheep? What kind of animals are you hunting on your backpack hunt? There may be some additional help I can offer with more info... especially the time of year you plan to do this hunt.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    I don’t understand what is not safe? At night it cooler and the bugs are not out so that not a problem. Large peaces of meat like moose need time to cool, any bag will hold in heat and moisture some bags worst than other. Meat needs to be dry and blood free to keep from spoiling, removing the bags do all of this, when you hang meat you never leave bags on also removing the bags let the blood drain and you can inspect the meat for problems like blood shot meat and smell. Taking care of meat after the kill is a lot of work, and the longer you’re in the field the more work it is and the more care must be taken to keep it from going bad.
    Moose,

    I agree with you to an extent. In generally cooler weather we just leave the bags on the whole time, assuming we have bags that offer good airflow. But earlier in the season when it is warmer, pulling the bags off at night works great if it is cool enough to keep the flies semi-dormant. I would get them back on first thing in the morning though, not only the flies are an issue, but birds will get on the meat (mostly camp robbers and such) and they can poop all over it sometimes. At least they will peck holes in it. They don't eat much, but still...

    Thanks for weighing in on this.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member Hayduke's Avatar
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    Mike,
    This will be the DC001 hunt. Right now the plan is for early to mid Sept. If I am lucky enough to connect I think I will be able to get the meat out in 2 days.

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    Well I can tell you that in many years of hunting I never had a problem with cotton bags drying both pillow cases and cheesecloth. Last year I tried out my new synthetics and I couldnt get them to ever dry. Sure they are very light and tough, but kept damp and clammy whereever they touched the meat. Just one year trying but when I run out I will go back to cotton!
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

  12. #12

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    When I started to "field test" synthetic fabrics to innovate the concept for T.A.G. Bags after the 2001 field season, the first thing was to compare mold development in a warm and controlled environment. Here's the original test performed many years ago:

    http://www.pristineventures.com/home...l-testing.html

    What I found was simply that cotton held moisture and mold spores in abundance and the material bonded to molds and other bacteria much like a wound dressing does. Cotton is absorbant, period, that's why Q-tips, cotton balls, and tampons are made with cotton. Game bags made of cotton act the exact same way...absorbing moisture. The problem is that cotton doesn't dry quickly. This can be problematic with game meat care on long hunts where meat is to be kept for extended periods in incliment environments.

    I wanted to create a lightweight game bag that protects meat from environmental factors that also dries quickly. So now, instead of a set of six canvas bags that weigh up to 15 lbs, i have a set os six bags that weigh 2 lbs (nearly 8X lighter and less bulk by more than 4X)

    Mike is somewhat correct in saying that synthetic materials don't seem to breath as well as cotton, but that doesn't mean that they don't breath well (or adequately).

    One test that I rely on to test synthetic fabrics is by blowing air through it by mouth. Thread count and material texture play an important role in determining ventilation. Adequate ventilation can be tested by lighting a candle and holding game bag material in front of it, than blow air through the fabric toward the candle. You should be able to extinguish the flame. That's a home-grown method of testing fabric. The field test method is to put meat in to the bags and keep it in the field during warm and moist periods, and then testing the bacterial and mold development on the surface.

    All my tests have proven that synthetic game bags protect game meat for longer periods by keeping them cleaner (if the hunter starts with clean meat and trims suspicious odors or coloration changes as needed) and also dryer by ensuring ventilation and airflow is sufficent around all game bags. if it's a humid environment, expect meat to feel slightly moist. That doesn't mean meat will spoil, it just requires more careful observation and intervention by the hunter. The result will be less trim waste on the back end of your hunt.

    Cost: Synthetic materials are expensive to manufacture because the fabric requires petroleum to create raw goods. Cotton doesn't.

    Material changes: One reason our material textures have changed over the years is to improve ventilation and the affects at the surface level. Some hunters, myself included, have witnessed meat "feeling" slightly moist on the surface during warm or moist periods, and this I believe is due to the material type. Some nylon materials have textures that feel more like cotton, while other nylons feel more like silk...this is decided by how much air is blown into the fabric during manufacturing from raw goods. The same thread count is used, but texture decide how the consumer judges the feel. Where cotton absorbs moisture very well, synthetics don't absorb moisture...but it still wicks moisture away fro meat surfaces and prevents bacteria and mold spores from imbedding into the fabric and creating a bacteria bandages when housing game meat.

    The six major benefits of synthetic game bags include:

    1. lighter weight sets of game bags (6X-8X lighter than cotton)
    2. quick-dry material
    3. reusable bags that come clean after the wash
    4. rugged material that doesn't tear easily
    5. adequate ventilation (specific to type of material)
    6. less absorbant than cotton and resists bacterial, mold, and slime growth

    Granted, cotton bags have worked for thousands of hunters for decades and continue to serve well. But synthetic game bags provide an extremely light weight option for hunters who must lower their pack weights on long or remote hunts. They cost more up front, but in the end they provide tremendous weight savings and serve hunters well in the field.

    If meat feels slightly moist on the surface, hunters should problem solve their situation by improving airflow around bags, reposition lose meat or expose the meat to air (outside the bag) while physically monitoring for insects or birds (if outside bags), and then perform sensory checks a couple times each day. If intervention is required to keep game meat clean, cool, or dry, hunters must act accordingly. This regardless of whether cotton or synthetic game bags are used.

    Learn more about T.A.G. Bags here:
    http://www.pristineventures.com/products/game-bags.html

    Good hunting folks,

    larry

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    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    My wife and I use the Tag bags for our rafting hunting trips and they have worked great . At night we take them off of the meat wash them and hang them on bushes to dry during the night . This only works if it does not rain !!!!
    I use citric spray that Marc Tayler sells and it keeps the bugs off the meat and for the pesky camp robbers and their poop just put the meat under a supported tarp that way you keep the meat clean, birds off and air flow.

    RR





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    Last September my father and I took our first trip to Last Frontier. We were successful in harvesting two wonderful bou. Being meat hunters from Kansas, we wanted to get every ounce back to Flint Hills. We used Larry's TAG bags(with some citric acid), and they worked great. We were able to remove the quarters one day, wash the bags, and let them dry, and re-bag the quarters to hang again. My bou hung for about 5 days, with temp never higher than 45. We didn't have any trouble at all. The TAG bags allowed good airflow. Not only did my father and I have a successful trip of a lifetime, but we were able to get every ounce of meat back to Kansas in a freezer that we hauled up the Highway. Once home, we butchered our bou, washed our bags, and now they await a another trip up North.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default +1 for Tag Bags

    For many of the reasons stated above... Weight, packing size, ability to wash and dry quickly... I have converted from the cotton bags to the TAG bags.

    I also use the citric acid on the meat.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    I've switched over to TAG bags for all of my fly in hunts. My process is very similar to Ranger Ricks. I erect a tarp over my meat hanging area in a way that allows air flow, but keeps the meat dry. For the first night remove the TAG bags, wash them and hang them to dry. The meat crusts over nicely and the next morning I have clean, dry game bags to put back on and protect the meat. I leave some heavy canvas transporter bags in a dry bag at the airstrip that meat goes into for the trip back to town.

    I do not use citric acid or any other treatment on the meat. Flies can't lay eggs through TAG bags like they do with cloth bags.

  17. #17

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    Great photos and meat care stories. Thanks for sharing those fellas. Good hunting, and thanks for trusting in our TAG Bags.

    larry

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