Imagine enjoying a perfect bonfire in the middle of the forest and having an encounter with an unwanted visitor — a bear! Camping in the wild is an enriching experience for outdoorsy souls, but nature can be as intimidating as it is relaxing. It’s best to be well-prepared to steer clear of the hungry grizzlies.
Luckily, there are several incredible bear sprays available on the market ensuring that you and the bears can enjoy the outdoors separately. Having an effective bear spray by your camping bed will make the experience far less worrisome.
Whether you are a seasoned camper or a new explorer of the wild, this guide lists the 5 best bear sprays in 2021 for you to choose from. Our best bear spray buying guide will help you answer all the queries that you may have.
How To Choose A Bear Spray – Buying Guide
While it is easy to get lost in the chaos of every bear repellent spray claiming to be the best, here is our tried-and-tested buying guide that pinpoints the features you should be looking for when you go bear spray shopping.
Range and Coverage
The whole point of using a bear spray is to keep the gigantic creatures as far as possible. While the best bear sprays offer a range of 25-35 feet, you can get by with a bear spray that guarantees a range of at least 16 feet or more.
Size and Capacity
Running out of the spray while having an encounter with the bear can be catastrophic and that is why a canister with a larger quantity of pepper spray is always recommended. But with quantity, you need to keep an eye on size too as smaller cans make for easier traveling.
Most bear sprays have a capacity of at least 7.9 ounces. In the case of the best formulas, this standard size amounts to around 9.9 x 2.5 x 5.8 inches — just to give you an estimate of the size you can expect. Such a can will allow you to spray for 6 to 9 seconds continuously, which is enough to stop a bear that is charging towards you, even if you waste 1-2 seconds with a bad initial aim.
Concentration and Effectiveness
The strength of the bear mace spray you will be using depends on the active ingredients’ concentration (the actual pepper components). While the concentration varies between 1% and 2%, the best formulas have a concentration of capsaicin-derived substances of at least 1.3%. As long as you see that on the label as a minimum, be assured that your chosen repellent is a strong one.
Ease of Use
Surely one would want a bear spray that is easy to use, but it’s important to ensure that there is a safety system included, so the canister doesn’t accidentally discharge. Therefore, top-rated sprays have a mechanism that achieves a balance between ease of use and safety. To ensure that you pick the right bear spray, go for a specially designed spray with a safety system and an easy grip and handle.
High-quality bear repellents usually come with a holster, which is extremely handy. It allows you to reach your spray can instantly, without having to rummage through the backpack. You should also look for an environment-friendly formula that has minimal impact on the environment.
Q: What is a bear spray and how does it work?
Bear spray is a bear deterrent formula contained in a spray can. When it’s sprayed at the right time, it helps you escape a bear that charges or comes too close to you when you are out in the wild.
Q: How to use bear spray?
Bear sprays formulas are generally easy enough to use once you get the hang of them. For most bear spray brands, the mechanism is activated by tugging, flipping, or removing a safety clip. After that, point the pepper spray directly towards the animal’s face and eyes. If it is already too close (less than 15 feet), aim the spray can downward and ahead of the bear (the middle of the path between you), keep spraying short puffs. Make it so the bear has to pass directly through the pepper fog if they want to get closer to you.
Q: When to use a bear spray?
You should only use bear sprays when a bear is closer than 40 feet and shows signs of aggression. Remember that bear sprays are not meant to scare away bears in your vicinity, but to deter bears that are coming to attack you.
Q: How effective is it in deterring bears?
The best bear repellents are officially recognized by government guidelines and regulations to be the most effective way of protecting yourself against a bear. According to a study, they are more effective than firearms at scaring away large animals. As a bonus, unlike firearms, bear sprays cause no actual permanent damage to the animal.
Q: What is the difference between a bear spray and pepper spray?
A bear spray formula is similar to pepper spray used in self-defense but much stronger. It’s fit to deter an animal of a much larger size and ferocity than a human attacker. While a pepper spray would be ineffective if used against a bear, a bear deterrent would be too much if used against a human (and could cause permanent, serious damage). Therefore, you could say that the only difference between pepper spray and bear spray is the scale and intensity of the formula.
Q: Is bear spray illegal?
No, bear sprays are NOT illegal. They are FDA approved, so you can make sure that they’re both effective and safe to use. Still, you should keep in mind that some national parks and reservations are allowed to restrict and forbid the use of bear mace spray.
Q: How to carry bear spray?
While hiking and camping, the bear pepper spray container needs to be carried at hand, in a specialized holster on your belt. This way, should the need arise, you can react fast as possible and use it before the animal can hurt you or anyone else in your party.
Q: Can bear spray hurt the animal badly?
No, bear spray only hurts the animal in terms of irritation and mild paralysis, but the effects are temporary. Sure, it’s uncomfortable and it does cause the animal a certain amount of suffering, but there’s no permanent damage involved.
Q: What to do if the spray gets on your skin?
To treat the affected area, you can first soak a tissue in milk and lay it gently on the skin that got exposed to the pepper spray. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and the milk should take some of the stings away. Next, wash the area with a grease-removing product such as dishwasher liquid and water, so the pepper oil will be removed from the skin.
Globo Surf Overview
Having the best bear mace spray formula with you during an encounter with an angry beast could be a lifesaver! Not only are bear repellants more effective than firearms in a bear attack, but they are also a more humane solution for protecting yourself in the wild. Now that you have gone across our reviews and our comprehensive buying guide, we hope you are ready for your next hiking, fishing, or camping trip in bear country.
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Have you ever used a bear mace spray? Did you find it difficult? Also, were you ever faced with an angry bear in the wild? Let us know in the comment section below! We’re excited to hear from camping enthusiasts of the Globo Surf community, especially if they have stories the rest of us could learn from.