How To Bear Proof Your Campsite: Staying Safe While Camping

how to bear proof your campsite

How To Bear Proof Your Campsite

Bears are a common predator in certain regions in the United States and with their keen sense of smell; they tend to easily find campsites due to the smell of food. If you are camping in bear country, you must know how to bear-proof your campsite to ensure that you remain safe and you can enjoy camping.

Bears are great to watch, but they can be very destructive to a campsite. They tend to plunder through almost everything until they find the food they have been smelling. This can cause you severe damage and possibly even your life. However, in this article, we will look at how to bear-proof your campsite efficiently.

What Commonly Attract Bears To A Campsite

Much like all animals, bears have a keen sense of smell and this smell helps that find their food. They can sniff out food for miles and this makes them a danger even when you don’t know the bear is close by. There are a few things that attract bears to your campsite and these should be avoided whenever possible:

The Smell Of Food

This one is pretty straightforward, but bears will smell food when you are cooking and the fresh aroma of food can travel for miles out in the backcountry. If you cook too close to your camp, you might find yourself with bears and many other predators eventually staring you down for a piece of your food.


As humans, we tend to want to get rid of our garbage and no one wants to live near the trashcan. However, bears will also latch onto the smell of garbage and this could make them a danger. They will have no problem rummaging through your garbage to look for leftovers and any other forms of food.

Cosmetics And Insect Repellents

Believe it or not, but these cosmetics and insect repellents stand out like a sore thumb in nature and bears tend to get the smell of it. Over time, bears have evolved to associate certain smells with humans and this is what happens when you use cosmetics and insect repellents.

Pets And Livestock

You need to keep in mind that bears are natural predators and they often eat animals smaller than themselves. Pets might be fun to take along on your trip, but they are hard to control and this might attract a whole host of predators.

How To Bear Proof Your Campsite

Now that you have an idea of what attracts bears to your campsite, you can start putting place measures to avoid it. By taking the right steps and precautionary measures, you can avoid having to deal with bears. Here are a couple of the best ways you can use to help you bear-proof your campsite and remain as safe as possible:

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Bear Proof Your Food

Your food is the most important thing you will need to survive and you must have a bear-proof bag. The bag should be durable, which means that bears cannot penetrate and reach your foods. Keep in mind that many campsites offer bear-proof containers and lockers that will keep your food safe.

The Smell Proof Bag is one of the best options and it keeps all the odors inside. These bags can be affordable and you can use them to keep the smell of food from reaching potential bears.

Setting Up Your Tent

The next step is to do some careful research about the campsite. You must set up your tent in the right spot. Setting up your tent upwind will ensure that the smell does not travel to where the bears are frequently located. Additionally, you want to be a safe distance from the food disposal area.

If you can find some high ground that makes it harder for bears to reach, you will have the advantage to keep them at bay. Bears won’t climb if the task of reaching the food is too hard in comparison to what the reward is. It is also a good idea to look for bear activity in the area and not to camp close to any of their feeding sources.

Divide Your Clothes Into Casual And Food Clothes

This might not be a viable idea for many people, but the smell of food can often stick to your clothing. As mentioned, bears have a keen sense of smell and they tend to pick up the smallest things. It is often a good idea to change your clothes before you go to bed to avoid the smell being inside your tent or camping site.

You can use the same smell-proof bags to store your food clothes and each time you cook, you might want to consider changing into this clothing. Also, keep in mind that bears are rare and attacks are not as common as you might think.

Cleaning Your Campsite

If you like eating close to your campsite and you leave a mess, the smell of the mess can attract predators. You must try to remove any smell of food and this means keeping your campsite in the best possible condition. Alternatively, you might want to choose to cook and eat a fair distance away from your site.

Using The Toilet

We all need to use the toilet every so often and this is one of the hardest things to keep clean when you are in bear country. No one wants to walk a mile at night to use the toilet and run the risk of being attacked by snakes or any other predator. However, it is something you might have to consider doing to keep bears away.

If you are visiting a campsite, you can try to get as close to the toilets as possible before pitching your tent, but keep in mind that you still need to keep your distance. If there is no toilet close by, you might need to bury it as deep as possible when using nature as your toilet.

Bear Spray Your Camp

Bear spray is an effective way of keeping bears at bay. You might need to invest in a can for self-protection and you can also see that they have a decent reach. The bear spray is not only to keep you safe when being attacked but also to secure your campsite from bears if they do want to enter.

The bear spray should mask the scent of your food and any other factors that could indicate you have food. The SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray is one of the best products you can rely on and it also has a decent reach that will keep bears at bay.


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If you don’t want to deal with bears, your best bet will be to choose a camping site where they are not present. However, you will miss out on so many great camping experiences. Using these tips, you should do your best to keep bears at bay. However, we would love to see some of your comments on how you keep bears away when camping in bear country.


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