cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Announcements
Welcome REI Co-op Members! We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community, click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

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.

25 Replies

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.

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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
“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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
“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. 

0 Likes

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

0 Likes

I was standing 'guard mount' in 1972, with the 401st MP Co at Ft Hood (pre-patrol/shift inspection), when a guy in the row in front of me shot himself in the foot with his .45  (it just went off when he snapped to attention), the bullet went through the toe of his boots, right between his big toe and first toe.  He turned out ok, walked with a limp for a while.  I think he got an article 15 out of it.

No bears, however....

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
0 Likes

oh, I forgot... reminds me of a story....did you hear about the three-legged dog who walked into a saloon and stated..."I'm looking for the man who shot my paw!"

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
0 Likes