Learn How to Store Food When Camping in Bear Country

Published on: February 5, 2022
Written by Camila Avery / Fact-checked by David Rowan

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, camping in bear country or a reserved park or forest, if it measures west of 1-25, there remain different types of bears, especially the black bears. In this case, bears or similar big wild animals almost come to the campsite in search of food, as if, nobody may lose their appetite of fear or by snatching food from bears. 

learn how to store food when camping in bear country

This approach means knowing before you go is the only solution, yet this is very adventurous to camp in between that area. However, going to that designated area where black bears survive, by following some proper methods. 

Curious and hungry bears know their activity very well, yet they can be harmed by food smell from the furthest distance, like from 100 miles. As we can say, bears are active, and to what extent? The answer is only searching for food in local campsites or harming properties, like tents and cars. Acknowledgment on how to store foods when camping in the bear countryside can ensure safety, by locking foods in canisters, and inside locked car windows, parked from 100m away. 

So for your safety, what we have done to store food when camping in bear country is the foremost priority at this season and further. Follow the disposal techniques below to protect you and your all stuff, from food to smaller stuff like lip balm and other scented items from bears.  

how to store food when camping in bear country

Camping in Bear Country

Whether it is in bear country camping or visiting a bear living safari park for the entire day, how to store food is a noticeable issue that you cannot ignore at all in that countryside. It is quite natural that bears can reach as soon as possible where food smells fast, especially coffee grounds. Since, the coffee grounds feature a very good smell, bears like it much rather than other foods which you have kept in your car. This is not only bad for bears but also quite harmful for campers as if, the possibility of bear attack can increase while camping in bear country. 

It is rare to distract bears’ insatiable appetite, as well as that amazing food sense and smell. Even on the campsite, if you keep human food inside your car, they will consider the car as food by that inside scent, including drinks, soaps, bottles, trash, ice chests, toiletries, bug repellant, fuel sunscreen, and more. As well, thrive for it by scratching sometimes. 

So, the good resistance is to store all the goods and foods inside good storage boxes and packages, like ziplock if you have the acknowledgment of which type of bears exist in that park. 

Food Storage Requirements

Backpacking Time

Once decided on the park you will visit, check into its backcountry. Some parks allow for portable food containers. Especially for those backpackers, who prefer compact foods, as well as high calories, compressible, strong adore and lack categorized foods. And yes, avoid dry foods, pasta, peanut butter, protein bars, jerky, nuts, and similar foods. 

Take food from the package it contained before to fit it for more days in your preferred canisters and reduce garbage carrying. Instead of bottles, cans, and jars, resealable bags are a carrying breeze. 

Bear-resistant containers are suitable to seal foods as if they are hot, dry, and so on a level, yet when the containers’ lids get closed and locked at ease. In this approach, if the sealers are not available, place containers on flat ground and 100m away from the campsite. 

Use plastic bags and carry foods, for instance, containing crumbs and grease that have invalid odors in your backpack. 


No more disposing of in the wilderness, that you should remember and ahead for hiking;

  • No ropes attachment around the sealed containers;
  • With efficiency, know how to learn to pack foods in containers;
  • Always place heavy Steel pans and pots on the container;
  • Place containers near cliffs.

In Campgrounds or Parks

Placing foods within arm’s reach is not a good thing whether it sustains the bear food attack. So, secure food items, as well as other scented items instantly upon befalling at your desired campsite. 

Stop turning back with a backpack that contains food in storage, which can increase the bear’s food snatching possibility. 

Do Fast Washing Dirty Dishes

As long as your car parking is out of your sight, you should have acknowledged how to store food in a car when camping in bear country. However, it is safe, as if windows are closed during daylight hours, except for doing a similar procedure in vehicles which outside has a strapped bed or the pickup has. 

Do not get trashed by burning extra foods, coffee grounds, tea bags, and more stuff because these need a hotter fire than a campfire. This is pure wastage we think of burning organic matter.  

5 Ways to Store Food When Camping in Bear Country

Bears smell humans. Like this truth, camping and hiking food smell can attract bears which are 7 times faster than a bloodhound, even 2100 times faster than us, which means human beings. Even experienced bears can get attracted to human urine, sounds crazy right? If the urine consists of yesterday’s beetroot salad or coffee, or every drip of hot sauce and donut, from miles away, bears can catch and scan. 

People often think of storing special scent foods in a refrigerator. For one’s kind information, they can not enter, even possibly smell it as soon as possible. Though it is wonderful while experience adventure, acknowledgment about food storing ways in that bear country camping time is quite more difficult than regular food container sealing. Yet, here are some methods below.

Method-1: Cooking Food

Keep all foods like coffee grinds, spices, and other necessary foodstuff for a night in the car which you have parked far from the campsite to baffle the bear’s nose. Except for those foods which have already been packaged from home. 

Take out only 2 pieces of toast, and 2 eggs for fast snack preparation. However, once made, you can store the rest of the egg and toast inside the food cabin, or locker, or bear-safe container. 

Before cooking remember things, like,

Far from tent cooking, as if 100m downwind from the tent is mandatory. 

Avoid making a mess, whether you are cooking around the campsite or a big kitchen on the canal bank. However, if you do so, bears by smelling strong odors can reach your place, and yes, perfect to eliminate crumbs and spilling grease. 

Cook in a designated field, keeping you and your cooking foods far from the campsite. However, first setting up a successful tent or hammock on a desired and wonderful campsite, camper or scout boys and girls should recollect this matter. Later, designate a safe area for a kitchen, like setting up 100 yards far from a water source is a real cooking breeze without polluting the water. 

how to store food when camping in bear country 2

Method-2: Storing Food

The second possible and most useful way to store food at night is in your cars, and obviously, in a sealed bear container or box. Many campsites in a bear-living prioritized country often provide food lockers before entering that significant area. Can’t believe it? Well, in Alaska and Northwestern Canada, bears, especially the white bears, live in the majority. 

However, in Northern Utah in America and other similar countries bears live in real life. To fend off attacking bears and threats, bear spray is 100% effective and better than a gun. 

Store it during the day. Why? Because whenever you are shifting instant made food at night, there might not be bears by the frightening campfire. Place your stored food out of sight. For example, in a cooler, under the car seat, or in an airtight plastic bag that may be beneath a blanket to make the food temperature constant while spreading its odor. Make sure that the car windows have closed before food shifting. 

But please, remember to avoid storing food in a pickup truck’s back bed. Unless the straps spread the smell outside the car. 

However, it is possible to keep frozen or homemade foods inside your cabin from the beginning and even do this while you have decided to stay in your temporary cabin. For extra protection for saving yourself and your food, use a bear-safe canister or in airtight plastic bags. As well, these are available in your local camping stores with a camp axe, hatchet, or woodsman axe collections. 

In this approach, in particular, purchasing a portable bear-safe container is good enough to let you put all types of foods inside one or a couple of canisters. It is a placing problem though, yet solvable at least 30m downwind from the staying campsite on a flat surface. 

Notice if possible, there is no water source, because different types of bears can search along with other wild animals and possibly smell your food. If the budget is tight, relief with borrowed or temporary on-rent bear-safe canisters within the campsite by local people. 

From 100 or 200 yards far from the tent or cabin, set a bear hang up. How? Place all food inside canisters and then in a bag. Then select a sturdy tree branch at least 5.5m or 18 feet higher from the ground. Hold a 12m rope or cord to a carabiner and attach by making a bowline knot. Throw it along with the food bag over that sturdy branch. Do not forget to ensure that the tree trunk and bag should stay at least 6 feet distance from each other.  

Method-3: Hiking With Food

Want to transport food? Not only is hiking or camping but also every time to keep food temperature constant as if you can taste it in-home you did, food-safe or locked containers are unbeatable. Plastic airtight bags, Plastic or S.S.-made canisters are some of the similar food transporting examples, yet easy to carry in a backpack.  

An alternative is available in camping accessories stores, that is bear-resistant kevlar bags. But yes, in this approach this is quite disgusting to keep an eye on that box whether it is day or night. 

Like the previous camping in bear country storing methods, do remember the trash carrying process too, as in carrying all trash inside a big airtight plastic bag. Where you can place odorless bags, food crumbs, bones, food wrappers, and something else regarding waste. Before leaving that campsite, make sure the Plastic bag has been thrown into bear-proof disposal nearby or not. 

Method-4: Ensuring Tents Safety

Why sleep inside a bivvy bag or an underquilt hammock stand plan on a backcountry camping time where black bears are available? To avoid and keep yourself safe, as well as food, stay inside your car by keeping its flashlight on and spray inside and around that tent at night to repel bears while camping. 

Through this spraying method, your tents are safe and you can enjoy further hiking or camping by sleeping on the ground though you have perched atop your car. Even such tents keep safe and sound from several feet of dirt, as well as away from tigers, lions, and other wild animals. Be careful while waking up to relieve yourself. 

Another way is to get some unnecessary clothes with cider vinegar, or ammonia, and let them soak or hang them on a different-style hammock stand that you have created beside your tent. Lysol and Pinesol also work here to distract bears instead of frightening them with a campfire, beside the fire, it is warm and comfortable during the rainy season nights.

Method-5: Disposing of Waste Food

The last procedure, whether in the rarest instances, black bears harm people instead of tents, or vehicles to obtain human food. It is better to wash all cooking and eating utensils as soon as possible. For this, fill a bucket with warm water or even you can use normal temperature water with soap which should exist far, at least 91m away from your campsite. 

Scrub all utensils thoroughly with a sturdy, yet disposable sponge at frequent times. Then rinse all with filled water over the bucket or big canister, and keep under sunlight till these get dry. Again shift these to another plastic bag, or a food locker. 

You can draw all rinsed water from the bucket to the cliffside far. Ensure to use disposal units in that area as well. Instead of that, never go for burning with cooking, eating, and other used trash in the campfire. Because all such dirt needs much hotter than the campfire to burn all excessive things out. Even partially burned food can spread the smell as BBQ does too fast to stimulate bears as well. 

Is Human Food Bad for Bears?

Wilderness in nature should live with environmental stuff, and yes, they are beautiful, meaning bears should eat natural food and should not lose their appetite for human food consumption. Their devotion to natural food sources is along with their characteristics, as in unpredictable, dangerous, and aggressive. Over time, these bears in search of food can approach you like crazy and much more than that. 

Bears love human food, yet this is not as much of a good thing as we think. Why? Because human foods can cause up their stomachache and other issues that animals may have instead of consuming their common foods. Whenever bears reach the senses of human food, garbage is a genuine threat for damaging property and injuring people. Even can pose a risk, often euthanized while holding packed foods inside a backpack. 

According to research, bears who are not afraid of, or lose people’s fear, cases in their life expectancy which is a great environmental threat to natural balance. If bears become comfortable enough with human surroundings, they pressurize to reach and take human food. Sounds are euthanized to protect people, even can get hit by cars down park streets.  

Are There Any Specific Types of Containers or Storage Methods?

The best type of storage method for the bear country is bear-resistant containers, such as bear-proof coolers, bear-proof trash cans, and bear-proof food storage boxes. These containers are designed to be difficult for bears to open, preventing them from accessing human food and garbage. Additionally, it is important to store food, trash, and other attractants in a secure location away from tents, campsites, and other areas where people may be active.

Final Thoughts

Whether you prepared foods for camping that you have stored in the refrigerator, bears can smell it as they have a fantastic sense of smell. If you lock up or seal all prepared foods to take to the campsite, it should distract the bear’s nose and keep you and your food safe. To reduce that attacking possibility, you should know how to store food when camping in bear’s country.

Though a bear’s smelling sense is 100 times more rapid than humans, however, after allowing the foods in the bear box, use cleaning powders like ammonia-based or bleach throughout the camping car. But remember to make yourself big, either yelling at bears or banging pans and pots and using horns can scare bears away.

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About This Writer

camila avery author

Guys, I am Camila Avery and I love to help my mom to do indoor & outdoor activities. As a lady, I have passed my time on gardening, home improvement, and personal or self-care. I have acquired some degrees in outdoor recreation, beauty, and hair care. It is not easy to work with top-level professional beauty experts. But, I got that opportunity and experimented with different hair extensions, hair colors, and cuts.

Guys, I am Camila Avery and I love to help my mom to do indoor & outdoor activities. As a lady, I have passed my time on gardening, home improvement, and personal or self-care. I have acquired some degrees in outdoor recreation, beauty, and hair care. It is not easy to work with top-level professional beauty experts. But, I got that opportunity and experimented with different hair extensions, hair colors, and cuts.

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