How to Keep Bears Away from Campsites: Tips for Coexistence with Bears

Written by Kane Dane

When it comes to bears proofing your campsites, the smell of food can be the main reason why a bear would want to go near your camp. Food is apparently the bear’s only most effective, inspiring force on a daily basis, therefore, an essential part of every camping should be knowing how to keep bears away from campsites.

Smell is simply the main factor that we worry about here. The American Association for Bear affirms that a mountain bear’s smelling sense is amazingly keen – seven times more effective compared to that of dogs – and can detect scents from a couple of miles away.

Brown Bear near a tent

You need to dispose as much food-like odor from your campsite as could reasonably be expected. However, even before you take off into the woods, there are some important things you need to do in order to have a bear-free camping trip.

Tips for keeping the Bears Away from Campsites

Do you want a bear-free camping trip? If yes, then you need to follow the steps below.

Two adults setting up the tent

These steps will help keep bears away from your campsites:

  1. Find a good campsite: You need to locate a good campsite that bears don’t like to go near. If possible, pick a location that will be in the opposite direction of where your cooking area and food stores will be, that is far from natural food sources such as berry patches, and is obviously a campsite without any sign of a bear.
  2. The “bear-muda triangle” technique: This technique involves maintaining a strategic distance between your sleeping area and your food stores, dinning and cooking area. The design usually goes in this form: you will make a triangular floor layout, with your camping tent in one region of the triangle, then your food stores in another region, and your dining and cooking area in the remaining region, with about hundred yards between each region. Your tent will likewise ideally be upwind of the other two food zones.
  3. Make a bear hang: If good trees are available, then utilize what is regarded as a “bear hang.” The main idea is to safeguard your food stores in a smell-free and waterproof bear pack, up and far from a bear, and additionally out of reach from the bear’s astute endeavors to move closer to it.: Keep in mind, bears are clever and have great memories. In the event that they have effectively gotten to the past, ineffectively built, bear hangs, they will attempt similar strategies once more. The standard approach is to hang your food up to 10 or 12 feet and 4 to 6 feet far from the tree’s trunk because bears can climb. Here’s a useful article on how to efficiently hang a bear bag in camp – it’s important that you read it.
  4. Maintain a clean campground: No food should be permitted in your camping tent or sleeping region. Neither should any substance that may have the scent of food. No energy bar wrappers, toothpaste, snacks, garments that you put on while doing the cooking. Do the cooking and consumption away from your sleeping region. The cooking and eating region is a part of your campground as well, regardless of the possibility that it is a hundred yards away. It ought to be given a similar consideration that your sleeping region gets. Keep in mind, leftover foods need to be buried or burned well far from camp and water. Each spaghetti noodle and popcorn grain must be assembled and discarded.
  5. Wash eating and cooking tools quickly: Try not to hold up to tidy up after eating., make sure you do it immediately. Holding up to tidy up allows food scents to linger and be circulated. Bears can perceive food scents from a mile away. Also, try to discard your dishwater downwind and far from the eating region.
  6. Apply wisdom when choosing foodstuffs: For you to have a bear-free camping trip, then you need to be wise when choosing foodstuffs. Maple syrup and bacon most likely aren’t the best choice of foods when going outdoors in the bear community. Bears are pulled to the aroma of frying bacon in any event as much as we may be. Pick foods that don’t have much delicious smell!
  7. Have a separate set of clothes for different activities: You need to have a separate set of clothes for eating/cooking and the ones for sleeping. Food scents will stick to your garments, so have a set of garments for eating, and before you come back to your camping tent to go to sleep, make sure you change into your sleeping wears. Likewise, ensure that you change garments some range outside of your cooking territory. Sack your eating/cooking garments.
  8. Pack or discard everything that smells: Carry additional water/air proof plastic sacks to store smelly waste or, if you are able to do so properly and safely, then you can burn it. Pull your waste out and discard it in appropriate, bear resistant disposal units. In summary, keep a carefully clean camp – all of it. Keep everything from right from food to apparel, when not being used, in impermeable, smell restraining packs or compartments. Utilize the nature (trees, wind and so forth.) to your preference in safeguarding food and limiting scent.
  9. Bear Fence: An extra item that might be valuable to additionally stop inquisitive or hungry bears is an apparatus that is really intended to physically deter a bear from going near your campground. It is known as an Electric Fence and is promoted by UDAP, a bear deterrent and bear spray organization in Butte, Montana. The electric fence is lightweight and portable that you can just set up around the edge of your camp.

Camping Safely in Bear Territory

Most bears keep away from human. Numerous hikers never at any point realize that they passed near a bear due to the fact that the bear did a great job in trying to avoid them. Most experiences end with human and the bear departing in inverse bearings, without harming each other. Your danger of being harmed by a bear is lesser than your danger of being struck by lightning and much lesser than your danger of being harmed in an accident as you head to bear territory.

What follows are a few recommendations from bear specialists on what is needed to be done and how to act when camping and hiking in bear territory. Following these tips should enable you to lessen your hazard, however, keep in mind, there is no assurance of your well being. Each experience is remarkably similar to each bear.

Beach camping in the Great Bear Rainforest

The most significant thing to remember when outdoors in bear territory is, never give bears a chance to get your garbage, food or other attractive substances. Bears that figure out how to acquire food in campsites frequently turn out to be progressively strong and forceful in their endeavors to get these foods. They may destroy tents, vehicles and other property.

In uncommon cases, bears that figure out how to acquire human foods may even enter camping tents and attack campers, bringing about harm and sometimes demise. Bears that have this kind of behavior are normally executed by bear managers.

Clean dishes can attract bears

In case you don’t know, most bears are usually attracted to the items below:

  • All human foods
  • Garbage
  • Livestock feed and pet food
  • Cooking oils
  • Utensils and cooking pots
  • Unopened canned beverages
  • Fuel for lanterns and stoves
  • Insect repellents, lotions, cosmetics and toothpaste
  • Hummingbird feeders and bird seed

All the items listed above should be kept in a place where bears cannot access them. Such places include:

  • In a bear-proof food storage bag provided at the campground
  • In a hard-sided vehicle. Remember; tents, coolers, fly-up campers aren’t bear resistant
  • In a bear-proof backpacker food store

Here’s some instructions on easy DIY bear canisters for you to make to ensure that no bear will get your food.

What to Do If You Encounter a Bear While Camping

The most significant thing to remember if you encounter a bear is, do not run! If you try to run, you might just trigger the bear’s savage impulses and if the bear wants to get you, it certainly will. A bear has the ability to run at 35 mph and cover up to 100 yards in around 7 seconds. Halt and placidly survey the circumstance.

If the bear doesn’t know you are around, gently leave the zone in such a way as to abstain from being detected by a bear. Try not to approach more intently for a photo or for whatever other reason. But, if the bear knows that you are nearby, know yourself as a human and converse with the bear in a quiet voice and raise arms out to the other side and move them gradually here and there.

Black bear in the forest

You need the bear to know rapidly and without uncertainty that you are a man and not a bear or some sort of prey creature. Avoid any eye contact with the bear yet do watch it in order to know the next thing it will do. The bear may flee immediately or it might take a gander at you and after that continue what it was doing before, or it might move close to you. The action you should take next will depend solely on the action the bear will take.

If the bear flees, walk toward a path, not the same as where the bear ran. Get away from the region so as to keep away from any other encounter. But If the bear takes a gander at you and afterward appears to disregard you, or keeps looking, however, does not withdraw or approach, step back while you keep conversing with the bear. Try not to turn your backside on the bear till you can’t see it and it can’t see you any longer.

Again, even if a bear appears to be unconcerned about your nearness, don’t approach more intently for a photo of better view. On the off chance that the bear approaches you, stop, hold fast. Stay cool and watch the bear for signs to its temperament or expectations. A cautious bear feels that you are a threat to it. It might woof, gnashing its teeth, snarl, weave its head forward and backward, use its front feet to slap the ground, charge abruptly or thwacks its lips and then salivate. It is worried by your nearness.

mother bear and three small and adorable puppies in the Finnish taiga

A bear that has this kind of behavior may act aggressively when defending cubs, food or personal space. A predatory or curious bear doesn’t make any noise, it will have its ears pointed forward and have all its attention concentrated exclusively on you in a quiet, non-disturbed way. If you have attempted to move down and the bear keeps on tailing you in a slow, intentional way and hints at none of the guarded animosity, you might need to attempt another approach.

Act aggressively in order to make the bear know that you aren’t an easy feast and that it wouldn’t like to upset you. Make yourself look as huge as could be expected under the circumstances, look at the bear, shout at the bear, get a huge stick and hit it at the bear if it comes near you. For some tips on how to frighten a bear away, read our article to keep you well-informed.

Close-up of a bear's face

In the event that a bear acting along these lines assaults you, fight it back, concentrating your attention on the face of the bear. While wild bears are often a great deal less aggressive compared to mountain bears, most wild bear attacks are ruthless in nature. Some bear professionals now suggest that anyone assaulted by a wild bear should fight since the bear is most likely not acting protectively.

Facts About Bear Spray as a Means for Keeping Bears Away

Bear spray has proven to be extremely effective at repulsing aggressive or approaching bears and lessening the rate of human injury. Indeed, it is significantly more effective compared to a gun in avoiding injury. Statistics have shown us that individuals protecting themselves with firearms were harmed around half of the time while individuals utilizing bear spray often get away from injury.

Bear spray is a unique chemical arrangement containing 1-2% capsaicin. This kind of chemicals originates from hot peppers; thus making the solution to be very irritating to the eyes, throat, nose mouth and lungs. It incidentally renders the bear powerless yet causes no permanent mischief.

Using Bear Spray while Hiking

Bear spray is required to be released only at approaching, aggressive or charging bears. Try not to splash it on knapsacks, attire, tents or individuals; it isn’t a repellant such as a bug spray. If you choose to take bear spray along with you, then ensure you search for the following features in the item you buy:

  • An EPA enlistment number discloses to you that the item is a guaranteed bear spray and that testing has proven it to be viable.
  • The bear spray ought to have a base net substance of 7.9 ounces. Larger cans are far better
  • The bear spray ought to leave the can in an extending cloud and move out to no less than 30 feet.
  • The label on the cans should plainly state that the splash is for use on bears. Try not to utilize the spray as an individual protection item for individuals.
  • If you are planning on carrying bear sprays along, then read the producer’s directions intently and follow them. Rationally practice how you would utilize your bear spray.

To find out how effectively bear sprays work, see our article on this topic for more information.

Concluding Thoughts

Camping is really a nice thing to do. However, it could turn out badly when you get impromptu guests like bears. Keeping bears away from campground could require many preventive measures and which we have already discussed in the article. However, when you inevitably get stalked by the bear, confronting it might not be a better option. Bears could really be kept away if you truly know how to go about it.

For more tips on how to avoid any animal attacks, read on our previous piece by clicking on the link.

Brown Bear Near Green Plant

We believe you got a lot of information from this article. For further thought or suggestions, you can leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!


Kane Dane


  • I have met many wild animals in the woods but never a bear. An encounter with a bear can be quite exciting and I am glad I have come across this article because now I know how to handle it. The most important thing is, like with other animals, to try not to seem like a threat to it. Also, do not panic, just try to hold still and watch how it reacts. Then know what to react also, without giving into your fears.

    • Bears are known to have an acute sense of smell. Therefore, your first move towards keeping them away is to ensure that there are no food droppings within the camping area. Then keep a bear spray nearby.


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