How to Store Food When Camping In Bear Country

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Where should you store food when camping? This is what we are going to discuss in this post. In fact, we are going to look at how to store food when camping in bear country.

Bears are spanking smart. They lurk around campgrounds, and they meet with people. From these instructions, they know that people carry things they can eat. Therefore, when you sleep, a sneaky black can find its way to your food.

So if you have decided to camp in the bear country, you will need to figure out how you will store your food. This is the best way of keeping bears away from your camp.

We discussed how to keep copperhead snakes away when camping in another article. This one is about keeping a grizzly away from your food.

According to the NPS, you should always keep your food inside the car when camping, especially when going to sleep.

Can you store food in your car in bear country?

This is the first option and perhaps the safest. With camping having become so popular, most bears have become used to people and their food!

The only option to keep bears away from your food is to keep the food away. You need to bearproof your campsite. One of the ways to do this is to keep food away, out of sight.

Bears have a strong sense of smell and they can detect scents and smells from far away. They are ready to come for it even if it is inside the tent.

The good thing is that when bears do not smell food in your camp, they will not bother you. Therefore, store your food in the car. Clean the camping cookware and stow it away daily. Collect your trash too. You want to remove the smell of food as much as possible.

Remember, a bear has a sense of smell that is 2100 times stronger than that of human beings. Therefore, even if you leave a morsel of food on the ground, the bear will smell it. And they will come.

Tips for storing food when camping in bear country

So, where should you store food when camping? Can you store food in your car in bear country? We have already said you have.

Most bear country camping sites have regulations on how to store food. Make sure you follow them. Some discourage against storing food in the car. However, if you have to, make sure it is in a cooler.

Image of how to bearproof a campsite

If there are no regulations posted anywhere here are some tips that can help you out when camping in Florida, Colorado or anywhere else.

Use storage facilities

Some bear country camping sites have animal-proof storage facilities such as metal food lockers. Store there the food, toiletries, trash and anything that may attract the bears.

Such include foods, wrappings, coolers, bottles, dishes, barbeques, camp stoves and items used when preparing food or when cleaning up.

They are also attracted to soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, lotions and bug repellants. Store these and anything else that has a strong smell with the food.

An apron or clothes that you wore when preparing meals can attract a bear. Therefore, after cooking, wash up and change clothes. Store your dirty clothes with food, in a separate paperbag of course.

Sometimes the lockers are communal, and you may have to share with other users on the campground.

Store Food In Bear Canisters

In some campsites, bear canisters are a must-have. These are plastic cylinders with hard shells and lids. Once locked or closed, a bear cannot open it and get into the food. They look like the one below, which you can buy on

You don’t have to hang the canisters. You can leave it on the ground.

Store In A Bear Bag

 A bear bag is made using high-density polyethylene, and so a bear cannot open it easily. You can add an aluminum liner to the bag to prevent a bear from crushing the food.

To add more security to your food and deter the bears, you can first put the food in an odor-proof plastic bag before putting it in the bear bag.

To use the bag effectively, make sure you use an aluminum liner to prevent the bear from crushing the contents. Tie the bag properly as directed by the manufacturer.

Although you don’t have to hang the bag, tie it to a tree to prevent the bear from carrying it away.

Hang the food

If there are no storage facilities, hang the food. When you hang it, the bears can’t reach or smell it.

How do you do it?

Select a spot away from where you are cooking. Look for a sturdy tree and hang your food there. Alternatively, you can tie a rope between two trees where a bear can’t reach.

Some campsites have bear poles on which you can hang the food. The tall metals poles have hooks at the top. You will find another long metal pole which you will use to place the food on the hook.

Sometimes there is a cable between metal poles, where you can hang the food. Hang the food at least 4 feet from each pole or tree. Fortunately, these are much easier to use than a single pole.

Don’t Store Food In The Tent

Never store food in a tent, even if it is only a snack. Remember, bears can smell foods from afar. So if you leave anything, also if it’s a snack wrapper, the bear will come for it, in your tent.

Clean Up after Cooking

You should not leave any food residue on the cooking area. To the bears, this is food. Therefore, clean the fire pit, remove all residues and store it out of reach.

Burning food scraps in the fire can attract bears from miles away.

Dispose greywater in the designated grates and not near areas used by humans.

Use Triangle Set Up

The triangle set up separates the cooking, sleeping and food storage areas. The sleeping area should be far from the food storage as should the cooking area.

These areas should be separated by about 100 yards. This way, a bear cannot follow the smell of food to your tent.

How do you bear proof a campsite?

Follow the above tips, and you are good to go. Store food out of reach of bears; separate the cooking, storing and tent areas; clean the campsite and if you have to, use a bear spray.

Always remember that bears have a very strong sense of smell. Even when you cannot smell, anything, they can smell the food from your bag.

Once you know how to store food when camping in bear country, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are safe.