How to Keep Bears Out of Your Food While Camping: 4 Ultimate Tips

How to Keep Bears Out of Your Food While Camping: 4 Ultimate Tips

Bears can develop a preference for human food, causing them to lose their natural inclinations to eat wild food and their inherent fear of humans. Consequently, these bears may exhibit behavior of approaching humans in the quest for food. Such bears potentially have the capacity to turn hostile, behave erratically, and potentially cause fatal harm.

Bears on the lookout for human food and trash can cause property damage and personal injury. As a result, these bears are frequently exterminated because they constitute a threat to public safety. 

According to studies, bears who lose their fear of humans have a shorter lifespan than bears who eat natural foods and do not fear humans. Bears are more likely to situate in human-inhabited regions as they become more accustomed to getting fed. These bears are in danger of being euthanized to protect people, hit by a car, or become a convenient target for poachers.

How To Stop Food Stealing By Bears And Other Animals?

How To Food Stealing By Bears And Other

Animals like bears or rodents have a strong sense of smell and can sense food items from a distance. Thus, taking extra precautions is mandatory. The following general rules apply equally whether you’re staying at a campground or backpacking.

  • Keep food and other palatable items out of your tent (such as hygiene and rubbish).
  • Cooking in your campground is not a good idea.
  • One hundred feet from camp, store, or hang food. Keep your meals downwind of you so the odor doesn’t spread throughout your camp.
  • During the day, keep a watch on your food; small animals will quickly get to it.
  • Use a dish towel or napkin instead of your clothes.
  • Allow the bear canister or sack to be taken by the bear. They’ll eventually become irritated and quit.
  • Anything you used to cook with, such as a pan or a spatula, falls under this category. Energy bar wrappers and empty sports drink containers.

Ways To Store Food In Bear-Infested Area

Ways To Store Food In Bear-Infested Area

If you’re going to be in a bear-infested area of a national park or national forest or on a national scenic trail like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, be sure you follow the restrictions and recommendations for food storage.

You can follow either of the following methods to guard yourself and your eatables:

  •  Use a bear canister or bear sack in place of the standard metal foot locker.
  •  Use a tree or a pole to hang your food.

The advantages and disadvantages of several bear-proof food-storage techniques in the wild are listed below:

#1 Metal Food Containers/Lockers

Large metal bear-proof boxes are available at several campgrounds and designated backcountry campsites for storing food, garbage, and toiletries. There’s no guarantee that there’ll be adequate space for your items because these are occasionally communal. To keep bears out, make sure the lock is secured correctly. If they don’t, you can be sure they will.

#2 Bear Canisters

#2 Bear Canisters

A bear canister measures between 2-4 lb (1-2 kg) and has a 400-900 in3 storage capacity (6 – 15 liters). The days of hiking food kept vary depending on the hiker’s appetite, the food choices, and the competence with which it is packed, but for the average hiker, a 700 in3 canister will likely contain up to a week’s worth of food.

Polycarbonate, ABS plastic, carbon fiber, and aluminum produce hard-sided beer cans. A practical canister must be able to withstand an attacking animal’s immense power as well as its superior intelligence. The majority of containers are too big for a bear to pick up and take away.

Use a canister if you’re backpacking in an area that requires them.

Beware of fine! Rangers can fine you for not being cautious and carrying a bear canister or another item to keep food. Rangers lease or rent bear canisters in various national parks to avoid such situations.

Bear canisters run out easy on the counters; that’s why we suggest you plan everything. Canisters may also be required to keep raccoons out of your food and waste.


  •  Bears have been observed to open a canister on rare occasions.
  •  Most of the bears have learned that containers are not worth the effort, and if they realize you have one, they will likely leave your camp.


  •  It’s big and heavy. They usually weigh 2-3 pounds.


  •  Use reflective tape on your bear canister for added visibility. You’ll be able to see what’s happening if you hear something frightening late at night.

#3 Bear Bags

#3 Bear Bags

If you carry fewer eatables and don’t want to carry a bear canister, a bear bag will work well.

 These are built of high-density polyethylene that a bear cannot rip apart. A bear can crush or puncture the contents of the smaller type if an aluminum liner is used inside it.

You can also use biodegradable plastic seal bags to keep your food waste along with the bear bags. These bags seal the odor. Thus, the bear won’t sense the smell.

Some bear bags work excellent for mice, marmots, and other rodent species. However, if you want to be entirely sure about your decision, you will need to check the conditions of approval stated by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s test (IGBC).


  •  Bear bags are small-sized, convenient, and lightweight.


  •  A bear bag is not a solid guard for your food items. Because the bear will have sharp claws, it can easily scratch and crush the bear bag or even run away with it. That’s why many national parks don’t allow bear bags to their campers.


  •  While you can leave these bags on the ground like a canister, you may wish to tie them to a tree branch or hang them from a bear pole (see below).
  •  The majority of bear bags are white. Use a permanent marker to write your name or a design on yours to distinguish it from others.
  •  If you’re not sure whether to carry a canister or a bear bag, pack both—a canister for your most vital food and a bear bag for garbage and less essential goods.

#4 Food Suspension

The most common ways to hang food are as follows:

  •  Suspend your meal from a robust and high tree branch.
  •  Bear poles, an improvement over tree branches, are available at remote campsites. A long metal pole with big hooks at the top of this system allows you to hang your food bag or complete backpack. A long metal lifter pole is included for heaving your food bag onto one of the hooks.
  •  Alternatively, a high horizontal metal wire stretched between two poles can be used to suspend your food bag.


  •  No specialized equipment is required. All you’ll need is some rope and a strong sack.


  •  Hanging from a limb isn’t an option if you’re camping beyond the tree line or in arid areas with low vegetation.
  •  It’s tough and time-consuming to hang food from a tree. It takes a lot of work to position a food bag onto a hook atop a tall pole with an awkward pole.
  •  To get at the bag, many bears have learned to tug on ropes.


  •  Take a 50- 100-foot rope and tie it to a vital branch of a nearby tree. You can use a small chunk of rock tied with a rope to make it possible. Remember, it will take you multiple attempts to get there.
  •  Once you climb down, you can untie the rock or tent-stake bag and tie the food bag there instead.
  • Remember to maintain a 4 feet gap between the trunk and the food bag, or else your attempts would go in vain as the bear may catch the pack. Moreover, hoist your eateries 10-15 feet above the ground level.
  •  To keep the rope in place, you can tie the other end to the trunk or the pole.

For more extra preventive measures, click here.


You should now have a basic understanding of storing food properly in a bear country. As soon as you begin packing for your trip, your efforts to keep your food off the bear’s supper menu begin.

Some National parks mandate campers to use bear canisters, while others, despite their ineffectiveness, allow bear bags to be used. It’s critical to keep the valuable items in the right way, regardless of which food storage method you use.

Bears are attracted to various foods other than human food; therefore, whatever you bring with you should be stored safely while not in use. Camping means going back to basics, and that’s precisely what you should do with your food: keep it as simple (and non-aromatic) as possible.

Kevin Macey
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