How to Keep Bears Away From a Campsite

A bear attack when out camping is one of the most terrifying moments; a camper can experience. The thought of facing a bear is enough to make one change their mind about camping, especially in a bear country. Fortunately, there are steps you can follow to reduce the chances of bear interaction at your campsite.

What attracts bears to campsites?

Bears tend to frequent sites with food smells and campsites set up in areas with wild berries and other plants that they eat. And campsites were set up on their path. Additionally, any other human-based scent is bound to attract bears.

Bear in mind that bears like easy meals and any smell synonymous with human presence are bound to attract a bear, which is a sign that food is readily available. This means that even the smell of perfume can lead bears to your campsite.

What can you do to keep bears away from your campsite?

These are some easy steps you can use to bear-proof your campsites;

  1. Lock up and hide all your food and other items with odors to prevent the spreading of scents that can attract the bear. Use latched containers, ice chests, and bear-resistant containers to store all your food.
  2. Setup your camp as far away from bear territory as possible. This can be areas with bear foods such as wild berries or any other places frequented by bears. Their droppings, footprints, and broken branches should let you know if the area is bear territory,
  3. Hang your food at least 10 feet off the ground between trees that would be difficult for the bear to climb. Also, store all cosmetics or anything else that has an odor in a bear-proof container.
  4. Clean up your campsite once you are done eating and empty any soda cans before disposing of them. Also, ensure you store all your food away from your sleeping area. In case a bear comes to your camp, which will help keep you away from imminent danger.
  5. Also, ensure that your car (or any other mode of transport) is free of any odors that can attract the bear.
  6. Install a bear fence around our campsite to keep bears away. This will act as your first defense line by electrocuting the bear when it infringes on your camp.

What smells will keep bears away?

Ideally, any scents that irritate a bear’s nostrils will deter them from coming to your campsite. These smells include ammonia, vinegar, Lysol, Pinesol, and cayenne pepper. Soak a rag in any of the solutions listed and hang it in a place with wind currents to help the smell spread and act as a deterrent. For the cayenne pepper, you can apply it to trees, leaves, and shrubs around your campsite.

Does peeing around your campsite keep animals away?

Yes. It could. This is similar to wild animals marking their territory. Additionally, bears find the smell of ammonia deterring. So it can’t hurt to mark your campsite territory with pee. However, a desperate bear could still be willing to challenge your territory.

What to do if a grizzly bear is outside your tent

  • Do not attempt to retrieve stolen food from the bear. You should also not come between a bear and food to attack you to get to the food.
  • Do not attempt to confront the bear under any circumstance. This will cause them to feel threatened and attack.
  • Try to get out of the bear’s ways and line of sight. Retreat slowly and do not run or climb trees. Stay calm as you avoid the bear and not make any noise that may startle the bear.
  • If you are not able to run, do not panic and talk in a normal voice. If the bear approaches, you use a bear spray to try and scare it away. You can also throw sticks at it and extend your arms to appear larger.
  • Shine a bright light on the bear to try and scare it away.
  • You should also not turn away from the bear for whatever reason.

Check this too: Does Pepper Spray Work on Wolves


Now that you know what it takes to keep bears away, you should also remember that bears have a strong sense of smell, run and climb trees, and are highly intelligent. They regularly frequent areas that they have previously found human food. And they are opportunistic when it comes to free food.