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Bear spray and bear deterrent

Bear spray and deterrent

If you’re planning on entering bear country it’s important to be prepared for an encounter with a bear. While the best bear deterrent is to avoid running into bears altogether (read our article to learn how to travel safer in bear country), if you happen to have an unfortunate encounter with a bear, bear spray is your best defense.

Bear spray is a deterrent made from red pepper oil that inflames the eyes and respiratory system of a bear. When choosing a bear spray, make sure it contains 1–2% capsaicin for both the bears' safety and your own. It's also essential to check the range of the spray. An ideal range is 8 meters (25 feet), which allows you to use the spray from a safe distance before the bear gets too close. Be mindful of the wind’s direction as the deterrent can blow back into your face.

When you store your bear spray at home or on the road, make sure you have a good spot in mind. Extreme temperatures could cause the bear spray to malfunction before or during use. Bear spray is best kept within immediate reach, ideally in a holster, rather than in a bag or tent.

Finally, consider how much bear spray you need. A 225g canister provides approximately 5.6 seconds of spray time, while a 325g canister lasts for 8.2 seconds.

In addition to bear spray, there are other ways to protect yourself from bears in the wild. Flare guns, bear bells, and wildlife deterrent horns are all alternatives to bear spray.

Hiking health and safety doesn’t end at bear spray – also look into emergency and survival gear for preparing for your outdoor adventure and make sure your campsite is bear-proof.