If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure to see some of the best that nature has to offer.
Camping in bear country comes with its own set of risks, though.
Contrary to what you sang as a child, a black- or brown-bears’ picnic is definitely one to miss.
Avoid a big surprise by reading our 5 top tips for safe camping in bear country.
1. Check Your Camp Spot for Signs of Bear Activity
When you pick that pretty spot to set up camp, the very first thing you should do is check for signs of recent bear activity.
Some things are obvious, like pawprints, dead animals, or poop. But other things to watch for are things that have been aggressively attacked and damaged, like trees or logs.
If you’re ever in any doubt, move on. You may be tired or want to hunker down, but it’s just not worth the danger of waking up to a bear later on.
2. Don’t Leave Any Food Out and Store It Right
A bear’s goal in life is to get food, and for him, the easier the better.
Black bears have a sense of smell 7 times more powerful than a dog’s, so they can literally smell things a mile away.
To keep under a bear’s radar, you need to make sure you store your food properly. This means you’ll need to hang your food from a nearby tree or use the food storage area provided by your campsite.
If you have a hard-sided trailer, though, always store your food inside and make sure it’s sealed to prevent odors escaping.
When camping in bear country, never, ever leave leftover food out, or scattered on the ground. A nearby bear could smell it and come over to investigate.
3. Cook Food Away From Your Campsite
That gorgeous smell that comes off your food when you’re cooking? Bears dig that, too.
Always cook 100 feet away from your campsite, and downwind if you can. Sure, a bear might still smell your grub, but if it’s far from the campsite at least you can get away to safety.
4. Make Sure You Don’t Smell
You don’t want to give a bear anything to be curious over, so no perfumes or sprays while you’re out on the trail.
Remember that anything scented like soap, toothpaste or deodorant, can attract a bear, so pack yours away, sealed up like your food.
Also, store the clothes you cooked in away from your campsite. A passing bear could smell it but again, if it’s away from you, you’ll be able to keep your distance.
5. Sleep With Your Flashlight and Bear Spray
First, always pack both a flashlight and bear spray. Bear spray only irritates a bear but won’t harm him, and it can save your life.
Don’t leave your flashlight and bear spray in a nearby backpack, or somewhere inaccessible. They’re the first things you’ll want if you’re surprised in the night by an inquisitive bear, so keep them next to your pillow for immediate access.
Stay Safe Camping In Bear Country
The woods, rivers, lakes and nature trails you find when you’re camping are things you’ll remember forever. They nourish the mind and nurture the soul, so don’t let bears put you off.
Keep our top tips in mind, use common sense, and don’t take needless risks. Stay safe, and enjoy your adventure!
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