CAMPING & HIKING

Best Pepper Spray: Protecting Yourself while Hiking in Bear Country

Pepper spray review
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Many of you will agree that in the wild, danger comes in all shapes and forms – and they can come in the most inopportune moment. In this case, if you are looking for a simple means of defending yourself in a critical or dangerous situation like a bear attack, the best pepper spray can do wonders for your safety and survival. When you’re confronted by an aggressive bear in the wild, you’ll be happy to have a pepper spray in your person.

Of course, you will want a product that will leave you feeling confident. You will also want a product that you will be comfortable using, lightweight, highly portable, and easy to activate. With that said, shopping for a bear pepper spray can be quite daunting. Once you are done with this article, you will have a better idea on how to shop for a pepper spray that you can use for warding off bear attacks. Plus, we have highlighted a number of products that should be worth your time and money.

BrandGlow in the dark safetySizeStrengthSpray rangePrice
Frontiersman Bear SprayYes9.2 ouncesEPA Maximum30-foot rangeCheck price on Amazon
UDAP 12HP Bear SprayYes10.2 ounces2% CRC30-foot rangeCheck price on Amazon
Counter Assault Bear DeterrentNo10.2 ounces2% Capsaicin12 to 32 foot rangeCheck price on Amazon
Bundle - Two Cans Guard Alaska Repellant w/ HolsterNo9 ouncesn/a20-foot rangeCheck price on Amazon
Mace Brand Pepper SprayNo9 ouncesn/a30-foot rangeCheck price on Amazon
Bear Repellent Preventative ContactNoUnder 5 ouncesn/an/aCheck price on Amazon

Factors to Consider When Buying

When shopping for pepper spray, you might be surprised at the diversity of selection. Since there are different types of pepper spray, all of operate uniquely, you need to familiarize yourself with some of the buying options presented to you before making a final purchasing decision. Below are some of the factors you have to think about before investing your money in any product:

Brand

Above all else, experts suggest you consider the brand of the product when buying pepper spray. Some products come highly recommended by those who work in the law enforcement sectors. Since law enforcement and police often use OC sprays for a form of non-lethal protection, they are intimately familiar with different OC spray products.

Oleoresin capsicum

Thus, law enforcement officials are some of the most qualified product reviewers of OC sprays due to their product familiarity and use.

Spray Distance

When buying a product, you should find out the spray distance. The distance between you and the bear has to be correct to achieve the maximum effectiveness of the product’s use.

Foam pepper spray

What’s more, you will want a product that you can use in a way that will have maximum effect on the assailant, and minimal to no effect on you; when the spray discharges, you do not want it blowing back in your direction due to wind or movement, and making things for you difficult as well.

Shot Capacity

The number of OC spray shots you get per product is something to look into when you buy. Some products offer up to 20 shots, while other products might only offer 10 shots of the OC spray. You will have to buy a product based on your perceived dangers, and how often you might think you need to use the spray.

Sabre pepper spray

You just can’t afford to miss a spray and find out that you’ve run out of shots. Of course, this could mean your very survival if you’re confronted by an angry bear.

Safety Options

Some states require, by law, that the pepper spray you use have a safety feature that helps in the accidental use or discharge of the product. It is your responsibility to know the laws in your state as a far as OC spray regulations and expected product features.

So it is important that you know the safety options that the bear spray has. This is to prevent you from accidentally spraying it on someone or even on yourself.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Frontiersman Bear SprayFrontiersman Bear Spray

Price: Approx. $31.45

Size: 9.2 ounces canister; 9.7 ounces canister

Strength: EPA Maximum

Specific Features: 30-foot range, maximum strength, fog OC spray; shelf life of three years; glow in the dark safety, and holster included.

Best Uses: Outdoor protection from one or multiple assailants, bear protection

Description: The Frontiersman Bear Spray contains the maximum strength of OC allowable by the Environmental Protection Agency, you can remain confident in the product’s effectiveness. This means, it eliminates 30% of failures that are experienced by other brands. The 30-foot range ensures a greater degree of distance between you and your attacker thereby increasing your safety.

The product’s extension shelf life, three years, will allow you to get the most protection out of the product. The glow in the dark safety makes the product easy to use in low lighting conditions. The product produces a thick fog that will help protect you from multiple assailants.

The product comes with a convenient holster for ease of portability. It costs around $31.44, so it meets affordability factors. In addition, it’s been proven effective by Elmendorf Air Force Base and Brown Bear Resources, so, you know that this products actually works and works well.

PROS:

  • Low failure rate
  • 3-year shelf life
  • Comes with holster

CONS:

  • Mist spray not stream
  • Not easy to use one-handed

Related: Should you decide to buy the featured spray above, the Frontiersman Bear Bell with Magnetic Silencer should be a good complement. This is a top quality bear silencer that will make sure that you don’t startle bears and avoid a confrontation in the first place.

Check the price on Amazon

UDAP 12HP Bear SprayUDAP 12HP Bear Spray

Price: Approx. $39.99

Sizes: 10.2 ounces

Strength: 2% CRC

Specific Features: Bear Deterrent, free safety booklet, 2% CRC heat rating, 30 foot spray, glow in the dark safety

Best Uses: Outdoor protection, protection from wild bears

Description: The UDAP 12HP Bear Spray is priced around $39.99 which is very affordable for the quality of product you’re getting. The unit comes with a guide teaching the user safety tips and the guide is entirely free. The glow in the dark safety clip and chain ensure easy use in low lighting situations. So, if you’re backpacking or camping, at night, you won’t have to worry about your safety, you’ll be well protected.

A person who is a survivor of bear attacks makes the product and therefore, the product is a design based on human experience with wild animal encounters. So, you’re kept in safe hands. The CRC 2% rating ensures sufficient heat to fend off angry, aggressive bears and a 30-foot spray keeps you at a safe distance using the product. This product comes with everything you need in order to ensure your safety in the wild outdoors.

PROS:

  • Glow in the dark safety clip
  • Hottest bear spray

CONS:

  • Not the strongest
  • Can be too big

Related: Want a good way to dispose your food and other things that might attract bears while you’re camping? The Base CampSource Odor-Barrier Bag might be a good solution for its heavy duty quality and 100% odor barrier.

Check the price on Amazon

Counter Assault Bear DeterrentCounter Assault Bear Deterrent

Price: Approx. $46.00

Size: 10.2 ounces

Strength: 2% Capsaicin

Specific features: Sold with holster, 10.2 ounce can; EPA approved strength, spray pattern of 12 to 32 feet

Best Uses: outdoors, wildlife adventures, hunting, hiking, and camping

Description: The Counter Assault Bear Deterrent is available in a portable can so you can tuck it in your backpack or you can carry it with you in the holster the unit is sold with during purchase. The unit costs $39.99 so it proves affordable. You can also special order the unit for $46.30 if you do not want the holster. Regardless, you’re given various options with how you wish to carry it.

The can empties quickly and with a spray pattern variance of 12 to 32 feet, you can distance yourself from the user a considerable distance before spraying the product at the assailant. The assailant will still be greatly affected by the spray whether you’re standing 12 feet away of 32 feet away. It also comes with a safety cap feature that helps to prevent undesired, untimely discharges of the product. If it’s in your backpack, you don’t want it to accidentally leak all over your bag.

PROS:

  • Portable
  • Good price
  • Can empties quickly

CONS:

  • Pouch is not the best

Related: Another addition to your bear spray is the Bear Bell w/ silencer. You can attach it to clothes or your backpack. Movement causes a steady ring to occurs to scare off animals.

Check the price on Amazon

Guard Alaska Bear Repellant BundleGuard Alaska Bear Repellant Bundle

Price: Approx. $56.78

Sizes: 9 ounces (2 cans 18 ounces total)

Strength: N/A

Specific Features: Counter Assault Bear Deterrent, 20 foot spray range, two cans of repellant, free holster

Best Uses: Bear protection, outdoor protection

Description: The Guard Alaska Bear Repellant Bundle is a three in one offer: You get two cans of the repellant and a nylon holster as well. The price tag of this product is $56.87, making the spray reasonably affordable and overall, a great deal.

With this spray, it comes with a range of about 20 feet, and it will work on different species of bears, even if the bears are wet. So, whether it’s raining, snowing or sunny – you’ll be able to effectively use this spray. If you’re wondering how it handles on a national scale, fair enough.

In terms of support, the Alaska Science & Technology Foundation endorses this product. If you’re also concerned about impacting the environment, you should be happy to know that this product is environmentally friendly, as it is not flammable and non-ozone depleting, so, while protecting yourself, you’ll be making sure to leave a green footprint.

PROS:

  • Portable
  • Potent formula
  • Sprays up to 20ft

CONS:

  • No holster

Related: Guard Alaska also sells a Bear Spray Nylon Holster that should keep your bear repellant safe and secure. It’s made of durable nylon and it’s surprisingly quite lightweight.

Check the price on Amazon

Mace Brand Pepper SprayMace Brand Bear Pepper Spray

Price: Approx. $29.50

Size: 9 ounces

Strength: N/A

Specific Features: 30-foot spray; EPA approved; Pepper Mace Bear Spray; fogger, and the unit shoots 260 grams of product every fire. Shot speed is 5.4 seconds between the spray container and the origin of danger.

Best Uses: Outdoors, bear defense, wild animal defense

Description: The Mace Brand Bear Pepper Spray is quite the affordable product and should be a good option for those looking for their first bear spray. The spray is ideal for you if you are an outdoor enthusiast and you are seeking protection from wild animals. The spray pattern will go about 30 feet, allowing you a good distance between you and the origin of danger. When sprayed it produces a powerful Magnum Fogger which is also EPA approved.

The unit fires about 260 grams of product in about 5.4 seconds: This means the product will affect the wild animal quickly. You’ll be safe at hand with having this mace spray by your side. This fogger pepper spray is one police departments use. Mace Security International is the product manufacturer, meaning the company specializes in such products. If you’re often in the great outdoors, don’t risk it by going into the wild without any protection. This is a great option that’ll get the job done while you get to safety.

PROS:

  • Sprays up to 30ft
  • Good strength
  • 2.5 years expiry

CONS:

  • Can might be too big for some people

Related: The Mace Pepper Spray Gun 10% OC UV Dye 2 Million SHU is a great option to be used with the Mace Pepper Spray. It lasts for four years and comes with batteries for the LED light. Durable and long-lasting, it’s a great way to ensure that you hit the target.

Check the price on Amazon

Rut Grenade TM Bear RepellentRut Grenade TM Bear Repellent

Price: Approx. $14.00

Sizes: under 5 ounces

Strength: N/A

Specific Features: Amber thick glass bottle, bear repellent liquid, lasting formula

Best Uses: hiking, biking, wilderness activities

Description: The Rut Grenade TM Bear Repellent product naturally deters bears by the heat inducing chemicals it contains. This repellent works to ware off even highly aggressive bears, in fact, though they cannot guarantee it, it’s proven to be highly effective. It comes in a heavy-duty glass bottle which is thick enough to ensure the product remains intact during transport.

The lasting formula works against bears of all types, and is perfect for the typical outdoorsman. Though it comes in a heavy-duty glass bottle, what you’ll need to do is place this product into a small spray bottle for easy application. The amber colored bottle protects the efficacy of the product inside.

The results of using the bear spray are instant and even last up to 36 hours. The product is quite affordable too, so you’re looking at a great value. So, whether you’re camping, hiking, gardening or backpacking, you’ll be kept safe when using this bear spray.

PROS:

  • Long lasting
  • Good strength
  • Good deterrent

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come in spray form

Related: If you’re looking for an alternative to bear mace, you can opt for a sound horn. The Falcon Safety Super Sound Horn is 10% ozone safe and non-flammable. It’s compact and comes in a stainless-steel, non-corrosive canister.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

We can all agree that a bear spray is something that you should rather have and not need, than the other way around. If you’re an outdoorsman that frequents the bear country, a bear spray is almost always a must. It’s a great way to protect yourself while at the same time, not causing any significant harm to the animal. Again, it’s something you need to have in your person but hopefully, you’ll never need it.

Pepper spray in the hand

So have you used a bear spray before while in bear country? Is there a particular product that you swear by? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Andrew Richardson

    Been using the Counter Assault Bear Deterrent for over a year. I live in a small mountain town and spend lots of time in the outdoor wilderness, fishing, camping, hiking and mountain biking. If the occasion ever occurs where I need to use this wonderful bear spray, I know that I will have a fighting chance to escape and survive any attack. “Counter Assault” comes highly recommended by forest service professionals as the product of choice under any circumstance. I’m glad That I purchased this product for peace of mind.

  • Mark Foster

    This product is excellent by the way and my friends and I have been using this for quite some time. It’s quite affordable and gives you enough time to make your move if you have to use this on something OR someone. There’s even a holster where you can attach this to your backpack, making it very convenient to use. Like what I always say, I hope we never use this on any bear or human. Yet, being prepared is a must when you’re out in the real “jungle” or in our own everyday “urban jungle”.

  • John L. Streik

    I ask my friend to always bring a pepper spray because of her stalker. So when I shop I always make sure to buy her one. One time, I joined a camping group and we were wandering around when we actually saw a grizzly bear. It’s almost getting dark and we needed to pass through. We all looked inside our backpacks to see if there’s something we can use. There I saw a human pepper spray I forgot to give to my friend. Carefully, our leader sprayed over a considerable distance. The bear somewhat panicked and left the place. Human pepper spray is not enough to bring a bear down (but maybe they have sensitive noses?). That pepper spray actually saved us all.

  • Mark Foster

    Hi John! That was quite an experience and I’m glad all of you got away without a scratch. Pepper sprays are really important especially when camping. You might also want to read on “How to Avoid Animal Attacks”- http://myoutdoorslife.com/basics/how-to-avoid-wild-animal-attacks.html for good measure.
    In any event, just stay calm and always have presence of mind.

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