Of all the traditional American outdoor activities, camping might be the most common one. Whether you are camping with your friends, kids, or other loved ones, you need to know about a few basic safety rules. The most important of them all is to avoid attracting wild bears.
In the wilderness, the last thing you want is to come face to face with a large black or grizzly bear. Even if you are camping in your car, you can fall victim to bear attacks if you are not careful. To avoid such situations, you need to know the top tips for camping in bear country.
In this article, we will give you a quick rundown of a few essential safety tips to ensure you have a risk-free camping experience.
5 Tips for Car Camping in Bear Country
Camping in a bear country is not necessarily a scary thing, as long as you follow a few simple rules. Remember, there is always a slim chance of bears invading your camping location or passing by where you camped your car. However, with these few tips, you can drastically reduce the chance of that happening.
1. Stash Your Food
When you are camping in a bear country, it is necessary to stash your food away from where you sleep. For traditional ground camping, it is quite easy as you can just keep the food away from the campsite. However, for car camping, it might be a bit trickier since everything is near your car.
What you can do is once you are done eating, you can wrap up the leftovers in a plastic bag and keep it in the trunk of your car. That way, even if the bear creeps up near your car, it will focus on the trunk instead of the back or front seat where you are probably hiding.
2. Change Your Clothes
Do not wear the same clothes that you wore while eating when you are going to sleep. The clothes can capture the smell of food, and although we might not notice it with our noses, the keen smelling prowess of a bear easily picks it up. Without even knowing, you will be attracting bears to your location because of your clothing.
That is why it is a good idea to keep a fresh set of clothes with you when you are car camping in bear country. You can also wash the clothes to get rid of the smell. Even if the smell does not go away completely, you can dilute it to the extent that it does not attract bears anymore.
3. Smells are Your Enemy
With the food and clothes covered, you might be thinking you have eliminated the smell factor. However, other smelly items such as soaps, lotions, or even toothpaste can attract bears. So to be safe, treat any objects that give out a scent as a potential bear attractor.
The best way to deal with it is to wrap them up in a plastic bag and keep them in the trunk of your car. Eliminating any source of the smell is essential if you want to eliminate the possibility of bear attacks near your camp. Always treat smell as a potential hazard.
4. Lights Attract
Similar to the smell, bright lights can also attract a bear. In fact, it can attract a wide range of other animals or bugs to your campsite. If you want a truly safe camping experience, make sure you do not flash your headlight too frequently. Having a campfire is not a problem, but brighter lights may pose issues.
If you do have a campfire, make sure not to drop any food in it. Food, when burnt in the campfire, will give off aromas that can be smelt from miles by a bear. And when you go to sleep, remember to unlit the campfire.
5. Carry Weapons and Bear Sprays
Lastly, but definitely not least, do not go camping unarmed in a bear country. If you do not have a weapon, a bear spray works just as well. However, aiming with a bear spray might take a few tries. So make sure you try it out before so that you can use it properly if you ever need to.
Weapons serve as a last measure if you have to fight the bear. You can try scaring it off, but if you come face to face with a black bear, chances are, your only option is fighting. In that situation, you will be thankful to have your gun by your side.
Car camping is a fun little spin on traditional camping and often requires fewer resources and offers a more intimate experience. With our handy list of tips for car camping in bear country, you will not have to worry about a bear ruining your experience. Truck bed camping is also safe in bear country.