What To Do In A-Tent When A Bear Is Eating Your Food Outside

What Should You Do if a Bear Comes to Your Tent: A Complete Checklist

It is important not to worry if a bear approaches your tent. Hundreds of campers, hikers, and hunters get near to bears every year, yet bear attacks on people are extremely rare among both black bears and North American grizzlies. If a bear approaches your tent, you can scare it away from your campground by making loud, startling noises and making huge body motions, since most bears become frightened when they come into touch with humans. A bear can be deterred or stopped using bear spray or a pistol if it persists in its behavior.

The chances are that if a bear comes across a campsite, it is either passing through or has been drawn in by the fragrance of food in the campground.

Continue reading to learn more about what to do if a bear decides to visit your tent.

What to Do When A Bear Approaches the Tent

The manner in which you deal with a bear that comes to your tent is very dependent on the conditions. A person laying in their tent at night who hears the unmistakable snuffling and grunting of a bear rummaging around the camp outside their tent is in a much different position to protect themselves than someone who is sitting in their camp during the day when a bear walks up to them. When a bear wanders into your campsite, there are a few options on how to react:

  • First and foremost, be silent. When a bear becomes aware that humans are in the vicinity, it will frequently flee. Many wild animals are terrified of people, and their hunger for a free meal outweighs their dread of humans. If you hear a bear approaching your tent in the middle of the night, being silent can help you determine whether or not it is a bear. It’s best to remain motionless and observe a bear approaching your tent if you want it to pass through gently. This is the most advantageous choice. Try not to be scared, because animals can detect fear. Then speak loudly and clearly. If a bear approaches your tent or campsite and refuses to go, the first thing to remember is that the sound of a human voice is the most effective deterrent for bears. If a bear approaches you in camp, start swinging your arms and yelling without moving closer to the animal to scare it away. If a bear approaches your tent, start shouting or blowing an air horn to surprise it
  • Get your bear spray or rifle ready in case it attacks you. Both bear spray and pepper spray should be avoided until an aggressive bear attempts to rip your tent open while you are inside. If you use bear spray inside a tent, you will be spraying yourself as well as the animal. When using a firearm, keep in mind that, unless you’re carrying a heavy weapon, a glancing wound from a lesser weapon is just as likely to enrage a bear as it is to drive it away
  • Instead of confronting the bear, simply stand your ground and wait. If a bear approaches your tent, it may not be in an aggressive attitude, but if you fight it and put it on the defensive, it is unlikely that you will win the battle. On the other hand, do not flee from a bear unless absolutely necessary. As is common with many big predators, this might elicit a prey drive or the need to hunt after prey. Don’t try to escape. It doesn’t matter whether kind of bear you are up against
  • Bears can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. When running at maximum speed, the average human can only achieve speeds of 10-15 miles per hour. That implies that if a bear pursues you, it will eventually catch up with you. Running merely serves to arouse a bear’s predatory instincts, causing it to perceive you as food. Recognize when it is necessary to fight back. If a bear refuses to move away from your tent or continues to come towards you at your campground, use bear spray or a pistol to react against it. The majority of bears will flee fast if you spray them in the face with bear spray. In the event that you have a gun, you should attempt firing a warning shot first before engaging the animal. In most cases, this is sufficient to drive away all but the most predatory of bears.

When attempting to keep a bear away from your tent, it’s best to be as cautious as possible in your efforts to do so. Generally speaking, bears will not assault a person directly if they are raiding a campground for food that has not been properly stored, but if they attempt to rip apart a tent in search of additional food and find sleeping humans instead, they may get hostile. if a bear does physically attack you in or near your tent, or if the tent is attacked itself, it is critical that you fight back as loudly and furiously as you possibly can with anything you have at your disposal—a rifle, a rock, a flashlight, or camping utensils—to protect yourself and others.

Never forget that a bear who has gained the confidence to rip open your tent is just interested in you as a source of nutrition.

If you’re camping in bear territory, it’s critical that you understand the proper method to set up camp in order to prevent curious, hungry bears, as well as how to drive a bear away from your campsite if you happen to stumble across one in the woods.

Different Kinds of Bears and Their Behavior

The distinction between the two principal varieties of bear that people in North America are likely to encounter when camping is critical when deciding how to deal with a bear who has approached your campsite. These are the black bear and the grizzly bear. Polar bears are also found in North America, however the majority of known polar bear assaults have taken place in or near urban settings. In addition, there are fewer assaults on humans since polar bears cohabitate with fewer people than other species of bears do.

Under normal conditions, black bears are extremely cautious of humans, to the extent that you are unlikely to notice one even if you pass close by it.

However, grizzly bears are less shy than black bears, and they are less fearful of humans, and they are more likely to attack a human in self-defense than black bears (or just because they came across them in the wild).

As the most deadly and violent bears on the planet, polar bears commit more fatal attacks on humans than any other species of bear in North America. They are also the only bear species that has been known to attack humans in the heart of a city during broad daylight.

How to Prevent a Bear from Investigating Your Tent

Hunters and fishermen have a significantly higher chance of seeing bears than typical campers, owing to the fact that they are frequently accompanied by the scent of recent carcasses, which attracts bears. However, there are a number of ways in which humans might unintentionally attract bears to their campsites, putting them at undue danger of bear attack. Here are some suggestions on how you might modify your camping techniques to prevent encounters with bears:

  • Food and other aromatic products should be kept out of reach of children. This includes not just fragrant foods such as meat and cheese, but also dry products, pet food, cooking oils, canned sodas, cosmetics, and anything else that has a strong and novel fragrance that can draw an inquisitive bear to investigate
  • This includes: Keep sleeping tents as far away from the cookfire as possible. For safety reasons, you should leave at least a hundred feet between any area where you keep or cook food at the camp and the tents where you sleep, just in case a bear comes knocking. When a bear comes to the house throughout the night, many people are only alerted when they see tracks around their campfire the next morning. Never eat in your tent or store food in it
  • Never sleep in the clothing you cooked in
  • And never cook in your tent. A camper’s cache or airtight containers in a vehicle should always be used to store food, which should be suspended ten to fifteen feet above the ground. When you’re in bear country, food should never be brought inside the sleeping area
  • This is a no-brainer. Bear indications should be avoided at all costs. This includes any new corpses or kills, patches of berries, riverfront places where salmon are running, bear scat or bear tracks, and any other evidence of a bear’s presence. If a bear has left a half corpse, it is probable that the bear will return to the area to finish it off later. Always carry a flashlight and bear spray (or a firearm) in your tent in case of emergency. It will only take a few seconds to gather these goods if you are awakened by a bear while sleeping in your tent in the middle of the night
  • It will be far more difficult if you are awakened in the middle of the night by a bear. Avoid meals that have a strong fragrance and are greasy, such as bacon, seafood, and sausage. It is possible that the fragrance of these meals may go a long distance and will attract adjacent bears that are passing by, particularly younger bears who are less experienced at foraging on their own. When you pack up your camp, never leave abandoned food or rubbish at the campsite. It is illegal. Foraging bears that get habituated to campsites are more prone to attack campers and are more likely to be shot preemptively as a result of this behavior. Avoid encouraging bears to participate in conduct that might result in their being shot. Bears should never be fed. While feeding a young black bear that has wandered into your camp might seem like the perfect opportunity to take the perfect Instagram selfie, bears that become accustomed to begging and stealing from people will inevitably end up being shot in order to prevent them from becoming more aggressive and attacking humans outright. Please do the bears a favor and keep your food out of their reach. Never, ever go too close to a baby bear. Ever. It should almost go without saying, but if you’re trekking on a route and stumble upon a young bear cub, you can practically guarantee that an enraged grizzly mother is not far after. Reverse course and head in the other direction as rapidly as you can without breaking stride

In bear territory, if you exercise some common sense when planning for your camping trip and avoid approaching bears in the wild, the chances of being attacked by a bear are slim to none.

Methods and Tools for Repelling Bears

In order to avoid being attacked by a bear and the need to use fatal force against one, you should have a number of items on hand to employ in case of emergency. Before attempting to use a firearm to deter a predatory or curious bear, consider using any of the following equipment:

  • Air horns: The loud blast from an air horn will surprise most bears and other violent creatures, causing them to flee the area. Also advantageous is the fact that campers may utilize an air horn in the event that they become separated from their group, making it a valuable dual-purpose item for the camp. A warning signal can also be issued when boating activities are being carried out. Hikers use bear bells to produce noise on the trail to alert bears of their presence. Bear assaults on hikers are most common when the hiker startles a bear on the route, but the use of a bear bell provides bears plenty of time to flee before a person can get near to them. If you have a bear in your campground, bear repellent spray, like mace or pepper spray, is an important last-ditch effort to drive the bear away from your campsite or tent before using fatal action. When it comes to bear deterrents, bear spray is one of the few options that has been shown to be effective against polar bears. In the event that you are camping in bear territory, a strobingpredator control light can assist you in keeping animals away from your campsite. The disadvantage is that a strobe light may make it difficult for campers to sleep through the night. A gun: No matter what sort of gun is used for bear protection, it is critical to utilize ammunition that has been tested and proven to be effective in stopping a bear. After shooting a bear, if the bear does not flee or tumble to the ground, you are in serious peril. (This is something I would advise.) When used in a revolver, 44 Magnum or bigger is recommended, 10MM in a semi-auto pistol is recommended, 12 gauge slugs or 00 buckshot is recommended in a shotgun, and a rifle should be able to fire.308 Win/.30-06/.270 Win/.300 Win Mag.

The odds are that you will never have to use any of your bear-repelling gear if you take steps when setting up your camp to prevent attracting bears through scent. However, in the event that a bear does appear, it is always a good idea to be prepared with the necessary tools.

Is It Dangerous to Camp in Bear Country?

Bear assaults are extremely deadly, and many individuals who are attacked by bears die as a result of the attack. Although bear attacks (of any species) are incredibly rare, the reality is that bear assaults are extremely infrequent. In the last several decades, just a handful of bear-related fatalities have been documented, and the North American black bear is responsible for only around one human death per year in the United States. Since 1900, just 67 humans have been murdered by black bears, according to official records.

The vast majority of humans who are attacked or killed by bears do so in distant places where bears are not frequently exposed to human contact, such as wilderness areas.

These bears are scavengers that have learnt to take advantage of human campers by stealing their food.

In some of the following instances, defensive attacks are launched against the attacker:

  • A camper comes upon a mother bear and her cubs while hiking in the woods. A hiker unintentionally comes face to face with a bear while on the same game trail
  • A camper, hiker, or hunter disrupts a bear’s meal while it is in the process of eating

Young bears, bears that have been fed by humans, and wounded or old bears that are having difficulty obtaining regular foraging opportunities are the kind of bears who are more inclined to invade human campgrounds. In many cases, bear managers in wildlife preserves may use compassionate euthanasia to put these bears down since, once a bear has learned to scavenge campgrounds for cheap food, it becomes increasingly unsafe to allow it to stay in close proximity to humans.

Overall, predatory bear attacks (or assaults in which a person is targeted as a source of food) are extremely rare among all three of North America’s major bear species, with the exception of the black bear. Camping in bear territory is no more risky than camping everywhere else in the world.


As long as you stay away from bears in the wild and avoid placing them in a position where they could consider the campsite an enticing place to be, you are unlikely to come face to face with a bear unless you are looking through a pair of binoculars. When given the opportunity, most bears would go out of their way to avoid humans, which is why bear deterrents such as predator control lights and bear bells are so effective. In fact, bear country is some of the most beautiful camping in the world, and if you take the appropriate precautions to set up your tent and campground, you should never have to worry about a bear nosing about your tent.

How Do You Bear Proof A Tent?

Bears are one of the most common fears that individuals have when it comes to camping in a tent or spending time outdoors. Despite the fact that bears aren’t nearly as dangerous as they are portrayed to be, bear-proofing your tent and campsite is crucial if you want to prevent having an unpleasant experience on your next outdoor expedition. If you want to bear-proof your tent, you’ll want to set up your campsite such that your cooking area and tent are at least 200 feet apart from one another.

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Make use of a bear canister or bear hung instead, and keep your campsite nice and tidy at all times to keep bears away.

Following that, we’ll go over everything you need to know about bear proofing a tent, as well as some helpful hints for reducing the likelihood that a bear may decide to roam through your campground.

How Rare Are Bear Attacks?

Attacks by bears are extremely, extremely rare. In the United States and Canada between 1900 and 2009, an estimated 63 individuals were murdered by black bears, according to a 2011 research. Grizzly bear assaults on humans occurred in North America between 2000 and 2015, according to a research published in Nature this year. The great majority of attacks occurred in Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon, according to the findings of the study. Unquestionably, every bear attack or fatality is a terrible and tragic occurrence, but when you consider the vast amount of people who spend their time outside, the odds of being attacked or killed by a bear are incomprehensibly minimal.

In most black and brown bear assaults, the bear is hungry and wants a bite of whatever you’re eating for dinner, or the humans involved have somehow (usually unwittingly) gotten in between a female bear and her cubs, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

While there have been some predatory assaults (for example, when a bear follows humans in search of food), bear researcher John Beecham says that they are extremely rare and that they are the exception rather than the norm in bear behavior.

Will Bears Bother You In A Tent?

On the whole, bears are uncomfortable being around you, just as much as you are uncomfortable being around them. In addition, because the vast majority of black and brown bears are primarily interested in food, they will only approach humans in tents if they smell anything good inside. Consequently, bears are less likely to walk into your tent area if you do not store food and other “scented” objects, such as toiletries, in your tent. When it comes to bears, avoiding an encounter is essential.

If you adhere to bear safety practices, such as putting your food in a bear canister or a bear hang (more on that later), you can avoid bears interfering with your camping experience by sleeping in a tent at night.

Will A Tent Protect Me At All From A Bear?

It’s doubtful that your tent will keep you safe from a determined bear unless you chance to buy a tent that is reinforced with steel bars. Unless they’re constructed of heavy duty nylon or polyester, most tents are composed of flimsy nylon or polyester fabric that bears may easily cut through if they’re on the search for food. Having said that, this should not be a cause for concern or a reason for you to forego going camping. As previously said, bear attacks are quite rare, and following correct bear safety measures when camping in recognized bear habitat will do far more to protect you from a bad bear encounter than the majority of people believe.

Steps To Take For Preventing Bears From Being Interested In Your Tent

When it comes to bear-proofing a tent, the most important thing to remember is to prevent bears from becoming interested in your tent in the first place. It all boils down to correctly setting up your camp and keeping your food so that bears do not have access to it at night. Here’s all you need to know about the situation.

How To Set Up Camp In Bear Country

When hiking through bear territory, one of the most essential things you can do is make sure your camp is properly set up before you leave. If you were camping in a frontcountry campsite at a recognized campground, it’s likely that you erected your tent very near to your kitchen. You should, however, pitch your tent at least 200ft (60m) away from your kitchen and water if you are in recognized bear territory. This is around 70 adult paces away from your kitchen and water. Finding a suitable tent site that is at least 70 meters away from the nearest water source is an excellent approach to start your camping adventure (this is normally a requirement on most public lands).

Due to the fact that preparing food creates a lot of food-based odors, keeping everything contained to a single location that is separate from where we want to sleep for the night might reduce the likelihood that a bear would walk over to where we are sleeping.

In any case, we hope that the bears keep far away from our campground, but if they do come, we’d prefer that they walk around our kitchen, step on our stove, and take in the scenery rather than come banging on our tent door at night.

How To Store Food To Keep Bears Away From Your Tent

Proper food storage is the second factor of bear avoidance when camping that must be considered. Because bears are mostly just interested in food, they are frequently drawn to campsites in search of a small morsel of whatever you had for supper that night. We don’t want bears to eat human food for two reasons: first, it is harmful to their health.

  1. Human food is not a typical component of a bear’s diet and does not supply the necessary nourishment for them to thrive
  2. Bears that consume human food rapidly develop accustomed to human presence and behavior. This greatly increases the likelihood that they may begin to loiter around popular campgrounds or towns, or that they will attack someone. Whenever this occurs, the bear is nearly often put down, which is not a pleasant experience for anybody concerned.

As a result, understanding how to properly store your food will not only keep bears away from your tent, but it will also assist to guarantee that the bear population in our favorite camping places remains healthy and vigorous.

Food Storage Options For Camping In Bear Country

When you’re camping in bear territory, you have a few alternatives for food storage that you might consider. It is crucial to remember, however, that certain public areas have quite severe rules for the containers in which you may and cannot keep your food. These include some of the most popular national, state, and provincial parks and forests in the United States and Canada, as well as some of the most remote areas in the world. The obligation of the camper is to be knowledgeable about the regulations for wherever he or she is going to be.

The following are the four basic methods of storing food in bear country, which vary based on your geographic area.

Bear Canister

A bear canister is a container with a hard outside that has been constructed to prevent a bear from gaining access to the food within. The majority of them are composed of hard-sided plastic with specific lids that bears are unable to open. Despite the fact that bears may and do attempt to open these canisters in order to obtain the food contained therein, when utilized properly, they are exceedingly unlikely to be successful. What’s the drawback of using bear cans? They’re large and cumbersome.

Bear Hang/PCT Method

Some property managers will require you to use a “bear hang” in locations where a bear canister is not necessary, but bears are still present. This is done to prevent hungry bears from taking your food. When it comes to lightweight backpacking options, bear hangs are a favorite since they are simple to set up and require nothing more than a piece of rope with two or three carabiners, and a bag to store your food. Unfortunately, if you’re camping above treeline, they won’t be very effective, and they won’t do anything to deter rats from stealing your munchies at night.

Bear-Proof Cooler

Bear-proof coolers are a relatively new concept in the camping industry, but they’re quickly gaining popularity at established campgrounds. Most firms that offer “bear-proof coolers,” such asGrizzly Coolers, have their goods approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), which puts the coolers through their paces on real bears. Having said that, these coolers are not permitted at all campgrounds, so double-check the rules and restrictions at your destination before purchasing one for your next camping trip.

Additionally, according to the IGBC, these coolers must be secured with a padlock in order to prevent bears from gaining access to the food contained therein.

Bear Lockers

Some campgrounds in national parks and national forests will have specially constructed steel “bear lockers” for storing food, which will be available for use by bears. A general guideline is that if there is a bear locker available at your campground, you must use it if there is one. Because these bear lockers are extremely effective at preventing bears from gaining access to human food, several property managers demand their usage on their properties. It is normally not permitted to store food in a car at campgrounds where a bear locker is provided; thus, make sure that all of your food will fit inside the bear locker when you leave for the night.

Can Bears Smell Through Ziploc Bags?

Ziploc bags do not have a strong fragrance, and a bear can readily detect anything you’re storing inside of them. LOKSAKIs a good option if you want to keep your food in an odor-proof bag within a bear-proof hanger or canister, locker or cooler. While camping in bear territory, these odor-proof and reusable storage bags can help keep food odors at bay, providing you with more peace of mind.

What To Do If You Hear A Bear Outside Your Tent

If, despite your best attempts, a bear manages to stroll into your campground, the first thing you should do is shout in a loud, strong voice to scare it away from your campsite. Because bears are normally terrified of humans, they will be surprised and flee if they see you. Although it is extremely unlikely, if a bear begins to attack you while you are sleeping in your tent, the National Park Service suggests that you defend yourself. Because these bears frequently perceive humans as prey, more protective techniques, such as pretending to be dead, are unlikely to be effective.

Should You Keep Bear Spray In Your Tent?

If you know how to use bear spray and have it readily available when you need it, it may be a very effective tool in repelling an angry bear. Because bear spray may be quite effective in a bear assault, you’ll want to have it close at all times during the night. To be on the safe side, it’s advisable to keep your bear spray in the vestibule of your tent rather than directly next to your sleeping bag. This is because it is conceivable, though not likely, that you will accidently remove the safety tab from the bear spray while you are tossing and turning in your bed at night.

  1. This will ensure that you are well prepared should things go wrong.
  2. The National Park Service suggests that you rinse out your eyes and skin with cold water for 15-20 minutes after the bear has left to decrease the stinging effects of pepper spray in these cases.
  3. So, before you embark on your next journey, make sure you are familiar with the local legislation.
  4. Even when I’m camping in bear territory, I always set up my campground so that my cooking and tent areas can be kept apart from one another.
  5. The same caution should be exercised by anybody planning to camp in recognized bear habitat.

Following that, in terms of wildlife safety, is: Is it safe to sleep in a roof top tent when there are bears around? Is it possible to see grizzly bears along the Pacific Crest Trail? Best Bear Spray: Proven and Effective Top 5 Options What Should You Do If You Come Across a Cougar While Hiking?

Storing Food – Bears (U.S. National Park Service)

It is essential to have adequate food storage in order to prevent scenarios like this one that occurred in Yellowstone National Park in 1964. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service The way you store your food and dispose of your rubbish can make the difference between life and death for a bear. Bears are fast to learn and will return to regions where they have found food in the past. While this may be hazardous for humans, it is also potentially detrimental to bears and other wildlife. What is it about human food that makes it bad for bears?

  1. These bears may eventually begin approaching people in quest of food if left unchecked.
  2. Bears on the prowl for human food and rubbish can cause significant damage to property and injury to people.
  3. A number of studies have also revealed that bears that have lost their fear of humans have a shorter life expectancy than bears that rely on natural foods and are still fearful of humans.
  4. It is possible that these bears will be euthanized to protect humans, that they will be struck by a car, or that they will become an easy prey for poachers.
  5. What Is Considered “Food” in This Country?
  6. All of these elements must be correctly stored in order to function effectively.
  7. A food locker or bear-resistant food containers (“bear canisters”) are required in certain parks, while others allow visitors to hang food from a tree in a food bag in the rest of them.
  8. Visitors, property, and bears may be endangered if those regulations are not followed.

You may learn some popular food storage methods that can help you have a more pleasurable vacation to your national park if you continue reading below. Picnic areas and campgrounds are examples of where this is true.

  • Make sure that your meal is always within arm’s reach and that you never turn your back on it. It is permitted to store food inside your car in some parks so long as it is out of sight, with the windows entirely closed, and only during daytime hours
  • However, food should never be kept in a pickup truck bed or tied to the outside of a vehicle. In some parks, you must remove all food from your vehicle and put it in lockers before entering. Remember to clean up your car of food wrappers, crumbs in the infant seats, baby wipes, and even canned food and beverages before driving. When you arrive at your campground, make sure to secure your food, rubbish, and other fragrant objects right away. Keep food out of your tent or backpack at all times. Do not attempt to burn surplus food, tea bags, or coffee grinds in a fire
  • Instead, wash the dishes soon once they are filthy. Burning organic stuff entirely necessitates the use of an extremely hot fire, much hotter than the average campfire. Partially burnt materials will continue to attract wildlife to camp sites.

In hotel rooms and cabins, for example

  • Keep all food items contained within your room. If you are not in the room, make sure that all of the windows and doors are closed. Bears can readily get access to a cabin through an open door or window
  • However, this is not always the case.

While on a backpacking trip

  • Before bringing food into the wilderness, make sure you check with the park. Some parks permit or mandate the use of portable containers meant for hikers
  • Others supply food lockers
  • And yet others provide neither. Make choices from foods that are compact, compressible, high in calories, and free of strong scents, such as rice, tortillas, jerky, pastas, nuts, dried fruits, peanut butter, and protein bars. Remove the food from its original packaging. In this way, you can fit more food into your canisters while also reducing waste. Instead of bottles, jars, and cans, resealable bags should be used. Remove air from bags or parcels by pressing on them. Food and waste should be transported in plastic bags to prevent crumbs and oil from accumulating in your backpack and causing aromas. Bear-resistant containers are only effective if they are properly closed and secured. It is important to remember to keep the container closed and locked even while you are not at your campground.
  • Containers should be placed on flat, level land at least 100 feet away from your campground. Containers should not be placed near cliffs or any water source since a bear may knock the container around or roll it down a hill while attempting to open the container. Attaching anything to containers is strictly prohibited. Ropes tied to containers make it possible for a bear to carry the container away
  • Pots and pans should be placed on top of containers to serve as a bear alert. Learn how to load your container in the most effective manner.
  • Food waste should not be disposed of in the woods. Remove all uneaten food and food particles from the house. Treat food wrappers and other rubbish in the same way that you would treat food.
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Food Storage and Handling for Campers and Backpackers

There have been 289 reviews with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Regardless matter where you camp, animals of all types can get into your food. In order to get to the crumbs or goods left inside a tent or bag, mice and other rodents, as well as bears, will nibble their way right through. It is our obligation as campers to ensure that wild animals do not have access to any human food sources. Because of this, they lose access to their natural food and become reliant on humans, posing a hazard to public safety.

Backpacking in Bear Country has extra information on bear safety, which you can find here.

Take care to follow the instructions below if you want to spend your time on the path rather than in the restroom.

Video: Backpacking Food Storage

Animals are attracted to human food (and other scented goods such as toiletries) and must be kept away from it. The same procedures apply in a campground and a wilderness camping. Here are a few general pointers:

  • Never store food, garbage, or other smelly things inside your tent
  • Instead, store them outside. Never leave your food unattended while you’re working. When it comes to snatching food in broad daylight, jays, squirrels, and chipmunks are among the most adept
  • Other creatures come scavenging at night.

Food Storage in a Campground

  • During the day, keep all of your food safely stored in your cooler or car, even if you’re just sitting nearby or taking a quick trip to the outhouse, and especially if you’re off on a hiking expedition
  • Place any loose food, as well as a cooler if you have one, inside a metal bear box, if you have one, before retiring for the night. In certain regions, storing food inside a car is also a possibility, but you should check with local land managers first because some areas (particularly those where bears have gotten expert at getting into vehicles) strictly ban the practice. Raccoons and bears are skilled at opening coolers that have been left out in the open. Some cooler makers say that some types are bear-proof, yet it is possible that padlocks will be necessary in some cases. If bears are a known issue at the campsite, you can also use a bear canister or hang a bag of food from a high tree limb as a last option
  • However, this is not recommended.

Food Storage in the Backcountry

Following the restrictions and suggestions for food storage in a national park or national forest’s bear-inhabited wilderness (such as the Appalachian Path or Pacific Crest Trail), or on a national scenic trail such as the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, is extremely important. Depending on where you’re traveling and whether or not there are specific rules in place, you can select between three options:

  • Using a metal food locker that has been provided
  • Using a bear canister or bear bag to protect yourself against bears
  • Putting your meal on a tree or a pole to keep it fresh

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of the numerous bear-proof food storage systems used in the backcountry:

Metal Food Lockers

A huge metal bear-proof box is provided at certain campgrounds and backcountry campsites where you may store food, garbage, and toiletries to keep them safe from bears. These are occasionally shared, so there is no assurance that there will be enough space for your belongings. It’s also crucial to make sure the lock is securely secured so that bears can’t get in. It’s a safe bet that they will do otherwise.

Bear Canisters

Each of these cylinders is made of strong plastic with a cover that people can screw on and off (some require a coin or screwdriver to lock and unlock). Designed to fit into most backpacks, they come in a variety of sizes, making them ideal for lone travelers who want a more compact bag to carry about. If you’re hiking in a region where canisters are necessary, make sure to bring one along with you as well. The ranger may give you a large fine if you are stopped on the path and do not have an identification card.

On busy summer weekends, though, they may run out of canisters before you arrive, so prepare ahead of time with a backup plan in mind. It is also possible that canisters will be necessary in order to keep raccoons from getting into your food and rubbish. Pros:

  • Bears have been known to open canisters on rare occasions. Instead of hanging them, you may just leave them on the ground to dry. When the lid is closed, they form an excellent camp seat. Some are transparent, allowing you to see whether or not you remembered to put that chocolate bar in there
  • Others are opaque, allowing you to see whether or not you remembered to put that chocolate bar in there. Many bears have learnt that canisters are not worth their time and will likely leave your camp if they notice you have one
  • But, if they find you don’t have one, they may stay.

Using a bear canister: Here’s some advice:

  • Reflective tape should be applied to your canister. In this way, if you hear something strange in the middle of the night, you can more readily determine what is going on

Bear Bags

Bear bags are a wonderful alternative if a bear canister is not strictly required but you still want to keep your food protected from bears. These are composed of a high-density polyethylene material that a bear will not be able to break apart easily. An metal liner, which fits inside the smaller size and prevents a bear from crushing or puncturing the contents, is offered as an optional accessory. Separately available odor-proof plastic bags (which are also waterproof, unlike the bear bag itself) can be used to store food and waste before placing them in the bear bag to increase bear deterrent even further.


  • Some national parks do not recognize bear bags as a bear-proof food storage option because they are considered to be unsanitary. Even if a bear is unable to get into the bag (because of the absence of an aluminum lining), it may destroy it or even carry it away.

Tips for utilizing bear bags include the following:

  • Make certain that the drawstring is tight and that the knot is tied precisely the way the manufacturer directs you to. As an alternative to leaving these bags on the ground as you would a canister, you can consider tying the bag to a tree branch or hanging it from a bear pole (as seen below). Bear bags are often made of plain white material. You may distinguish yours from others’ by writing your name or drawing a design on the surface using a permanent marker. In the event that you are unsure whether to use a canister or a bag, pack a canister for your most critical food and a bear bag for your waste and less vital goods.

Hanging Your Food

The following are the most common techniques of hanging food:

  • Suspend your food from a high, solid tree limb
  • In some wilderness campgrounds, bear poles are available, which are a significant improvement over tree branches in terms of safety. A long metal pole with numerous hooks at the top of the system will allow you to hang your food bag or perhaps your complete backpack from it. Alternatively, you may discover a high horizontal metal cable stretched between two poles, which is normally simpler to hang your food bag from
  • Or you may locate a long metal lifter pole for lifting your food bag up onto one of the hooks.
  • It is not necessary to purchase specific equipment. All you’ll need is some rope and a strong bag to get started.
  • If you’re camping beyond treeline or in desert areas with sparse vegetation, hanging from a branch isn’t even an option
  • Instead, you’ll need to find another way to stay safe. Hanging food from a tree can be a tough and time-consuming task to do. Try to put a food bag with an ungainly pole onto a hook atop a tall pole, and you’ll find yourself exerting some effort. Numerous bears have mastered the art of pulling on ropes in order to gain access to the bag.

Tips for hanging food from a tree or wire include the following:

  • Tying the rope and weight together (a hand-size boulder or filling your tent stake bag with local rocks) and tossing it over the tree limb or cable is a good idea. It can take several attempts to get it over
  • Upon reaching the other side and returning to the ground, untie the rock or tent-stake bag and fasten your food bag
  • To keep a standing bear from getting to your bag, hoist it up to 10 to 15 feet in the air and out four feet from the tree trunk or pole. Secure the other end of the rope to a tree trunk or pole to keep it from slipping

Food Handling Basics

When you’re camping, the last thing you want to do is waste time running to and from the latrine. While camping, there are three typical ways in which you might become ill as a result of poor hygiene and food preparation:

  • Fecal-oral transmission is the spread of microorganisms from the toilet to your hands and mouth after using the toilet. Eating food that has gone bad from a cooler
  • Handling raw meat in an inefficient manner

How to prevent the spread of fecal-oral germs:

  • While away from camp and away from a freshwater source, fully wash your hands with soap and warm water after going to the restroom. hand-drying with a towel that is not intended for dishwashing If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes instead. Before you begin making a meal, wash or sterilize your hands once again. If you intend to share a bag of trail mix with others, shake the food out of the bag into their hand before passing it on. Allowing unclean hands to reach inside a bag of food is not recommended.

If you’re vehicle camping, it’s likely that you’ll have a cooler with you. Here’s how to keep it from going bad. Maintain the temperature of perishable items such as meat (particularly raw), cheese, eggs, and milk at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower in order to prevent them from spoiling in the refrigerator.

  • Put ice or ice blocks in the cooler and let it sit for an hour before you put any food in it. Fill big polycarbonate water bottles halfway with water, juice, or milk and place them in the freezer for a few hours (leave room at the top of the bottle for expansion). These will keep your cooler colder for a longer period of time than quickly melting ice cubes, and you may sip the beverage after you no longer require the ice. If you’re preparing raw meat, double-bag it to prevent it from leaking onto other items
  • Freeze everything you’ll be eating after the first day ahead of time. Place the food that you will consume first at the top of the pile. Place frozen raw meat near the bottom of the cooler, where it will be the coolest
  • Check the temperature of the cooler using a thermometer to see how cold it is remaining

How to manage raw meat in camp: It’s a good idea to chop up your raw meat at home into bite-size pieces and store it in a zip-top bag before you go for camp. As a result, you’ll have less laundry to do when camping. Here are some extra pointers:

  • Handling raw meat should be approached with the same caution as you would at home. After you have cut raw meat in camp, place the meat pieces into your cookware and immediately wash the cutting board, knife, and your hands with soap and hot (if possible) water before touching anything else
  • After you have cut raw meat in camp, place the meat pieces into your cookware and immediately wash the cutting board, knife, and your hands with soap and hot (if possible) water before touching anything else
  • Never chop vegetables or cheese on a surface that has been exposed to raw meat residue. Any plastic wrap from raw meat should be double-bagged and placed in your cooler or garbage bag until you return home
  • Otherwise, it should be disposed of in a campsite trash container supplied by the campground staff.

More information on proper food handling

  • Keep scents at a distance: Cooking meals and washing dishes (as well as your hands) should be done far away from your tent to avoid attracting animals to the area where you sleep. Only a little amount of liquid unscented soap should be used. Food leftovers should be strained out of your dishwater and disposed of properly in your garbage can. If at all feasible, disperse rinse water over a rocky region that is far away from your campground

Related Articles

  • Backpacking Food: Meal Preparation Tips
  • Bear Canister Fundamentals
  • How to Treat Water in the Backcountry
  • And more.

6 Ways to Keep Bears Away from Camp

When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. In my first year as a river guide in the Pacific Northwest, one of my responsibilities was to lie beneath our food trailer and scare away the bears that would sneak up on us at night. I became rather proficient at it. Over the course of the following 10 years of guiding, I also learned to be adept at keeping all manner of other animals away from our valuable food—a skill that is beneficial to both customers and animals, as you don’t want them to become addicted to human food.

Know Which Animals You’ll Encounter and Plan Accordingly

While camping in the Mojave, it’s doubtful that you’ll come across any bears or marmots, but you could have to contend with a few mice. Call the local Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management station and inquire about the animals that reside in the area where you’ll be camping to find out what they are.

It’s true that you could get on the internet and conduct some study (and a fast Google search generally yields a plethora of valuable advice), but nothing can beat first-hand expertise from those who deal with these pests on a daily basis.

Tie Up Your Food

This is the quickest and most effective method of keeping most big predators away from your meal. You’ll also need parachute string (I buy around 50 feet at the local army surplus store) and a bag to keep your food organized. ThisSea to Summitdrybag is one of my favorites since it’s just the right size and will keep my food dry if it rains. When choosing my tree, I seek for one with a robust limb that is around 20 feet in height (more on that number below). I then stuff the bag with all of my food and toiletries (which are also attractive to animals), and tie the P-cord to the top of the bag to keep it closed.

I carry the bag to a height of around 15 feet above the ground and tie the loose end to the trunk.

Bring a Bear Canister When Backpacking

Several national parks, including Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone, require you to pack a bear canister while visiting specific backcountry regions. These parks include Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. (Always double-check the criteria before you travel.) These canisters are small, hard-sided food lockers that can be carried in your backpack and are very impossible to open by bears—at least for the majority of the time. In addition to being positioned several hundred feet away from your camp, it is sometimes recommended that they be painted in vibrant colors.

See also:  How Much Does It Cost To Tent A House Ca

The main disadvantage is that bear canisters are rather hefty.

Consider these bags, which are constructed of bulletproof Spectra fabric and weigh only eight ounces while being rated to keep bears out.

Buy a Bear-Proof Cooler for Car Camping

To avoid being attacked by bears while vehicle camping or rafting in bear area, consider using a bear-proof cooler such as theYeti Tundra 45or thePelican 45 Eliteinstead of a bear canister. Furthermore, hard-sided Yetis have undergone testing and have been rated grizzly resistant by the United States Forest Service and the United States Department of Agriculture, making them acceptable in national parks where bear-proof gear is necessary. Bears are intelligent enough to recognize coolers on sight, so if at all possible, conceal your cooler behind a tarp.

Once the dumpsters were covered, the problem was no longer an issue.

Also Bring Bear Spray

Bear spray, according to scientific study, is the most effective method of preventing hell-bent bears from crashing into your campground, devouring your food, and perhaps assaulting you and your camp mates. Two professors, one from Brigham Young University and the other from the University of Calgary, conducted a study of hundreds of bear assaults in Alaska and discovered that bear repellent worked 93 percent of the time to deter bears.

While just 2 percent of those who used bear spray were assaulted, 56 percent of those who attempted to use a firearm were. Counter Assault is a very effective and widely used spray.

Don’t Leave Crumbs Lying Around

At night, it’s easy to forget that you have a Starburst or a piece of jerky tucked away in a pocket of the jacket you brought into the tent with you. Despite the fact that these little bits of food are unlikely to attract a bear, they may attract smaller creatures such as mice or marmots, who will be glad to gnaw through your tent and sleeping bag in order to get to the food they need. To avoid this incident, I always check my pockets before going to bed and use my headlamp to examine my tent before retiring for the night.

Do Animals Attack Tents? How to Feel Safe While Camping

Image courtesy of skeezefromPixabay To be apprehensive about camping is perfectly normal. It may be really disconcerting to be in a tent since there are no solid walls to protect you from the elements, especially when news articles and Facebook posts convey the worst conceivable consequences to our screens. It is true that there are several things that can be done to keep animals away, even if they approach, but it is reasonable to assume that our most vulnerable moment is while we are sleeping, especially when we are in a tent since there is little that separates us from the outside.

Tents have not been shown to be a reliable barrier against attacks by large wild animals such as bears or cougars in the field.

I’ve pondered this myself several times when camping in the outdoors, and I decided to conduct some study to assist me find an answer.

Do Animals Attack Tents?

Tents do not provide a guarantee of safety and security. There have been a few of deadly bear attacks on humans who were sleeping in tents. It is probable that there are further cases that we are not aware of at this time. Having said that, taking into account the likelihood of an animal attack in any given situation can assist answer the issue of whether a tent can be useful in this situation at all. If you look around, you’ll find that most forum entries are mainly anecdotal in nature on whether or not you’re safer inside or outside a tent.

This makes perfect sense.

A additional difficulty is that the data supplied is not comprehensive since persons occasionally go missing without explanation and many events are not recorded, resulting in incomplete information.

However, there is still hope for finding a decent solution.

To determine how likely an assault in a tent is, we may compare the data to statistics on attacks in general to see how likely an attack in a tent is. For starters, it’s important to figure out how many people should be included in the statistics used to compute the likelihood of being attacked.

How Many People Go Camping?

What we do know is that the 2017 Camping Report from the Outdoor Industry has some significant data.

  • In 2016, 40.5 million individuals went camping on 587.2 million trips, with 71 percent of campers (28.7 million people) sleeping in tents.

Bear Attacks For People In Tents

A record of deadly bear attacks has been published on Wikipedia from the early 1900s, bringing the total number of fatal bear attacks in the United States to 73, according to the site. All of these deaths were not related to camping, yet the vast majority of them occurred in the wilderness environment. Even if we are conservative and assume that there were 1000 fatal bear attacks, and that each of these assaults represents a day in the life of a camper, we may calculate the average number of fatal bear attacks over a period of 100 years.

Taken into account only the 73 confirmed bear attacks that resulted in death, the likelihood of a fatal bear attack is closer to 1 in 793 million.

Location Specific Risk

The information shown above does not take into consideration probability-based location. Camping in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest will increase your chances of having a deadly bear encounter, whereas camping in other regions will decrease your chances of having a fatal bear encounter. Example: If we look at the same data, but narrow it down a little bit more, and only consider fatal bear attacks that occurred in the Mountain Region (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico), and assuming that all regions camp for approximately the same number of days, the probability of being attacked by a bear in the Mountain Region is one in every 328 million.

Only 11 of the total number of documented attacks were on campers in tents, which is a small percentage of the total.

  • Tents do not provide protection from bears. In fact, even with conservative estimations, the likelihood of being attacked by a bear is quite remote
  • You are more at danger if you live in Alaska, Montana, or another state where bear populations are higher.

Cougar Attacks For People In Tents

Another point to emphasize is that many of these fatalities did not occur while camping at all; rather, they occurred in urban locations where cougars were not supposed to be present. According to Wikipedia, an estimated 18 people have been murdered by a cougar in the United States since the turn of the twentieth century. Assuming that 500 individuals have been fatally attacked by a cougar during the 1900s, the chances of being attacked and killed by a cougar for those who camp are less than.000000851 percent, or one in 117 million, according to the same reasoning as previously.

According to the records I found, there have been no reported fatalities as a result of cougars attacking humans in tents.

(Source: A camper uses an axe to ward off a cougar in British Columbia; the animal is eventually shot.) The National Post published an article on February 26, 2001.) Even while you are not completely safe from a cougar when in a tent, the likelihood of a deadly assault is practically none if you are prepared.

Coyote Attacks for People in Tents

Coyotes are not normally a threat, but their howling in the middle of the night can be a wake-up call for some people. Interested in learning more about coyotes and if they pose a threat to humans? Read our article that goes into further depth on the issue.

Snake Bites for People In Tents

Isn’t it true that this article is getting into people’s heads? Hah. It’s necessary to break up the monotonous statistics discussion. Coral Snake is a kind of snake that lives on coral reefs. According to the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, 7000-8000 snakebites occur every year, with just 5-6 being deadly. This means that the likelihood of a fatal snakebite is one in every 50 million people. This can be linked to the widespread availability of medical assistance. Snakebite is significantly more prevalent than other animal assaults, owing to the fact that snakes’ natural habitats include rivers, construction zones, and even backyards.

This threat is limited since snakes in North America are unable to consume people and, as a result, do not seek humans on a regular basis.

If you have scouted out the region where your tent will be located, your risk of being attacked is reduced.

For additional information on whether or not snakes may injure you while you are sleeping in your tent, please see our post particularly on this subject here.

Summary:Are You Safe In a Tent?

Despite the fact that a tent provides no protection against large animals, you are secure in a tent provided you take the appropriate measures since animals attacking people and killing them is extremely unusual in the first place. Especially in light of the fact that we do not yet have all of the data, numbers do not tell us everything. It is the preparation of each camper against the potential of being attacked by animals that is not shown by the statistics in any way whatsoever. Despite the fact that the threat is remote, it is nevertheless critical to take all reasonable precautions.

Ways to Minimize The Risk of Being Injured By An Animal

Depending on where you live, you are more vulnerable to some animals than others. If you live in the Western United States, particularly the Northwest, bears are a major source of anxiety. As previously stated, Alaska and Montana are two states where a significant number of known fatal bear attacks have occurred. Wolf attacks that result in death are far less common than attacks by any of the other animals covered in this article.

Bear Country

It is possible for black bears or grizzly bears to prevail in a given region, depending on the location. Although grizzly bears are often considered to be more dangerous than black bears, both have caused injury or death to people and should be treated as such. Whether you plan on camping in the western United States, particularly the northwest, check to see if you will be in bear territory before you leave. If this is the case, you must take further measures. In order to keep varmints and other pests from getting into your pack or, more significantly, your tent while you sleep, it is critical that your food be stored away from you while you sleep.

These safeguards, on the other hand, are absolutely necessary in bear country. Even the smell of food on your clothing enhances your danger of being attacked by a bear when you are in bear territory.


Despite the fact that venomous snakes may be found in any state, some states, notably Arizona and Texas, are leaders in the number of dangerous snake species found in the United States. This indicates that you should use caution when traveling in the country (or even on undeveloped territory), especially in Arizona and Texas. Snakes are frequently found along the way, and the best precaution is to wear long pants (even if this may not be sufficient protection in some cases) and to keep an eye on your feet.

Prevention Is The Best Protection

If you take efforts to avoid coming into contact with a wild animal, your chances of being attacked are the lowest.

Hang Up Or Stow Your Food

For those who are wilderness camping, tying your pack with the food and rubbish and hanging it up at least 10 feet above the ground is a simple method to move your food away from your campsite and out of reach of varmints and larger animals is a good idea. By attaching your rope or webbing to a rock and then tossing it over a robust and high tree branch, you may accomplish this. Although it is preferable for the branch to enable the pack to be at least 4 feet from the trunk, this is not always practicable.

Use Bear Canisters

Special jars designed specifically for the purpose of containing the odor of your food and rubbish are available in “bear country.” These are not required in most parts of the United States, and should only be considered if you are camping in bear territory in a particular location.

Safety In Numbers

According to a research conducted by the Wildlife Society, black bear assaults on humans only occurred on groups of one or two persons in 90 percent of cases. Although there is no assurance that you will not be in danger, it seems logical that a predator will be less inclined to strike if it perceives you to be a greater threat. The greater the number of people in a group, the less probable it is that an assault would occur.


When individuals are murdered by snakebite, there are several tales of their picking up and moving the snake or killing it out of fear of what they may do next. The best course of action is to ignore the snake entirely–do not attempt to capture or move the snake. It is not the same as being attacked by wildlife to be able to observe it. Just because you notice a potentially hazardous animal does not imply that it is a risk. If you notice a bear or a cougar from a distance, you should consider relocating your campsite and avoiding the dangerous scenario altogether.

Bear Spray

When individuals are murdered by snakebite, there are several reports of their picking up and moving the snake or killing it out of fear of being bitten again. Try to stay as far away from the snake as possible; do not attempt to capture or move the creature.

It is not the same as being attacked by animals to be able to observe wildlife. A hazardous animal does not necessarily pose a threat just because you see one. If you observe a bear or a cougar from a distance, you should consider relocating your campsite and avoiding the danger.

How To Feel Safe While Camping

Preparation and knowledge are essential for feeling secure when camping; yet, even if you are well-prepared, you may still experience feelings of dread and panic when out in the wilderness. A tent is an excellent tool for protecting yourself from the outside world on a mental level. However, even with a tent, it might be difficult to feel comfortable while thinking about the horrifying animal assaults that you see on television or in news articles on a regular basis. Please keep in mind that your odds of being assaulted are greater than your chances of winning the majority of lotteries.


Earplugs are by far the most effective technique for improving my sleep quality. Keep in mind that staying awake all night in fear is not particularly efficient defense, and that being attentive throughout the day against other risks is more vital than staying awake all night fretting. In nature, you’ll discover that there are several little creatures that dwell there and that they create an alarming amount of noise when disturbed. This type of noise may be highly distracting and unsettling to those around you.


The likelihood of being attacked by a wild animal while sleeping in a tent is quite low. The likelihood of being engaged in a deadly automobile accident exceeds the likelihood of being involved in a fatal animal attack. Nonetheless, even if the possibilities of seeing a wild animal are minimal, it is vital to take steps to avoid any mishaps from occurring. Take moderate measures and try not to be overly concerned about the worst-case situation.

Articles Involving Tent Attacks

The following are articles that discuss tent-based assaults and how to prevent them.

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