Many camping spots throughout the world are going to be considered bear country. Whether or not you actually run into a bear is not up to luck, but up to you. And what you do when you do find a bear is most certainly up to you. So, if you are going to do any camping in bear country, which is mostly anywhere outside, you’ll want to remember these 8 Camping Tips.
Triangle Set Up
You want to set up your campsite to keep certain activities separate. There are three main areas : Sleeping, Cooking, and Food Storage. We obviously want to keep our Food stored away from our tent, this is just good practice. But we also want to keep our cooking station separate. This ensures that any smells the bear might pick up will not lead them to where we are sleeping. A good idea is to make a triangle of these 3 points with at least a 100 yards separating them.
Keep Your Tent Food Free
This needs to be said especially. Never, ever bring food into your tent. Not even a soda, some bread, or a candy bar. No food. If you follow the rest of these tips your campsite will not smell appetizing. But the second you bring a candy bar into your tent, eat it, and leave the wrapper the bear now has one thing they’re interested in, and it’s in your tent.
Change Your Clothes
I can see it now. You make a delicious meal, clean up, store your food, and then hit the hay. Well, now you are sleeping in clothes that smell just like that delicious meal. This is going to certainly attract a bear. After cooking you must change your clothes and wash up. Keep those dirty clothes stored with the food, hopefully in a bear hang.
Speaking of Smells
You and your delicious clothes are not the only things that are going to attract a bear’s curious nose. Things like deodorants, soaps, lotions, toothpaste, and even some bug repellents are going to be very interesting to a bear. You want to keep these, and anything with a strong, alluring smell, with your food at the bear hang. When your food and gear is up and in smell-proof container you’ll keep the bear disinterested in your area.
Garbage and Fire
You can do a lot to ensure nothing is too alluring for your bear neighbors and still mess up. Two things campers often miss is their garbage and the fire. Garbage is just as good as food, to a bear, so it needs to be carried out or stored someplace where it can’t be reached. And your fire is a magnet for food scrapes, only to be burned so it can be smelled for miles and miles. Keep your garbage and your fire clean and you’ll keep those curious bears at away.
Know the Signs, Read the Signs
You have to learn how to see and read the signs that you are in a bear area. First off, if you are camping in a very popular camping spot, you are in a bear area. In these areas bears are constantly smelling food and humans together. It doesn’t take long for them to get real comfortable with people. And, no matter how much you clean, your campsite will smell like food. No matter what.
These aren’t the only signs. You want to check out tracks around trails and water sources. Look for low branches being broken on young trees. Bears are creatures of routine, when you find a spot that tends to lack bears, you’ll probably be okay.
Keep Yourself Armed
I don’t mean with a shotgun or dynamite, but having a few choice tools near you just in case a bear decides to visit can save your life. Something as simple as flashlight has shown to be effective against bears. No, you don’t throw it at the bear. Most bears don’t want to deal with people. They just want some free food and then to move on (like a recent college graduate). A bright flashlight can scare the bear and make it back off. If you need a little more protection you can invest in a bear spray.
It turns out Bears know about colors. When they see bright greens, yellows, reds, and blues while out in the forest, they get curious. Most bears understand that a bright color usually means a human. And humans mean food (you know, they bring food). But these same bears tend to have trouble with camouflage colored tents. Darker browns and greens tend to blend into the scenery. So, if you’re going to Bear country, keep the colorful tent at home.
Bear Country is all over the place. Knowing how to handle it is something all experienced campers need to know. These simple 8 tips can ensure that you keep the bears away from you and your campsite without bothering anyone. And, should one wander in, you’ll know how to handle it without getting hurt.