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Best Bear Spray for Hiking & Backpacking [2022] BikeHikeSafari


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This is a gear review about the best bear spray on the market in 2022. If you’re hiking, backpacking, or traveling in bear country, you can never be too sure when you might have an encounter with a bear.

For most people who spend time in the backcountry, it is not if, but when you will run into a bear. Whether it is a Grizzly Bear or a Black Bear it is a good idea to be prepared and have bear repellent spray in case you need to defend yourself. Carrying Bear Spray to repel bears and storing food in a Bear Canister or using a Bear Bag is one of the best ways to stay safe in Bear Country.

I’ve been checking out some of the best cans of spray to repel bears on the market, and put together a shortlist of our top 4 favorites to show you.

Best Bear Spray for Hiking 2022

The Best Bear Spray for Hiking in 2022 are:


Best Bear Spray- Overall

Counter Assault Bear Spray

Pros:
> It can spray up to 40 feet.

> 8 second continuous spray.

> Works on all species of bear.

> Strongest formula allowed.
> Comes with a hip holster.

Cons:
> It has an expiration date.

Now, this is not only the most popular bear repellent spray but my favorite bear spray for backpacking.

First off, it’s one of the farthest reaching bear sprays on the market. It can reach a bear as far as 40 feet away, so you don’t have to wait until you’re up close and personal before you can grab it and spray away.

And it’s the hottest formula allowed by law, with maximum strength 2% capsaicin and similar ingredients. And it will deploy a high volume.

8 second long blast of pepper spray that will temporarily stop the bear from seeing or smelling anything. And it will work against all species of bears. It’s an excellent deterrent.

It comes with its very own durable holster, so you can attach the canister to your help for quick and easy access, God forbid it’s needed.

And for even greater safety, it features a glow-in-the-dark safety wedge and tie string, so you will be able to find it easily in the darkness of your camping tent.

You can either buy a big 10.2 ounce canister, or a slightly smaller 8.1 ounce one, or you can save money by buying a 2 pack, and keep 2 of you protected.

It’s made in the USA, specifically Montana, and it uses 91% less greenhouse gases than any other spray on the market, so it’s a great option for the environmentally conscious among you.

Overall, this is the best bear spray for thru hiking, backpacking, hiking, and for anyone wanting to be in bear country. I’ve carried this bear spray with me in remote places in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, and in remote locations in Canada. Highly recommended.


Best Bear Spray for Canada

Frontiersman Bear Spray

Pros:
> Good range up to 9 meters
> 5.6 seconds of spray
> Includes holster
Cons:
> 3-year expiration date

The Frontiersman Bear Spray is specific to Canada. It has 1% capsaicin which is certainly enough to deter both Grizzly Bear and Black Bear attacks.

The Frontiersman Spray comes in 225 gram and 325 gram sizes. There is an option to buy the spray with a carry pouch included.

When purchasing Bear Spray in Canada just be aware that you may need to show your ID at the time of purchase.

Overall, this is the best bear spray for Canada. If you live in Canada or are traveling there to hike some of the trails then this is the bear spray for you.


Bear Sprays for Backpacking & Hiking

UDAP Bear Repellent Spray

Pros:
> Bestseller with excellent ratings

> Fast-acting spray
> 30 feet range

> You can get a holster or mount for it

Cons:
> Practice may be needed to remove it from the sleeve quickly

The UDAP spray is a fast acting bear repellent spray at a reasonable price. It also features an enhanced range and a broad spray pattern, as well as an inhalable particle size. This increases the chance of the bear being met and stopped by the spray if you spray it in a hurry.

The range is not as strong as the Counter Assault Bear Spray, but it should manage to reach around 30 feet when there was no wind.

You can buy it as a pack of one or as a pack of two. You can buy it with its own pocket and/or with a hip holster to keep it right at hand as you hike. Or, if you have accommodation in the woods, you can buy one with a wall mount.

Overall, this is a good budget bear spray for backpacking and hiking.


Mace Brand Bear Spray

Pros:
> Comes from a prominent brand

> Bestseller with excellent ratings
> Can restrict a bear’s breathing

> Canister empties out in 6 seconds.

> Safety clip to prevent accidents.

Cons:
> Doesn’t come with a holster.

This bear spray comes from a classic well established brand, the inventors of the Mace spray. 

The Mace Bear Spray offers accurate and effective protection from bears and other outdoor threats, thanks to its special powerful formula.

It is derived from natural ingredients such as hot peppers, and it will engorge the bear’s eyes, nose, and lungs on contact, resulting in a temporary burning sensation, sight loss, and a restriction of breathing. 

You can empty a whole canister in just 6 seconds, but the impact starts as soon as contact is made, giving the user ample opportunity to make a quick getaway.

It has good range at 35 feet so you don’t have to get really close before you can use it.

It won’t accidentally go off in your pocket, because it features an orange safety clip that has to be pulled off before it can work. But if in the event you do need it, all you have to do is pull the safety clip off and press down the actuator button on the top of the grip.

Overall, this is another good value spray to repel bears for camping, backpacking and hiking in the bear country.


Guard Alaska Bear Spray

Pros:
> Comes from a good top brand.

> Effective protection from bears.

> Canister empties in 9 seconds.

> Made right here in the USA.

Cons:
> Only lasts 3 years from the date of manufacture.

> Not to be stored at temperatures below freezing

> 20 Feet range could be better.

Again, here we have an excellent spray to prevent bear attack from a long-established brand.

This bear repellent spray is from the same brand as mentioned above but it has lower range of 20 feet. That’s not as far as other sprays that made our shortlist, but it does mean that you can deploy it before getting up close and personal with the bear.

The active ingredient in the spray is Oleoresin Capsicum which is derived from hot peppers.

And this will cause the membranes of the bear’s eyes, nose and lungs to engorge, giving a temporary loss of sight, a painful burning sensation and restriction of their breathing. This will give you time to get to a safer spot.

As with all the sprays in this review it is recommend that you empty the entire canister if you need to, and this will take about 9 seconds.

It’s made in the USA.

It doesn’t come with a holster, but you can pick one up at a budget price.


Bear Repellent spray for Thru Hiking
Bear Repellent Spray for Thru Hiking on the CDT

Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Here are some things to consider when shopping for spray to repel bears.

Range

The bigger the range of the spray, the sooner you can deploy it before the bear gets even more dangerously close. And the more time you buy to just get the heck out of there. In most circumstances, 10-30 feet is a good range to deploy the bear spray.

Bear Repellent Spray for Bikepacking
Bear Spray at the ready when Bikepacking in Alaska

Easy to Use & Access

If possible, I would recommend going for a spray to prevent a bear attack that either comes with a holster or has a holster that you can buy separately.

It’s not much good to have a spray to prevent a bear attacks if you don’t have quick and easy access to it when you’re hiking in the woods. Also, ensure that you practice removing the spray from the holster or wherever you store it. Get the muscle memory working so that when the time comes you can remove and use the spray as quickly as possible.

If possible, try to ensure you do not unload the bear spray into the wind as it will move downwind and you will get affected by the bear spray.

Value for Money

A regular size canister of bear repellent spray can vary in price but all are under $100. I don’t include prices in the reviews because they are subject to change, so be sure to click on “Check price” as you go along, so you can judge value for money.

Another one of the Best Hiking Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.


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