(123)456 7890 [email protected]

Food safety to help prevent bears in the wild

If you plan to venture out into the wild on a camping or hiking trip, you need to be prepared to deal with potentially dangerous wildlife. Bears in particular must be respected and avoided. One of the easiest ways to avoid bears is to be careful when storing and preparing food.

Choosing the safest camping food

Strong-smelling foods like tuna or garlic can attract bears more easily. When choosing which foods to pack, try to avoid foods that have strong odors. Canned or dried foods are a much better option. These types of food not only last longer, but also emit fewer odors. Individually packaged foods are better than larger packages that must be manually resealed.

Safe storage of your camping food

One mistake many campers make is not taking proper precautions when storing food. Too often, food is stored in the same tent you sleep in or in a nearby refrigerator. This can be a very bad idea. You are basically enticing bears to put you to sleep in a vulnerable way.

Your food must be stored at a good distance from your store (at least 100 meters). To prevent food odors from drifting through your campsite, your food storage location should also be downwind of your campsite. When choosing a place to store food, think about how close to your campsite you would feel comfortable keeping bears. Obviously that’s not very close at all.

For actual food storage, you have a few options. Bear-proof containers are available in a variety of sizes. These bear proof storage lockers make it almost impossible for bears to get to your food. However, it may not be practical to bring one of these durable containers to camp.

The most traditional method of camping food storage is to hang the food on a tree in an airtight bag. Since bears have some ability to climb trees, it’s best to hang food at least 5 feet off the ground and at least 4 feet from the tree trunk. A bear could easily reach a bag if it is too low or too close to the tree trunk. This is not the safest method because using a branch that is too small makes it possible for a bear to break it, and using a branch that is too large makes it possible for a bear to climb into your bag. Bears can also chew through the strings that hold the bags up in the trees. So if you plan on hanging your food, counter the string with a second bag. Then use a long stick to retrieve the travel bags afterwards. Or you can suspend the food bag between two trees. Some campgrounds have ropes or poles set up to use instead of hanging food from branches.

As a last resort, you can also store your food in the trunk of your vehicle. However, this should be avoided as the vehicles are not airtight and odors can seep in. This could lead to a bear scratching your vehicle to get to its food. Bears with previous human contact may recognize coolers or other food containers. So don’t just leave food in plain sight in the front seat of your vehicle.

Since your garbage can also smell like food, it is recommended that you also store your garbage safely with your food supply. Other scented items like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and perfume should also be stored with food. If any of your clothes smell like food, be safe and put these clothes away with your food. Make sure there are no extra snacks left in your backpack when you go to sleep. Tampons, napkins, and toilet paper can also attract bears if not stored properly.

Cook Food Safely While Camping

Another mistake campers make is cooking food in the middle of camping. This will leave traces of food odors throughout the camping area. Suppose the bears will come to investigate your cooking area and locate it far away from your store with your food supply.

While cooking, try to keep the area well ventilated. If you’re inside a tent, open the lid to vent some of the odors. You don’t want these areas to still smell strongly of food when you go to sleep. Don’t cook in the tent you plan to sleep in! Covering any food for frying also prevents excess odors. When you have finished frying the food, completely burn off any excess fat and oil.

Many people like to go fishing while camping. If you are one of these people, do not clean your fish near your camp. Ideally, you would gut the fish in the middle of a lake where a bear wouldn’t smell the remains. Burying fish remains nearby is a bad idea.

Another tip for camping cooking is to avoid cooking too much food. Don’t cook more than you can eat, as leftovers smell more than packaged foods.

Cleaning to prevent bears

Keeping your campsite clean of trash and food scraps will help keep bears away. Immediately after cooking and eating, you should thoroughly clean all your dishes. Strain out food pieces from the wash water and store them with the rest of the garbage and food. To dispose of dishwater, dig a shallow hole. Then pour in dishwater and cover with ashes or disinfectant. This will stop odors and decomposition.

While some people don’t recommend burning trash while camping, it can be a good idea for leftover food and food wrappers. It is better to burn these items leaving a temporary odor rather than keeping items that give off bear-attracting odors.

Always pack what you pack. Leaving any trash behind can turn the campsite into a regular place for bears to hang out.


Be aware of the necessary precautions for cooking and storing food while camping. Do everything you can to keep food odors away from your campsite. Taking these precautions is the easiest way to prevent a bear encounter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *