Now you’ve got your bear spray, and you’ve got your bear bag. Now time to get out there and camp! Whether you’re front-country camping or hiking out to your spot in the back-country, there are precautions we can take to keep the bears at bay. Here are 9 ways you can bear proof your campsite! For a printable checklist version that you can take to your site, enter your email at the bottom of the post.
1. Learn How To Hang A Bear Proof Bag
Learn how to hang a bear bag to keep your food out of reach! Alternatively, the campsite you are heading to may have bear safe containers or bear lockers to store your food and scented items in. Make sure to check before you go!
2. Bring “Food Clothes” and “Sleeping Clothes”
As the name would suggest, cook and eat (and roast marshmallows!) in your “food” clothes. Before you go to bed, change into your sleeping clothes and put the ones you ate away. They can go into your bear locker or your bear bag. Don’t keep them in the tent with you. Bears have a great sense of smell.
3. Bring Seal-able Bags and Containers
Pack bags that can be sealed, or odour proof bags for your leftover food and your trash. Some campsites may have bear bins for safe disposal of garbage. If you are in the back-country, they may not, so seal it tightly. This also goes into your bear bag overnight.
4. Choose The Right Campsite
When selecting your campsite, check the area for signs of recent bear activity. This could be signs of digging or fresh bear prints. If you have a choice of campsites, choose one away from berry patches or other natural food sources for a bear. If you are hanging your food, the site must also have appropriate trees for bear bags. Unless you are random camping, and do not have a planned campsite, you should also call whoever runs the campground to check updated bear warnings or sightings.
5. Set Up Your Tent in the Right Spot
Your tent should be upwind of both your bear hang, and your cooking/ food disposal area. The tent should also be placed a fair distance from your food disposal area. If a bear was to smell the odours coming from the disposal area, they wouldn’t find you in your tent.
6. Hang Your Bear Bag Away From Your Food Area
Just like your tent, your bear bag should also be separate from your food area! If you hung the bag correctly, the bear shouldn’t be able to get it down, but why tempt fate? Hang it away from the alluring smells of your cooking and food disposal area!
7. Keep a Clean Campsite
Keep your site clean by packing away all your trash and food. This includes little bits that may have fallen off of your picnic table or lap! Clean your dishes immediately after eating, and pack them away. A bear isn’t interested in a squeaky clean site your mother would be proud of.
8. Food Hung in Your Bear Bag
Before you go to sleep, hang everything we’ve discussed in your bear bag, or lock it in the locker. There should be nothing with odours in your tent (sorry, no sneaky midnight Mars Bars!), and this should include toothpaste and soap. (Tip: Want to be even safer? Embrace your inner bush-hobo, and leave the soap at home.)
9. Bear Spray with You in Your Tent
Keep your bear spray in your tent with you. Even if you follow all of these precautions, we are still entering into the bear’s home. This is their domain! So keep your bear spray easily accessible when you sleep.
Do you have any other ways you can bear proof your campsite?? Comment below!
In addition, if you’d like a checklist of the ways you can bear proof your campsite, enter your email below for a copy. That way you can print it out and take it with you camping!