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What is the best item to carry for bear protection?

Hello,

I don’t want to start any drama or bring on bad karma for people. I know this will probably be a sore subject for people.

So, first, I want to say that I downloaded the Guthooks app and opened the free demo for the AT. I tapped on every campsite icon and read their comments. A couple people had to tango with some bears. That got me curious if anyone carries a gun or other type of weapon with them to ward off these animals.

I know that if you don’t give them a reason to come, like some careless person that forgets to hang their food in a tree, that they will generally leave you alone.

Aside from that, I love wildlife and think it would be a pretty good pic to add to your photo album, if you happen to see one.

What are your thoughts on carrying weapons? Do most parks and forestry services allow it?

I know most parks will allow you to have it, either conceal carry or if carried in a case, ammo and gun has to be separate.

Sorry if this came across the wrong way to some people.

35 Replies

@H2OAlchemyst - "Don’t act like you’ve been violated when you get attacked after washing your hair with a fragrance that makes you smell like a 200 pound strawberry."

That may just be the best thing I'll read all day! LOL

 

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

The best thing to carry for bear protection is common sense. I usually hike and backpack with a bear bell so that I do not surprise any bears. On overnights, I carry and use a Bear Vault to store food and other aromatic things that might attract bears. I cook and eat away from my tent. I try to keep a clean campsite. I have seen bears in wilderness areas, national parks, and other areas where I hike and backpack but have never been bothered by them.

aka "Boonerelli"


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

My experience is similar.  I've seen quite a few bears but they weren't aggressive and the recommended precautions worked.  A few years ago a bear did come into my campsite, but the food was in a Bear Vault and it went away on its own.   Another time my friend chased a bear away by banging a pot.   I had the bear spray out for real only once when I was fishing and my friend surprised a bear, but it  also ran away when he yelled so I didn't have to spray the bear.  These were black bears, mind you.  I would not be so confident that a grizzly bear would run. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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Who washes their hair in the backcountry? I feel lucky when I can rinse off with water from a stream, or better yet, water warmed up in a solar shower.

aka "Boonerelli"


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@John  I haven't washed my hair anywhere in the past 15 years ever since Mother Nature decided I no longer needed any. LOL

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Someone slower than you? JUST KIDDING!  Somewhere in here, I share my story of testing out my bear spray, too near our campsite, after the hike was over

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes

@Philreedshikes - Your bear spray story is here, Observations on what happens when you use a can of bear spray. It's definitely a fun one to take a look at for those interested in the topic! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

How did I miss that story originally? That’s awesome!

@Philreedshikes that sounds EXACTLY like something I’d do although my story likely would have included the line “after a couple drinks...” lol

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

For what it's worth, there are a number of good quality, reliable 10mm pistols that can be carried concealed (Glock, Sig Sauer). As other folks have mentioned, the onus is on you to determine applicable state laws when carrying a firearm for protection. Bear spray is typically the best compromise, but of course has drawbacks as well (single use, accidental discharge, wind, etc). Pistols are also heavy when it comes to thru-hiking, and don't have the same weather/dirt resistance as a can of bear spray. 

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I wouldn't carry a gun, too darn heavy. Besides I had one friend accidentally shoot another in the foot backpacking in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness many years ago. Carry bear spray, a bear cannister if you can, or hand your food. That will do it. Even in Alaska and the Yukon I've rarely had problems with bears, and only used spray once, so you're fairly unlike

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